Start each day by dealing with justice. Rescue victims from their exploiters. (Jeremiah 21:11-12)
I'm not a psychiatrist, but my daughter struggled with mental illness for most of her life.
So I have this to say about Jeremiah: Like someone with bipolar disorder (manic/depressive), he swings from the depth of despair (curse the day I was born!) to attempts at happiness (sing praise to God!) He expresses his faith by obeying God in spite of the fear, paranoia, and isolation he experienced.
His message didn't make things any better. No one wanted to listen to the doomsday prophet. His countrymen tolerated him as the voice of a minority of one.
Tucked into today's message, God told the leaders how to avert the coming catastrophe. Get your priorities straight.
The first order of business each and every day? Deal with justice. Rescue victims from the perpetrators.
Justice suggests a court with judge and jury. The king acted as the supreme court, or perhaps a presidential pardon. The people brought their most difficult cases to him. Solomon's decision regarding the two mothers and one child is a classic example of discerning the truth of a situation.
Rescuing victims suggests a more active role. The king not only judge impartially. He, and his leaders with him, should seek out victims. The poor, orphans, widows, and foreigners are often mentioned throughout the Bible in need of special consideration.
Good advice. But Jeremiah preached this wisdom when the kingdom felt increased pressure from invaders. I'm sure national leaders focused on defense, alliances, weapons, a strong army. Even then, "the best offense was a good defense."
Taking care of the poor and downtrodden, preventing prejudice against foreigners, ranked low in the national conscience.
Yet God said to take care of it first.
These last couple of days have come out as more political than I like, but that is where the scripture took me. On an individual basis, perhaps I should look to the needs of others instead of always expecting them to accommodate my needs.
For years, I met with fellow writer Vicki Baker twice a month. A fall during a trapeze act left her paralyzed. She said how she learned to make others comfortable with her chair.
I've thought of that lately. When people visit, I need to be prepared to involve them. If I wait for them to initiate a lively discussion, they're at a loss.
That happened the last time I spoke with my son. I mentioned my post on "cheap whining," and we got into an interesting exploration of the idea.
Anyhow: first things first.