Truce? What Truce?

Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian man and wounded nine along Gaza’s border fence with Israel on Friday, a Gaza health official said, reporting the first violence since a truce between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers took hold a day before. The shooting appeared to be an isolated incident and was unlikely to jeopardize the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, which called for an end to Gaza rocket fire on Israel and Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. The truce came after eight days of cross-border fighting, the bloodiest battle between Israel and Hamas in four years. The Gaza prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, has urged militant factions to respect the cease-fire.

Well does Jeremiah say “… they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, Saying,`Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.” (Jer 8:11). And there will be no real peace until the Palestinians have their own State and the Israelis stop illegal settlements and land grabbings.

Jeremiah Summarized by Calvin

John Calvin notes, in his lectures on Jeremiah, that

As ISAIAH and the other Prophets spent their labour almost in vain, nothing-remained for JEREMIAH but briefly to announce this sentence,—“There is now no pardon, but it is the time of extreme vengeance, for they have too long abused God’s forbearance, who has borne with them, kindly and even sweetly exhorted them to repent, and testified that he would be exorable and propitious, provided they returned to the right way.” Since then God’s kindness had been despised by them, it became necessary for Jeremiah to fulminate against them as men lost and in a hopeless state of perverseness. The main thing then in his teaching was this:—“It is all over with the kingdom and the priesthood; for the Jews have so often and in such various ways, and for so long a time, provoked God’s wrath and rejected the pious warnings of his servants.”

Very astute, Calvin.  Very astute.

Well Here We Go- Another Day, Another Shooting…

What.  A. Surprise.

A 23-year-old gunman killed two co-workers Friday at a Pathmark supermarket in Old Bridge, New Jersey, and then shot himself to death, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan said.  The shooter wielded an AK-47 assault rifle and a handgun, and was carrying multiple ammunition magazines, he said.  “I believe everyone in the store was a target,” said Kaplan, who said the gunman fired 16 rounds.  The man killed an 18-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, and may have opened fire as he walked into the store, he said.  There were between 12 and 14 night shift workers in the store, Kaplan added. The man opened fire around 4 a.m.

Let’s see- it’s the same old formula:  angry guy + easy peasy access to any kind of gun he wants = lots of carnage and multiple deaths. America loves this or America would do something about it. Therefore  “Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, for I will not listen to them when they cry out to me in distress.” – Jer 11:14

If You Aren’t Confrontational…

You aren’t Biblical.  Take, as one example of hundreds, the following from Jeremiah-

7 I brought you into a bountiful country, To eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land And made My heritage an abomination. 8 The priests did not say,`Where is the LORD?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; The rulers also transgressed against Me; The prophets prophesied by Baal, And walked after things that do not profit. 9 “Therefore I will yet bring charges against you,” says the LORD, “And against your children’s children I will bring charges. 10 For pass beyond the coasts of Cyprus and see, Send to Kedar and consider diligently, And see if there has been such a thing. 11 Has a nation changed its gods, Which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory For what does not profit. 12 Be astonished, O heavens, at this, And be horribly afraid; Be very desolate,” says the LORD. 13 “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns– broken cisterns that can hold no water. 14 “Is Israel a servant? Is he a home born slave? Why is he plundered? 15 The young lions roared at him, and growled; They made his land waste; His cities are burned, without inhabitant. 16 Also the people of Noph and Tahpanhes Have broken the crown of your head. 17 Have you not brought this on yourself, In that you have forsaken the LORD your God When He led you in the way? 18 And now why take the road to Egypt, To drink the waters of Sihor? Or why take the road to Assyria, To drink the waters of the River? 19 Your own wickedness will correct you, And your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing That you have forsaken the LORD your God, And the fear of Me is not in you,” Says the Lord GOD of hosts. (Jer 2:7-19 NKJ).

To Jeremiah’s credit he was fearless, as were all the prophets, apostles, and of course Jesus himself as well as Paul. And I could also add all those theologians throughout the history of the Church who behaved the same way. They were unafraid to confront wrong. If you aren’t being confrontational when it’s necessary, you aren’t being biblical.

