The Inspired, the Blind
Holy One, let truth go before me, let wisdom walk beside me, let compassion live within me. Teach me more truth today.
Read JEREMIAH 40:1-41:3
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Sometimes the purposes of God can be muddied by the influence of a “well-intentioned dragon.” Our churches would be much healthier if John the Baptist’s dictum “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30) were followed.
This account of Jeremiah’s release (1-6) differs from yesterday’s (Jer. 39:11-14). We could spend pointless time trying to harmonize the accounts, but it is significant that whoever compiled the book of Jeremiah did not harmonize them. A simple explanation is best: the editor had multiple sources and left the two accounts intact. We should not fear the evidence of multiple hands, inspired hands, in the final form of God’s Word as we have it today. The psalms have obviously been collated, and inspired editors are clearly evident elsewhere in Scripture.
The book of Jeremiah opens with an editorial introduction (Jer. 1:1-3), proceeds to direct quotation of Jeremiah’s own writing, and then later interpolates narratives by another person or persons (including what we are now reading). All these are inspired godly people. As a Bible translator I must believe this. I must believe that even I, with the help of God’s Spirit, can, in fear and trembling, offer words to another people in another language that remain the inspired Word of God.
Through the words of a Babylonian soldier, we see God’s hand, not only in the Babylonian defeat, but in a future renewal and restoration of the people. In Gedaliah’s leadership and activity we see God’s work beginning afresh among the confused and devastated remnant–but good is not allowed to happen. From the very beginning, the Bible story has shown God’s offer of abundant life being undone by sinful and misguided humans. It doesn’t need a mob: one person bent on destruction can undo a great deal of good. In this case the treachery comes from within, from one of God’s own people blinded by self-interest to what God is doing. Often the most obtuse people, the most blind and resistant to God’s work in the world, come from within God’s people.
How are differences handled in your church? How do you handle differences? How can Matthew 18:15-20 help in a difficult situation?
Lord, my ego and a love of power can disturb Your purposes for me. I pray that You will be the consuming desire of my heart.
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