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Meditation on Jeremiah 5

May 7, 2011

Book of Jeremiah

A few days ago I began the Book of Jeremiah in my quiet time. It was a book I hadn’t previously read and I have found great spiritual benefit from reading though books of the Bible a chapter at a time and meditating on the chapter and using this as the basis of my prayers.

Jeremiah was a priest who was called by God, to preach of the coming destruction of Jerusalem by invaders from the north because of the way Israel had turned from God. God’s people had gone so far that they had set up many temples to Baal on the hills of Israel.

This morning I was struck by three scriptural truths from Chapter 5.

FIRSTLY sin is serious, have a look at v28-29:

“Their evil deeds have no limit;
they do not seek justice.
They do not promote the case of the fatherless;
they do not defend the just cause of the poor.
Should I not punish them for this?”
declares the LORD.
“Should I not avenge myself
on such a nation as this?”

So often I’m tempted to down play the ways in which I turn from the way that God would have me live. I choose the things which put me at the center of my life, I choose the things which look good even if I know that always fail to satisfy. This is particularly stupid as I know that God made me and the way He wants me to live is the way in which I will find most satisfying. Notice from the verses quoted though God expects us to take care of others and when a person or a society turn from God it shows itself in the way that person or society treats the most vulnerable around them.

SECONDLY Judgement is coming, this is apparent throughout Chapter 5 and indeed in all of the previous 4 chapters and v15 sums this up well:

“People of Israel,” declares the LORD,
“I am bringing a distant nation against you—
an ancient and enduring nation,
a people whose language you do not know,
whose speech you do not understand.”

The nation which God is speaking is Babylon, the superpower who would capture the people and take the leading members of their society off to exile for seventy years. Though Israel wouldn’t believe Jeremiah it didn’t stop the inevitability of the judgement and the same is true for us today. Judgement has been prophesied for the whole world with the return of Jesus and we are presently in a period waiting for this to happen. This period is given so that people might turn back to God, but just as with Israel, whether people believe or not Jesus will return, judgement and justice will be done.

THIRDLY and finally though, God is merciful. The chapter begins with God showing His merciful character in v1:

“Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem,
look around and consider,
search through her squares.
If you can find but one person
who deals honestly and seeks the truth,
I will forgive this city.”

and then later in v18:

“Yet even in those days,” declares the LORD, “I will not destroy you completely.”

Whoever we are, whatever we have done the character of God is such that He longs to be merciful and to welcome us back. Jeremiah can’t see this but this mercy would be seen in God coming to earth Himself in the form of His Son. Jesus comes to take the judgement we deserve, that I deserve, so that there is a way back to God. God provides us with an option to turn back, to choose Him and should we choose it He will forgive us and withhold His judgement from us for it has been taken by Christ on our behalf. What a great way to start my day, to be reminded of who I am (fallen) and who God is (just and merciful) and help me to start my day in the right frame of mind.

These themes of sin, judgement and grace (that is the merciful forgiveness of God) are the key to understanding the Christian life and it was great to be reminded of these truths this morning as I opened up the Book of Jeremiah. What did you read this morning in your quiet time? How has it helped you to keep going in the faith?

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2011 4:30 pm

    I respect your reading on this yet I find it to be a form of bullying. Threatening in a way as 1 man said not long ago… You are either with us or against us!
    To be merciful is not to give an ultimatum , it is to forgive regardless of choice.

    Peace to you and yours

    A

    • May 7, 2011 4:34 pm

      Thanks for comment Alejandro. God doesn’t bully us, He give us a choice to be with Him or not and then respects that choice after death. Would you happy with God if He just forgave Hitler or would you rather have a God of justice?

      • May 7, 2011 4:49 pm

        Yes ‘God’ gives us a choice by telling us, to be with him or not, i see that as bullying as we have a choice!
        We find out in the end or not.
        Hitler was mad! As most tyrants are. If a God was all knowing there would be no Tyrants! That in itself is a non issue!
        We all meet the ‘maker’ or turn to dust.
        No matter where we go, it is what we do now in life that makes the difference.
        We don’t have to look over our shoulder to know what is right or wrong.

        Peace A

  2. May 7, 2011 4:55 pm

    God created us a free people to choose how we live and what decisions to take. That’s not bullying that’s freedom. Some people choose to use that freedom to be evil, like Hitler. If God stopped every evil deed we would have no choice and just be robots. You’re right when we say we know what is right and wrong and God allows us to choose which to take, the good or the evil path. However, justice is also important so we stand in front of God to give an account and for justice to be done. I really don’t see how this is bullying.

    Thanks A,

    Mike

  3. May 7, 2011 5:05 pm

    Devil’s Advocate….
    What if you see what has been written in the scriptures and take issue of what has been written?
    What if you think to yourself, I don’t see the right in this path?
    So therefore make a decision not to follow Jesus?
    Then you are told, “Well if you don’t, you will be damned!”

    That my friend is bullying!

    A and peace lol

    • May 7, 2011 5:45 pm

      Thanks A.

      What if you read the laws of your country and decide not to follow them? You choose to go out and steal and then you’re arrested and the court judges you. Is that bullying?

      M

  4. May 7, 2011 9:57 pm

    I enjoyed reading this post and reading the truths you plucked from the story of Jeremiah. this was a great read. Thanks 🙂

  5. June 1, 2011 4:25 pm

    Nice nuggets of wisdom of one of the great prophets. Jeremiah, much like all the prophets foresaw the need for Israel to return to God. As they were captive slaves of the Babylonians, they had begun to adopt a lifestyle that was incongruent with how God commanded them to live.

    As any caring parent does when their children deviate from the straight and narrow, God intended to punish His children also. And just like any parent does, He gave warning of His intent. Jeremiah did as God commanded him and admonished Israel for their misbehavior. That they did not heed Jeremiah’s warnings, divine retribution was justified. As you attempt to admonish your children, if they do not heed your words, punishment is in order.

    Jeremiah’s prophecies not only concerned the Israel nation of that time, but indeed his prophecies concerned us as well. Being on this side of Calvary, we can see the correlations of today’s events that were hidden before the Crucifixion.

    Visit http://www.thesignsdaily.com for more indepth studies of prophetic scriptures.

    Thanks again for your post. It’s very insightful.

    Aaron

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