Jeremiah 1: 1—2: 30
There are two kinds of people in the world. Ones who love timelines and chronology and ones who abhor timelines and chronology. Jeremiah is the second. He is our gypsy-like uncle who always smells of patchouli oil and incense. He moves through life feeling deeply and trying to get others to feel deeply too. He also cries a lot. Jeremiahs book is not arranged chronologically it is arranged in a way to paint a picture for us. And yes, it is very hard for this timeline loving, Enneagram 1 to not check out on this book. But it is here for our benefit, so we need to dig in. But I did chuckle at the fact that Bible Knowledge commentary said this:
“The book itself gives evidence of multiple stages of growth. That is, Jeremiah, at different stages of his ministry, collected his prophecies and rearranged them in a definite pattern (cf. 25:13; 30:2; 36:2, 32). Jeremiah could have completed the final form of chapters 1–51 after he was taken hostage to Egypt (cf. 51:64). But what about chapter 52? Jeremiah 52, nearly identical to 2 Kings 24:18–25:30, was written sometime after 561 b.c. when King Jehoiachin was released from prison in Babylon (Jer. 52:31). Apparently this last chapter was appended to Jeremiah’s prophecies by the same writer who compiled the Book of Kings. The chapter was added to show that Jeremiah’s words of judgment had been fulfilled and that Jehoiachin’s release foreshadowed God’s promises of restoration and blessing. “
That’s right folks. An Ancient Enneagram 1 got ahold of this book and with God’s blessing added some chronology for us.
Jeremiah presents his prophecy in conjunction with the major events going on during his time. Namely, the exile. So instead of the feel we got in Isaiah—this happened and then this happened and then this happened. This book will be arranged like this—This big event happened and here are all the prophecies I have received about that and so on. Some of you may be jumping for joy since you are not timeline people.
The Babylonians are going to do what God said they would do in the book of Isaiah. The purpose of this book is to encourage the nation to turn from idol worship and stick with God and to tell them how to suffer well during Exile.
I can’t get over the verse in today’s reading that says, “They have abandoned me—the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!” We all do this don’t we? Or am I alone. I shut my God faucet off and say, “Lord I got this I am going to do it my way and you are going to like it.” And then I turn to fill my broken-self up with fake water (my grit, my power, my money, my personality, my ability to look like a Christian on the outside) and it leaks out until I feel empty. My prayer this morning was, “God, I feel poured out, I shut off the fountain of living water, please turn it back on and fill me up with the water that does not leak out.” I pray that for you today too, my dear reader.
Philippians 4: 1-23
As Paul ends this letter today, he challenges them, and us, with a few things. First, he addresses two women who are in a cat fight. We women are responsible for setting the temperature in our church. I don’t mean the thermostat, although I fully support the thermostat being under our control, But, what I mean is, we set the tone in our churches. If we are catty and divided, our church will be catty and divided. If we are inclusive and at peace with one another the church will follow suit. That is why Paul takes time in this letter to address these two women.
But also, he tells us the final thing we need to do to be joyful in any situation. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Before that statement he listed off how his circumstances change. His conclusion is that no matter what is going on Christ is the reason he can rejoice in it. It’s that same idea of not turning off the “Living Water fountain.” The fastest way to shut that fountain off is to start complaining and focusing on everything that is wrong with the world. That is why Paul has to warn us in this section to stay focused on what is good. That gives us the room we need to rely on Jesus strength. Mature believers are not swayed by circumstances, they are joyful because through it all they are relying on Jesus.