Friday, December 11, 2009


I will probably never do a “Bible-in-a-year” program, but I do want to read through the entire thing someday. I recently made a list of all the books in the Bible that I know I’ve read all the way through (sadly, it was pretty short), and I’ve started reading the rest of the books one by one, marking them off as I go. I decided to start with the prophets, since I don’t know them very well. It’s going at a snail’s pace. Last semester I finished Isaiah. Last week, I finally finished Jeremiah.

The prophets are something else. They are poetic, and beautiful, and terrifying. For me, what separates them from the rest of the Bible is the amount of talking God does in them. In the histories, the narrative mostly follows human beings, and every once in a while God interrupts to give blessing, teaching or condemnation. In the gospels, we follow God incarnate around, but we’re still reading a story. In the prophets, God just talks – for pages and pages and pages. When I read the prophets, I imagine him bellowing from the heavens about the sin of Israel and the nations, and the judgment and restoration he has planned.

Beyond that, I don’t really have any profundities to offer. So I decided to assemble a list of some of the verses in Jeremiah that stuck out to me the most – probably because they’re relevant to what I’ve been thinking about lately. (Politics, politics, politics.) Maybe they only make sense together like this in my own mind, but hopefully you, dear reader, will get some sense of the book from this post.

Without further ado, thus saith the LORD:

“Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their Glory
for worthless idols.
Be appalled at this, O heavens,
and shudder with great horror,” declares the LORD.
- Jeremiah 2:11-12

“On your clothes men find
the lifeblood of the innocent poor,
though you did not catch them breaking in.”
- Jeremiah 2:34

“The prophets prophesy lies,
the priests rule by their own authority,
and my people love it this way.
But what will you do in the end?”
- Jeremiah 5:31

We hoped for peace
but no good has come,
for a time of healing
but there was only terror.
- Jeremiah 8:15

“Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.
- Jeremiah 23:23-24

“See, the storm of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a driving wind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand this.”
- Jeremiah 30:23-24

“Later, however, Egypt will be inhabited as in times past,” declares the LORD.
- Jeremiah 46:26

“Do not fear, O Jacob my servant,
for I am with you,” declares the LORD.
“Though I will completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you,
I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you but only with justice;
I will not let you go entirely unpunished.”
- Jeremiah 46:28

“Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the days to come,” declares the LORD. Here ends the judgment on Moab.
- Jeremiah 48:47

“Yet afterward, I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites,” declares the LORD.
- Jeremiah 49:6

“Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam in the days to come.”
- Jeremiah 49:39

“Her [Babylon’s] people all roar like young lions,
they growl like lion cubs.
But while they are aroused,
I will set out a feast for them
and make them drunk,
so that they shout with laughter –
then sleep forever and not awake,” declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 51:38-39

(I’m mostly including that one because it was a head-scratcher for me.)

“Babylon must fall because of Israel’s slain,
just as the slain in all the earth
have fallen because of Babylon.
You who have escaped the sword,
leave and do not linger!
Remember the LORD in a distant land,
and think on Jerusalem.”
Jeremiah 51:49-50

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