Jeremiah 21.1-4, 13-14 – A couple of disconnected thoughts
Posted: 5 April 2011 in Jeremiah

“The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying, Enquire, I pray thee, of the LORD for us; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon maketh war against us; if so be that the LORD will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us. Then said Jeremiah unto them, Thus shall ye say to Zedekiah: Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city.

“Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the LORD; which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations? But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, saith the LORD: and I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it.”

The first of the two passages quoted above serve as a reminder that God has a mind of his own, and that our prayers will only receive an affirmative answer if what we pray for is in accordance with his will. Prayer is not a magic spell, by which God can be made to dance to our tune. Instead it is the means by which we offer our humble supplications to the Lord of all Creation.

The final two verses quoted are illustrative of the fact that the God of the Bible is quite as prepared to punish his creatures as he is to utter a blessing upon them. A liberal theology which does not allow itself to be constrained by biblical revelation is quite likely to invent a God whose attitude towards his creatures is only ever indulgent, no matter how sinful their behaviour. Such a god is not the God of the Bible, and it is not the real God.

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