Posted by: Pauline | September 15, 2013

Scriptures for Sunday September 22

Jeremiah 8:18-9:1

On first reading this passage it may be confusing because there are different people speaking but they are not explicitly identified. Jeremiah expresses his grief, then he is apparently quoting the people and their complaint against God. Next it seems to be God speaking, then the people again, and then back to Jeremiah and his grieving.

The people seem to think God should have saved them. Despite Jeremiah’s repeated warnings that God’s judgment was coming, they still thought they would be safe, that God would never let the holy city of Jerusalem be destroyed.

Perhaps Jeremiah’s grief – and God’s – is that not only are the people experiencing great suffering as a result of their refusal to follow God, but even now they are so spiritually blind that they do not understand why these things are happening. They are unwilling to accept responsibility for having brought it on themselves, so instead they blame God.

Psalm 79:1-9

This psalm comes from the same historical context as that of Jeremiah. In fact, two verses of this psalm, 6 and 7, appear also in Jeremiah 10:25. Whether this psalm borrowed from Jeremiah or the other way around, both writers share a common grief, and a common desire to see the human agents of so much suffering punished for the part they played in destroying God’s people.

But the psalmist also recognizes that their suffering is, at least in part, a result of past sins. He asks for God’s mercy, not only so that their suffering will be relieved, but also because that will bring glory to God.

1 Timothy 2:1-7

In instructing Timothy how to lead the church, Paul urges first that the church is to pray, for all people and especially for people in authority. The goal is that people may live in a way that is pleasing to God.

This leads Paul to talk about the great salvation God has given. Some scholars believe that in verse 5 he is quoting an early Christian creedal statement or hymn – as he does also in chapters 1, 3, and 6.

In our worship, we may think of prayer, instruction, and songs of praise as separate categories. But Paul tends to move seamlessly from one to another. Instruction about worship leads into worship. Prayer leads into worship. And worship leads to prayer and instruction so that more people may come to know and worship God.

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