Monday 26 November 2012

Bible Book:

"Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and no one shall make him afraid." (v. 10)

Jeremiah 30:1-17 Monday 26 November 2012


A possible setting for this passage ... Jeremiah was active as aprophet from about 625 BC. He worked mainly in Jerusalem, capitalof Judah, the southern kingdom in Palestine. In the latter part ofhis ministry he had tried everything, without success, to challengethe misguided leadership of Judah in the run-up to defeat by themighty power of Babylon. That was in 586BC. Judah's leaders andmost of the people were exiled to Babylon. Judah now faced the sameexperience of extinction or of merger with other nations that hadearlier befallen the northern kingdom, Israel, at the hands ofAssyria, around 721BC.

Under God's inspiration Jeremiah raises his sights and broadenshis perspective. While himself left behind in Jerusalem, with asmall rabble of the poor and destitute, Jeremiah boldly declares anextraordinary promise from God. God will reunite Israel and Judahinto a single nation, under a new king David. God will restore themto the promised land, with many blessings: freedom, security andthe power to live at peace with one another and with theirenvironment. Only God can achieve such a remarkable change offortune for the people. Without God's intervention there could beno hope for Israel and Judah.

So what did Jeremiah believe about God?

  • God has ultimate authority over the affairs of the nations(though their power play may disguise that truth).
  • God looks at God's own people (and all nations) with asearching truthfulness. Israel and Judah have persistentlydisobeyed God's will and are profoundly guilty. They deserve a duepunishment for this, through their present sufferings. 
  • God hears the cry of panic, terror and anguish from God's ownsuffering people, currently overwhelmed by their unparalleleddistress.
  • God can and will rescue, save and heal the people. God'soriginal intention in forming a particular people for the sake ofother nations and of the whole universe cannot be defeated. Lifewill be restored to 'Jacob' (the name given in verse 10 to Israeland Judah when reunited) by their being snatched at the last momentfrom the jaws of death.

To Ponder

  • Jeremiah's account of God controlling international events mayseem somewhat unreal to many 21st-century Westerners. We cannotpredict where global conflicts will break out or what will result.To what extent does our faith in the coming of God's kingdom helpus to make sense of international news?
  • Christians in affluent societies often struggle to empathisewith the depths of suffering and humiliation felt every day by thepoor in the developing world. How can we help one another to standmore humbly alongside those in greatest pain?
  • How can Christians in Britain express in public, in ways thatmake a difference, their distaste for many things that go on in oursociety?
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