Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 251

The scriptures read are Jeremiah 28-30, Psalm 56 and Hebrews 12.

Jeremiah 28. A persuasive false prophet dramatically confronts Jeremiah and predicts a reversal of Judah's bad fortune within two years. The false prophet is dead within one year.

Jeremiah 29. Jeremiah sends a letter to the exiles in Babylon telling them to settle in for the long haul. This is where they will live for the next 70 years. So get used to it and work for the common good even of Babylonian society. He dashes their hope of things going well in Jerusalem and warns them of prophets in Babylon telling them what they want to hear. 2 of these false prophets are preying sexually on women and will get their just desserts.

A return letter denounces Jeremiah. God promises punishment for the man who did that.

Jeremiah 30. God promises that after their punishment, his people will be restored. A breath of fresh air in a book of gloom and doom.

Psalm 56. I like the way this not only covers the whole psalm, and not just a couple of verses, but also the way it starts simply and gets a lot more interesting musically as it goes along.

Hebrews 12. A sports analogy. With all these heroes of the faith watching us from the stands, we better get running. Our Usain Bolt is Jesus, who didn't let any of the hurdles he had to deal with stop him. We should follow his example.

The analogy turns to parental discipline. A neglectful parent doesn't prepare his child for the hard work and adversity he will face in the real world. God does prepare and discipline us. Nobody likes that stuff. But later you're glad your folks taught you self-discipline.

And then it's back to the racing metaphor. But now it's like a relay race, a team sport. Don't trip up your team mates. Help everyone out. Keep up the team spirit and morale. Think long term goals, not short term pleasure.

Be grateful you weren't part of the scary old covenant. Our covenant was mediated by Jesus, and sealed with his blood. Only God could turn his son's murder into a vehicle for his grace.

The new Jerusalem will be unshakable. But first God has to clear the ground. And it's going to take more than a leafblower; God is a purifying fire.

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