Daily Update #226

Jeremiah 18:18-20
18 Then they said, “Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us strike him with the tongue, and let us not pay attention to any of his words.”
19 Hear me, O Lord,
    and listen to the voice of my adversaries.
20 Should good be repaid with evil?
    Yet they have dug a pit for my life.
Remember how I stood before you
    to speak good for them,
    to turn away your wrath from them.

A couple questions from Matt this morning.
I wonder how we think God will work things out in the end?
Jeremiah had to minister in Judah when their sin of idolatry and pagan worship was reaching full measure. They had failed to heed the prophet’s warnings and allowed themselves to continue indulging themselves. Their response to Jeremiah’s messages shows how complacent they had become.
In spite of the false teaching, empty prayers and prophecies at the time, the people were happy. They were content, so long as they heard nothing they did not want to hear. The last thing they wanted was someone unsettling the peace they had made. So they plotted against Jeremiah and soon it would get ugly, with Jeremiah being beaten.The people in his time were angry when their world was challenged.
That is a helpful picture of what people are like and we may even not feel overly concerned, but if God did challenge you, when reading his word, when in prayer or some word of knowledge, what would you do? It is easy to become comfortable and less easy to change.
But God’s word both comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable.
How arrogant Jeremiah must have sounded to them!
Jeremiah though, pleads for God to deal with them. It continues into a strongly worded prayer. Bring judgement. Bring suffering. In Judah’s situation at the time, his prayer would have been in accord with God’s purposes, (the clue is in Jer 18:1-4 where he sees the potter re-purpose the clay). Judah was already steeped in sin, (e.g Jer 17:1-4). But these were part of God’s purposes, refashioning the nation to eventually bring his people to the cross. Judgement has been promised and is coming. A judgment Christ would bear.
Jeremiah would suffer and despair at the people. But he had remained faithful to God also prayed for their repentance, (v20). This part of the bible is about God’s judgement refining the nation, until there is only Christ. But we live in and amongst a complacent nation and a sometimes wayward church. What we say is fine, for us, so long as we don’t offend or confront anyone’s comfort. If we are honest, that often governs what we say or even do. But this passage does ask us what happens when we face difficult situations? How do we respond? Does anything but trust in God rule our hearts?
This isn’t a call to pray down fire on our nation, (Luke 9:54) but a summons for us to trust God – all things work for the good of those who love him…Rom 8:28. So I wonder, am I able to allow God to work his purpose out in my life? (Rom 8:28) Can I hand situations over so that I and those around me might experience God’s love, experience mercy and find forgiveness, instead of the judgment to come?
God is with you, wherever you may be and whatever you may choose to do. When might you most need to keep this in mind?
Creator God ,you made us all in your image may we discern you in all that we see ,and serve you in all that we do ;through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for justice
Living God,
deliver us from a world without justice
and a future without mercy;
in your mercy, establish justice,
and in your justice, remember the mercy
revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Tomorrow’s readings – Jer 17:5-10; Ps 1; Luke 16:19-31