The Major Prophet Speed Bump

I have long wondered whether the reason why covenant youth don’t understand the sacraments comes from the placement of material in the Shorter Catechism. Many young people master well the ordo salutis, but fail to answer with any precision or comprehension the catechism’s teaching on baptism and the Lord’s supper. The reason for this, I suspect, is the intervening material between justification and sanctification and the means of grace, namely, a long section on the Decalogue.

Now having spent several weeks reading through Jeremiah with the missus I wonder if the major prophets are the hill on which read-the-Bible-in-a-year practitioners die. I mean, what do you do with relentless passages like these:

“Judah mourns,
and her gates languish;
her people lament on the ground,
and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.
Her nobles send their servants for water;
they come to the cisterns;
they find no water;
they return with their vessels empty;
they are ashamed and confounded
and cover their heads.
Because of the ground that is dismayed,
since there is no rain on the land,
the farmers are ashamed;
they cover their heads.
Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn
because there is no grass.
The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights;
they pant for air like jackals;
their eyes fail
because there is no vegetation.

“Though our iniquities testify against us,
act, O LORD, for your name’s sake;
for our backslidings are many;
we have sinned against you.
O you hope of Israel,
its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land,
like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?
Why should you be like a man confused,
like a mighty warrior who cannot save?
Yet you, O LORD, are in the midst of us,
and we are called by your name;
do not leave us.”

Thus says the LORD concerning this people:
“They have loved to wander thus;
they have not restrained their feet;
therefore the LORD does not accept them;
now he will remember their iniquity
and punish their sins.” (Jeremiah 14:2-10 ESV)

It tempts me to think I’d rather read Pope Francis on marriage:

243. It is important that the divorced who have entered a new union should be made to feel part of the Church. “They are not excommunicated” and they should not be treated as such, since they remain part of the ecclesial community. These situations “require careful discernment and respectful accompaniment. Language or conduct that might lead them to feel discriminated against should be avoided, and they should be encouraged to participate in the life of the community. The Christian community’s care of such persons is not to be considered a weakening of its faith and testimony to the indissolubility of marriage; rather, such care is a particular expression of its charity”.

But then Jeremiah brings me quickly back to reality:

And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword, with none to bury them—them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their evil upon them. (Jeremiah 14:14-16 ESV)

Turns out those who claim authority (even infallibility) to speak for the Lord need to be cautious.

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7 thoughts on “The Major Prophet Speed Bump

  1. People skip the major prophets for the same reason they ignore the imprecatory psalms. They are too much like real life. Better to stay in the “flowery” and “less judgy” parts of the Bible, at least the ones they think are less judgy.

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  2. DG: relentless (Jeremiah) passages ….It tempts me to think I’d rather read Pope Francis on marriage…But then Jeremiah brings me quickly back to reality

    oh DG, don’t despair

    sure, we are reminded how we unfaithful , sinful humans have marred the picture the Lord set up for us: Eph 5: 31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. (What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. Matt 19:6, Mark 10:9),”32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

    And sure, reading Jeremiah, noticing the word ‘covenant’ mentioned so many times, we are reminded, yet again, we are unfaithful covenant keepers and how the Lord feels about that… yet hear this incredible news:

    Yet, Jer 31:31 “Behold, days are (have) coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” … Jer 33: 38 They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.

    reading Jeremiah, don’t forget, too, this good news and exhortation:
    Heb 12: 5 the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed…..
    22 We have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel….
    25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. 26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

    Surely then, ‘vicar of Christ’, being the one ‘in place of Christ’ , after he finished talking about ‘not letting anyone feel discriminated against’ would have gotten around to CHRIST’s own words about it all eventually

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  3. D. G. Hart says:Ben, but you have to admit the New Testament per capita is less judgy than the Old.
    D. G. says:Ali, maybe you should come out with a sunny-side up version of Jeremiah.

    Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Heb 13:8 sunny, judgy

    2 Peter 1:19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

    Matthew 4:16 “THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT,AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.”17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

    Malachi 4:2 “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.

    Revelation 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David…., the bright morning star.

    sun is coming, has come up DG

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