OT: Jeremiah 51:54-52:34
Well, today is our last day of Jeremiah. Oddly, knowing that we are at the end of the book kind of deflated my curiosity about today's time line. I did, however, look at the chronological order in my October 3 post, and it said that the last chapter does go at the end, chronologically speaking. It has the end of the list as: 39: 15-18; chs 32-33; 38:14-39:14; 52:1-30; chs 40-44; 52:31-34. So let's do it this way:
39: 15-18--Jeremiah sends a message to Ebed-Melech the Cushite while "confined in the courtyard of the guard."
chs. 32-33--In the tenth year of Zedekiah and the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah buys a field and promises eventual restoration.
38:14-39:14--Sometime after rescuing Jeremiah from a cistern, Zed comes to him one last time and has a secret conversation where Jeremiah warns him yet again of impending disaster. In chapter 39, the Babylonians break into the city, take captives, burn and plunder, capture Zed, kill his sons and all his officials in front of him, put out his eyes, and take him to Babylon in shackles. They also treat Jeremiah really well.
52:1-30--Basically, the same as above, minus the part about Jeremiah.
chs 40-44--the aftermath in Judah, and the flight to Egypt.
52:31-34--Jehoiachin freed from prison after 37 years.
I was also curious as to where chapter 51 fell in the time line, and my intro puts the whole chunk of prophecies against Babylon (chs 46-51) much nearer to the beginning. I thought that was interesting, given the Babylonians' positive reaction to Jeremiah during the siege. You'd think those words would have turned him against them.
I have more thoughts on the actual content of the material, but my time line digging took way too long. I'll just say that the line, "For the Lord is a God of retribution" got me thinking about the nature of justice and particularly of our innate desire for eye-for-an-eye-style justice. I kind of think that, to some degree, those desires are from God, since He has them, too, and we are made in His image. And yet, He makes clear to us Christians that retribution is His job. And then I started thinking about the need for us to pursue justice while on earth and what that looks like. And I also thought about God's mercy and grace, and how that fits in. And they were all swirly, big picture thoughts, without a lot of coherence to them. So it's probably good that I am quickly running out of blog time:).
NT: Titus 3:1-15
Hmmm, verses 1-2 certainly play into yesterday's theory. Paul stresses the need for "the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men." I can't be sure, but if I had to guess, the reasoning behind these instructions is the same as the reasoning behind the instructions regarding women and slaves: "so that no one would malign the word of God" and to "make the teaching about God our Savior attractive" (2:5, 10). To me, there seems to be a clear concern here regarding the outside perception of Christians.
Enough reading between the lines, though. I also like the lines themselves. I personally love these instructions to Christians. For one, they help justify my lack of personal fire about politics:). I love to think about politics, but I just can't muster up the passion to get in there and fight. And these verses suggest to me that perhaps getting in there and fighting isn't our calling as Christians. Or if political involvement is the calling of some, then that involvement should conform to the pattern shown in these verses. And in political discourse, these verses set a pretty high standard!
Psalm 100: 1-5
Another praise psalm. I am really enjoying all of these upbeat psalms.
Prov. 26: 18-19
Against saying that you were "just joking" as an excuse for deception.