My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.



Sunday, December 31, 2006

Jeremiah 30

Restoration

Summary:
God told Jems to write all these things in a book. Israel would be restored.

Right now, there was no joy. Men don't usually get pregnant, but by the way their stomachs ache, you'd be forgiven for challenging this age-old assumption. But God will break the yoke, and they will serve God and his king. They will be safe. God will discipline but not completely destroy.

There is no cure for your injury. You have no friends nor hope because of your sins. But God, and him alone will heal you. Your enemies will go into exile.

God's anger will not end until God is finished.

Key verse:
22. So you will be my people,
and I will be your God.

My thoughts:
There's actually a few cool verses in this passage, but I picked this one as it seems to be a reoccurring one. It states, in the simplest terms possible how God wants this relationship to be. He wants to be God, and he wants his people to be his people.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Jeremiah 29

A letter to Babylon

Summary:
Jeremiah sent a letter to those in exile from Jerusalem. It told them to live well and grow in Babylon, but don't listen to their prophets and sorcerers. After seventy years, God will bring you back, because he has good plans for you. Seek him with everything.

You may think you have a prophet or a Messiah in Babylon, but don't be foolish. God has judged those trying to be like that.

Jeremiah then pointed out a man, Shemaiah, who had informed the priest of Jerusalem that he must humiliate all those appearing as prophets, and that he should do the same to Jeremiah. But Jeremiah prophesied against Shemaiah.

Key verses:
11-13. For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

My thoughts:
These verses are clearly referring to modern Pentecostal church-going Christians, declaring that God has a good plan for their lives.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Jeremiah 28

Lying makes baby Jesus cry

Summary:
Later that year, a prophet Hananiah prophesied that Judah would be restored in two years, Babylon would flee and the temple would be refurbished. Jeremiah said, "That's awesome! Now, if only it were true." Hananiah then broke the yoke around Jems' neck, saying "Thus will the yoke of Babylon be broken!".

But God told Jems to tell Hananiah that the wooden yoke would be replaced by an iron one, and Nebuchadnezzar would rule over all. Hananiah died that year for his sins.

Key verse:
9. But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true.

My thoughts:
It's helpful to know that the Biblical authors recognised that just because something was prophesied and sounded good, didn't mean it was true!

Gosh, Jeremiah had that yoke around his neck for about a year!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Jeremiah 27

Surrender or die

Summary:
God told Jeremiah to put a yoke on himself, and to tell the surrounding nations that God was God and he had decided that Babylon will rule them. Anyone who resisted Babylon's yoke would be destroyed, and those who didn't resist would survive. So Jeremiah warned the kings and priests not to listen to the lying prophets. All they could do against Babylon was pray. God would take them away with all the temple furnishing, and they would return only when God wanted them to.


Key verse:
12. Bow your neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon; serve him and his people, and you will live.

My thoughts:
Israel were an arrogant people who thought they were saved by birth, because they were children of Abraham. Throughout the Bible God shows them that this is not the case. God appreciates faith and obedience.

Many in Israel thought God would save Israel from Babylon for the sake of being Israel. Jeremiah took the true, yet controversial line that God had, in fact, rejected Israel, and now they must be slaves for a time.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Jeremiah 26

Does anyone called Uriah in the Bible stay alive?

Summary:
God gave Jems a specific message to bring to those who came to God's house. Jems told them to repent, or the temple would die out just like at Shiloh. So the people decided to kill our hero.

He was trialled, and he defended himself by again asking them to repent. They could kill them at their own guilt.

So they changed their mind, and decided that his words were from God. The elders then recognised some scripture which prophesied in accordance with Jeremiah in Jeremiah's support.

Another prophet called Uriah wasn't so lucky, and after fleeing for some time was killed.

Key verse:
23. They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.

My thoughts:
Hmmm... I wonder if the point of this chapter is that Jeremiah uncompromisingly stood his ground, and the validity of his word was accepted for it. Another prophet, Uriah, fled like a scaredy cat, and paid the price.

