1085.) Jeremiah 20

June 28, 2013

Jer20 in mine heart

Jeremiah 20   (NLT)

Jeremiah and Pashhur

Now Pashhur son of Immer, the priest in charge of the Temple of the Lord, heard what Jeremiah was prophesying. So he arrested Jeremiah the prophet and had him whipped and put in stocks at the Benjamin Gate of the Lord’s Temple.

Jer20 stocks

The next day, when Pashhur finally released him, Jeremiah said, “Pashhur, the Lord has changed your name. From now on you are to be called ‘The Man Who Lives in Terror.’ For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will send terror upon you and all your friends, and you will watch as they are slaughtered by the swords of the enemy. I will hand the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will take them captive to Babylon or run them through with the sword. And I will let your enemies plunder Jerusalem. All the famed treasures of the city—the precious jewels and gold and silver of your kings—will be carried off to Babylon. As for you, Pashhur, you and all your household will go as captives to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you prophesied that everything would be all right.’”

Jeremiah is not cowed in the least!  As soon as he is out of the stocks, he says again, even more personally to the priest, exactly what got him in trouble in the first place!

Jeremiah’s Complaint

O Lord, you misled me,
    and I allowed myself to be misled.
You are stronger than I am,
    and you overpowered me.

My heart goes out to Jeremiah.  He is strong on the outside, but questioning on the inside.  Living in faith in difficult circumstances — God never says it will be easy.  But in his questions and doubts, he goes to the Lord, and there is where he finds comfort and strength to continue.  We are so fortunate to have all of Holy Scripture, as well as hymnals and devotionals and more spiritual teaching than we could ever listen to and more helpful books than we could ever read!  “Come to Me when you are burdened,” Jesus says, “and I will give you rest” — rest for your souls.  Do not let your questions fester in your soul; do as Jeremiah did and take them directly to God.

Now I am mocked every day;
    everyone laughs at me.
When I speak, the words burst out.
    “Violence and destruction!” I shout.
So these messages from the Lord
    have made me a household joke.

Jer20 burning fire
But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord
    or speak in his name,
his word burns in my heart like a fire.
    It’s like a fire in my bones!
I am worn out trying to hold it in!
    I can’t do it!

10 I have heard the many rumors about me.
    They call me “The Man Who Lives in Terror.”
They threaten, “If you say anything, we will report it.”
    Even my old friends are watching me,
    waiting for a fatal slip.
“He will trap himself,” they say,
    “and then we will get our revenge on him.”

Jer20 warrior

11 But the Lord stands beside me like a great warrior.
    Before him my persecutors will stumble.
    They cannot defeat me.
They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated.
    Their dishonor will never be forgotten.

12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
you test those who are righteous,
    and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets.
Let me see your vengeance against them,
    for I have committed my cause to you.
13 Sing to the Lord!
    Praise the Lord!
For though I was poor and needy,
    he rescued me from my oppressors.

_________________________

Music:

Are you already hearing Johnny Cash singing “Burning Ring of Fire”?  HERE  it is!

_________________________

14 Yet I curse the day I was born!
    May no one celebrate the day of my birth.
15 I curse the messenger who told my father,
    “Good news—you have a son!”
16 Let him be destroyed like the cities of old
    that the Lord overthrew without mercy.
Terrify him all day long with battle shouts,
17     because he did not kill me at birth.
Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb,
    that her body had been my grave!
18 Why was I ever born?
    My entire life has been filled
    with trouble, sorrow, and shame.

