Rise and fall or is it fall and rise, the one that ends on a happier note with hope! Today’s reading covers the gamut in terms of what’s happening to the people of Israel. As I’m writing this, it’s Thanksgiving in the United States once again. I could have spent time reflecting only on the prediction of the fall, but on a day of giving thanks, it seemed appropriate to focus on both. Thankfully the Spirit prompted me accordingly!
How unbelievable and frightening it must have seemed to the people to hear Jeremiah’s words. That is assuming they were actually listening to the words of the LORD being spoken by Jeremiah. Their beloved Jerusalem was going to fall.
Did you have a sense of hope or dread as you read today’s passage? These words can bring a sense of peace or drive us crazy because we feel so limited. Look at the list of these we’re supposed to be careful of. Which of these behaviors sounds appealing? Be honest.
Paul says we’ve all done these things. “You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world.” What changed? How come we’re not “part of this world” any longer? We met Jesus. “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”
My self-confidence as a child was next to nothing. I was always picked last for games at recess, and I was often teased for being plumper than the other girls. It didn’t matter that my parents were proud of me or that teachers liked me. I never felt like I was good enough. My first husband added to that insecurity with his abuse and harsh words. Paul’s words truly liberate me, even today.
We don’t have to stress out about our own abilities. It is in Christ we can have all the confidence we need. He will never let us down. Paul reminds his audience of his Jewish credentials, but still his humility shines through. He acknowledges even he was nothing without Christ. The same is true for us. Whether we are popular or not, our value lies in our connection to Jesus.
As we embark on our “Discovering the Bible Challenge,” we’ll focus first on Our Majestic and Gracious God. Each reading has been carefully selected for our Bible adventure together. I probably didn’t need to even tell you what the “theme” of the week is. What does our psalm speak to your heart about God’s character?
For me, I am comforted in knowing I was not created and then left to fend on my own. We all know this world to be a dark, cruel place underneath all the beauty and glorious display of God’s hand. There is peace knowing God created me to be in relationship with him. His instruction is available for all his children.
You can’t read this account and not wonder why Joab is still free to kill whoever gets in his way. You’ll recall that David replaced Joab with Amasa. What fuels Joab’s anger? Is it jealousy?
In this case, it certainly could be. Amasa had taken his place beside the king. But Amasa was his cousin! Shouldn’t Joab have showed some mercy? Amasa was even on a different mission than Joab. This isn’t the first time Joab acted with such ruthlessness that a life was lost.