I find it interesting that this chapter quotes Micah. I wouldn't have though Jeremiah and Micah would've been written that far apart. I would say something about how this could support an early date for Micah, or the quick recognition of scripture as holy, but I can't be bothered having an argument with Deane, and I'm not pretending that I've actually researched such things.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Jeremiah 25

Ologies

Summary:
Jems told the people that he's been saying the same thing for ages, but they haven't paid any attention. So the northern people, and Nebuchadnezzar will destory you. The land will be desolate for 70 years. After that, Babylon herself will be judged.

God sent Jems out with a cup of wrath for the nations to drink, finally including Sheshach, which is code for Babylon. All who drink are punished, and they must drink.

God will roar and earth will shake. The dead won't be buried. You won't be able to run. Come will come out like a lion from a lair.

Key verse:
26. all the kings of the north, near and far, one after the other—all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. And after all of them, the king of Sheshach will drink it too.

My thoughts:
It's numerology time!

So we have this 70 year exile in Babylon... Now, elsewhere in the Bible it refers to those 70 years as a Sabbath rest for the land, which Israel had basically raped by refusing the land it's Sabbath. The land was supposed to Sabbath every 7th year. There's two ways of looking at it, with the similar conclusion. This 70 year Sabbath comes after the 420 year non-Sabbath. Or, this 70 year Sabbath is making up for 490 years without Sabbaths. Either way, I think we can clearly conclude that if the exile started in 597BCE, then sin entered Israel in the year of 1087BCE. About the time when the monarchy started... Coincidence? I think not!

Now for some cryptology!

The name "Sheshach" confused scholars for ages. They couldn't figure out this weird place name they'd never seen before, yet it seemed to be significant. Then they figured it out. It was a Hebrew code. The first letter of the alphabet correlated to the last, the second to the second last etc. Like this (but in Hebrew):

A = Z
B = Y
...
Y = B
Z = A

If you then translate this code, thyen Sheshach comes out as Babyl! Which is Babylon! Coincidence? I think not!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Jeremiah 24

Figilicious

Summary:
When the kings and skilled people had been taken to Babylon, Jems had a vision of two baskets in front of the temple. One had good fruit in it, the other had bad. Some of those taken to exile were good, others were bad. God will look after the good and bring them back. They will return to God wholeheartedly and know him as God.

The bad will be destroyed by the kings they find themselves under.

Key verse:
3. Then the Lord asked me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?"
"Figs," I answered. "The good ones are very good, but the poor ones are so bad they
cannot be eaten."

My thoughts:
There is an emphasis here on the exile as a refining process. EzraNehemiah shows us that the refining process can't have been perfect, but there is a definite historical sense that Jewish faith became strongly defined during the exile in a way it had not previously been.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Jeremiah 23

Stupid Hebrew

Summary:
God will punish Israel's leaders for scattering her. God himself will gather them by raising up a righteous branch of David. He will be called God is righteous.

Jems is gutted by the prophets. Everyone's evil, uncluding the priests and the prophets. They will see disaster. Samaria prophesies by Baal, Jerusalem has hypocrites.

God will destroy them and tells us not to listen to the prophets. They promise peace, but it won't come. They don't hear God. God is near and far. You cannot hide from him.

The prophets claim dreams, but they lie. If God's word is gold, then these dreams are stones. God is against these prophets

God ain't giving any more oracles. Don't trust people if they claim to have it! You pretend to have words from God, and that's disgraceful.

Key verse:
6. In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The Lord Our Righteousness.

My thoughts:
When I first read this verse, realising that the word "Lord" here refers to the name "Yahweh", I got all excited. I was going to add it to my fodder against the Jehovah's Witnesses, as it calls the coming King Yahweh. However this is not entirely the case. I am yet to check the Hebrew, but other translations lead me to believe that the Hebrew for "The Lord Our Righteousness" reads something like YHWH ZeDeKNU. This more fluently translates in context as "The Lord is our Righteousness" - see NRSV (and New World Translation for that matter!). His name here is probably not Yahweh. It is more likely a declaration of Yahweh's greatness.

