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Jeremiah 42-44

08.30.2010

I was surprised to read this story of the rebellion against Ned and flight to Egypt at this point, because it’s a chronological reading list, and it seems that Lamentations had already described the repentance and the low point of the people.  There are two explanations I can think of for this story coming when it does:

1 – It’s all too possible that the people continued to rebel after repenting of their previous rebellions.  This is technically contrary to the definition of repent, which means to turn away from, but it’s a pattern that’s been established by the history of the Hebrews/Israelites/Jews.  It’s also something we know from our own lives:  we confess our sins only to turn around and commit them again.  This doesn’t mean the confession isn’t legitimate, only that the recovery process is slow and that we wont’ fully realize our victory from sin this side of heaven.

2 – The second explanation, and the one which I find more likely, is that this episode illustrates a split in the fortunes of the people.  As God has been making clear, rightousness is a matter of personal responsibility, so it’s nearly certain that many in Jerusalem came to repent of their sins and seek recovery in God while many missed the message of the punishment and have continued to rebel.

This, I think, is one of the ways that God ‘tests’ His people.  He doesn’t set us up to fail or to find out about our true nature.  Rather, He allows us to go through experiences to demonstrate what He already knows about us.  This may be meant to show us the growth we have through His sactifying work, or this may be that we are still in a state of sinfulness, as demonstrated by our destructive reaction to trials.  That’s the case here, where God separates the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, by letting people respond to the destruction of Jerusalem in a way which reveals the true orientation of their hearts with respect to God.

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