Dark Days are Testing
The people who appear in this chapter are all of them part of the drama of a City under the threat of imminent destruction. The tensions, anxieties, and fears consequent on such a situation are all on display.
Those who wanted to hold out against the Babylonians, who thought the Egyptians might prove to be their saviours, and who, as a result, labelled Jeremiah as a traitor where calling for his blood. An embattled king felt powerless before those advocates of resistance and weakly acquiesced to their demands. However a believing and courageous Cushite engineered Jeremiah’s deliverance and made it possible for the King to hear Jeremiah in private. Sadly either unbelief, timidity or fear rendered God’s word from the mouth of Jeremiah unfruitful in the life of the king. The consequences would be devastating.
Life presents us all with circumstances that are testing and difficult. That is where character is tested, shaped, and demonstrated. Let us pray that the God of all grace will make each us equal to whatever the circumstances may be that we are called to negotiate along life’s road.
A Controlling Passion
Paul had a controlling passion born out of his conversion and commission. He had come to see that that in Jesus God was being faithful to his promises to bless the nations through Abraham and his descendants. God’s people were to be a Jew/ Gentile people. That was God’s intention from the beginning.
Two things are represented here.
First, in the life of the church in Rome Paul would have Jews and Gentiles welcome and love each other as children in the one family of the Messiah. If those who think that Romans was written to deal with animosity between those two ethnic groups are correct, then these words are a pastoral appeal built on the theological foundation he has set out in the earlier chapters.
Second, Paul’s calling as an emissary of the gospel of the kingdom pushes him to seek to go with that message to places where it has not been heard.
Perhaps we can take both of those commitments to our own hearts: to ensure that the life of our church reflects the unity and love that Christ died to produce in his people, and that we too have a passion to see the truth of God go where it is not known or not understood.