Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our passage from Jeremiah 11 communicates on several levels at once. Here God has been speaking of his concern to establish his people Judah. The people have been opposed by enemies who desire their destruction. However, to make the illustration work, God is using Jeremiah the prophet as a sign of the people of Judah. He is under attack from within and without, being attacked and imprisoned. To make matters more complex, most would see in the life and work of Jesus a reference to this passage of Jeremiah. They would take Jesus to be the one who is wrongfully suffering for the sake of his people.
I already feel like I’m trying to hold five grocery bags while wearing big mittens and look for a key in my pocket. I’m ready to drop something, so I’d better get to the big picture as directly as possible. Then we’ll see if the picture fits in some other specifics.
God establishes a people according to his promise. Check. His people are attacked from within and without. Check. As God’s representative, Christ endures that attack, even though he doesn’t deserve it. Check. There’s our big picture.
What about Jeremiah the prophet then? He serves not only to point us to Christ but also to let us remember that we normal humans, prophets, priests, butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers are often the collateral damage in the attacks carried on against Christ and his kingdom. It’s all right. The Lord can protect his people, but he lets us suffer for the good of his kingdom at times. He’s promised that we will remain under his protection.
The attacks of the enemy are vicious. They are slash and burn. Destroy not only the fruit but the tree as well. The gratuitious nature of the damage brought by God’s enemies boggles the mind. Yet we remember, they are really not fighting against us. They are fighting against Christ, the Lord of all, who is quite able to defend himself and his kingdom clar up to the final day.
There’s nothing to be afraid of, Jeremiah! They might even level your city and kill you, but they won’t actually overcome you in the end. You are one of God’s children.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.