Thursday 03 March 2016

Bible Book:

“Now therefore amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God, and the Lord will change his mind…” (v. 13)

Jeremiah 26:10-15 Thursday 3 March 2016

Psalm: Psalm 48


Jeremiah's preaching was certainly causing a stir. Whether theofficials heard the commotion that was arising and came out toenquire, or whether they were summoned we don't know. But theyappear and take their place at the gateway in the temple. Gatewayswere often the place where business was done or judgements made(see, for example, Ruth 4:1-6).

The accusation against Jeremiah was a distortion of his message.All that the priests and other prophets repeated of his words wasthat he prophesied against the city. What they failed to mentionwas the possibility of deliverance, and so Jeremiah repeats hisfull message (verses 12-15).

The impending doom was due to the disobedience of the people.They had been living in the shadow of powerful neighbours to thenorth (Assyria and then Babylon) and to the south (Egypt) fordecades, and different kings had different policies. Some kings,such as Josiah (Jehoiakim's father) took the risk of unshacklingthemselves from the dominance of these neighbours and re-imposedthe law and worship of God.

Jehoiakim took the path that many of the kings took and acceptedthe protection of their neighbour (Babylon - see 2Kings 24:1) in return for compromising their moral andreligious beliefs. Whilst this may have made political sense, itmeant disobedience to the ways of God. Jeremiah's message was thatit wasn't too late to repent and change course.

Jehoiakim, as with the other kings of his time, had the dilemmaof whether he could trust God to deliver him or not, whether achange in behaviour was worth the risk. In the end he did notchange, he rebelled against Babylon and died in battle. Whilst itis easy to judge him for his disobedience, we can never know whatmight have happened had he responded with more faith.

To Ponder

  • In this season of Lent the themes of repentance and obedienceare very common. What do these terms mean for you?
  • Who are the 'dominant neighbours' in our time who try andassert their opinion? How might we challenge them?
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