Scripture Focus: Jeremiah 25:10-12
10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
12 “But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the Lord, “and will make it desolate forever.
Reflection: A Lifetime of Waiting
By Erin Newton
We are all affected by time, sometimes wishing the sun would stop still in the sky or that it would rush ahead to better times. Worrisome events can be tolerated if we know our endurance must only last a prescribed amount of time.
As we read the words in Jeremiah, we often do not realize that God promises both judgment and restoration, but they are generations apart. What would it be like to hear that you must suffer the pain of losing your home? Will you have time to rebuild or start over? No. You’ll be there seventy years. Unless you are a small child, you will likely not live to see the end of it. Those born in exile would have no memories of their ancestral home in Israel.
Yet it is spoken to the people as a word of hope and encouragement.
There is no escape for Jeremiah and his peers. They are going into a period of judgment. The only consolation is that God has promised to make things right in the future. They know they will die in a foreign land trying to convince their children to hold onto hope for a little while longer.
On the eve of suffering, the word of hope is that God will overturn all evil. Eventually. The people settle down in Babylon and Jeremiah sends word encouraging them to be good citizens and live in a way that benefits the entire community.
We need this same encouragement today. We long for God to correct all evils. Heal the sick. Judge the wicked. Raise the lowly and humble the proud. He has promised he will do so! But at a time that we still don’t know.
Waiting is miserable. Contentment is the ability to find joy in spite of circumstances. Patience is the ability to tolerate delay without getting upset. As we struggle against the natural forces of our world, bound up in time, we must settle down in our neighborhoods. We must seek the prosperity of our towns. We must pray for our cities.
As we learn to wait on God, the ultimate aim should be to be peacemakers here. God does not call his people to erect walls to keep their neighbors out.
We must now ask ourselves, “Do I add to the benefit and blessing of my town or am I sowing seeds of discord and misery?”
Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a tub or under the bed? Surely to be put on the lamp-stand? For there is nothing hidden, but it must be disclosed, nothing kept secret except to be brought to light. Anyone who has ears for listening should listen.” — Mark 4.21-23
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Read more about Come Out of Captivity
Even the weepiest of weeping prophets knew and proclaimed that light was coming and hope was warranted.
Readers’ Choice is Here!
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