Saturday 05 March 2016

Bible Book:

Jeremiah 28:1-17 Saturday 5 March 2016

Psalm: Psalm 50:1-15


After Jehoiakim died his son, Jehoiachin (known also as Jeconiah- verse 4) became king of Judah. Within months the king of Babylonhad come and taken him away, along with other leaders and treasuresfrom the temple. In his place another relative, Zedekiah, was madeking; although very much under Babylonian rule.

All that Jeremiah had warned about was coming true. Instead ofresisting, Jeremiah's message now was to embrace it. In chapter 27 Jeremiah made for himself a yoke,the harness for beasts of burden. He walked around Jerusalem in it,encouraging everyone to accept their servitude to Babylon as theway to maintain the peace they had. He warned against listening tofalse prophets predicting a quick restoration.

Hananiah was just such a prophet. His name meant 'The Lord isgracious' and he argued that God was more gracious than Jeremiahsuggested, bringing back the treasures and people from exile. Theterm 'false prophet' shouldn't make us assume though that he was acharlatan. Rather he may have held to the stories of God'sdeliverance in the past and assumed it would happen again (forexample 2 Kings 19), unable to believe that God wouldallow Judah to be totally devastated.

Hananiah shaped his argument in the same way Jeremiah did,claiming authority from God. As Jeremiah broke the pot (Jeremiah 19:10), so Hananiah broke the yoke(verse 10).

In his public response Jeremiah places the burden of proof uponthe prophet of peace; he must demonstrate his authority by peaceflourishing in the kingdom. With hindsight, after the final exilein 587BC we see the authority certainly lay with Jeremiah. He wasright to claim that God had not sent Hananiah. Whilst it may seemharsh or barbaric in our day, Deuteronomy 18:20 sentenced any false prophetto death.

Jeremiah gives a different way to interpret world affairs. Tothe eyes of all, Babylon had overrun Judah because of its supremepower. To Jeremiah, and the community who found themselves inexile, the interpretation of the events focused on the work of Godrather than any human power.

To Ponder

  • How do you respond when you hear preachers giving verydifferent accounts of who God is, how we might relate to God, howwe are to engage in the world?
  • Where do you see signs of God's activity in bad situations aswell as good?
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