Reflecting on Jeremiah 22 1-10

We are studying Jeremiah 22:1-10 for Sunday, May 24. After last week’s unrelieved doom, we get a ray of possible hope in this prophetic sequel from Jeremiah, which comes immediately after last week’s text in the book of Jeremiah. [Some notes on this text are here.] Here are some questions we might want to reflect on, or discuss in class:

What does it mean to “hear the word of YHWH” in verse 2, do we think? Or not to hear, as in verse 5?

What makes the difference between hearing and not hearing, do we think?

How well do we “hear,” do we think? Why is that? What do we think we can do to make our own “hearing” more acute, or complete?

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In verse 3, God lays out a program of “justice and righteousness.” What would that program entail in our own time, do we think? What makes us say that?

Do we think God desires the same practices from people today as God demanded of the house of the king of Judah? Or different ones? What makes us say this, and what do we see as the similarities and the differences between the 6th century BCE and today in what constitutes “justice and righteousness”?

Can we imagine someone disagreeing with us about this? [That is, can we imagine a different viewpoint about what this instruction entails, held by another Christian?] How? How would we go about exploring and resolving that difference of opinion?

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One definition of worship is “the acknowledgement, in some formal way, of the existence and power of God.”[1] Does “doing justice and righteousness” and the other practices described in verse 3 fit this definition, do we think? Why, or why not?

How are the practices described in verse 3 related to what we ordinarily think of as worship? Does that tell us anything about what we ordinarily think of as worship? What?

How is not doing the set of “words” in verse 3 equivalent to “worshipping other gods and serving them,” do we think?

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The Directory of Worship, which is the central section of the PC(USA)’s Book of Order, says “Prayer is at the heart of worship.” (W-2.0202) Is prayer involved in “hearing” the word of God to “do justice and righteousness” as in verse 3, do we think? How is prayer involved? Why do we say that?

What prayer, or prayers, come to mind in response to this text? Why is that?

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[1] Peters, F.E. The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Princeton University Press, 2004. 103.

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