I feel like we have hit a bit of a milestone in our yearlong Bible-reading and video-watching schedule that we are sharing in called the Southwest 2020 Bible Project.
We have covered so much. The creation of the world. The creation of mankind. The assignment of co-rulership to humans within perfect relationship with God.
Then the fall of man, triggering the damage control of God, and His restoration efforts that go into full swing for generations through names like Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
God's people end up in slavery, and in response to their crying out to God, He delivers them. He takes them on a epic journey from the no-name, rag-tag, homeless people that they had become, and attempts to shape them into a model community for the world to behold - complete with a brand new set of social, moral, and religious standards - that will set them apart from the rest of the world in a way that they would be light to the world, pointing everyone to the one true God.
But their pursuit of sin, and in particular their pursuit of "other gods" (which, as we have learned, is really the pursuit of any selfish gain), continues to win the day, and the years, sabotaging the glory of God and the people's joy.†He tried giving them their own land and identity through the rule of heroic judges, and then through establishing an earthly Kingdom ruled by Kings. No matter what He tried, sin and selfishness still prevailed, resulting in a divided Kingdom (He hates division, He loves unity), and eventually, the people of God ended up right back where they started: enslaved in foreign land and homeless.
If this story ended here, it would be classified as a tragedy. But it doesn't end here, Praise God. When we continue reading through the story lens, we will see that this tragedy was all one big, clear set up for the hero of the story to come in and save the day.
But before we get there, letís slow down. The story thus far has moved at a break-neck pace. Generations of history encompassing hundreds of years are sometimes contained on one page. But now, we slow down, as we venture into the book of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah is a prophet of God. He slots into the narrative towards the end of what we read. His ministry was after the northern Kingdom of Israel was hauled off as prisoners to Assyria, but before the southern Kingdom of Judah was hauled off to Babylon. In a nutshell, he preached to Judah, calling them to repent at first, but then proclaiming their certain demise by the end.
Jeremiah is a large book, and we will spend weeks in it. Why? Because contained in it are messages to Judah (that they did not heed) that are still relevant messages to us today (that we should heed).