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On Jeremiah in general:
A number of times I have found myself thinking "Okay, okay, I get the message! Israel and Judah must turn from their wicked ways! Can we move on now?". Then there was a verse in yesterday's reading: (Jer 36 v 3 from The Message)"Maybe the community of Judah will finally get it, finally understand the catastrophe that I'm planning for them, turn back from their bad lives, and let me forgive their perversity and sin."

That's really the point. They didn't "get it" so God kept on at them. The number of times Jeremiah repeats the same message from God is testimony to God pursuing his people.

I remember when we were reading through the history of the kings of Israel and Judah after David, and how they all went pear-shaped. I remember thinking at the time - where was God in all this? After Him being so closely involved in everything that David did how did it happen that hundreds of years passed where he seemed to be just watching from a distance? The thought occurred to me - Didn't God care anymore what happened to his people?

Now, reading Isaiah and Jeremiah and knowing they existed in the abovementioned time, I realise that God WAS actively pursuing his people, and getting under the kings' skins, but they kept pushing Him away. Of course He cared!

The monotony of the warnings in Jeremiah are because God cared and wanted to give His people a way out of the punishment He had to bring to get rid of evil. If God did not respond radically to the radical evils that His people were involved in, He simply would not be a good God. A Holy God must react to evil.

A last related thought:
In Phillip Yancey's book "When Life Hurts" he explores the painful times we go through. One reason we can say that our painful experiences are not always punishment from God, is because before God punishes He always gives us a warning, and a chance to change our ways. That is what we are seeing in Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 37:1-38:28

For me what is so compelling about Jeremiah is not that this happened to Judah in the midst of constant warnings sent by God, but that the people that Jeremiah prophesized too, are the same people right here right now. We are the stubborn ones, we are the ones who don’t get it, we are the ones that think because we are “Christians” that we are safe and the messages is not for us.

The Apostle Paul stated:

Let us not tempt Christ as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. Nor should we complain as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Corinthians 10:9-11 HCSB)

It is important for us to read the prophets and observe the behabvors that they spoke against. As the “preacher’ declared in the Book of Ecclesiastes,

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9 HCSB)

I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it. God works so that people will be in awe of Him. Whatever is, has already been, and whatever will be, already is. God repeats what has passed.
(Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 HCSB)

Let us not assume that the stubbornness we are reading about was only peculiar to Israel and Judah. Let us not assume that because we are in church, in a prayer group that the prophet’s warnings are no to us. Let us not live our lives with an arrogance of faith.

Grace and peace,

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