Year of Scripture – Getting Back and At It

Readings for: 
Tuesday, August 20:  Jeremiah 30 – 31
Wednesday, August 21: Jeremiah 32 – 34
Thursday, August 22: Jeremiah 35 – 37
Friday, August 23: Jeremiah 38 – 41
Saturday, August 24: Jeremiah 42 – 45
Sunday, August 25: Jeremiah 56 – 48

Sometimes life just gets in the way! I can’t believe that I’ve set this aside for six days without sharing any thoughts with you. Could it be that I was in a dark place for a few of those days? Maybe. Could it be that the start of the school year for our two boys put things on a side track? Perhaps. Could it be that the start of the school year put one of our boys in his own dark spot. Again, maybe. Did gathering with family and friends to celebrate my Parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary over the weekend take precedence? Absolutely. And . . . did the undertones of Jeremiah have anything else to do with not wanting to write? Without a doubt. So my apologies! Prayers for our family, for the dark cloud over some occasions, for the joyous celebrations of others. Either way pray for our family.

So the dark cloud over Jeremiah . . . more likely the dark cloud over the Jews still in Jerusalem at the time. Destruction, terror, and devastation is coming at the hand of Babylon. We’d have to turn back to 2 Kings 24 to get the historical story of Nebuchadnezzar, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. It all gets a bit confusing as we read Jeremiah. Some actions are taking place in Babylon, some in Jerusalem, and some in Egypt. Then add to that, the fact that there were two different attacks on Jerusalem by Babylon, I had failed to remember that. One where Jeohiakim was killed and Jehoiachin was appointed as king before being exiled to Babylon. Then another, about ten years later, when Zedekiah was taken captive and Jerusalem finally fell. Now we have two kings, one in Jerusalem, one in Babylon, and both fearing for their lives and the lives of the people. As ugly as that sounds, we weren’t the ones living it.

Meanwhile, Jeremiah has a constant voice, which may seem a bit unusual at times:

  • You (the people) have sinned and strayed from God’s ways.
  • You will be captured and exiled to Babylon, and by the way . . . this is a good thing!
  • If you allow yourselves to be exiled you will live.
  • Eventually all will be restored.
  • However, if you remain in Jerusalem, you will die and all will be destroyed.
  • If you flee to Egypt, you will die.
  • If you go anywhere else, you will die.
  • Also, a side note from Jeremiah addressed to Egypt, the Philistines, and Moab you are about to be destroyed too.

The good news? Well its there, sometimes a bit overcast by all the doom and gloom, but its still there. God will remember the chosen people, and out of the exile all things will be restored. Obviously we know how that turns out from the stories of Nehemiah and Ezra, where the temple is rebuilt and the city walls restored. Obvously, we know the rest of the story as Jerusalem once again becomes great and a new king takes the throne. While maybe not fully recognized as king, this is the king of Kings who takes on the cross so that we may all be restored.

In the end, this gray cloud in the story of Ancient Israel provides the silver lining that guarantees new life for you and me. Still . . . weathering the storm of the gray cloud stinks while you are in it.

Pastor Bailey

Readings for the next few days: 
Monday, August 26: Jeremiah 49 – 50
Tuesday, August 27:  Jeremiah 50 – 52
Wednesday, August 28: Lamentations 1 – 2
Thursday, August 29: Lamentations 3 – 5

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