Otherwise, this chapter reminds us the importance of not making convenient things up in the guise of God's Word.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Jeremiah 22

No King, no King, ladedadedada! Fools! I will be King!

Summary:
God sent Jems to remind the King to be just so that things would go well. If he didn't, then things would be ruined. Though he may be loved, God could still destroy him.

When people see Jerusalem ruined, they will be told that it is due to Jerusalem's sin. Josiah's son will never return to Jerusalem.

Sucks for you if you have a beautiful palace at the expense of your people. Your level of royalty ain't measured by the size of your building, but by your justice. But you are evil, and will not be mourned, son of Josiah. You will be buried like an animal. Don't say I didn't warn you! If you were a ring, I'd throw you away. King, son of Josiah, you are unwanted.

Key verse:
28. Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot,
an object no one wants?
Why will he and his children be hurled out,
cast into a land they do not know?

My thoughts:
A critique of the final monarchy of Judah. This son of Josiah, Jehoiachin, here is fronting a lot of blame for Judah's captivity. It makes a good point about wealth not making a man.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Jeremiah 21

Fork (in the road)

Summary:
The King sent Jeremiah to the priests so he could enquire of God because Babylon was attacking. Jeremiah told them that the weapons they had would be used against them, and God himself will fight Jerusalem with a plague. The King would be turned over to Babylon.

Jems gave them a life or death choice. Surrender and survive, or fight and die.

If you don't act justly, God will destroy you. He is against Jerusalem and will punish them.

Key verse:
8. This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you
the way of life and the way of death.

My thoughts:
So often I feel people want to hear thing which are good, rather than true. Which is fair enough, I guess. In this example the truth was that fighting Babylon meant death. God set truth before them, but they didn't want to hear it and were killed. Similarly when we approach God now, he presents us, and all people, with a way to life and a way to death. If we and other ignore this because we don't want to hear it, then we probably will not take the right path.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Jeremiah 20

Always look on the bright side of life

Summary:
The priest, Pashhur, heard Jeremiah and had him beaten and put on stocks. Jeremiah called him names like "Terror on every side" and said he'd be handed over to Babylon to die.

God, you overpowered me and tricked me. I am a joke. I can't keep silent. My 'friends' wait til a weak moment to destroy me.
God, you are a warrior, so those 'friends' will fail. You look at everyone and judge well.

Praise God, but curse me. Curse my birth, and curse those who told of my birth. He should've killed me there and then.

Key verse:
14. Cursed be the day I was born!
May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!

My thoughts:
I see Jeremiah as the prototypical suffering prophet. The prototypical martyr, if you like. Self-sacrifice and martyrdom aren't generally as significant in the Old Testament as they are in the early church, but the concept that the prophets suffered at the hands of their own people was a pervasive concept in early Judaism.

Jeremiah is also clearly depressed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jeremiah 19

Jam from a jam ruin

Summary:
God told Jems to buy a bowl and to meet with some of the elders and priests. Jems said that God is sending disaster for their sins, and that God is gunna bowl them over.

God told Jems to break the bowl to symbolise God smashing the nation. The mass graves will be too small. The cities will become graves.

Then Jems went to the temple and again declared distruction.

Key verse:
11. I will smash this nation and this city just as this
potter's jar is smashed and cannot be repaired.

My thoughts:
In the Hebrew we have the words "jar" and "ruin" used as a pun, which I have vaguely tried to emulate with my 'bowl' fandangle.

This chapter is unique in Jeremiah because it emphasises God's judgement on Judah because of her sin.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Jeremiah 18

Mmmmm... pot...

Summary:
So God took Jems into a potter's house. Jems saw the potter making a pot from clay which had become misshapen. God showed Jems that he could do the same to Israel; reshape her. God told Jems to warn Israel of coming destruction, but not to expect a positive reply from Israel.

Israel's been very bad. They've gone against nature and forgotten their God. They will be scattered.

