Proverbs 17:5, “He who mocks the poor insults his Maker…”
YUP!! THAT’S RIGHT!!
Those that just exalt themselves
Who are the POOR?
They can be ANYONE!
Anyone WHO IS WITHOUT
Anyone that our world would see as LESS THAN
Anyone WITHOUT POWER
Proverbs 17:5, “...he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.”
We have to ask the question, “How often do I take some kind of pleasure in the suffering of others? How often do I take some kind of pleasure in finding out news or gossip about a person that I don’t like? They made a bad decision.”
Even when it comes to celebrities, politics, and church leadership
Maybe there are people that I don’t agree with and I don’t see them as being “on my side”
If they do something bad and I GET HAPPY ABOUT THAT
If they FAIL and I GET HAPPY ABOUT THAT
THAT IS NOT GOOD!!
That is a WEAKNESS IN OUR OWN CHARACTER when we rejoice in the failings of others, or in the CALAMITY OF OTHERS (have any of you been guilty of this lately, especially with COVID going on and people arguing over whether it’s real or not, or whether the vaccine works or not? I know I have and I am very humbled and contrite after hearing this from Fr. Mike 😞)
This is a good way to let our hearts be PIERCED BY GOD’S WORD
Now on to The Book of Jeremiah
Jeremiah is NOT having a good day
We jump back to King Zedekiah when yesterday we spent time with King Jehoiakim
Remember, Zedekiah was placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar
He is a PUPPET KING (But NOT a MUPPET KING!! Oooh Statler and Waldorf would have a field day with him if he was 🤪)
He comes to Jeremiah and says, “Hey, tell me. I won’t say anything, but what is going on? What do I need to know?”
Jeremiah tells him the same thing that he has been telling him the entire time, “You need to surrender to the King of Babylon and Jerusalem will continue to stand and the people will be saved and God will ultimately win. But if you fight, then I gotta tell ya Nebuchadnezzar is going to win and you are going to be DESTROYED.”
On SO MANY HUMAN LEVELS you can completely understand why the leaders would be upset with Jeremiah
Especially those who are trying to rally the troops
Especially those who are trying to get the people to support them and be on the side of fighting
Honestly, if you thought that was the way to go, you would HATE someone like Jeremiah
Jeremiah keeps saying, “No! The thing that we need to do, and God even says this, we need to SURRENDER.”
You would think THAT IS SO BACKWARDS!
So what do they do?
First they throw him in prison then they throw him in the cistern
There’s something about Jeremiah being in the cistern that is SO GOOD (Huh? Que??? 🤨)
What does that mean?
The IMAGE of Jeremiah in Ch 38:6, “So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern...letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire.”
That is so good NOT that it was great for Jeremiah
The visual of Jeremiah sinking in the mire
There is something about the Prophet Jeremiah
HE ALLOWED HIMSELF TO SUFFER WITH THE PEOPLE
These people were suffering
The city was suffering
The whole land of Judah was suffering
JEREMIAH DID NOT EXEMPT HIMSELF FROM THAT SUFFERING
He had a chance to SURRENDER to Babylon and done fine
He could have STOPPED PREACHING
He even says, “I wish I could do this. I wish I could just stop saying what I have to say. But if I stop saying God’s Word, then it burns in my heart and I have to speak out. I have to cry out.”
But Jeremiah does not do that
Jeremiah allows himself to SUFFER WITH THE PEOPLE
JEREMIAH IS AN IMAGE OF CHRIST IN THAT
That image of Jeremiah sinking in the mire is an image of Jesus
An image of Jesus who DOES NOT EXEMPT HIMSELF FROM OUR SUFFERING
JESUS DOES NOT EXEMPT HIMSELF FROM OUR PAIN
Jesus enters DEEPLY into our SUFFERING
Jesus enters DEEPLY into our MIRE
WHAT A GIFT!!
Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian hero, rescues Jeremiah and says to the king, “Listen, you can’t do this. He is the prophet.”
For whatever reason, Zedekiah listens to him and it is SO GOOD
What’s going to happen tomorrow is the FALL OF JERUSALEM
Remember, Nebuchadnezzar by this point has already had TWO WAVES of exile going to Babylon
Jerusalem still stands
Jerusalem will not stand much longer
And so we have to note that
On the other hand, when it comes to victory, we are finally introduced to JUDITH
Judith is an INCREDIBLE HEROINE of the Old Testament
Now hopefully you get a sense of who this woman is and what her character was
The beginning of Judith Ch 8 is The Character of Judith
Her beauty will play into the story as we move forward
She is also, as Scripture says, PRUDENT
She is DISCERNING IN JUDGMENT
She is QUITE VIRTUOUS
Judith is THEBOMB.COM (I prefer to say, “She is all that and a bag of potato chips (preferably the kettle cooked sea salt and cracked black pepper version” 😉)
She is INCREDIBLE
Remember yesterday Uzziah said, “Listen, people of Bethulia, I know it’s been 34 days without water. We are going to give God five more days and he is going to save us. But if he doesn’t, that’s fine.”
