Seriously

Psalm 123; Jeremiah 7:16–26; 2 Corinthians 10:7–11

The Christian understanding of is one of , forgiveness, and . These are often the primary characteristics on which we focus. If we are honest, it’s because, with such a , a lot of pressure is off of us. There are many, however, who claim these same three characteristics are ’s and yet talk only about ’s judgment, anger, and destruction. Today’s passages would seem to have that same division.

In today’s verses, the opening words to Jeremiah are brutal. “Don’t pray…or plead for them…” First, this tells us about Jeremiah. Jeremiah prayed. Jeremiah hurt for the people and the relationship with that they had lost.

One could say that ’s words were unloving, except perhaps we have the wrong focus. What if ’s focus (in the opening verse, at least) wasn’t really the Israelites, but Jeremiah. Like a parent or grandparent long praying for the salvation of a child or grandchild, perhaps that was Jeremiah ( did tell him to not pray). Perhaps Jeremiah was deeply upset (he was often called the Weeping Prophet), and wanted him to let go.

There is also the high possibility that knew that the hearts of the Israelites would not be repentant before the time of reckoning. If this is indeed the case, the heart of “don’t pray” would have been, “release your burden, for it is not yours to bear.” That would be compassion in the face of .

In some ways, Jeremiah is as Paul states, “The Lord gave us that authority to build you up and not to destroy you.” Jeremiah certainly didn’t want the power to destroy the Israelites. He wanted to build them up so that they returned to .

This is where the hard reality of the Scriptures hits us, and we don’t like it…at all. We say that we don’t like this of “meanness” and try to cover up what we think is “wrong” with language that s everyone.

Oh, does. Without question, s all of Creation, even these broken and dysfunctional parts called humans. There does, though, come a point where it all has to end.

We don’t like this point. We don’t like the thought of lost d ones not knowing at the end. GOOD! We’re not supposed to like it! Perhaps, just perhaps, that is showing us that it is a serious matter (even deadly), and we ought to be serious about it, too.

※Reflection※

  • What were your initial thoughts about when reading Jeremiah? How about Jeremiah? The Israelites?
  • What lessons can you learn from ’s words and actions?
  • What lessons did you learn from Jeremiah’s words and actions?
  • What lessons did you learn from the Israelites?

※Prayer※

Lord, loving you is often easy, but your for us and our betterment is often beyond our understanding. Guide us in your ways. Amen.