They said, "Jems is dumb and wants to disrupt things. Let's not listen to him."

Jems said, "God! Do you hear this! They want to throw me in a pit! Destroy them and their children. Make them mourn. Don't forgive them. You know what they plan!"

Key verse:
6. O house of Israel, can I not do with
you as this potter does?

My thoughts:
I never liked that whole 'turn the other cheek' nonsense!

The pottery image is quite cool, about how a potter can completely reshape misshapen clay according to his will. God can do the same with me and you.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Jeremiah 17

I don't feel like it

Summary:
Judah's sins are inerasable. The kids are taught sin. So your land will be plundered. Don't trust people, but trust God. Then you'll be sweet. Don't trust your deceitful heart.

God, you rock. Your healing and salvation work. I haven't left you.

God told Jems to go to Jerusalem's gate, and told him to tell Israel not to work on the Sabbath. You will have Davidic kings and prosperity if you keep the Sabbath. If not, then I'll burn it all up.

Key verse:
9. The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

My thoughts:
Just reading this one verse reminds me of how we really cannot trust what we feel, and we should focus on what we know through God. Feelings are deceptive. Our heart is deceitful. I dunno about you, but sometimes I feel that this whole Christianity thing cannot be true. But when I think about what I know, and the miracles I and many others have seen, then I know that it is the truth. It just doesn't always feel like it. Know that your feelings are deceptive.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Jeremiah 16

The continually restored nation

Summary:
God told me not to marry Israelites, because they were all going to die. Don't mourn with them, because God has no pity any more. Don't feast, because joy is ending. If they ask why, then tell them it's because of their sin.

But! In the future people won't see Israel as the people brought out of Egypt by God, but the people brought out of the North by God! They will be restored once again. But for now they suffer.

The nations will come to God, knowing that their fathers made false gods. God will teach them his power.

Key verse:
21. Therefore I will teach them—
this time I will teach them
my power and might.
Then they will know
that my name is the Lord.

My thoughts:
Yay for God teaching the nations!

There is little in this theology (the deuteronomistic theology) for Satan. God is the cause of all things good and bad, and bad things come from God's anger at sin and other things. In many ways this seems a lot fairer, and completely squashes any idea of dualism, but it does downplay the unending love and mercy of God. Though, his mercy is not absent, as seen in this chapter.

Compare 2 Samuel 24 with 1 Chronicles 21 for a difference between the deuteronomistic theology and the Chroniclist's theology.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Jeremiah 15

Sin = death

Summary:
No mediator can save you. Neither Moses nor Samuel. You will get your fates of death and starvation.

You will die by sword, dogs, birds, and beasts. You haven't changed, so you will have no pity, and God will destroy you. There will be many widows, and even those with many sons will be in distress. You will be enslaved from the North.

Remember me and avenge me though, God. I love your words and do not sin. I shouldn't have to suffer.

God offered to save if I repent. No-one fighting me would win.

Key verse:
20. I will make you a wall to this people,
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you
but will not overcome you,
for I am with you
to rescue and save you,"
declares the Lord.

My thoughts:
Just as Abraham's descendants would be as the sand on the sea, here God says the widows would be as sand on the sea.

Jeremiah reminds me of Lot in this passage when Lot is trying to convince God to save Sodom on account of Lot's righteousness, but God choses just to save Lot.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Jeremiah 14

It is you.

Summary:
There was a drought, and everyone was gutted. No water anywhere. Animals are dying.

Save us God, despite our sin. Don't be a stranger. But God remembered the sin.

God told Jems not to pray for their situation. The 'prophets' may promise relieve from God, but it won't come. They're liars, and they certainly don't hear God.

I will weep for my people who are wounded. Dead by sword, plague and famine. We hope for peace, but it seems God has destroyed us forever.

God, we have sinned. For your sake, love us again and remember your covenant. You alone bring rain.

Key verse:
22. Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain?
Do the skies themselves send down showers?
No, it is you, O Lord our God.

My thoughts:
I have that song by Newsboys (?) in my head -

"It is you we adore
It is you praises are for..."
etc.

This chapter seems to refer to a specific event during Judah's existence rather than concerning the more general coming judgement of the exile.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jeremiah 13

Michael Jackson proves God wrong.

Summary:
God told me to get a dry linen belt, and to hide it at Perath, so I did. A few days later, God told me to go find it again. It was ruined. This reminded God somewhat of our nation of Judah.

Shouldn't win bottles have wine in them? God's guna get Judah pissed. Like, not in a happy way, but like in a you-just-keep-throwing-up,-and-feel-heinous,-then-ring-up-your-ex-and-cry-to-them-and-wake-up-in-hospital-with-your-stomach-pumped sorta way.

Don't be arrogant, but glorify God before throws you into darkness. If you ignore this, then I'll cry. All the riches of the kings end up in wills. The North is attacking. They ain't allies no more. This is because of your sin. Just as a black man can't turn white, you haven't left your sin. You will be shamed.

Key verse:
23. Can the Ethiopian change his skin
or the leopard its spots?

My thoughts:
The author of Jeremiah obviously never met Michael Jackson. "Can a leopard change its spots?" is a common English expression now, however for some reason "Can the Ethiopian change his skin?" seems to have dropped out of common usage. I might push for its reintroduction into English proverbial collective memory.

God uses a symbol here to illustrate the situation with Israel. He does this a few times in Jeremiah.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jeremiah 12

A complaint

Summary:
God, you are good, but I can't understand why the evil people prosper. They speak of God, but don't know God. I know you. Destroy them, not me! Don't leave this land desolate!

Then God said -

You've gotta walk before you run! Don't trust your family even. I'm abandoning them all. I have come to hate my beloved. Destroyers will come and destroy my land.

I will destroy all the nations around Israel too, but if they listen and swear by me rather than Baal, then I'll resettle them.

Key verse:
1. You are always righteous, O Lord,
when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all the faithless live at ease?

My thoughts:
This question of Jeremiah is the question of the deuteronomistic outlook to life. The outlook that says that punishment is because of sin. If this is the case, then why do bad people prosper?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Jeremiah 11

Mmm... plot...

Summary:
This was the covenant. Do what I say, and I'll be your God. Tell the people that they have blatantly and consistently disobeyed me! They have conspired against me and followed other gods. I will punish them and not hear them beg for mercy. They can go to their other gods. One for each city. Sacrifices cannot save you.

--

God showed me that they were plotting against me. I had no idea. God will punish the men of Anathoth for this.

Key verse:
18. Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing.

My thoughts:
Jeremiah is all over the place as a book. Here it suddenly flicks into Jeremiah's first person and people are plotting against him. It gives interesting variation to the book, and the first person parts add a personal touch, but it is difficult to follow.

Who said the book of Jeremiah doesn't have a plot!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Jeremiah 10

Idolicious

Summary:
Don't follow other nations. Don't fear signs in the sky. Their traditions are pointless, and their idols mute. God, however, is unique, living and terrifying. He deserves the honour.

The idols are made from earth, but God made the earth. People can be so dumb.

Pack your bags, cos you're getting kicked out. Your leaders don't listen to God, and their flock is scattered.

We don't own our lives. Correct us with justice, and destroy the nations against us.

Key verse:
23. I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own;
it is not for man to direct his steps.

My thoughts:
There's Aramaic in this chapter!

It is completely against Western Culture to recognise that our lives are not our own. Many people cannot recognise that something could be true and good even if they can't understand why because people are considered the highest power and ultimate judge. Even though who state a belief in God often fall into this trap of making decisions based on the philosophy that an intelligent human decision is the best one.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Jeremiah 9

Tears

Summary:
My face is a fountain of tears for my people. I wish I could just leave them. God knows they are liars. Don't trust anyone, because they're all deceivers. God has every right to punish them, and will leave Judah empty.

You are afflicted because of your sin.

Get the professional criers, because we need some serious crying here! We'll have crying lessons. Don't boast in yourself, because God is God, and he loves justice.

