Season After Pentecost: The Old Testament Passage – Focusing on the paradox as I feel it

At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem: A hot wind comes from me out of the bare heights in the desert toward my poor people, not to winnow or cleanse— a wind too strong for that. Now it is I who speak in judgment against them.” (Jeremiah 4:11-12)

If the prophets can repeat a theme – so can I! And my theme is this; the called and chosen people by God in the time of the writer of Jeremiah had, as a whole, turned from God and turned to other priorities and pursuits. This inflamed the passion of many good men who said they heard God’s call to the people Israel, Judah, and the city of Jerusalem. I have no doubt they felt moved by God to speak. And speak they did, without fear. And furthermore, I have no doubt that many people of that time had turned from God, just as people in our time have turned from the God that was known and understood generations ago.

For my people are foolish, they do not know me; they are stupid children, they have no understanding.
They are skilled in doing evil, but do not know how to do good.”

I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light.
I looked on the mountains, and lo, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro.
I looked, and lo, there was no one at all, and all the birds of the air had fled.
I looked, and lo, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the Lord, before his fierce anger.” (Verses 22 – 26)

But many times the words and prophesies create a paradox for me. The Lord God threatens and bellows, vows death and destruction. How can this be the same God that sent Jesus for atonement and salvation, and sent a message of mercy and forgiveness. I cannot, for all of my adult years reconcile those two. I do not know if I can.

For thus says the Lord: The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end.
Because of this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above grow black; for I have spoken, I have purposed;
I have not relented nor will I turn back.” (Verses 27 – 28)

When I sit and ponder this, I am not sure I want to. I think about all the times I have “threatened and bellowed” for whatever reason I had at the time. Now, I may not have (in fact I have not) vowed death and destruction. Not even close! But I am not the Lord God and human life is not mine to take. I understand the feeling of frustration and sheer exasperation at a situation that has gone too far. Are those sentiments though that we can expect and accept from the Divine however? That is where my paradox hits its’ core.

I hold in awkward tension and balance these two aspects of the Divine; and read the bible, Old and New Testament, where God who is Creator and Jesus who is Redeemer get angry. And may it is the same type of anger, or maybe it is not. But I am not God nor Jesus, so I cannot discern which is the more correct aspect of God. But, neither are the prophets – minor and major – and just because they write/speak as the voice of God does not mean they are/were God. So I wait until God’s own true voice whispers in my soul to tell me the right of all this! Shalom!

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About Carole Boshart

I have two blogs on WordPress. "A Simple Desire" which is based on the daily "Sips of Scripture" published and sent out by Third Way Cafe. "Pondering From the Pacific" is based on my reflections on the world - sometimes religious/spiritual, and sometimes not so much.

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