Yet in these mamby pampy milch-toast days of ours if you confront evil you’re ‘intolerant’. It’s time to disabuse ourselves of that idiotic nonsense; it’s time for Christian people to stand up for what’s right and true, even if it infuriates the world that too many are willing to bow the knee to just to be ‘liked’. To hell (literally) with this quest for being ‘liked’. Confront what needs to be confronted. Make a difference.

And then, if some dimwitted panderer tells you that you’re being confrontational, tell them to take it up with every Christian who has ever been substantial, and with God. “Do not fear those who can kill the body. Rather, fear the one who can kill both body and soul- in hell!’

Reason 78,090 That God Should Destroy the World

An autistic 6th grader was brutally beaten and the tools of Satan responsible video-taped the episode and posted it on Facebook.

Troubling footage has surfaced of an autistic student being brutally beaten to the ground at his Maryland school bus stop while his peers stood by to watch — and catch the act on camera.  In the video, acquired by WMAR-TV, an unidentified student strikes 11-year-old Kaleb Kula in the head as other students cheer on.  “Yo, beat the sh– out of him!” one student yells. The video was later uploaded to Facebook.  Kula has been a victim of bullying for years at Elkton Middle School, WMAR-TV reports, being verbally and physically abused by his peers. He tells the station that he just has “a bad reputation.”  “At least kids that don’t have special needs can defend themselves a little bit more,” Kaleb’s father James Kula said. “He’s pretty much defenseless.”

Such a culture as ours which breeds evil simply for the sake of evil surely doesn’t merit continuance, or prayer.

“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you.”  (Jer 7:16).  And – “Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, for I will not listen to them when they cry out to me in distress”. (Jer 11:14).

Too harsh?  If you think so just go to the link above to the story and read the horrific list of similar acts of violence against the defenseless.  Even animals don’t brutalize other animals merely for the joy of brutalization.  Only people, evil, perverted, wicked, depraved people do that.

It’s More Important to Demolish than You Think

Primarily because you can’t build up until you’ve torn down-

“I will most assuredly give you the words you are to speak for me.  Know for certain that I hereby give you the authority to announce to nations and kingdoms that they will be uprooted and torn down, destroyed and demolished, rebuilt and firmly planted.”  Jer 1:10

Uprooting and tearing down, destroying and demolishing- all that has to take place before anything can be rebuilt or established.  Let the one who has ears, hear.

Biblical Passage for the Times

Das Wort, das vom HERRN an Jeremia erging:  Mach dich auf und geh hinab in das Haus des Töpfers, und dort werde ich dich meine Worte hören lassen.   Und ich ging hinab in das Haus des Töpfers, und sieh, er war gerade mit Arbeit an der Töpferscheibe beschäftigt.   Und wenn das Gefäss, das er aus dem Ton machte, in den Händen des Töpfers missriet, machte er daraus ein anderes Gefäss; der Töpfer machte es so, wie er es für richtig hielt.

Und das Wort des HERRN erging an mich:   Kann ich mit euch nicht verfahren wie dieser Töpfer, Haus Israel? Spruch des HERRN. Seht, wie der Ton in der Hand des Töpfers, so seid ihr in meiner Hand, Haus Israel.  Einmal rede ich über ein Volk und über ein Königreich, dass ich es ausreissen und niederreissen und vernichten will.

Kehrt aber jenes Volk, über das ich geredet habe, zurück von seiner Bosheit, so bereue ich das Unheil, das ich ihnen anzutun geplant habe.  Und ein anderes Mal rede ich über ein Volk und über ein Königreich, dass ich es aufbauen und pflanzen will.  Tut es dann aber, was böse ist in meinen Augen, und hört es nicht auf meine Stimme, so bereue ich das Gute, das ich ihm zu erweisen zugesagt habe.   Und nun rede doch zum Mann aus Juda und zu den Bewohnern Jerusalems: So spricht der HERR: Seht, ich bilde Unheil gegen euch und schmiede gegen euch einen Plan. Kehrt doch zurück, ein jeder von seinem bösen Weg, und macht eure Wege besser und eure Taten!