You are the nations around you may be physically circumcised, but don't expect that to save you.

Key verse:
25. The days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh

My thoughts:
It appears from the final verses that it was common in all nations in the Ancient Near East to be circumcised, not just Israel. I think the Philistines (and probably the other sea peoples) were different in that they were probably of a Greek origin.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Jeremiah 8

The lying wise

Summary:
The leaders won't get a proper burial.

Normally when someone falls they get up. But Israel chooses to stay down. Everyone does what they want. The animals know what they're supposed to do, but God's people don't.

The wisdom of the wise is pointless. You will be wounded and your plasters won't fix it. You have no shame, and you will have no harvest.

"Let's run to the forts! We're under attack! The enemy is coming! God hates us!"

I'm gutted. God's not saving us. There will be no healing.

Key verse:
8. 'How can you say, "We are wise,
for we have the law of the Lord,"
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
has handled it falsely?

My thoughts:
I wonder if the law we have received has been 'handled falsely'.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Jeremiah 7

Death valley

Summary:
God told Jeremiah to stand at the temple's door and tell Judah that they could only live here if they did what is right. You can't go around sinning, then come to temple and expect everything to be sweet. This temple won't save you. It didn't save Shiloh!

God told Jeremiah not to pray for a nation who puts all her hard work into other gods. God's wrath is coming. He may've told Israel to do sacrifices, but he also told them to act rightly! God told Jeremiah to say all this, but knew they wouldn't listen.

The valleys and high places they worship on now will become valleys of the dead.

Key verse:
11. Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.

My thoughts:
I feel that Christians often feel sanctified by church. We feel more acceptable by doing that religious activity. These Hebrews felt the same about their temple, however God condemns them for relying on religious activity rather than actual righteousness. We should depend on God's love and sacrifice and our response to that over any religious activity.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Jeremiah 6

Do not underestimate the dark side of the force

Summary:
Flee Jerusalem, because people are coming to destroy it. God is ordering them to lay seige to Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be warned! His order is to pluck Jerusalem clean, like a vine being plucked of grapes. God can't hold his wrath anymore. The men will lose their wives and land.

This will be like God cutting your arm off. In response, your 'prophets' offer a plaster. Useless! They aren't even embarrassed! God gave you many chances, but you denied him. So now you face disaster.

The Northern army will be well armed and cruel. You are rejected metal. Nowhere will be same. Get ready to mourn.

Key verse:
30. They are called rejected silver,
because the Lord has rejected them.

My thoughts:
Sometimes it can be hard to determine the gravity of spiritual things, as they don't seem 'real'. Here the prophets are administering an embarrassing weak solution to a very grave spiritual problem. They struggled to see the spiritual reality of God's wrath. Do not underestimate the power of spiritual things!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jeremiah 5

Reductio ad absurdum

Summary:
God looked to see if there's one honest man in Jerusalem, then he'll save the city. I saw none, but I only looked amongst the fools. So I looked to the leaders, but they were just as bad. They will meet their deserved faith.

God has no reason to forgive you, so you will be destroyed. Your 'prophets' say you're safe, but they're liars. A nation will come and ravage you. God won't destroy us completely though. The remnant will know that God sent us to serve the foreigners, seeing as we loved to serve foreign gods.

"Look at me!" says God, "I'm freaken God! Fear me! I have power over you!" But you're just stubborn. You are evil and deserve punishment. Your prophets lie, and your priests are full of themselves.

Key verse:
29. Should I not punish them for this?"
declares the Lord.
"Should I not avenge myself
on such a nation as this?

My thoughts:
God here is showing Israel's punishment as the most logical option. In this key verse, he shows it by arguing from absurdity. It the logic of this passage, it would be absurd not to punish Israel for their unfaithfulness.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Jeremiah 4

Things are gunna get worse before they get better...

Summary:
If you come back and be good, then all the nations will be blessed. Circumcise your hearts!

