Jeremiah 18:18-23 "Some of the people said, “Come on, let’s cook up a plot against Jeremiah. We’ll still have the priests to teach us the law, wise counselors to give us advice, and prophets to tell us what God has to say. Come on, let’s discredit him so we don’t have to put up with him any longer.”And I said to God:
“God, listen to me!
Just listen to what my enemies are saying.
Should I get paid evil for good?
That’s what they’re doing. They’ve made plans to kill me!
Remember all the times I stood up for them before you,
speaking up for them,
trying to soften your anger?
But enough! Let their children starve!
Let them be massacred in battle!
Let their wives be childless and widowed,
their friends die and their proud young men be killed.
Let cries of panic sound from their homes
as you surprise them with war parties!
They’re all set to lynch me.
The noose is practically around my neck!
But you know all this, God.
You know they’re determined to kill me.
Don’t whitewash their crimes,
don’t overlook a single sin!
Round the bunch of them up before you.
Strike while the iron of your anger is hot!”
Reflection. Sometimes when I ranted (I used to do that...), my mum might say, "You can't say that you're a Christian." And yet, we read Jeremiah asking God to do the most outrageous and terrible things to his enemies; and not just his enemies but to their whole families. Good grief, Jeremiah is letting it all out. Jeremiah is having a good old rant.
So, here's the thought. Are we to take Jeremiah literally or should we recognise that he is an emotional human being under the cosh. His emotions run away with him, and his tongue runs away from him. Oh, and if we hasten to think that starvation, death in battle, being widows is bad enough, the worst comes at the end. Jeremiah wants his enemies' sins remembered. This is now eternal stuff, and it is terrible, really terrible!
An encouraging thought follows. Isn't it great that such passages are found in the Holy Bible. It is true to life. Nothing is expunged to sweeten the taste. Even killing of enemies children in brutal fashion makes it in (See the end of Psalm 137). I'm not condoning what the psalmist sings or Jeremiah writes. Merely, that these passages give us leave to pour our hearts out to God, knowing that He hears and does not push us away. God is that gracious!
I would strongly counsel we reserve our ranting for God's ears only. Directing a rant at a spouse might not be best practise.
Prayer. Lord God Almighty, I am really upset about (insert own thought here) and (insert name here). Amen. Now ask for forgiveness and patience for ourselves. Amen