Sie aber werden sagen: Verflucht! Nein, wir werden unseren Plänen folgen! Und ein jeder wird nach dem Starrsinn seines bösen Herzens handeln!  —  (Jer 18:1-12)

With The Anniversary of 9/11 Approaching…

Here’s the passage that comes to mind:

Jeremiah 18:1 Jeremiah received the LORD’s word: 2 Go down to the potter’s house, and I’ll give you instructions about what to do there. 3 So I went down to the potter’s house; he was working on the potter’s wheel. 4 But the piece he was making was flawed while still in his hands, so the potter started on another, as seemed best to him. 5 Then the LORD’s word came to me: 6 House of Israel, can’t I deal with you like this potter, declares the LORD? Like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in mine, house of Israel! 7 At any time I may announce that I will dig up, pull down, and destroy a nation or kingdom; 8 but if that nation I warned turns from its evil, then I’ll relent and not carry out the harm I intended for it. 9 At the same time, I may announce that I will build and plant a nation or kingdom; 10 but if that nation displeases and disobeys me, then I’ll relent and not carry out the good I intended for it. 11 Now say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem: This is what the LORD says: I am a potter preparing a disaster for you; I’m working out a plan against you. So each one of you, turn from your evil ways; reform your ways and your actions. 12 But they said, “What’s the use! We will follow our own plans and act according to our own willful, evil hearts.”

Fitting. Especially v. 12. If that isn’t the motto of our time I don’t know what is. Here it is in the original (for those of you unwilling to suffer the veil)

הַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הָיָ֣ה אֶֽל־יִרְמְיָ֔הוּ מֵאֵ֥ת יְהוָ֖ה לֵאמֹֽר׃
2 ק֥וּם וְיָרַדְתָּ֖ בֵּ֣ית הַיֹּוצֵ֑ר וְשָׁ֖מָּה אַשְׁמִֽיעֲךָ֥ אֶת־דְּבָרָֽי׃
3 וָאֵרֵ֖ד בֵּ֣ית הַיֹּוצֵ֑ר עֹשֶׂ֥ה מְלָאכָ֖ה עַל־הָאָבְנָֽיִם׃
4 וְנִשְׁחַ֣ת הַכְּלִ֗י אֲשֶׁ֨ר ה֥וּא עֹשֶׂ֛ה בַּחֹ֖מֶר בְּיַ֣ד הַיֹּוצֵ֑ר וְשָׁ֗ב וַֽיַּעֲשֵׂ֙הוּ֙ כְּלִ֣י אַחֵ֔ר כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר יָשַׁ֛ר בְּעֵינֵ֥י הַיֹּוצֵ֖ר לַעֲשֹֽׂות׃
5 וַיְהִ֥י דְבַר־יְהוָ֖ה אֵלַ֥י לֵאמֹֽור׃
6 הֲכַיֹּוצֵ֨ר הַזֶּ֜ה לֹא־אוּכַ֨ל לַעֲשֹׂ֥ות לָכֶ֛ם בֵּ֥ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל נְאֻם־יְהוָ֑ה הִנֵּ֤ה כַחֹ֙מֶר֙ בְּיַ֣ד הַיֹּוצֵ֔ר כֵּן־אַתֶּ֥ם בְּיָדִ֖י בֵּ֥ית יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
7 רֶ֣גַע אֲדַבֵּ֔ר עַל־גֹּ֖וי וְעַל־מַמְלָכָ֑ה לִנְתֹ֥ושׁ וְלִנְתֹ֖וץ וּֽלְהַאֲבִֽיד׃
8 וְשָׁב֙ הַגֹּ֣וי הַה֔וּא מֵרָ֣עָתֹ֔ו אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבַּ֖רְתִּי עָלָ֑יו וְנִֽחַמְתִּי֙ עַל־הָ֣רָעָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר חָשַׁ֖בְתִּי לַעֲשֹׂ֥ות לֹֽו׃
9 וְרֶ֣גַע אֲדַבֵּ֔ר עַל־גֹּ֖וי וְעַל־מַמְלָכָ֑ה לִבְנֹ֖ת וְלִנְטֹֽעַ׃
10 וְעָשָׂ֤ה בְּעֵינַ֔י לְבִלְתִּ֖י שְׁמֹ֣עַ בְּקֹולִ֑י וְנִֽחַמְתִּי֙ עַל־הַטֹּובָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר אָמַ֖רְתִּי לְהֵיטִ֥יב אֹותֹֽו׃
11 וְעַתָּ֡ה אֱמָר־נָ֣א אֶל־אִישׁ־יְהוּדָה֩ וְעַל־יֹושְׁבֵ֨י יְרוּשָׁלִַ֜ם לֵאמֹ֗ר כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה הִנֵּ֨ה אָנֹכִ֜י יֹוצֵ֤ר עֲלֵיכֶם֙ רָעָ֔ה וְחֹשֵׁ֥ב עֲלֵיכֶ֖ם מַֽחֲשָׁבָ֑ה שׁ֣וּבוּ נָ֗א אִ֚ישׁ מִדַּרְכֹּ֣ו הָֽרָעָ֔ה וְהֵיטִ֥יבוּ דַרְכֵיכֶ֖ם וּמַעַלְלֵיכֶֽם׃
12 וְאָמְר֖וּ נֹואָ֑שׁ כִּֽי־אַחֲרֵ֤י מַחְשְׁבֹותֵ֙ינוּ֙ נֵלֵ֔ךְ וְאִ֛ישׁ שְׁרִר֥וּת לִבֹּֽו־הָרָ֖ע נַעֲשֶֽׂה׃

