Sunday, 2 October 2011

He sends out his word

and melts them. [Ps.147]

I've been ruminating on the start of Jeremiah. God has determined the rise of the nations to the north of Israel, that they should lay siege to Jerusalem, and tear the nation to pieces. How does he accomplish this? Clearly he's sovereign over armies. The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whom he wishes. He could inspire a foreign metalworker to forge a stronger alloy for superior weaponry. He could stir up the ambition of a commander, to lead his troops to take the fortress of Jerusalem. He could give the leaders of Israel over to their stupidity, that they reveal their weakness to their old slave-masters, Egypt, hoping for an alliance. He could leave the common man so given to their pride that they don't defend the country adequately. He may have done all these things. But what he told us he was doing was this: He gave a young man a message to preach, and watched over his word to bring it about. 
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,
“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”
God chooses to act, he sends forth his word, in the form of a servant, and accomplishes it. Amen! 

Saturday, 1 October 2011

'Nothing to complain about'

Often, reading voices from the past can help our balance of perspective. Do you wonder, when you read a novel or autobiography from previous centuries, what those authors would make of our contemporary lives and culture?

For one perspective, wonder no more. Mr Grzebski has woken up after 19 years in a coma, and speaks with the voice of the past viewing the present, as it were:
"What amazes me today is all these people who walk around with their mobile phones and never stop moaning," said Mr Grzebski.

"I've got nothing to complain about."
Read the whole story here, or watch it here.  

There's nothing new under the sun, of course. 
Freed from slavery in Egypt, '...the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!”' [Numbers 11.4-6]

There's plenty in the world about which to be concerned, before Jesus comes back. There is enough frustration and decay for us to long for the hope of glory. There is death and suffering enough to remind us of Jesus' weeping at his friend's tomb, and his victory over death - for us. But while we may lament, and groan under frustration, and weep with friends, and fight corruption... in many ways, Mr Grzebski is right. 'I have nothing to complain about.'