International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday September 7, 2014
Purpose: To envision a hopeful future grounded in the divine promise offered to those faithful to God’s covenant
Bible Lesson: Jeremiah 30: 1-3, 18-22
(1) Jeremiah received the Lord’s word: (2) The Lord, the God of Israel, proclaims: Write down in a scroll all the words I have spoken to you. (3) The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will bring back my people Israel and Judah from captivity, says the Lord. I will bring them home to the land that I gave to their ancestors, and they will possess it.
(18) The Lord proclaims: I will restore Jacob’s tents and have pity on their birthplace. Their city will be rebuilt on its ruins and the palace in its rightful place. (19) There will be laughter and songs of thanks. I will add to their numbers so they don’t dwindle away. I will honor them so they aren’t humiliated. (20) Their children will thrive as they did long ago, and their community will be established before me. I will punish their oppressors. (21) They will have their own leader; their ruler will come from among them. I will let him approach me, and he will draw near. Who would dare approach me unless I let them come? declares the Lord. (22) You will be my people, and I will be your God.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
First I want to give you a short history lesson about Jeremiah. Jeremiah was born around 650 B.C., during the reign of King Manasseh (687-642 B.C.). His father Hilkiah was a priest. Jeremiah was called at a young age (about 23). The family lived about 2-½ miles northwest of Jerusalem in a village called Anathoth, now called Anata, in the territory of Benjamin.
Jerimiah was a prophet during the reign of Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. Zedekiah was the king when Jerusalem and Judea finally fell to the Babylonians ruled by Nebuchadnezzar. While many of his fellow countrymen were exiled to Babylon, Jeremiah was captured and taken to Egypt. It is assumed that Jeremiah died in Egypt after 40 years of prophesizing.
Today’s text is from the time of exile, originally uttered at the time of the Northern Kingdom Israel’s fall to Assyrians, decades before the fall of Judah and Jerusalem. However, as Judah was threatened Jeremiah restated his words for those in Jerusalem and all of Judah.
Jeremiah was an old fashion preacher and he went back to the law written in Deuteronomy 28:1 “Now if you really obey the Lord your God’s voice, by carefully keeping all his commandments that I am giving you right now, then the Lord your God will set you high above all nations on earth.” Jeremiah believed both the promise and the curse delivered by Moses. Obey and prosper or disobey and face God’s disappointment.
Being restored to the Lord brings about rejoicing, laughter, prosperity and a sense of pride. I am not sure nor do I believe anyone else can say with certain if this was ever achieved prior to 1947 or even 1967 when the Jews acquired partial control of Jerusalem. I do know that there was not a nation of Israel from the time of Jeremiah until approximately 1967, where they were ruled by their own leader
So, you could say it took over 2400 years for Jeremiah’s prophecy to come true. And look today as the enemies of Judah. Babylon (Iraq) and Assyria (Syria) are all in disarray. Even today’s Jews can take great comfort in the words of verse 22 “You will be my people, and I will be your God.”
God’s call has not changed, we can obey God as a nation and prosper, or we can disobey God’s command and suffer His judgment.
That great hymn still rings true “Trust and Obey”