Happy Memorial Day!
When we meet together, we usually share both our joys and concerns. Pause for a few minutes to reflect on your week. Pray in thanksgiving for the good things that have happened, and pray for any worries and concerns. Please share those you feel comfortable letting others know below.
During Lent, we shared both on our website and on our Facebook page devotionals written by church members in past years. This served as a nice way to connect, even after we stopped meeting in person. Because it will still be some time before we are physically together, we thought that continuing some devotions would be a great way to continue reaching out.
Pick out a few verses or a passage of scripture that mean something to you. Write a paragraph or two (or more, if you need to!) about your reflections on that passage, and a small prayer. Email that to the church's email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We plan to share these on both the church website and Facebook page.
Our lesson comes from our adult Sunday School book. Scripture references have been linked to an online text. Just click on the scripture to view it.
The scripture for today's lesson is Jeremiah 22:1-10.
The historical context of this lesson is the same as that of the previous lesson, so that information is not repeated here. Even so, we can say a bit more about the man Jeremiah himself.
God called Jeremiah as a young man to be his prophet to Judah; Jeremiah's own evaluation was that he was too young and not qualified to speak (Jeremiah 1:6). The forthcoming confrontations would see, at times, to be just two against everyone else. But since one of those two was God (Jeremiah 1:17-19), there could be no question regarding the outcome.
At times in Jeremiah's lengthy ministry, the stress was so great that it seemed as if he was at the psychological breaking point. Nothing Jeremiah did seemed to persuade people. One example of his extreme frustrations is his series of complaints in Jeremiah 12:1-4 (also Jeremiah 20:7-18). God's response? If we could be permitted a very loose translation of Jeremiah 12:5, it would be something like, "Cowboy up and get with the program!" But Jeremiah's early years of prophetic ministry under King Josiah were easy compared to what was to come.
The questions below are derived from applying the lesson's scripture. These questions can be difficult. Take some time to reflect on each question. If you are reading this lesson with someone else, discuss your answers to the questions together. You may share your answers, thoughts, and other questions that come up below.
The word from the Lord to the house of David features two promises: (1) If David's descendants would renounce injustice, then God would bless them, but (2) if not, they would suffer punishment. Judah would experience the full and recognizable consequences of disobeying God. God would therefore exhibit his character to the world and draw people to himself in one of those two ways.
God calls us to the same challenge he posed through Jeremiah. As we demonstrate God's righteous and just character in our actions, we also must expose the injustice inflicted on the powerless by oppressive people and systems. But we don't just draw people to God as an abstract. Rather, we draw people to the living Jesus. To reject this mission is to risk experiencing God in ways we will not like.
Heavenly Father, help us see ways in which we have been unjust so that we may repent and model you as you would have us do. We pray in the name of the one who suffered great injustice, Jesus. Amen.
From the Complete Jewish Bible translation
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.