Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Israel as the Wine of God's Fury

In Jeremiah 25:15ff, the prophet describes how Yahweh will make the nations drink the wine of his fury. But this all follows on the heels of the promise that Jerusalem will go into exile for 70 years. The implication is that Israel is the wine of God's fury. Israel will be scattered into the nations, and those nations will become drunk (with Israel) and vomit (25:27). God's judgment will fall on his people at Jerusalem, and those cursed people will be taken into all the nations of the earth. But God has every intention of saving his people, and he will therefore fight for them and deliver them from the bellies of the nations. "Then I will bring them up and restore them to this place" (25:22). And of course it is difficult to miss the Jonah story wound through this.

Another possible implication is simply the inevitability of Israel reaching the nations. Her mission as the priestly people of God to serve and instruct the nations is being carried out in the exile regardless of the unfaithfulness of Israel. This does not exempt Israel from punishment but reveals God's ability to continue with his plan of discipling the nations. He will descipline the nations through Israel whether she is sick or healthy.

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