Reading Note – Jeremiah 50 & 51 – Fall of Babylon

  • After using Babylon to punish Israel, God uses some other nations to punish Babylon for hurting Israel. The point being that even when God withdraws protection from his people and lets you hurt them, hurting them is still illegal. The fact that God doesn’t stop you from doing something wrong doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong. The fact that he uses it – as a punishment maybe – or brings a blessing from it, still doesn’t mean that it isn’t wrong.
  • God warns Babylon, like he’d warned Israel, the Canaanites, and the people of Niniveh.
  • The phrase “devote to destruction” is used here too. “Devote to destruction all her army”.
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Jeremiah 12 – Reading Note – A Promise for the Nations

  • Jeremiah makes that age old complaint: Why do the wicked prosper? God’s response is confusing; something about horses, treachery, and abandoning Israel.
  • God threatens to displace the nations surrounding Israel in addition to Israel itself and return them all to their own land in time (12:14, 15). I wonder if/when that happened.
  • Once again, God shows care for people beyond his chosen Israel, promising to build them up in the midst of Israel if they learn to serve him. Otherwise it’s bye bye (12: 14 – 17).

Reading Note – Psalm 1

Blessed: Happy, Fortunate

Psalm 1 is about keeping God’s law and good friends. Good friends give you good advice. Bad friends draw you away from God. Of course, we no longer have to keep all those laws in Deuteronomy, but that just gives us time to meditate on the other laws. How do we love God and out neighbor?

And just how blessed is anyone who does those two things? He’s a very well situated and very productive tree, they say. That’s not necessarily a statement about his financial situation, Job notwithstanding. A productive tree reminds me more of Jesus statement about trees planted in good soil producing great amounts of fruit. The fruit is usually said to be more eternal than money.

The wicked (ungodly, criminal, guilty one, unrighteous – aka those who have bad friends who teach them to scorn God’s law?) are not blessed. They are “like chaff which the wind drives away”. So, they are definitely not productive trees. They don’t even last that long. What’s more, they shall not “stand” (what does that mean) in the day of Judgment. Their way will perish.

The point is this: the ungodly are headed towards disaster. Sometimes in this life, definitely in the next.

Reading Note – Job 7 & 8

Job 7: Self pity, self pity, gripe, gripe, self pity, “God, what have I ever done to you? Why won’t you leave me alone?”
Job 8: Bildad says that God does not pervert justice (by which he means punishing the innocent). Just repent and beg God, he says, if you are righteous God will give back what you’ve lost. God does not turn away blameless people

Except that God does. He brought misfortune on a man who had not wronged him. So there.

Reading Note – Job 3 & 4

Before my stint with depression, I didn’t understand Job as well as I do now. Job cursing the day of his birth was a distant thing, an expression of his sadness. I understand now. I know how it is to feel confused and helpless. When you’ve been there, wishing you had never been born makes perfect sense. It’s the difference between hearing about how wonderful chocolate is and tasting it for yourself.

Here is summary of how Job handles his grief:

1. Job says ‘cursed be the day I was born’

2. Job wishes he had never been born. Then he wouldn’t be suffering.

3. Job proceeds to wonder why life insists on bugging those who would rather have it go on its way.

I hope I can be forgiven for saying that I know where he’s coming from.

Chapter 4 starts with Eliphaz counselling Job. Eliphaz is one of the legalistic ones. According to him, the innocent do well. When he says that, you start to think he might be saying that Job must have offended God in some way, but strangely enough, he goes on to say that human beings cannot be right before God. He will no doubt expand on that in the next chapter.

Reading Note – Job 2

  • Although it was Satan who attacked Job, It is said that God destroyed Job. It is worth noting as pertains to the way actions/events are attributed to God in the Bible. (1:12 2:3)
  • One of my first encounters with atheism involved the book of Job. It was said that Job is one of the worst books of the Bible because it has a righteous man being hurt to prove a point in a fight between God and Satan.
  • (This is one of those arguments in which the claim is too vaguely stated). What is the claim? That God has no right to do so? Of course he does. The best that can be said that it was unkind and should not have been done without good reason. And who says God had no good reason? I can name a few possible ones off the top of my head. That someone is righteous does not mean that any suffering they experience must be unjust. Suffering isn’t necessarily evil.

Reading Note – Job 1

  • Job was a very rich man.
  • How would offering a sacrifice for someone else work? Don’t they have to repent? (1:5)
  • Why did God pay attention to Satan’s statement? It’s not like he needed to prove Job’s faithfulness.
  • God had been protecting Job (1:9, 10). That’s probably why Satan needed his permission to attack Job. I doubt he always has to go through that appeal process before he does anything.
  • Speaking of coincidences, what are the chances that Job’e children and all his wealth just happened to vanish on the same day?
  • Job did not respond with bitterness towards God. It’s one thing to know that God is sovereign, it’s another thing to accept it. Job noted that “God gives and takes away” and still he said, “Blessed be the name of the Lord”.