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Jeremiah 51:54-52:34

Jeremiah is one of my favorite books and I am sad to see our readings come to an end. My love of Jeremiah has been a growing process. The first time I read through this book way back in 1985 I just read it with no clue or understanding what it was about. I had mad a decision to read the entire Bible and I had set my face toward that end whether I understood what I was reading or not and I certainly didn’t understand Jeremiah. My motivation for my continuation for reading through the Bible came from three sources: 1) my desire to never again allow anyone to interpret or explain the scriptures to me because of being around multitudes of people who twisted scripture for their sick purposes; (2 & 3) an explosive encounter with a passage in Isaiah and Galatians during my first journey through the Bible. The two encounters would leave me a wash in tears, cleansing me as I realized the god I had created in my head because of being in a spiritually abusive church and family, was not the True God.

Reading the Bible can be like chewing wood, an analogy I’ve used countless times. Yet, when one gets a revelation, an understanding that was never seen or experienced before in just one verse or sentence, the remainder of the Book becomes like a piece of land that has buried diamonds. As long as one is willing to put the work in, put the shoulder, and back into finding each valuable gem, then the process of searching takes on a completely new meaning. Jeremiah began coming alive to me in my tenth year of going through the Bible but that first new encounter was scary. I shuddered at the destruction and became confused trying to figure out who was talking to whom and through whom.

Anything built on a lie will collapse and Jeremiah gives proof of that. What becomes scary for us is when we realize that what is surrounding us, what is supporting us is a lie and we decide we would rather not change. When our loved ones won’t change when we have thought about changing and we procrastinate in effecting the change that is needed because they won’t come with us. We at first pray for God’s Mercy to take effect, but Mercy is a gift and is at the behest of the giver. After awhile when we still haven’t changed we then tell God He has to accepts us the way we are because, after all, “God you’re God and I want you too.” The Bottom Line is this: Anything outside of God is a BIG FAT LIE. Us believing that lie will not make it Truth, it is still a BIG FAT LIE.

Jeremiah is a case study in destruction: the underpinnings that lead to collapse. Jeremiah takes always all the excuses we have created for ourselves for not effecting change. We cannot say that God never gave us a warning or lovingly called to us to STOP IT and GET OUT, God’s mercies are clearly evident in the book.

Jeremiah also shows us that God, in a box (Arc of the Covenant) our out of the box is still God. He shows us that despite our big or small buildings where we go to worship, God can choose to vacate the premises before, after and during destruction and He still remains God. Our building projects, our skill in designing beautiful sanctuaries and stain glass windows, parking lots that can hold thousands of cars so their occupants can enter a big or small building to worship, does not mean God is in the midst—God cannot be contained or boxed by man.

What scares us when we read Jeremiah is the realization that we cannot control God.

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