Many of God’s witnesses, in Biblical times and beyond, have experienced these dark nights of the soul.  Jonah (who also had God’s Word burning in his heart) understood:

Jonah 2 (NLT)

Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish.  He said,

“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble,
    and he answered me.
I called to you from the land of the dead,
    and Lord, you heard me!
You threw me into the ocean depths,
    and I sank down to the heart of the sea.
The mighty waters engulfed me;
    I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.
Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence.
    Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’

“I sank beneath the waves,
    and the waters closed over me.
    Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.
I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.
    I was imprisoned in the earth,
    whose gates lock shut forever.
But you, O Lord my God,
    snatched me from the jaws of death!
As my life was slipping away,
    I remembered the Lord.
And my earnest prayer went out to you
    in your holy Temple.
Those who worship false gods
    turn their backs on all God’s mercies.
But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise,
    and I will fulfill all my vows.
    For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)  Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
in mine heart.    http://www.digitalscrapbookplace.com/gallery/data/1807/jeremiah_20-9.jpg
in stocks.    http://www.bible-history.com/ibh/images/fullsized/in_the_stocks.jpg
like a burning fire.    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/–FnIa3yGPRc/TjRWfD8qBQI/AAAAAAAAAUA/OEm5k5B2yO0/s1600/Jeremiah.+20+v.+9-.jpg
great warrior.    http://www.dailylifeverse.com/posts/images/2012/08/jeremiah-20-11.jpg?s=full
Advertisements

1084.) Jeremiah 19

June 27, 2013
"Jeremiah 19 The Broken Flask"  by Sue Flanagan

“Jeremiah 19 The Broken Flask” by Sue Flanagan

Jeremiah 19   (NLT)

Jeremiah’s Shattered Jar

–from an ancient version of How to Win Friends and Influence People!

This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a clay jar. Then ask some of the leaders of the people and of the priests to follow you. Go out through the Gate of Broken Pots to the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and give them this message. Say to them, ‘Listen to this message from the Lord, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will bring a terrible disaster on this place, and the ears of those who hear about it will ring!

It is not hard to imagine how annoying such a message would become.

“‘For Israel has forsaken me and turned this valley into a place of wickedness. The people burn incense to foreign gods—idols never before acknowledged by this generation, by their ancestors, or by the kings of Judah. And they have filled this place with the blood of innocent children. They have built pagan shrines to Baal, and there they burn their sons as sacrifices to Baal. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! So beware, for the time is coming, says the Lord, when this garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.

We know how much people appreciate being told they are wrong.

“‘For I will upset the careful plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will allow the people to be slaughtered by invading armies, and I will leave their dead bodies as food for the vultures and wild animals. I will reduce Jerusalem to ruins, making it a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be astonished and will gasp at the destruction they see there. I will see to it that your enemies lay siege to the city until all the food is gone. Then those trapped inside will eat their own sons and daughters and friends. They will be driven to utter despair.’

In fact, when Jerusalem’s food supplies ran out during the Babylonian siege in 586 B.C., cannibalism resulted (see Lamentations 2:20 and 4:10).

10 As these men watch you, Jeremiah, smash the jar you brought. 11 Then say to them, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: As this jar lies shattered, so I will shatter the people of Judah and Jerusalem beyond all hope of repair. They will bury the bodies here in Topheth, the garbage dump, until there is no more room for them. 12 This is what I will do to this place and its people, says the Lord. I will cause this city to become defiled like Topheth. 13 Yes, all the houses in Jerusalem, including the palace of Judah’s kings, will become like Topheth—all the houses where you burned incense on the rooftops to your star gods, and where liquid offerings were poured out to your idols.’”

A visual, a prop, an action.  All to make the message more clear, more pointed.

14 Then Jeremiah returned from Topheth, the garbage dump where he had delivered this message, and he stopped in front of the Temple of the Lord. He said to the people there, 15 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will bring disaster upon this city and its surrounding towns as I promised, because you have stubbornly refused to listen to me.’”

“False gods never fail to fail.”

–Christopher Wright

_________________________

Music:

Time for us to stop and worship our God, the Creator and Redeemer and Sustainer of the world, our help in time of trouble, our everlasting hope and salvation.  We sing our praises to no false god; we do not forsake the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.  HERE  is “Here I Am to Worship.”

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Flanagan.    http://www.sueflanagan.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/jeremiah-19-final-copy.jpg

1083.) Jeremiah 18

June 26, 2013

Jer18 take me use me

Jeremiah 18   (NLT)

The Potter and the Clay

The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.

Then the Lord gave me this message: “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom, 10 but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless it as I said I would.

