Their heart was not steadfast toward you;
they were not true to your covenant.
Yet, you, being compassionate,
forgave their iniquity,
and did not destroy them;
often you restrained your anger,
and did not stir up all your wrath.
(adapted from Psalm 78:37-38)
Utter corruption. God tells them their time is up. Jeremiah mourns for the people, "My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick." They ignored his warnings, they are going to suffer, and, even though they ignored him, he is mourning what is going to befall them.
He asks if there isn't any way to save the people from destruction, "Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?"
But, there had been balm and physicians. They just had ignored them.
God's way had been made known to them as God's way continues to be made known to us. By "God's way," I mean the way that God intends for us to go. Do we, like our predecessors, think ourselves immune from consequences of our foolish decisions and malicious deeds? And, if we admit that we aren't immune, then do we refuse medication?
I'm thinking about the verb tense in verse 1, "So, if you have been raised...." Have been, not will be. Where we are now is what Paul is talking about, not what we will need to do once we get to heaven.
Your old life is over, as Paul puts it: you have died. And dying with you are those ways that are not compatible with a life in Christ:
wanting the wrong thing; for example, fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry).
doing the wrong things; for example, anger wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language
Something else that is gone with that old life is distinctions between us. How are we supposed to read this? When Paul said Barbarian, Scythian, and so on, are we supposed to read ethnic categorizations? For slave and free, are we supposed to read no hierarchical distinctions? What would our lives be like, how would we behave, if we truly lived out the Christian way?
Forgive each other.
And if you do all of the above, then you could be qualified to do the next: teach and admonish each other. (I'm guessing more people who don't show compassion, forgiveness, etc. are also more likely to do the admonishing....I'm just saying.) Let us now show the world--and each other--what that coming does for Christ's followers.
Irony: When they were in need, they remembered God; when they were in possession of what they needed, they forgot God. Punishment followed then even more forgiveness. Repeat.
Prepare your work outside,
get everything ready for you in the field;
and after that build your house.
Prayer for Today: O Lord our God, direct us to acting like true Christians. Help us to demonstrate compassion, to forgive, to show love, to be peaceful, to be thankful. Amen.