do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
The Lord instructs the prophet to speak to power, "Tell the king: Act with justice and righteousness. Protect the oppressed from their oppressors. Your nation cannot survive otherwise." King after king has failed to rule as they should have. They have built up their own wealth while paying unfair wages to the workers.
The Lord is ready to take action against these injustices, "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture. So I will attend to you for your evil doings."
Persons of wealth, persons in positions of authority had forgotten what the Lord had expected of them, had forgotten that the wealth and authority was not solely for their own benefit but was intended to be used to care for the poor, the powerless, the stranger.
Jeremiah was writing to a nation undergoing great turmoil and spoke words of promise giving them hope. Christians read this prophecy and adapt it to our own times.
God has promised to get them through their current disaster sending them help. In Jeremiah's day and culture and circumstances, this help would come through a new king. The Lord tells these people who have deserved every bad thing that has happened to them that they are going to be rescued anyway.
Read today's front page (if you are one of those who still read the daily paper). Watch your usual news channel on TV (if you have a usual channel). Since I read two daily papers, watch some TV newscasts, and also have favorite news websites, I am quite aware that our nation--and the rest of the world as well--is daily facing a challenge or even a disaster or some kind of upheaval caused by nature or our human inability to get along very well.
In the time of Jeremiah, Babylon invaded Judah, destroying Jerusalem and taking many into exile. But, destruction and exile, though deserved, are not to be the end. The Lord promises to regather them and to install new shepherds for them.
2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
This letter to a congregation that has been doing a lot of things that are commendable. They have exhibited an abundantly growing faith and an increasing love for each other. Yet, they are suffering persecutions and afflictions. Being good does not make us immune to the badness of others. But, as the Thessalonians demonstrate, being treated badly does not keep us from doing good.
In verse 11, Paul turns to prayer. What do we want people to pray for us? Do we want success? money? good health? peace of mind? These aren't exactly what Paul is praying for in their case. Rather, he is asking that they be made worthy of their call, that they will do the work that God has intended for them to do. Their work will demonstrate Jesus.
A word fitly spoken is
like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold
is a wise rebuke to a listening ear.
Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
are faithful messengers to those who send them;
they refresh the spirit of their masters.
Like clouds and wind without rain is one
who boasts of a gift never given.
Prayer for Today: God, we pray that you make us worthy of your call so that we will fulfill by your power every good resolve and work so that the name of Jesus Christ may be glorified. Amen.