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Judgment Against Evil Kings April 22, 2017

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Jeremiah 22.

Summary: In this passage, God speaks through Jeremiah, condemning the actions of these kings of Judah:

Indeed, He charges them with a litany of sins, including:

  • withholding the wages of the workers who built the royal palace in Jerusalem
  • flaunting their wealth
  • shedding innocent blood.

Thus, he will punish them by:

  • destroying the royal palace in Jerusalem
  • banishing Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin from their native land
  • bringing shame on Jehoiakim after his death
  • cutting off their royal line.

Thoughts: In verses 13-17, we see that God condemns King Jehoiakim for his actions towards the workers who constructed his palace. Calvin offers some thoughts on this point in his commentary on verse 14:

The prophet reproves the ambition and pride of King Jehoiakim. He was not content with the moderation of his fathers but indulged in extravagant display and built for himself a palace in the clouds, so to speak, as if he did not want to live on the earth. Splendid houses are not in themselves condemned, but since they nearly always proceed from insatiable ambition, the prophets condemn sumptuous houses.

These verses remind me of one of the controversies that swirled around last year’s presidential election in the United States. Perhaps modern-day believers who reside in First World countries should assess our lives in light of this passage. For example, do we leave a proper tip for our server at the local eatery that we frequent? If we happen to own a business, are we properly compensating our employees? Do we – either consciously or unconsciously – flaunt our wealth?

Recently, our small group has been strolling through the Gospel of Luke; some have termed that book “the social concerns Gospel” due to its emphasis on less prominent characters – and God’s desire that they be lifted up. Over the last few years, I have given more thought to the role of Christians in advancing the principles of justice and fairness in this broken world; thus, these simultaneous strolls through Jeremiah and Luke have served to reinforce that point. I am curious as to whether these principles will play a prominent role in the rest of Jeremiah, though.

Here, we see that King Jehoahaz and King Jehoiachin – along with the queen mother, Nehushta – will be banished from their native land; moreover, they will never return to it. This spurred me to consider the possibility of banishment from my native land. I have never lived in another country for an extended period of time, and it is difficult for me to contemplate life as an emigre. If I were ever exiled from my country and barred from returning to it, I wonder how I would respond to that trial. Would I ever grow accustomed to life as a foreigner? Would I actually embrace my new country and completely divorce myself from my native land? Would I retain some attachment to my native land – and harbor a sense of regret concerning life in exile? Indeed, as a citizen of a First World country, I should be more thankful that God has shown His grace to me in determining the time and place of my birth.