Are You a King Because You Compete in Cedar?

This meditation is based on a passage for April 7, 2011 in the Daily Lectionary Year 1 from the Book of Common Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1993).

Text: Jeremiah 22:13-23

Reflection and Question: Rachel Maddow, on her weeknight cable TV show, reminds me of Jeremiah’s indictment against Jehoiakim in this passage. What makes a good king for Jeremiah is obvious — fair wages, righteousness and justice for the poor and needy. In contrast, Jehoiakim has devoted himself to building a big house, a showcase for rich living. Surely the economic meltdown three years ago confirms Jeremiah’s warnings that such wickedness ends in disgrace and doom. The Judean king apparently competed in cedar; today, we compete in cars. Why does God care about fair wages and justice for the poor?

Prayer: Great God, the Holy One of Israel, use Jeremiah’s warnings to Jehoiakim to open our eyes to our own dishonest gain. May we see the poor and needy all around us. May we listen to your counsel and do justice and righteousness all our days. Amen.