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Archive for June 26th, 2018

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Lord God, heavenly Father, through the prophet Jeremiah, You continued the prophetic pattern of teaching Your people the true faith and demonstrating through miracles Your presence in creation to heal it of its brokenness. Grant that Your Church may see in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the final end-times prophet whose teaching and miracles continue in Your Church through the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Biography:

The prophet Jeremiah was active as God’s prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah ca. 627 to 582 B.C. As a prophet he predicted, witnessed, and lived through the Babylonian siege and eventual destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C. In his preaching he often used symbols, such as an almond rod (Jer. 1:11-14), wine jars (13:12-14), and a potter at work (18:1-17). His entire prophetic ministry was a sermon, communicating through word and deed God’s anger toward his rebellious people. He suffered repeated rejection and persecution by his countrymen. As far as can be known, he died in Egypt, having been taken there forcibly. He is remembered and honored for fearlessly calling God’s people to repentance. (LCMS Commemoration Biographies)

This is Jeremiah preaching on adultery:

Jeremiah 5:  When I fed them to the full,
    they committed adultery
    and trooped to the houses of whores.
They were well-fed, lusty stallions,
    each neighing for his neighbor’s wife

Jeremiah employs a simile to describe his fellow Israelites in verse 8.  Though I have never seen a stallion in heat, nevertheless I can imagine the picture! Note what Jeremiah did not write about his fellow Israelites: “I am SOOO angry”, “I am enraged”, “They can just go to hell” and other invective and expressions of feelings.  Jeremiah, inspired by the Holy Ghost, employs language to proclaim God’s Word.  He does not merely tell us how he feels.  My wife once remarked that the song, “I love to tell the story” has it wrong: Don’t tell me how you feel, tell the story! We live in a time in which the use of language is at a very low ebb and the clear annunciation of our feelings are e-mailed, tweeted and posted in the daily sausage grind of the internet.  Invective and profanity are the staples of this sick diet.  Ian Anderson of the rock group, Jethro Tull, got it right in one of his song lyrics, “I may make you feel, but I can’t make you think.”  Please note how many times in a discussion, sentences begin with, “I feel that…”.  Not “I think”, “I opine” even, “I know”. Jeremiah made people think and they didn’t seem to like it.  If someone says, “You’re a jerk”, I can blow it off or retort in like kind but that does no good.  As the good Book says, return no man evil for evil.  It is better to blow it off…and pray. 

The Word makes us think so as to respond not react.  The inspired prophets responded.  In fact, Jeremiah has a word named after him: “jeremiad”:

 A long, mournful complaint or lamentation; a list of woes.”The jeremiads of puritan preachers warning of moral decay.” (Webster’s)

Though, I do not think The Book of Jeremiah is exclusively a jeremiad, nevertheless it is a sustained response to idolatry and immorality.  The Word of the Lord endures forever, Israel’s sin, as our sin, does not. It will either bring us into hell, or into repentance and forgiveness by the preaching and teaching the Word of Law and Promise. We can outlast the times in the One Who fills us with His Word to respond, or simply not to respond in like kind to the filth that fills cyberspace.

James 3:

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Many think that, for instance, the United States opening up our embassy in Jerusalem is some sort of fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Hardly.  More of  a sign is the wrath of the last times is what we tweet, see, hear, post day by day. We are living in an age of wrath but the Lord has not given us new birth to be children of wrath! (see Ephesians 2:3 and following).   Jeremiah was not angry at people but let it be known God’s Word as wrath at sin. As it is written in James’ Epistle:  for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  If our anger did produce the righteousness of God, then the internet would be filled with the righteousness of God as would our political parties.  What produces the righteousness of God?  James:    Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. The fruit of the Holy Spirit comes from the good seed of God’s Word, the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ who was planted into the earth and rose again, the vine to us so as His branches to bear much fruit.  The Word of God is pure doctrine, pure and good seed as Jeremiah and all the prophets preached. And so we pray,

Psalm 141: Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
    keep watch over the door of my lips!

This psalm is used evening prayer and note that in the Psalms how many prayers are employed to watch over and control the “tongue“!

Psalm 51:  O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.

This Psalm is used in morning prayer and it is a good prayer that what comes out of a mouth is the Lord’s praise, His Word for the love of the Lord and our neighbors!

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