Today’s readings.. (2 Samuel 15), (Jeremiah 19), (Romans 3), (Romans 4)

All who decide to serve God and become his sons and daughters through baptism travel along different paths of experience in life.  Paul in his letter to the Romans reflects on the life of Abraham as “he grew strong in faith” and how he became “fully convinced that God was able to do what he promised.” [Ch. 4 v.20.21]
Abraham’s faith grew, he believed from his heart what God said, “He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old) or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.  No distrust made him waver … “ [v.19,20]  So Abraham’s faith went from strength to strength.
Now compare David’s situation with Abraham.  David was despondent, he had climbed the pinnacles of faith but then his life had hit a blind spot in his actions with Bathsheba. God’s words bore heavily on his mind, “because you have despised me … I will raise up evil against you out of your own house” [2 Sam. 12 v.10,11] It seems clear that David experienced deep depression, he ceased to be actively involved in administering justice and Absalom, as we read today in Ch. 15, took advantage of this.
David was overwhelmed by events, his faith had lost its focus, but, in his inner being he knew all was in the hands of God and he clung to that conviction.  We read how he flees from Jerusalem, saying, “If I find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me back.” [v.25].
It is a contrast in some ways to Abraham who grew stronger in his advancing years. Jeremiah’s challenges are different again.  Today we read how he is told by God, “Behold I am bringing such disaster on this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle.” [Ch. 19 v.3] Jeremiah was to be in the midst of that disaster – but would survive.  We have a lot more in common with Jeremiah than with Abraham and David.  In coming days we will read how God reveals to this prophet warnings about “the latter days” (Ch.23 v.20; 30 v.24) which will cause us to think of the challenges to our own journey in faith as the whole world faces up to God’s judgements – challenges which may not be far ahead as the cauldron in the Middle East stays near boiling point.

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