Saturday 20 February 2016

Bible Book:

“But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter.” (v. 19)

Jeremiah 11:18-20 Saturday 20 February 2016

Psalm: Psalm 38:10-22


Jeremiah's prophecies that Judah faced destructionunless it turned back to God in penitence brought an inevitablebacklash - but even he was astonished that it came from his ownfamily.

We read that it was the men of Anathoth who plottedto get rid of him. This is Jeremiah's home village (Jeremiah 1:1) and a community of Levites,priests for the worship of Yahweh. Not murderers. It gets worse inthe next chapter when we read that it was Jeremiah's own family whowere involved:

"For even your kinsfolk and your own family,
   even they have dealt treacherously with you;
   they are in full cry after you;
do not believe them,
   though they speak friendly words to you."
(Jeremiah 12:6)

Jeremiah is amazed. "I was like a gentle lamb ledto the slaughter," he says - in a rare passage where he lets bothhis innocence and his personal feelings become clear as he callsfor retribution by God.

We seem to have come into a classic religiousargument: who is actually speaking for God?

Is it the historic priestly families fromcommunities such as Anathoth - those who would lose power andprestige if Jeremiah's prophecies were actually taken to heart bythe people? Is it the prophet - who stands alone and calls anentire nation to remember the ancient covenant and return to thefounding principles of their faith … which is for most people a newway of living.

What a picture then when Jesus burst upon the scenecenturies later calling people to a new way! What an image ofanother lamb led to the slaughter, but one who did not raise up hisvoice.

To Ponder

  • How can the Church help people bring their anger to God?
  • Discerning who is speaking for God is difficult. How do youlearn to hear well? And what advice might you pass on toothers?
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