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Practice Justice(8)

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Introduction:

DISCOVERING JEREMIAH
God calls the young Jeremiah to be a prophet
Jeremiah is a priest’s son. He comes from Anathoth—a settlement of priests on the eastern border of Judah by the open wilderness.
Josiah has been on the throne twelve years and is now about twenty. Jeremiah and his king are a similar age. When God calls him, Jeremiah pleads that he is only a child and unable to speak. But God has known and chosen him from before his birth Jeremiah 1:6-7
Jeremiah 1:6–7 GNB
6 I answered, “Sovereign Lord, I don’t know how to speak; I am too young.” 7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say that you are too young, but go to the people I send you to, and tell them everything I command you to say.
Jeremiah is to serve God as his prophet through forty stormy years. In the north, the Assyrian empire will fall and the Babylonian empire will rise. To the south, the power of Egypt will be both a threat and a refuge. And Judah herself, like her kings, will swing between godliness and paganism.
In all this, Jeremiah is to devote himself to speaking God’s messages. He must warn the people of judgment, defeat and exile. Jerusalem and her temple will be destroyed. The king descended from David will become a prisoner. The whole nation will be gutted and displaced. Jeremiah’s message is not only unbelievable—it is unacceptable. No one will want to listen.
But Jeremiah is God’s choice. God touches his mouth and gives him the words to say. He promises to strengthen and protect this hesitant young man against all that his enemies will try to do to him. And he does. He appoints him to an earth-moving, kingdom-toppling, life-giving ministry Jeremiah 1:10
Jeremiah 1:10 GNB
10 Today I give you authority over nations and kingdoms to uproot and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
To a prophet’s eyes, ordinary things take on special meaning. Jeremiah sees an almond tree about to blossom—the first sign of spring (1:11). The Hebrew word for ‘almond’ sounds like ‘watchful’. God is awake and alert to fulfil his plans. Jeremiah sees a boiling pot, tilting its contents from the north. In the same way God is about to pour out his punishment on Judah through fierce invaders (1:13–14).

God will fight for Babylon against his own Jeremiah 21:1-7)

8 And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death.

9 He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey.

10 For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good, saith the LORD: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.

11 And touching the house of the king of Judah, say, Hear ye the word of the LORD;

12 O house of David, thus saith the LORD; Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my fury go out like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

13 Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the LORD; which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations?

14 But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, saith the LORD: and I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it.

What have your Lord God set before you ? Deuteronomy 30:15-20

15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;

16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;

18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.

19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

20 That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

God judges the Kings of Judah
Jeremiah 22:1–9 GNB
1 The Lord told me to go to the palace of the king of Judah, the descendant of David, and there tell the king, his officials, and the people of Jerusalem to listen to what the Lord had said: 3 “I, the Lord, command you to do what is just and right. Protect the person who is being cheated from the one who is cheating him. Do not ill-treat or oppress foreigners, orphans, or widows; and do not kill innocent people in this holy place. 4 If you really do as I have commanded, then David’s descendants will continue to be kings. And they, together with their officials and their people, will continue to pass through the gates of this palace in chariots and on horses. 5 But if you do not obey my commands, then I swear to you that this palace will fall into ruins. I, the Lord, have spoken. 6 “To me, Judah’s royal palace is as beautiful as the land of Gilead and as the Lebanon Mountains; but I will make it a desolate place where no one lives. 7 I am sending men to destroy it. They will all bring their axes, cut down its beautiful cedar pillars, and throw them into the fire. 8 “Afterwards many foreigners will pass by and ask one another why I, the Lord, have done such a thing to this great city. 9 Then they will answer that it is because you have abandoned your covenant with me, your God, and have worshipped and served other gods.”
Knowles, A. (2001). The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed., p. 307). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.
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