11 “Therefore, Jeremiah, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right.’”

Jer18 potterswheel.jpg.

Music:

Amy Carmichael says, “No matter what our affliction, there is always hope.  Cannot I do with you as this potter? asks the Lord.  We are in His hand, and no one can snatch us from His grasp.”

HERE  is Hillsong and “The Potter’s Hand.”

_________________________

12 But the people replied, “Don’t waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires.”

13 So this is what the Lord says:

“Has anyone ever heard of such a thing,
    even among the pagan nations?
My virgin daughter Israel
    has done something terrible!
14 Does the snow ever disappear from the mountaintops of Lebanon?
    Do the cold streams flowing from those distant mountains ever run dry?
15 But my people are not so reliable, for they have deserted me;
    they burn incense to worthless idols.
They have stumbled off the ancient highways
    and walk in muddy paths.

snow-topped mountains,  Bsharri, Lebanon

snow-topped mountains, Bsharri, Lebanon

You could depend on snow and mountain streams in nature, but God couldn’t depend on His people!

–William MacDonald

16 Therefore, their land will become desolate,
    a monument to their stupidity.
All who pass by will be astonished
    and will shake their heads in amazement.
17 I will scatter my people before their enemies
    as the east wind scatters dust.
And in all their trouble I will turn my back on them
    and refuse to notice their distress.”

A Plot against Jeremiah

18 Then the people said, “Come on, let’s plot a way to stop Jeremiah. We have plenty of priests and wise men and prophets. We don’t need him to teach the word and give us advice and prophecies. Let’s spread rumors about him and ignore what he says.”

The people of Jerusalem are fed up with Jeremiah and his speeches about their sin and God’s coming judgment.

19 Lord, hear me and help me!
    Listen to what my enemies are saying.
20 Should they repay evil for good?
    They have dug a pit to kill me,
though I pleaded for them
    and tried to protect them from your anger.
21 So let their children starve!
    Let them die by the sword!
Let their wives become childless widows.
    Let their old men die in a plague,
    and let their young men be killed in battle!
22 Let screaming be heard from their homes
    as warriors come suddenly upon them.
For they have dug a pit for me
    and have hidden traps along my path.
23 Lord, you know all about their murderous plots against me.
    Don’t forgive their crimes and blot out their sins.
Let them die before you.
    Deal with them in your anger.

Jeremiah expresses regret that he ever asked God to spare them.  Such a prayer is scarcely suitable for believers in this age of grace.

–William MacDonald

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Take me, use me.   http://todaysinconvenienttruth.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/11962755230117311hcfajnlhc2.jpg
potter’s wheel.    http://www.smp.org/size/files/c44cd6e8bd3a76c59bc69bd22aae4b6c/Jer18_1-6potterswheel.jpg.540x.jpg
snow-topped mountains.   http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/u/TvyamNb-BivtNwcoxtkc5xGBuGkIMh_nj4UJHQKuorcp8bNZVfUkGavEak6XqoYZi5QmL_5IEc7wDQ/

1082.) Jeremiah 17

June 25, 2013

Jer17 watercolor

Jeremiah 17    (NLT)

Judah’s Sin and Punishment

“The sin of Judah
    is inscribed with an iron chisel—
engraved with a diamond point on their stony hearts
    and on the corners of their altars.

Because of their idolatry, which had caused sin to be deeply engraved in their hearts, there will be tragic consequences:

Even their children go to worship
    at their pagan altars and Asherah poles,
beneath every green tree
    and on every high hill.
So I will hand over my holy mountain—
    along with all your wealth and treasures
    and your pagan shrines—
as plunder to your enemies,
    for sin runs rampant in your land.

Jerusalem will fall . . .

The wonderful possession I have reserved for you
    will slip from your hands.
I will tell your enemies to take you
    as captives to a foreign land.

. . . and the people of Judah will be sent into exile.

For my anger blazes like a fire
    that will burn forever.”

“The human heart is an idol factory.  Every one of us from our mother’s womb is an expert in inventing idols.”

