1:4-10 – the Ministry of inexperienced men is secondary – God will say who and when – ours is to obey him. He understands our position and development and has taken that into account – he doesn't expect you to function at a more mature level than you are – rather, to operate on his grace and support.
1:17-19 – Jeremiah is told he will have opposition but they won't prevail. He is assured of God's toughening up work that lies ahead – not all of us are given these pieces of information or foretold how we will make out in the areas of "success/failure", "ease/opposition" etc. God's call is "tailored" to the individual personality, and situation, and larger work.
2:19 – the results of their departure from God will be bitter enough to serve as a "lesson" without God adding any "extras" – the fruits of a second-rate a life – yet people don't always learn from that. How do people come to "know and see"?
2:23-28 – unfaithfulness and/or "independence" from a life of relationship with God deserves no better a deal then we get by unfaithfulness in any other area of life – in fact, we get a better deal than we deserve (and look at what we do with that!).
2:33 – some of God's people could teach the vilest of women a few things about unfaithfulness!
3:10f – straight sin of the North is seen as less problematic position than the sin plus phony repentance of the South. The "return" here is "to me" (LXX) not as the South has done. The appeal is a return to relationship with God – God and the penitent are all that are needed for the new life to start again.
3:22 – any "feeding" from sources other than God is bound to be a poor diet – and we find ourselves – like myself and my generation – biblically malnourished and starved for the word of God (bread of heaven).
3:21 – the voice of the penitent and starved within the midst and within the person – a minister must be able to hear it, respond to it, and draw it out – helping where he can to show it the way to the bread of life.
4:2 – remorse versus repentance – only the latter results in a re-established life-giving relationship with God. (Blessed).
4:3 – regarding animism or any aspect of our past non-Christian lives – a clean break must take place.
5:3 – pain is a situation within which people can learn a lot from God – but people don't necessarily learn in pain – cf. the whites in ________ (withheld).
5:4-5 – the rich and poor, educated and uneducated, are all involved. Those who should know better don't act as if they did! So it is perhaps/must be a deeper matter, involving all people – rich and poor, educated and uneducated.
5:12, 13 – people and their preacher – inability to recognize the activity and the intent of God in life and the lack of "word" in the preacher's mouth to correct this lack – a double problem with the very solution to it cancelled out! God’s a solution then comes through fiery words in a Prophet's mouth – a consuming fire – action accompanying it.
5:30-1 – the public demand and preference for morally lenient leaders will not stand them in any stead on the day when they stand before God.
6:10 – the very bread of life has become a thing they are insensible to – how can a person be fed if he rejects food?
6:14 – the too-easy solution to the spiritual malnutrition of people. All is not well with them – they know it and so does God, but the very ministers can't recognize the spiritual malady in their people.
6:15 – these ministers had lost their capacity to recognize their own spiritual and moral bankruptcy – and in not "seeing for real" they go about quite unabashed, and have done so (for so long?) that they have forgotten how to blush.
6:27f – Jeremiah the assayer and smelter (another roll of the minister?)
7:8ff – true repentance gives rise to new "fruit", not a wilful repetition of the same old things.
7:16 – "it's people that must change – it's their move, therefore speak to them not me". There is a point when God says "I cannot entertain intercession from you on their behalf so you might as well save your breath! What's the point?"
9:2f – a section on mutual confidence – society's cement is gone – the fare of a traveler becomes a better state – some statement eh?!
9:8 – the sins of the tongue – for these and other sins the people will be "refined" – this is a description of "unrefined" people of God.
10:2 – regarding the pagan practices around the exiles – advice?
- Learn not!
- Dismay not!
- Fear not!
This has implications perhaps today regarding "tinkerers" and "dabblers" in foreign religions amongst which we find ourselves.
– [marginal note April 30/94] – certainly what I found at_______ (withheld) "that's all it is? So what's all the fuss about – such fluff!"
10:23-5 – "hit them harder than me lest you lose your servant. I recognize my guilt and that I deserve death, but I ask less than that in order that at least someone be around to be your servant." A very thought-provoking passage, subject to many interpretations I'd say.
