1. Listen and Tell

I once had occasion to meet a professor who, whilst without doubt was a brilliant man, but was of a distinctly objectionable character. He wanted to argue about everything and was only satisfied when he had humiliated his ‘opponent.’

Lord Tebbit was Margaret Thatcher’s right hand man during the 1980s, he served as employment secretary and Trade and Industry secretary and became the chairman of the Conservative Party. In 1984, at the party’s annual conference in Brighton the leaders stayed at the Grand Hotel. What no one knew at the time was that that weeks before the conference, the Irish Republican Army had planted a bomb in the hotel, it was set to explode at 3.00 am on 12th October 1984.

If you wake up in the middle of the night and need to get back to sleep, a radio under your pillow can help! The BBC world service broadcasts 24 h a day and one of their programmes currently scheduled for 3.00 am (GMT) is Outlook. It tells stories of heroism and bravery in the face of danger and difficulty. At least it did.

The first 6 chapters are believed to relate to the early years of Jeremiah’s work – most likely during the years in which Josiah was king. Josiah had initiated a refurbishment of the temple and had removed much of the infrastructure for idol worship in Judah and beyond. He is not surprisingly described as a king who ‘did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.’

Imagine you are on the beach and there is some of that nice  flat wet sand that is good to walk on – and you discover someone has written: ‘Peter loves Mary.’ It’s a simple statement and it would be tempting to interpret it as something written by Peter as a statement of his romantic love for Mary – probably a reasonable assumption, but it’s not the only interpretation!

The sixth chapter of Jeremiah concludes the opening section which is largely concerned with warnings of judgment. Remember that when Jeremiah was given this difficult task he was just a young man. It seems likely that these early chapters of the book took place when Jeremiah was still young, the good king Josiah was on the throne and things were going relatively well for Judah.