Tuesday, November 28, 2017

What about Jeremiah?

So, if Jeremiah’s imprecatory prayers appear at first sight like vicious selfish prayers, they often reflect the prophet’s concern for divine justice and his covenant duty to report to Yhwh about the state of the godless (Jer 12:1–3, 15:15). To stop Jeremiah from proclaiming divine judgment is in effect opposition to the Lord and what God is doing. We have seen that Jeremiah sought to oppose Yhwh’s judgment in prayer for a long time, until the prophet eventually aligned his prayers with Yhwh’s verdict to judge Israel. On the basis of Yhwh’s covenantal will, it becomes clear that Jeremiah’s imprecatory prayers have to be heard against the background of the blessing-cursing rhetoric of the Old Testament covenant. Recognizing this background helps us to see that not just anything goes in Jeremiah’s prayers, but that the prophet’s harsh curses “are petitions for the justice of God, for the vindication of God’s righteous nature and purposes.” [Miller, They Cried, 93]—Standing in the Breach, page 409

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