OT: Lamentations 2:20-3:66
It's all about Psalms today! First, this whole reading in Lamentations struck me as one loooong psalm. From 2:20-3:20, Jeremiah takes us into the pit with him. Like yesterday, I was so saddened by my reading. I just thought Jeremiah did a very effective job conveying sorrow. And I just kept wondering, is there going to be any upside to this?
The upside comes in 3:21 and following. In fact, verse 21-23 are quite famous:
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness."
Man, hearing those verses in context makes them so much more powerful. Given Jeremiah's circumstances, it is amazing that he can say that!
The hopeful vibe continues through 42, when it gets bleak again. But in the positive section, Jeremiah says a couple things that caught my attention. First, he says that God "does not willingly bring affliction/or grief to the children of men" (33). I appreciate that. Of course, it fits in well with Jeremiah's theory that the destruction brought on the people was the result of their own sin. And it is good to understand that punishment is not something that gives God pleasure.
I also thought the phrase, "to deny a man his rights," in verse 35 was fascinating. I would love to know what Jeremiah considers to be rights. I have struggled with how the idea of "rights" fits into the biblical picture of man and his role. And so my curiosity was definitely peaked at a prophet talking about a man's rights. Interesting.
In verse 52, Jeremiah transitions rather abruptly to his suffering at the hands of personal enemies. Again, it all sounded very psalm-like to me.
NT: Hebrews 1:1-14
A new book! And it's one that we can all agree that we don't know who the author is!:) In the first part of chapter one, the Hebrew writer starts making a case for the supremacy of Christ as God's chosen method of communication to us. In doing so, he quotes several psalms...
...and one of them is our psalm of the day! Can you imagine how excited the editors of this book were when that lined up? I know they had to be thrilled. This psalm itself sounds a lot like a condensed version of Lamentations, and particularly like the part where Jeremiah starts describing his personal enemies. Like Lamentations, though, it contains an affirmation of God's love and goodness.
Oh, and one more thing about the NT reading: I really liked and was intrigued by verse 14: "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" I love that picture of angels. I know next to nothing about angels, of course, and it's something that you probably can't talk about too much without sounding silly, but I love the idea of angels ministering to me. I wonder how that works...
Regarding quarrels and gossip.