Tuesday 07 January 2020

Bible Book:

I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying, ‘Turn now everyone of you from your evil way, and amend your doings ...' (v. 15a)

Jeremiah 35:15-17 Tuesday 7 January 2020

Psalm: Psalm 99


It seems like a big leap from the visitation of those wise men, whoever they might have been, to the prophecy of Jeremiah. However, it is not perhaps as strange as we might think it to be when we consider the situation into which the prophet is speaking in his words.

It is clear if we read the previous chapter that the people of Israel had been turning their back on the covenant that they had made with God and were paying lip-service to the promises they had made. The Lord warns the people that he will bring desolation upon them if they do not change their ways. And then Jeremiah is told to go to a group of people outside of the community – the house of the Rechabites – and bring them to the Temple and offer them hospitality. He does as he is asked and discovers that these people, who might easily be regarded as aliens by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, have been sent to set an example to the chosen people and get them to change their ways.

When we come to the two verses set before us today, the message is clear – the people have not listened to the prophets, have gone their own way, and if they do not now change their ways disaster will fall upon them. He then points to the Rechabites as an example of people who have been obedient and who will not suffer the same fate.

It is from this passage that the temperance movement took its name in the 19th century, when some of them, who actually took the Rechabite name, turned away from the culture of the time (which was rife with drunkenness and the after effects of such a life-style) and they began to walk a different journey. The warning in Jeremiah is clear – go your own way and disaster will befall you and your nation. Perhaps our own generations need to hear a similar warning.


To Ponder:

  • What are the parallels in the situation to which Jeremiah was speaking with the situation in the world or even in our own country today?
  • Was the message only about refraining from strong drink or looking at much wider problems in Judaic society?
  • What should we, in our own day and age, make of such prophesy?
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