Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Aug 15, Jer 10-13

Today's readings are Jer 10-13.

After recognizing that Judah would not turn from its ungodly ways, in Jer 10, Jeremiah begins to lay the foundation for the purging of sin from God's people. God is sovereign, and the gods of this world are not only powerless to effect anything evil (Jer 10:11), they will be judged harshly for oppressing the children of God. As such, godly people should avoid emulating them and their ways at all costs. 

This chapter says volumes about how much of the world's ways the church should be eager to absorb. Likewise, it warns against trying to make the church attractive to a world that is unable to do any good yet is powerless to do any real evil. 

It also says quite a bit about what our definitions of good and evil are. In Jeremiah's prophecy, given him by God, the only good and evil that exist are the ones that have an eternal impact. If this is true, then our fears should be limited to that which is eternal and has an impact on souls. However, most people continue to harbor fears over temporal matters, choosing to be more concerned with the immediate rather than the eternal. 

Jer 11 deals with the ramifications of breaking the covenant with God. In describing the consequences, we learn that adhering to God's covenant is not an optional decision. All are subject to its terms. There is no way to opt out. Either you obey the covenant, or you fall under its judgment. Many view a covenant as a type of contract that they can either choose to be part of or ignore. God's covenant is not a participatory one we can choose to walk away from without suffering the penalties outlined within the covenant. Either we fall in line, or we suffer His wrath. To the lost, in spite of their feeling to the contrary, not believing in Him does not exempt them from His judgment. 

Jeremiah struggles with all this and voices his complaint in Jer 12:1-4. He wants to know why those who are evil seem to prosper. Jeremiah seems to be talking about the pagan neighbors outside of Israel and Judah, but he could just as easily be talking about those within who have rejected God. God tells Jeremiah that there is still time for those evil people to repent. Once again, we find that true, contrite repentance is the remedy for impending judgment. We should see that worldly success or peace does not necessarily equate with eternal peace or joy. This may be a surprise for those who believe life is “about the journey.” The “journey” is temporary, the destination is eternal.

In Jer 13, we read one of those instances in which God has His prophet do something odd. These cases may seem unusual but are always symbolic and prophetic. God has Jeremiah soil a loincloth rendering it worthless. God likens the soiled loincloth to the pride of Judah. The very piece of clothing that was designed to be a covering and preserve the pride of the wearer had become an object of shame. Likewise, Judah had been created to display the glory of God but had become shameful. 

The imagery conjured by jars filled with wine is similar (Jer 13:12-14). The filled jars should be a sign of blessing and abundance. But they’re also, a sign of the presence of the Lord. Instead, the people of Judah were getting drunk on the wine. They were taking the blessing and the giver of the blessing for granted and abusing the privileges they were given.

Even after their shameful behavior and callous attitude toward God, they are given the opportunity to repent (Jer 13:15-27). God's love is incredible! His patience is immense! Nonetheless, His holiness will neither be compromised nor tainted. His people will always be His people, but He will do whatever is necessary to refine and sanctify them.

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