Week 17

20 - 26 July
Psalms 79 - 83, Jeremiah 11 - 33, Matthew 11 - 19, Proverbs 19

20 July
Jer 11 - 13Mt 11.1 - 12.14
21 July
Jer 14 - 16Mt 12.15 - 13.17
22 July
Jer 17 - 20Mt 13.18 - 14.21
23 July
Jer 21 - 23Mt 14.22 - 15.3919.1-15
24 July
Jer 24 - 27Mt 16.1 - 17.2119.16-end
25 July
Ps 82Jer 28 - 31.14Mt 17.22 - 18.35
26 July
Jer 31.15 - 33.26Mt 19


Psalm 79 is a prayer of the people of God in a time of trouble.  Other nations have dishonoured God and brought trouble to his people, who have not remained faithful, bringing God's anger on them.  It may well have been written against the background of the destruction of the temple and the fall of Jerusalem in 587BC.  Ultimately the answers to the questions raised in the psalm are in the hands of God.
Psalm 80 is written around the refrain "Turn us again, O God; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved."  It is a prayer from the people appealing to God to show his favour on Israel again, and to restore all that has been lost, promising faithfulness and praise if God will only grant life to the people.  Mercy is in God's hands alone, but there is trust that in the end he is a merciful God.
Psalm 81 is a psalm used at a festival.  It begins with praise of God, and then becomes a sermon, delivered in God's voice, on the first commandment.  Now is the time to decide yet again to follow God only, and to listen to his voice.
Psalm 82 describes God presiding over a court where the gods are on trial.  He accuses them of failing to bring justice to the earth, and sentences them to death therefore.  This psalm celebrates God's reign over all things as a continuing story with a future still to unfold.  God will replace the false gods, and set things right.
Psalm 83 is a prayer of God's people at a time when enemies are gathering, pleading with God for his help.


Chapters 1-10, which we read last week, introduce us to the prophet, and what it was God called him to do - to proclaim God's word to people of Judah in the light of the catastrophe that would unfold.  His words were recorded by his disciple, Baruch.  Jeremiah recognised that when people go their own way, without regard for God, that their freedom to do so will result in pain and suffering, so although for a time all appeared well, and he was ignored or even mocked, he knew that he had to continue.
Chapters 11-20 emphasise the scale of the defeat that will soon be upon Judah, and the devastation and ruin that will follow.  These chapters probably reflect the situation in the years immediately before the first invasion by Babylonia.  The gulf between Jeremiah and those who heard him widened, as did the gap between what God required of the Israelites and the reality.  God had agreed a covenant with Israel through Moses in the wilderness years, but Israel had totally failed to keep its side of the bargain.  Caught in the conflict between God and people, Jeremiah went through periods of great soul searching, torn between being God's representative and the people's representative.
Chapters 21-29 move the story on to the eve of the fall of Jerusalem in 587BC.
Chapters 30-33 express a profound hope that despite all that has happened, there is still hope that Israel would one day be restored, as a free nation with a just king in the line of David.  Hope shone in the darkest hour.  Jeremiah's proclamation of hope isn't false hope, like that of the false prophets, but is rooted in his understanding of God's nature.
31.31-34 is unique in the Old Testament in presenting God's new covenant, which will be written on the hearts of the people not on tablets of stone, so that what has happened with the breaking of the old covenant will never happen again.


These central chapters of Matthew's gospel continue the account of Jesus' ministry in Galilee.  Chapter 13 contains the parables of the kingdom, with the repeated line "The kingdom of heaven is like ...".  Then comes Herod's reaction resulting in the death of John the Baptist.  Jesus then went further afield, finally returning to Galilee and then onto Jerusalem.
In the face of increasing opposition, Jesus prepares his disciples for his death.  16.13-19 has Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God, and Jesus' commissioning of Peter to be the rock on which the church will be built.

Proverbs 19

Scattered throughout this chapter are sayings about domestic problems, presenting a picture of peace and tranquility which reign in Wisdom's house, compared to the slothful person's lifestyle.

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