With upright heart you tended us,
and guided us with skillful hand.
(adapted from Psalm 78:72)
Jeremiah warns them to consider how foolishly they are spending their time, their efforts, their money. "None of that stuff can save you--or harm you. There's only one God." They didn't pay attention to his warnings.
The letter goes on to give advice to Christians on household management. Husbands are to be in charge over wives; parents over children; masters over their slaves. Although those in charge are told to treat their subordinates fairly, it is still clear who is the boss and who is not. Elizabeth Johnson, in the Women's Bible Commentary, points out the discrepancy between this advice and the assertion in Romans 11, "God shows no partiality." If God doesn't, why should we? She suggests that this "retreat from freedom of the gospel once offered to women and slaves in order to insulate the church from its neighbors' charges that it is socially disruptive."
We modern Christians still live among non-Christians. How much of our beliefs and actions are modeled on Christ and how much on what people might think of us?
Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause,
and do not deceive with your lips.
Do not say "I will do to others as they have done to me;
I will pay them back for what they have done."
Prayer for Today: O Lord, our one God, direct our attention to your will today. Guide us into how we can serve your wishes through how we choose to spend our times and money. Help us to discern what that will of yours is and how to distinguish between your wishes for us and what we think the people around us would approve of. Amen.