On Sunday the 27th May we were joined for worship by the Cameroon Church Community, listen here!

Living Lent – Day 19

Read… Jeremiah 26: 1-9

… I will make this house like Shiloh, and I will make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.

Shiloh had been the place where the ark of the Lords covenant was kept.

The ark was the holiest of items, believed to be inhabited by God himself. It was the sign that God was with the Israelites. It had been constructed according to God’s instructions given to Moses (see Exodus 2526).

It was the ark that had been carried around the walls of Jericho, when they fell.

It was at Shiloh that Hannah had stood on the temple steps and prayed for son in great anguish and grief. Eli, the old priest had heard her and blessed her saying ‘may the Lord grant your request’ (1Samuel 1.17).

She had given Samuel to the Lord when he was weaned. He was left with Eli. Unfortunately Eli’s sons, who were also priests were ‘wicked and had no regard for the Lord’ (1Samuel 2.12). When Samuel, still a child, heard God speaking and replied ‘Speak, for your servant is listening’, God replied and told him to confirm everything that a previous prophet had spoken to Eli. This was that Eli and his sons would die and a new prophet Samuel would take their places. Reluctantly, Samuel had passed this message on to Eli, whose faith was strong, as he replied ‘He is the lord, let; let him do what is good in his eyes’.

A few years later, when Samuel had grown up, the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines but lost 4000 on the battlefield. So they sent for the ark of the Lord’s covenant. When the Philistines heard this they were afraid but hey were rallied and fought again capturing the ark, killing 30000 men including Eli’s sons. Eli fell of his stool and broke his neck when he was told the news.

So Shiloh was a most infamous defeat for Israel. It is recalled in Psalm 78.60, ‘He abandoned the tabernacle at Shiloh’.

Jeremiah is called by God to remind the people for the second time of this defeat. We read Jeremiah’s first reference to remember Shiloh on day eight. Her God is rather more specific effectively saying unless you change this will happen again. Stern words of warning.

Notice how God uses people of all ages to speak His words.

The young boy Samuel.

Jeremiah.

Do you remember Simeon, the old priest, (Luke 2. 25 – 32)?

Whatever our age God can use us. We need to listen to everyone for God’s word.

Ponder… For what reasons may we be called to proclaim a message that runs contrary to society’s, or even the religious establishment’s perceptions?

Pray… FOR OUR COMMUNITY Pray for people in our community who are retired. It is fair to say that none of what we do would be possible with the contribution of those who no longer work full time. Pray that we may honour the contribution they make in terms of their wisdom, skills, experience and generosity of resources. FOR THE WORLD Retirement means a lot of different things to different people – opportunity to pursue a hobby, travel the world, look after grandchildren, but also has challenges associated with getting older, be they health or energy related, or the difficulty of adjusting to a lifestyle without the purpose, status or job satisfaction that has been part of life for many, many years. Pray for those facing the joys and challenges of retirement.

Act… Say hello to your neighbours when you next see them