Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Aug 11, Jer 18-22

Today's readings are Jer 18-22. Tomorrow's are Jer 23-25.

Jer 18 brings up the imagery of the potter and the clay, a metaphor Paul will explore in greater depth in Rom 9.  We hear God claim the right and privilege to do with all He has created whatever He will do as it all belongs to Him. Jer 18:11 is a chilling verse that may be a challenge for some to hear. 

Jeremiah 18:11 Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’
But, even as God prepares to bring disaster upon His own children, the disaster can be averted by their repentance. 

Notice the changing role of Jeremiah in these chapters. Earlier, he has been an advocate of Israel. At times, he is a judge. Jeremiah can be both the bearer of hope and the bearer of judgment. In many ways, he is a type of Christ, perhaps an imperfect shadow of the One to come, but a type nonetheless. 

If we see Jeremiah as a type of Christ, then we should see ourselves as a type of Jew. Seeing the Jews as a shadow of ourselves, it's easy to understand that their stumbles and failures can be a mirror to our own shortcomings. In those cases, the grace God shows to them is a hope and a promise of the grace we have received and will continue to be blessed by. So, we should see ourselves in the story of the Jews. 

But, if we limit our understanding of Jeremiah's role to this portent of Christ, we may miss another key point. Yes, we should see ourselves in the Jews as a way to understand how God's grace has been so abundant in our lives. But, we should see ourselves in Jeremiah as well. Seeing ourselves in Jeremiah can tell us much about our role in the culture today. Jeremiah has been chosen by God as His representative. While the judgment God is about to unleash on the people of Judah, Jeremiah has the promise of God's preservation and protection. He has but to speak God's truth and leave the judging to God.

In much the same way, we are like Jeremiah. We have been chosen and equipped to be a people who proclaim God's truth to a dying and doomed culture. Jeremiah's message of pending judgment and the people's need for repentance have not changed. We bear that message and are the evidence of how the repentance can transform and preserve. While those around us will suffer the wrath of God, we will be protected. Christ has been the object of God's wrath in our place, taking on our sins and paying the price for them. We have but to speak God's truth in the same manner Jeremiah was called to speak. 

This call will not always be appreciated. We see that in Jer 20. As those who oppress Jeremiah reject God, He, once again, describes the wrath to come and urges them to repent. Jer 21-22 are saturated with God's grace, giving His people every opportunity to turn from their wicked ways. 

From all this, we should hear our call to speak the truth. We should also see the immensity of God's grace and His willingness to spare those who repent and turn toward Him, no matter how dire the situation and no matter how dark their sin.  

1 comment:

  1. Read Jeremiah 22:8-9. I pray that people today will respond in the same way when asked why the Lord has dealt this way with us. Instead of blaming God and calling him unfair, it's my prayer that they will see, "Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and worshiped other gods and served them."