Jeremiah 29:24-32 – Causing Drama

Read Jeremiah 29:24-32

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In our last reading, Jeremiah had sent God’s message to the captives in Babylon to beware of false prophets. Apparently, Jeremiah’s message ruffled some feathers with rival prophets. It would appear Shemaiah is instigating the drama in this reading to take down Jeremiah and get him out of the way.

We know from being on this side of history that Jeremiah was a true prophet speaking the word of God. Others calling themselves prophets in that day were not. God’s doom for them has already been set. Did Shemaiah think he would fool the priest, Zephaniah with these words? “So why have you done nothing to stop Jeremiah from Anathoth, who pretends to be a prophet among you?”

First, it’s hard to imagine how messages were exchanged in those days with no postal service or internet. I’m not even certain what kind of writing materials would have been used. Papyrus and ink of some kind, I suppose. It’s always good to ponder context to help in our understanding.

Thankfully, Zephaniah went directly to Jeremiah with this dreadful message. We’re not told here, but I wonder what kind of a relationship they had. These two men were left behind in Jerusalem with a totally different mission than those already living in Babylon. Do you think they wished that they had been taken away, too?

What spoke to you in today’s reading? Was it how a disgruntled individual lashed out at a “supposed” colleague in frustration trying to feel superior? Or maybe you’re pondering if Shemaiah was disillusioned to believe he was indeed a prophet sent by God. Haven’t we seen plenty of examples in our current day when someone feeling overlooked or unappreciated strikes up some drama to get that sought after attention? Take a moment to think about an example, maybe even in your own workplace!

Our goal should be to discern which voice is genuinely speaking for God and to ignore any false prophets. That’s what Jeremiah has been trying to do all along by warning people to ignore the false prophets. The problem I see is that the people might not be discerning enough to see through the false prophet’s lies. The same is true today, wouldn’t you agree? Say a prayer for some of the false prophets you have encountered.

If Shemaiah was oblivious to his error, he would soon be told yet again. God was not pleased with what he had done. Shemaiah’s sinfulness of putting untrue words into God’s mouth would be his demise. “I will punish him and his family. None of his descendants will see the good things I will do for my people, for he has incited you to rebel against me. I, the Lord, have spoken!” That’s some serious punishment!

The drama Shemaiah had begun backfired and brought pain and death upon him and his family. The drama we see unfolding around us will have consequences, too. Drama that distracts us from God’s love and mercy may not end well. What unresolved drama is affecting your relationship with God?

It’s helpful for us, when stuck in these “dramatic” situations, to look for God. Ask: How is God moving in the situation? Look for Biblical principles that can be helpful in resolution.

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Let’s pray … Lord, I am sometimes overwhelmed by all the drama happening around me. You know well each situation that is brewing. Help me see you and reflect you when involved in those dramas. May all I say and do be to your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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