11:18-20 – reeling after the blow – the reality of opposition hits God's young inexperienced worker – and he is stunned. It is interesting to note how he sizes things up and his reaction is to put it all back on God – himself included – to let a righteous God uphold his cause his own way – he turns over "his" cause once more to "him". It must ever be thus – we daren't ever act and initiate making his cause ours.
11:21f – records of the reaction of his hometown and Kinsman – a prophet in his own town.
12:1-6 – unjust suffering: a question of "simple just desserts" or "toughening up moral fibre for later events in life". In this case, God says Jeremiah is undergoing the latter. "The prophet in his own land" problem for him was a preparatory step for later developments. This is true in other areas of our lives too?
12:16 – pagan neighbours who had attacked Judah will get clemency if they return to God.
13:9ff – Israel good for nothing, mildewed girdle – intended to be clinging – (name, people, praise, glory) but they would have none of it and are being "mildewed" rotten by their Babylonian neighbours.
13:23f – Jeremiah holds out about as much hope for Judah's repentance as an Ethiopian changing his skin tone or a leopard losing his spots! It's not a unique situation, really – it need not be, but it often it is.
– or she cannot change herself in her present state – indelible markings of her "nature"?
14:7-9 – a beautiful prayer! Is this drought episode a sub-action within the larger action? An everyday ordinary event of life within the larger national crisis? If so, Jeremiah's intercessory prayer here is an indication of his care and concern and activity on more than one plane simultaneously as a minister.
14:8 – here (and in 9:2) we get two sides of the transient question (both in "asides" – there is a different set of expectations to rights and privileges than that of permanent residence (9:2 we get the idea that the rights and privileges and quality of life of the latter had dropped to a level lower than the former and hence the transient lifestyle was enviable!)
– in this we see that the lack of concern for local conditions (drought here) was and is to be expected of transients but not of permanent residence which God was considered to be. In the light of these, what kind of posture/picture does one draw up of the Christian transient?
14:13 – speakers and hearers both take the consequences of false "messages" from God – there is a spiritual discernment needed on the part of both of them – their very lives depend on it.
15:19-21 – the fact that his very own message to the people was God's words to him lay in the fact that the question that burned him was that of loyalty: God or kin – and a loyalty to kin meant standing in need of hearing "Jeremiah's message" (?)
17:7-8 – especially the end of verse 8 for fruit in time of spiritual drought and tribulation cf. Sandy Lake and the parched land of cultural separation (and vice versa for Indians and their loneliness).
810:1-12 – an image and a commentary and much of church renewal people refuse to see that 7-12 part which they stress, misses the point – God will rework the Clay – the Clay in this image is passive – the commentary puts man in the picture.
20:7-11 – the dilemma of God's servant – the fire within and the abuse without – a question of choice for the preacher and God's support of him through the abuse.
22:3f – the real role of government – note the "stranger" again – he had no rights. Cf. Uriah in 2 Samuel 12:1-15.
22:15 – kingship is more than splendour of public or private works, but justice properly administered.
23:9f – the false prophets will be punished by God in a way that really is just an extension of their present error. Their blindness to the truth that has them on the wrong path will result in a slippery mountain pathway – hurtling down to destruction.
23:14 – the effect of false leadership in spiritual matters is a strengthening of the hand of evil and a lack of conviction that results in repentance – the ripple effect touches the whole land – as does real ministry.
23:16-22 – true and false prophets – known by the person – if he has heard and been sent.
– known by the people – if they are struck in their conscience and moved to repentance/change their ways in a direction towards God – not just received what they wanted to hear.
23:25f – 29 – amusement and pretty fancy "sermons" versus God's word that hits like a hammer and converts people.
23:30f – the need for inner conviction is emphasized in this passage. Without it you have misleading verbiage, with it you have God's life-giving word.
24:7 – note the future tense regarding gift of new hearts to exiles – it seems those away from the established religion and society are in a position of being able to receive the gift. (Cf. later).
