I have been thinking about Jeremiah a lot lately.
In the early verses of the book of Jeremiah, God comes to him and tells him don’t get married and don’t have kids. This, God tells him, will represent what the nation of Israel will be like: without comfort and without heirs to carry on their line.
I am learning more and more about the old Jewish ideas on marriage in a book that I am reading right now. Sometimes in a welfare state where so many services are provided I forget how important family, and more specifically having kids was for people in ancient cultures. There are practical reasons like needing more hands on the farm or tending flocks. There were reasons of protection, more kids meant more swords in case you were raided or asked to go to war. There were reasons of age, meaning that off spring ensured that you had people to take care of you when you were old and unable to care for yourself. Then there were all the impractical reasons like passing on your name and being remembered.
God shows up tells Jeremiah not to get married or have kids. He says that it is to be an object lesson to all of Israel who he was going to deprive of protection and welfare because they‘d strayed from the path.
God called Jeremiah to singleness so that when people said, “You are without protection. You are without offspring and anyone to care for you.” Jeremiah was called to this so he could say, “As are you, Israel.”
Recently I have been thinking about other things that we can do with our lives to be object lessons to the people around us.
I don’t have any suggestions. I have just been thinking lately.