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Two Baskets of Figs May 3, 2017

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Jeremiah 24.

Summary: In this passage, God shows Jeremiah two baskets of figs that have been placed in front of His temple in Jerusalem. One basket contains good figs, and the other basket contains bad figs. He then makes the following assertions:

  • the good figs represent the people of Judah who have already been exiled to Babylon; indeed, He will restore them to their homeland and renew their relationship with Him
  • the bad figs represent the people of Judah who remain in Jerusalem; indeed, He will destroy them.

Thoughts: In verse 1, we see that King Nebuchadnezzar exiled King Jehoiachin – and all skilled workers – from Jerusalem to Babylon. Calvin offers some thoughts on this point:

King Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) had been carried away into exile along with leading men and the craftsmen…For everything of any value had been removed by their conquerors, and we know that Nebuchadnezzar was full of avarice and rapacity.

Lately I have been practicing lectio divina; when I apply this approach, I attempt to situate myself in the passage at hand and identify with at least one character. For this passage, I determined that given my educational background and skill set, I could have been an official in the government of King Jehoiachin; in particular, I could have been a tax collector. In that case, I would have rejected Jeremiah’s prophecies and viewed him as a raving lunatic; I would have felt quite secure in my political position. In light of that sobering reality, I am thankful for God’s grace – as He has enabled me – from a young age – to view my skill set as a critical part of my relationship with Him.

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Jeremiah’s Complaint April 14, 2017

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Jeremiah 20:7-18.

Summary: In this passage, Jeremiah describes the following quandary:

  • when he proclaims God’s judgment upon His people, they insult him
  • when he attempts to shun his prophetic calling, God compels him to fulfill it.

He then beseeches God to punish those who insult him and reject His message.

He also rues his own existence, despairing of life itself.

Thoughts: I found this passage to be rather odd, as Jeremiah’s attitude toward God oscillates between pessimism and optimism:

  • verses 7-10 reflect his consternation at the inherent quandary of his prophetic calling
  • verses 11-13 reflect his confidence in God – that He will vindicate him in light of the insults of his compatriots
  • verses 14-18 are replete with sorrow and pain.

If this passage had concluded with verse 13, then I would have classified it as a typical Psalm, where the psalmist initially expresses their fears and doubts before concluding with a display of confidence in God. When I meet Jeremiah in the next life, I plan to ask him about this passage; are the three sections that I noted above arranged in chronological order?

Here, we see that Jeremiah is caught in a quandary concerning his prophetic calling. This caused me to ponder the following question: can we truly shun God’s calling for us in this life? At least some people sense that God has designed a difficult and costly path for them – and they attempt to avoid it, pursuing another path that offers relative peace and comfort. If they never end up pursuing that difficult and costly path, then since God is sovereign and omniscient, could it be argued that the path of relative peace and comfort was His actual plan for their lives? Perhaps this is just idle speculation on my part, as one cannot answer that question until the next life.