25:10 – mirth and gladness – the normal way of life (to be removed). I sometimes wonder about our "still sad music of humanity" – our normal.
26:2 – all of God's word. A real look at the inner psychology of any person of God as he tries to do God's work in this world – a real temptation – with repentance at stake.
26:12f – a look at a person with God's mission accomplished – what the world does to him is irrelevant really – it's what it does with God's word that is the real issue.
26:16f – saved by a precedent – carried by the rural clergy – a precedent of a "little man" doing God's bidding 100 years earlier! We don't have God's perspective. Obedience is ours.
28:9 – Jeremiah had no God-given Oracle to deal with Han. – the appeal is to lack of precedent – a major chat with God resulted in more ammunition! God will help us to sort things out if we do our job and follow Jeremiah's example "go our way" and leave it in God's hands.
29:4ff – God who puts people in exile and tough places according to his plan – live there, there is no recess in life!
29:10, 11 – 10 is a later addition – "wait and see my visitation of goodness". (70 years!)
– 11 is original – see my visitation of goodness now – my plans are existent now and you are in them and that they work towards hope and goodness and not evil – and may be seen in the life around you – live now!
29:29 – God's aid to his own people when put on the spot over his word – he'll look after his own cause – we needn't worry about it. Even further ministry can and will come out in these situations. [How true! – October 3/11].
31:2 – grace in the wilderness – found there. Following that, things carry on. A Hosea-based section.
31:15ff – God at work consoling the "mother" who lost the "son" and dealing with the repentant "son" who he has just chastised.
31:15ff – beautiful! To 20.
31:25-6 – a promise in response to "the still sad music of humanity"
31:31f – the new covenant – broader boundaries than the current interpretation gave them and from within the heart of people as it should be.
32:8 – knowledge of "word" coming from God through the actual events of life – confirmation needed lest we get way off track.
32:27 – a good question
35:14 – obedience/faithlessness lesson – not too out of date these days
36:28 – nobody's penknife (even the King’s) and touch the reality of God's word – it's there and must be responded to – the words are rewritten and can be repeatedly done so if desired.
37:10 – strongest statement of defeat being as good as done. The destruction is of God and therefore has a religious purpose.
37:17 – was the Zedekiah acting under external princely, pro-Egypt pressure in all this and weakness is his flaw?
42:7 – the length of time before answers – it seems to vary
– this whole passage is uncertain
– a good illustration of fear of reprisal though un-guilty and the accompanying note that there is no guaranteed peace and this type of activity might just bring repercussions upon them through implying guilt and perhaps non-acceptance in Egypt.
42:19-20 – "life" is the cost of going away from God's direction and plan – cf. Sandy Lake for me and the critical choice that came before me – with great results afterwards!
44:7, 10 – dealing with God's chastisement with our "wits" not "hearts" doesn't solve anything.
44:15ff – interpretation of the common experience – openness to God's new leading or bound into tradition which was at best a mixture of understanding – and a legal outlook took on its worst characteristic in providing a shelter for the old misunderstandings and half-truths. Contrast verse 18 and 22.
44:25 – on the content of vows – it's the content we must center on not just to blind obedience to them – look at the example here of the latter – in "good" faith. Cf. "it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you're sincere!"
44:28 – whose word shall stand: mine or theirs?!
45:2-5 – from an incident of "Labour Relations" earlier which seems to have been straightened out and now is used by Baruch as an apt evaluation of his days and what actually happened and therefore a fitting end to his memoirs! Lots of uses for this!
48:10 – a good line – in an interesting context!
48:11 – beautiful! On people who have not been through pain and remain the same.
51:7-8 God’s use of and place in history – another dimension – cast off of "they used" – when not in relationship with him? verse 9 puts a finger on where the responsibility lies for this activity of God – in the hearts of the Babylonians. Verse 10 – you can see what they're driving at but dangerous if carried too far.
51:46 – rumours of the latest threat are an annual occurrence – fear not! How true!