Tell all Israel! Get to the cities! Get ready to mourn! The North is attacking. A wind comes against them, and this ain't a cleansing wind. Your sin brings this punishment on you! Disaster on disaster! The people are idiots who don't know me. The Earth is empty and in ruins!

Don't bother dressing up nicely. The ones you're trying to impress are trying to kill you. Judah is gasping for breath.

Key verse:
27. The whole land will be ruined,
though I will not destroy it completely.

My thoughts:
Sucks to be Judah...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Jeremiah 3

Cos I know that he knows I'm unfaithful and it kills him inside...

Summary:
Would a cuckold go back to his wife? You're like a whore, and that's why it doesn't rain. You say one thing, but do another.

Israel when and whored herself. I divorced her, and she never came back. Her sister, Judah did the same. They don't even care.

Israel may have no faith, but Judah is unfaithful. I'm calling Israel back, once they repent.

Come back! I'm your husband! I'll give you good leaders. You won't miss the ark, because all of Jerusalem will be my footstool! I want to look after you like a Father! I'm the real God, and I'll heal you.

"Yes, we have sinned!"

Key verse:
19. How gladly would I treat you like sons
and give you a desirable land

My thoughts:
If your wife walked out on your and moved from man to man, would you wait around for her to come back? Even when we are unfaithful, God is faithful.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Jeremiah 2

Red God

Summary:
Jeremiah told Israel God's word:
You used to love me and it was all sweet, but now you don't. What did I do wrong? Nothing! You didn't even ask where I was!

Look at the nations. Even they don't trade in their gods like you have! Their gods aren't even real! I'm a living lake, and you have replaced me with a broken well. You're being destroyed because of this. One day you'll realise what you've done. You can't wash off this sin with soap! Don't deny it! You are addicted to your other gods. You set up wood as your father. Why aren't they saving you? Don't point the finger at me. You're like a bride who left her ring behind! Egypt will disappoint you. God has rejected you.

Key verse:
27. They say to wood, 'You are my father,'
and to stone, 'You gave me birth.'
They have turned their backs to me
and not their faces;
yet when they are in trouble, they say,
'Come and save us!'

My thoughts:
Wow... God sounds pissed off... I generally don't like the judgement passages, but for some reason this strikes a chord with me. Maybe it's the sheer hurt that comes across in God's 'voice' as he describes his rejection.

I haven't studied Jeremiah much, but I guess they compare it to the deuteronomistic history because it has the cause-and-effect attitude towards Judah's fall. Be good to God and he'll be good to you.

In the Bible you get two views. One (eg. Job and the Psalms) where hardship is despite of your righteousness, and two where hardship is the result of your unrighteousness. I generally like to read the former more, but as I said, I found myself identifying with God in this chapter.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Jeremiah 1

Just a little boy...

Summary:
Jeremiah prophesied from Josiah to the exile.

God chose him before his birth to be a prophet, and called him as a child to spread his word. Then God led him to see and almond tree and a boiling pot being poured from the north, for judgement was coming from the northern nations.

God cried out "You will stand firm against Judah and defeat her!"

Key verse:
5. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

My thoughts:
So Jeremiah aye... I must admit that I don't know much about him or this book. I've been told that its boring and long and has long chapters. I've read that Jeremiah is probably the most introspective author in the Bible, and has great bearings on the deuteronomistic history.

Ok, here it's cool that God chose this little kid to be his prophet, and the intimacy of God with his prophet is awesome.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Isaiah 66

Go out!

Summary:
God says: "I made it all! I like the humble ones. I want humility, not stupid sacrifices. You'll be punished for your evil. Hear the sound of me repaying the evil people!"

Jerusalem will be born, but unlike other births, it will be without pain. She'll have peace and wealth. God will comfort her.

The survivors of the great judgement will be sent to the ends of the earth to show them God's glory. The names of those who go out will not be forgotten. The world will come to worship God.

Key verse:
24. And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.

My thoughts:
Isaiah ends with a Great Commission of sorts. It is an extension of God's glory beyond Israel and to the world.