Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. (Jeremiah 19:2,6): So, God uses the broken pot and a garbage dump to show the leaders what their future looks like. But, why should these rulers follow Jeremiah there anyway?
A. I guess because they knew him to be a prophet and he asked them to follow him.
Q. (20:1): I take it that Pashhur was not a priest of God? I didn’t know priests could order someone to be whipped. It sounds like prophets were viewed with fear and contempt. They knew they had a direct relationship with God, which they feared, but they didn’t acknowledge God as Lord of all for some reason. So, they would listen to these prophets, but not like what they say. Stubborn is a good word for it.
A. Jeremiah’s message is that the generation has become corrupted, and what better proof than the priest, who should be seeking God’s love and charity, order Jeremiah flogged because they don’t like his message. Jesus will follow in this type of scenario, being put through a flogging and crucifixion under very similar circumstances.
Q. (20:11-13): Although this passage seems a little chaotic, going from one message to the other. The part that says God tests the righteous and examines our deepest thoughts stood out to me. I would like to think that God has some respect for me as I am doing many things that he has instructed me to. So, why can’t He trust me? Why must He keep testing me? The best answer and I believe it is that if He didn’t keep testing me, my relationship with Him would become stagnant and it may make me farther away from Him. But, when I am tested, I dig deeper into my dependence on Him and become a stronger Christian in my walk with Him.
A. You’ve got the idea.
O. (20:14-18): I can feel Jeremiah’s anger here. It sounds as if his whole life he has been prophesying God’s word only to be faced with ridicule. So, all he has ever done gets absolutely no respect. Not a fun life. I would think that being a prophet is almost a burden, but on the flip side, they know what’s coming. Given the other option, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Nevertheless, it would be a difficult, lonely life. I know that Christians always say you are never alone because the Spirit is with you. This is a common condolence when someone, especially a partner, dies. But, it’s still lonely and difficult to figure out how you can let God alone fill that void. I guess it doesn’t mean you have to fill it with all God, but maybe He will direct you to other things that will fill your life.
Q. (Daniel 1:1-2): I can see that by empowering another nation, God is demonstrating to that nation what they could have if they followed Him. But, here Nebuchadnezzar took the treasures from the Temple of the Lord and put them in the treasure house of his god.
A. Yes, he did, but the true treasures he took were these people, especially the four men that will be at the center of the first half of the book of Daniel.
Q. (1:8-21): I don’t think that being a vegan is what this scripture is about, but this is worth mentioning. I have been noticing that my friends who eat a lot of salads look more alert and fit. I have been a vegan for over 20 years. In college, I would by a ton of veggies and chop them up with my fabulous salad shooter. Then, I would just have a salad every night. Well, I got burned out on salads and am reluctant to think about eating them. I eat a lot of veggies, usually steamed. But, I know I eat too many processed things. (Even a vegan can make unhealthy choices). And, I feel dragged down. I do notice when I eat fresh, uncooked produce that I feel more alive. I am making baby steps to include more fresh veggies. I hope God gives us more guidance with diet.
A. The major issue at play in this story is not vegetarianism/veganism, though there is a diet plan based upon this story called the Daniel Diet Plan (read about it here: http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/what-is-the-daniel-diet-plan, and note that Rick Warren of all people is behind it. I’m in no way endorsing the diet, just passing along the information). The major issue here is clean and unclean foods. It is likely that the Babylonians ate rich foods and stews, and wine that was not good for their health, and contained many unclean ingredients. It is this, and not the meat itself, that is the thing Daniel is avoiding. We know from modern dietetics that people can survive and even thrive on vegetables (properly balanced of course). So it is likely that Daniel and the other men benefitted from the nutrition in the vegetables in a way that even they would not have fully understood. God used this situation and Daniel’s plan to gain influence in the king’s court, and we will see the way that this plays out in the next few chapters of Daniel’s book.