Wednesday 02 March 2016

Bible Book:

“… I will make this house like Shiloh, and I will make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.” (v. 6)

Jeremiah 26:1-9 Wednesday 2 March 2016

Psalm: Psalm 47


Some of the books and films that confuse me the most are thosethat don't follow a linear progression through a story, but ratherflash back and jump forward. The book of Jeremiah is one such book-it doesn't just start at the beginning and journey along to theend. It is a mixture of styles with oracles (messages or preaching)and narrative. Today's passage happened earlier in the story ofJeremiah than yesterday's.

Firstly, it happened towards the beginning of the reign ofJehoiakim who was king earlier than Zedekiah (their exactrelationship is unclear). What is more, the reference to Shilohpoints to Jeremiah's message to the people of Jerusalem that wehave in chapter 7 (see particularly Jeremiah 7:1-15). Earlier we only had thesermon, but now we read the narrative about its delivery andreception.

In 1 Samuel 1-4 we see the fate of Shiloh. Whenthe people of God had conquered the land we now call Israel, Shiloh(to the north of Jerusalem) became the place where the Tabernacle(the mobile forerunner to the temple) was erected and the Ark ofthe Covenant (the sacred box containing the original TenCommandments) kept. It was therefore the focal point for theworshipping life of the people of God.

The Ark of the Covenant was presumed to always assure people ofGod's protection, but during one episode of rebellion theIsraelites were routed, and it was taken by the Philistines, and,we can interpret, Shiloh destroyed. The people of God were not asinfallible as once thought.

In the days of Jeremiah, Jerusalem and the temple were held insimilar regard. Despite Assyria invading the northern kingdom ofIsrael just over a hundred years previously, the people of Judahbelieved the same couldn't happen to them because of the temple. Tosuggest otherwise was not only unpatriotic but also blasphemous -doubting the ability of God to save God's own people. So it isunsurprising Jeremiah's message caused such controversy.

To Ponder

  • For what reasons may we be called to proclaim a message thatruns contrary to society's, or even the religious establishment'sperceptions?
  • Are there better ways today to challenge society withoutstanding outside and denouncing? What might they be?
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