Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Weigel Engraving, Hananiah and Jeremiah

In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus saith the Lord to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck,
Jeremiah 27:1-2

More street theatre from Jeremiah. God tells him to make a wooden yolk, the kind that oxen wore for ploughing, and wear it around his own neck as he preached to those remaining in Jerusalem. God is leading the people into captivity for their own preservation, that they may once again experience slavery and be humbled in order to rise once more, in three score years and ten. Those that refused to go, were denying God, and this was Jeremiah's message: take the yolk.

And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the Lord, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand.1

Sometimes we need to slow down, stop scheming, planning and achieving, and go into reflective mode. The Babylon incident represents such a period of reflection—essentially a seventy-year retrospective—for the people of Judah. This was the period of time in which much of the Bible was written down in the form we have today. The captured people were able to reflect on their story, see their part in their own downfall, and write the story for future generations to learn from their mistakes. God led this remnant of His people out of captivity with renewed faith and energy to rebuild. Those that were left behind, who denied the yolk, were essentially absorbed into other, invading cultures.

If we continue to rush headlong without knowing where we are going we will ultimately get lost. Regular retrospectives help to keep us on track, to stay connected with one another, and to proceed with meaning and purpose.

1Jeremiah 27:8