–attributed to John Calvin

Wisdom from the Lord

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
    who rely on human strength
    and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
    with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
    in an uninhabited salty land.

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord     and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,     with roots that reach deep into the water.

But I will bless the person
    who puts his trust in me.
He is like a tree growing near a stream
    and sending out roots to the water.

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
    with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
    or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
    and they never stop producing fruit.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
    and desperately wicked.
    Who really knows how bad it is?

Jer17 Prov 4 23

Unregenerate human nature is in a grave condition without divine grace, “desperately wicked.”  Other translations have it as “exceedingly corrupt” (ASV), “desperately sick” (ESV), “too sick to be healed” (GNT).  It may seem a harsh description but I have noticed, in my life and in others’, that we do not drift towards righteousness.  Left to our own devices, we prove the truth of this verse.

Psalm 19:14    (ESV)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts
    and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
    according to what their actions deserve.”

Jeremiah’s Trust in the Lord

11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs she has not laid,
    so are those who get their wealth by unjust means.
At midlife they will lose their riches;
    in the end, they will become poor old fools.
12 But we worship at your throne—
    eternal, high, and glorious!
13 O Lord, the hope of Israel,
    all who turn away from you will be disgraced.
They will be buried in the dust of the earth,
    for they have abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living water.

14 O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed;
    if you save me, I will be truly saved.
    My praises are for you alone!
15 People scoff at me and say,
“What is this ‘message from the Lord’ you talk about?
    Why don’t your predictions come true?”

With this taunt Jeremiah is accused of being a false prophet.

16 Lord, I have not abandoned my job
    as a shepherd for your people.
I have not urged you to send disaster.
    You have heard everything I’ve said.
17 Lord, don’t terrorize me!
    You alone are my hope in the day of disaster.
18 Bring shame and dismay on all who persecute me,
    but don’t let me experience shame and dismay.
Bring a day of terror on them.
    Yes, bring double destruction upon them!

Observing the Sabbath

Jer17 sabbath

19 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and stand in the gates of Jerusalem, first in the gate where the king goes in and out, and then in each of the other gates. 20 Say to all the people, ‘Listen to this message from the Lord, you kings of Judah and all you people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem. 21 This is what the Lord says: Listen to my warning! Stop carrying on your trade at Jerusalem’s gates on the Sabbath day. 22 Do not do your work on the Sabbath, but make it a holy day. I gave this command to your ancestors, 23 but they did not listen or obey. They stubbornly refused to pay attention or accept my discipline.

24 “‘But if you obey me, says the Lord, and do not carry on your trade at the gates or work on the Sabbath day, and if you keep it holy, 25 then kings and their officials will go in and out of these gates forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. Kings and their officials will always ride in and out among the people of Judah in chariots and on horses, and this city will remain forever. 26 And from all around Jerusalem, from the towns of Judah and Benjamin, from the western foothills and the hill country and the Negev, the people will come with their burnt offerings and sacrifices. They will bring their grain offerings, frankincense, and thanksgiving offerings to the Lord’s Temple.

27 “‘But if you do not listen to me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames.’”

“Similar principles apply to the Lord’s Day for Christians.  It too is for spiritual and physical refreshment, remembrance of the Redeemer and our redemption, worship of the Lord, and commemorating our Lord’s first-day-of-the-week Resurrection victory.”

–William MacDonald

_________________________

Music:

I love verse 14:

O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed;
    if you save me, I will be truly saved.
    My praises are for you alone!

A song of praise for our glorious Lord!  “O Worship the King” was written by Sir Robert Grant.  Born in 1779 in India, he went to college in England, became a lawyer, won a seat in Parliament, and returned to India as a director with the East India Company.  In 1834 he was asked to be the governor of Bombay.  He died four years later, and is best remembered for penning this hymn, his rendition of Psalm 104.  HERE  it is performed in the Belfast Cathedral.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
green tree watercolor.    http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5023/5612578210_1323d1ffba_z.jpg
tree by the waters.    http://plainadventure.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/tree-1024×768.jpg
above all else guard your heart.    http://jasonstuff.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/4-23_ProverbsDaily.jpg
Remember the Sabbath day.    http://www.rememberthesabbathday.org.uk/images/sabbath_day_banner.jpg

1081.) Jeremiah 16

June 24, 2013

Jer16 17

Jeremiah 16   (NLT)

Jeremiah Forbidden to Marry

The Lord gave me another message. He said, “Do not get married or have children in this place.