Judith says to Uzziah and the elders, “Listen! You can’t give God a timeline!”
TALK ABOUT PIERCING THE HEART!!
HOW MANY OF US WANT TO GIVE GOD A TIMELINE ALL OF THE TIME??
The temptation is to say, “Ok God you need to help me by this point. And if you don’t, whatever the consequences are.”
We give God some sort of ULTIMATUM
As if we can BRIBE GOD into helping us
As if we can CONVINCE GOD, “Here’s the thing, God. I know you know everything. I know you love better, love infinitely, love perfectly. But if you don’t love me the way that I want you to love me in the time I want you to love me according to my rules and my expectations, then NAH. I’m not going to LET YOU BE GOD IN MY LIFE.”
And Judith says, “YOU CANNOT DO THAT.”
In response to Judith Uzziah says, “Yeah.”
Judith 8:28-29, “Then Uzziah said to her, ‘All that you have said has been spoken out of a true heart, and there is no one who can deny your words. Today is not the first time your wisdom has been shown, but from the beginning of your life all the people have recognized your understanding, for your heart’s disposition is right.’”
YOUR HEART’S DISPOSITION IS RIGHT
It’s not simply that Judith STUDIED MORE THAN EVERYONE ELSE
In our world, we have reduced WISDOM to KNOWLEDGE
And we have reduced KNOWLEDGE to DATA
“I know a lot of facts. I know a lot of trivia.”
So the people we hold up as being the WISEST are just the people who KNOW THE MOST, the people who have the MOST FACTS
REAL WISDOM IS NOT JUST KNOWING THE FACTS
REAL WISDOM IS NOT JUST STUDYING
We WANT to study!
We want to know the Lord with all our heart and mind and soul and strength
So we NEED to use our MINDS
Judith is not wise because SHE HAS LEARNED SO MUCH
Judith is wise because HER HEART’S DISPOSITION IS RIGHT
THIS IS SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT
Uzziah said, “The people have recognized your understanding because your heart’s disposition is right. But the people were very thirsty...and made us take an oath which we cannot break. So pray for us.”
Judith 8:32, “Judith said to them, ‘Listen to me. I am about to do a thing which will go down through all generations of our descendants.”
She tells them to be ready
Go back and read the PRAYER OF JUDITH in Judith Ch 9
WHAT AN INCREDIBLE INCREDIBLE TRUST IN THE LORD
NOT ONLY TRUST IN THE LORD
IT IS A PRAYER OF PRAISE
One of the things we have are PRAYERS OF PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING
When we PRAISE GOD, we honor him for WHO HE IS
When we THANK GOD, we thank him for WHAT HE HAS DONE
This Prayer of Judith is NOT simply intercession
It is FULL OF PRAISE
It is FULL OF THANKSGIVING
How many times in this simple prayer does Judith describe God to God?
YOU ARE THE GOD OF THE LOWLY
YOU ARE THE HELPER OF THE OPPRESSED
YOU ARE UPHOLDER OF THE WEAK
YOU ARE THE PROTECTOR OF THE FORLORN
YOU ARE THE SAVIOR OF THOSE WITHOUT HOPE
You guys, if you EVER EVER want to know how to give God PRAISE, it is THAT!
Talk to God and tell him WHO HE IS
YOU ARE THE LORD OF HEAVEN AND EARTH
YOU ARE THE CREATOR OF THE WATERS
YOU ARE KING OF ALL CREATION
Judith’s prayer of intercession is a PROFOUND AND BEAUTIFUL PRAYER OF PRAISE
Remember, PRAISE GOES UP FIRST! (Do you remember when we first heard this? Oh about 229 days ago! Go read Day 20: Judah and Tamar in The Bible in a Year Study Guide for a refresher 😁)
JUDITH and JUDAH are VERY SIMILAR
Fr. Mike guesses that Judith’s name is a derivation of Judah
Maybe Judith’s name ALSO MEANS PRAISE
THAT WOULD MAKE A LOT OF SENSE!!
Her prayer of PETITION, her prayer of INTERCESSION is almost above anything else, A PRAYER OF PRAISE
FR. MIKE GIVES GOD THANKS FOR WHO HE IS AND PRAISE FOR WHO HE IS
FR. MIKE GIVES GOD THANKS FOR YOU!!
Here we are in Day 249 TOGETHER
GIVE GOD THANKS FOR EACH OTHER!!
Thank you SO MUCH for being part of this community!!
Thank you SO MUCH for continuing on this journey!!
You DO NOT have to have listened to this podcast every day without fail
Because you’ve made it to Day 249
WHETHER IT WAS PERFECT EVERY SINGLE DAY
OR WHETHER THERE WERE SOME STUMBLES IN THERE
IT DOES NOT MATTER
BECAUSE YOU MADE IT TO TODAY, DAY 249
THAT IS NOT SMALL
THAT IS NOT LITTLE
THAT IS PRETTY IMPORTANT
AND SO ARE YOU!!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER