I've finally just finished listening my way through a six part series by Carson on Jeremiah. Very illuminating, encouraging, challenging, scary, difficult, excellent stuff.
A couple of things i noticed:
1) It seems that most of the problems for Israel occurred because Kings, en masse, ignored the most important command to them in the Scriptures. That is, write down and learn and read and obey this law, that you might fear God. Time and again the prophet is ignored when he has a message from God, time and again we see Kings ignore the Word of God. And so they were judged.
2) Sin hardens our heart. Early on in the book Israel is likened to a camel on heat. 'How can we give up our false gods?' she cries. Sin does this to our hearts. Although we know what is right, we don't want to do it. We'd rather protect and provide for our sin instead of giving it up. Eventually we'll be so hard giving it up won't even be an option.
3) God is jealous and personal. Israel makes a cuckold of God. Israel whores after other gods. This language wouldn't be appropriate unless God was personal, unless He was personally affected by the sins of His people, unless His anger and wrath against it was real. Why does God give up Israel? To punish them and to bring them back. He is Hosea, we all are Gomer.
4) In the middle there is grace. Chapters 30-33 are full of grace. There are 14 'restoration oracles' in this block. God will break the back of Israel's oppressors, God will save His people from a distant land, God will restore them nationally and spiritually, God will restore their honour and end their weariness. And on, and on. God is gracious because God is gracious. He will save whom He will save. That's the best news there is.
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