Jeremiah and Lamentations: A Review

Neither new, nor unknown, R.K. Harrison’s contribution to the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries is still, in my opinion, extraordinarily useful. So I’m reviewing a copy I requested and received from IVP because I think it’s important to consider older volumes when biblical studies materials are suggested to students and interested readers.

Simply because something wasn’t published last week doesn’t mean it isn’t useful.  And in fact, some of the new stuff can’t hold a candle to earlier studies.  Harrison’s commentary is one of the older volumes (it was published first in 1973) that deserves wide attention and appreciation.

His methodology is sound even if his reliance on ‘biblical history’ is a bit unnecessary.  His Introduction to Jeremiah (pp. 15ff) is articulate and sensible (and, I have to hasten to add, very ‘von Rad-ian).  He’s very traditionally oriented in his perspective.  For example, he understands the Lachish letters to offer extra-biblical confirmation of biblical events.  He also believes that archaeology supports the historical reliability of the book.  To be fair, in 1973, nearly everyone believed that.

His historical views notwithstanding, his argument isn’t undercut by them and his exegesis is excellent.  I would even say trustworthy.

Following the Introduction, H. offers an analysis of the text (an outline of the book’s contents) and then he dives into commentating.   And while he does a brilliant job of it, one wishes (or at least this one wishes) that he had discussed Jeremiah’s ‘Confessions’ a bit more.  The passages in question are admirably handled but not thoroughly.  Which is a shame, really, given that Harrison has such insight into the text’s meaning.

When Harrison gets to Lamentations, he follows the usual procedure of Introduction, Analysis (Outline) and Commentary.  The five ‘Dirges’ of the book are treated marvelously.

Commentaries come and go.  Some are worth reading and some aren’t worth picking up.  Some are worth using and some are worth using as nothing more than paper-weights or door-stops.  Harrison’s Jeremiah and Lamentations is worth reading, consulting, and appreciating by all those who find themselves as fascinated by Jeremiah as Harrison clearly was.