Monday 29 February 2016

Bible Book:

“O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed…” (v. 7)

Jeremiah 20:7-13 Monday 29 February 2016

Psalm: Psalm 45


Often in the books of the prophets we read public proclamations;but here we get a glimpse at a prophet's inner turmoil. In theprevious chapter Jeremiah had been called to smashan earthenware jug as a sign of what God would do to thepeople of Judah and its capital Jerusalem. This action led toJeremiah being locked in the stocks by Pashhur, a priest.

After his release Jeremiah prays to God using stark language. Heuses a traditional Jewish form of lament - laying out his complaintagainst God, telling God what he wants to see happen, reaffirminghis trust in God and concluding with praise of God.

Jeremiah begins with a no holds barred accusation of God. Theword entice may be translated as 'fool', 'deceive' or even'seduce'. In all cases God comes out badly as the one who deceivedor seduced Jeremiah into speaking and acting on his behalf.

We may think this language hostile, aggressive or evenblasphemous; but it shows the intimacy of Jeremiah's relationshipwith God that he felt able to be that honest. What is more, itspeaks of the level of pain Jeremiah was feeling.

Jeremiah's initial call promised that God would use him forbuilding and planting as well as ripping up and tearing down (Jeremiah 1:10). However, so far his messageseemed to be all death and destruction. Upon his release from thestocks Jeremiah labelled Pashhur 'Terror-all-around' (Jeremiah 20:3) and now his enemies were usingthat against him as a term of derision.

His pain may have been intensified by the fact his proclamationswere aimed atan area of society close to his heart. Born into apriestly family and then called to pronounce the destruction of thetemple may have been like a stab in the heart.

But then Jeremiah ends with this odd twist. The God who deceivedis now trusted to deliver. The root of Jeremiah's complaint becomesthe object of his worship. When all hope seemed lost, Jeremiahreturned to the foundation of his faith.

To Ponder

  • In what circumstances might you be tempted to speak to God insuch terms? Is it justified?
  • How might Jeremiah still rely on God after all he had accusedhim of?
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