During the time of Babylon’s siege Jerusalem was a very volatile, and disturbed, city. People were understandably upset. Their fear over what would happen was real, and raw. One of the few positive things that came out of this time, per Jeremiah 34, was that the practice of slavery was momentarily abolished. But a short time later the wealthy and elite, the ones who could afford to loan money to their fellow Hebrew men and women, reneged on their promise and resumed physically subjugating some of the people. Breaking a vow is no trivial matter, especially one that relates to human decency. And this drew the Lord’s righteous anger. As you read God’s rebuke it becomes clear that two elements matter deeply to the Lord: love and justice. God wants to witness in mankind love for others, especially family and relatives. And God wants to witness in mankind justice for the community, especially the underprivileged, such as the poor, the orphaned, widowed, and the downtrodden. This propensity, or perhaps inability, to show compassion to others, as well as an unwillingness to be truthful and tenderhearted in matters of public kindness, were issues that God continually railed against. Why? Because God’s enduring public kindness and generosity towards humanity should elicit a desire to behave in the same way. In short, the Lord is good to us. Why can’t we be good to others?
Jeremiah 34:18 “‘Those who have violated my covenant and have not fulfilled the terms of the covenant they made before me, I will treat like the calf they cut in two and then walked between its pieces.’” (NIV)
Kevin Orr (8/23/2019)