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 31:19): I have read about the young generation sewing their oats as it says here, “I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.” It seems that so many teens and those in their 20s do some stupid things, me included! We won’t go there. It just seems like this time is a necessary evil to make mistakes, feel the repercussions and then correct ourselves. Does God address this, or are all of our parents not feeding us the Word enough? Today while I was driving I was just thinking about how we teach our girls the Bible stories and what God/Jesus would want us to do in certain situations, but we never talk to them about spending time with God. I am hoping this new plan of mine will be beneficial to them now and forever.
A. Being young and wild is addressed in places (I’m thinking of the arrogant path the Prodigal Son takes in Jesus’ parable before he comes home in Luke 15), but honestly most people in the societies’ the Bible was written for did not have any time for such luxuries; they were simply trying to survive.
Q. (31:29): To me this means that the old generation of Israel/Judah lived a sour life. They were led by wicked, wayward leaders. Now, the generation that will return to Judah will reject the ways of the dead generation. Is that in the ballpark?
A. Yes, I would say that’s a fair interpretation.
Q. (31:33-34): Rob, can you explain what God is talking about here? I don’t know if this is the Judah’s reconciliation or is this about when Jesus was crucified.
A. Hmm, I would say that the situation God is describing is a description of the New Covenant, which comes about via the death of Jesus. The early Church interpreted what Jeremiah is talking about here as the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, since they believed that the Spirit takes up residence within our hearts. But it should be noted that this is also pretty clearly describing a “Kingdom” theology: it is describing the way people will act after the Day of Judgment, just as we have seen described in Isaiah.
Q. (49:34-39): It looks like God’s strategy is to destroy all the evil surrounding nations of Israel and establish himself as king. This helps answer the previous question of everyone will know God? There will be no need for explanations.
A. Yes, what we see here is, as we read about in Isaiah, is a time of trial and “winnowing,” and afterward, the establishment of God Himself as King (Christians hold that Jesus is this King, Jews do not of course!).
Q. (50:1-3): It’s hard to imagine anyone stronger than Babylon, except for God leading an army!
A. Just from the secular history of Babylon: under King Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon was basically never defeated; he basically WAS the Babylonian empire. When he dies, his descendants will not be able to maintain his level of near-god like power, and things will unravel quickly for the nation.
Q. (50:21-51:14): So, I get from this reading that Babylon’s end is eminent and very near. I am hearing the warnings to the exiles to escape, right? But, has Jerusalem completely been destroyed? Was it destroyed when they were talking about the rotting figs. And, has it been 70 years? I am just trying to understand the timeline here and if everything that God said will happen has happened yet before Babylon is destroyed. And, any idea what reason the armies from the North (is this the kings of Medes from v. 11) had for attacking Babylon?
A. This is during the first exile period, but before Jerusalem has been destroyed. Nebuchadnezzar will rule unchallenged until 562 BC, and Jerusalem will be destroyed in 586, which is still coming in our timeline. After this the Medes and Persians (modern day Iran) will conquer the land and things will begin to change for Judah’s fortunes.
Q. Last question. Rob, I remember when I first met you to talk about this blog project, you talked about a book that bridges the time period between the OT and the NT, telling what the times were like. We start the NT on Sept. 24. Would you recommend reading this book before we get to the NT? If so, what’s its title again?
A. You certainly can, its called, The True Story of the Whole World by Bartholomew and Goheen (link) and it contains a section called Intermission, between the Testaments. This section is very useful for describing the so-called “silent” period in which Israel awaited the Messiah and fought for independence before being conquered by the Greeks under Alexander the Great and then the Romans, who will occupy Israel in the era of the NT.