One of the supposed Bible contradictions that people use to denigrate the Bible’s authority is centered on the question, “Is God peaceable?” Detractors will cite verses like Romans 15:33 where God is called “the God of peace” and hold that against Exodus 15:3 where it is said, “The LORD is a man of war”. The question then becomes, “Which is God? A God of peace or a God of war?” The answer, however, is a relatively simple one: God is both.
And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. (Lk. 22:61a)
This observation is unique to Luke’s account. From a reader’s perspective it takes us by surprise. We knew Peter followed Jesus from a distance (vs.54) but we were unaware of the possibility of each being in each other’s line of sight. Perhaps Jesus was in transit in between trials. Whatever the case was, the providence of God, and the control of Christ, is at this point noticeably incredible. At the rooster’s crowing, “the Lord turned and looked at Peter.” Despite being like a lamb before His shearers, the Good Shepherd still had His eyes on His sheep.
Desperate situations can lead to desperate measures. They can also lead to counterfeit repentance. That essentially appears to be the idea behind the latter portion of Jeremiah thirty-four. Now, at first glance, the counterfeit had some of the external markings of the true. After all, when you beginning reading verses 8 through 10 you hear what appears to be a bit of good news. “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD” (vs.8a) came “after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them” (vs.8b). That’s a positive. But to be clear, this wasn’t a general declaration of freedom spoken to an already free people; this was an overdue announcement to people whose liberty was long overdue. Per Exodus 21:2, a reference God would implicitly remind the people of through Jeremiah (Jer. 34:13-14), slaves were only supposed to serve for six years and in the seventh year they were to go free (Ex. 21:2). But when we look at the words that come later on in the chapter (vs.14-15) it looks like Zedekiah and the people of Jerusalem had not followed that command up until this point. So Zedekiah, the people of the land, and just about everyone in between (vs.19), likely induced to a point of desperation because of the surrounding Babylonians, sought to make amends for their dismissal of God’s Law. With the pomp and circumstance of a covenant ceremony, they cut a calf in two, walked through the halves (vs.18-19), and issued the following proclamation:
Then Caleb said, “Whoever attacks Kirjath Sepher and takes it, to him I will give my daughter Achsah as wife.” And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; so he gave him his daughter Achsah as wife. Now it happened, when she came to him, that she urged him to ask her father for a field. And she dismounted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you wish?” So she said to him, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me land in the South, give me also springs of water.” And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs. (Judges 1:12-15)
I think most people who have read through the Bible, even if they haven’t read through all of it, have at some point looked at a passage and asked the question, “Why is this here?” In some cases a person might scratch their head and wonder why God decided to include such a narrative in the canon. But hopefully such head scratching recognizes that there is no issue with God’s eternal decision to reveal what He has willed to reveal. The issue is always with us. After all, our finite minds fall well short of God’s infinite wisdom. But with that being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if the passage above has prompted some to ask something like the aforementioned question. Hopefully this teaching can provide some clarity to replace any potential confusion.