Jeremiah is the only man in the Bible forbidden to marry.  He will be childless, a sign that there is no immediate future for Judah.

For this is what the Lord says about the children born here in this city and about their mothers and fathers: They will die from terrible diseases. No one will mourn for them or bury them, and they will lie scattered on the ground like manure. They will die from war and famine, and their bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals.”

Judah’s Coming Punishment

This is what the Lord says: “Do not go to funerals to mourn and show sympathy for these people, for I have removed my protection and peace from them. I have taken away my unfailing love and my mercy. Both the great and the lowly will die in this land. No one will bury them or mourn for them. Their friends will not cut themselves in sorrow or shave their heads in sadness. No one will offer a meal to comfort those who mourn for the dead—not even at the death of a mother or father. No one will send a cup of wine to console them.

Jer16 bread and wine

This practice of breaking bread in connection with death seems to be the origin of what the Lord Jesus consecrated into the grand memorial of His remembrance.  “Neither shall men beak bread for them in mourning, to comfort them for the dead; neither shall men give them the cup of consolation” (verse 7).  There you have the Supper, in both its parts.  It was a familiar custom among the Jews, but the Lord gave a unique significance to it, and stamped new truth upon it.  It was connected with the Passover, for, as we know, that was the time of its institution.  There was a particular reason for its establishment at that and at no other time, because it was to mark the impressive change from the the great central and fundamental feast of Israel.  A new and different feast was begun for the Christians.

–William Kelly

“And do not go to their feasts and parties. Do not eat and drink with them at all. For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: In your own lifetime, before your very eyes, I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in this land. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard.

10 “When you tell the people all these things, they will ask, ‘Why has the Lord decreed such terrible things against us? What have we done to deserve such treatment? What is our sin against the Lord our God?’

11 “Then you will give them the Lord’s reply: ‘It is because your ancestors were unfaithful to me. They worshiped other gods and served them. They abandoned me and did not obey my word. 12 And you are even worse than your ancestors! You stubbornly follow your own evil desires and refuse to listen to me. 13 So I will throw you out of this land and send you into a foreign land where you and your ancestors have never been. There you can worship idols day and night—and I will grant you no favors!’

God will send them into exile.

Hope despite the Disaster

14 “But the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when people who are taking an oath will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ 15 Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ For I will bring them back to this land that I gave their ancestors.

16 “But now I am sending for many fishermen who will catch them,” says the Lord. “I am sending for hunters who will hunt them down in the mountains, hills, and caves. 17 I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me. 18 I will double their punishment for all their sins, because they have defiled my land with lifeless images of their detestable gods and have filled my territory with their evil deeds.”

Jer16 map_captivity_routes

“The land of the north” refers to Babylonia, and the “fishermen” and “hunters” are Babylonians.  Judah is pictured as the prey of the Lord.  (The Reformation Bible)

Jeremiah’s Prayer of Confidence

19 Lord, you are my strength and fortress,
    my refuge in the day of trouble!
Nations from around the world
    will come to you and say,
“Our ancestors left us a foolish heritage,
    for they worshiped worthless idols.
20 Can people make their own gods?
    These are not real gods at all!”

21 The Lord says,
“Now I will show them my power;
    now I will show them my might.
At last they will know and understand
    that I am the Lord.

_________________________

Music:

Lord, we thank you that you are, forever and ever, our strength and fortress and refuge!  HERE  is Chris Rice and “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)  Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
for mine eyes are upon all their ways.    http://delivertheword.com/lookingdifferent/files/2012/10/A04-Jeremiah_16_17_LookingDifferent_v1_03-Preview.jpg
bread and wine.    http://www.clker.com/cliparts/f/e/3/1/1194984104231157410bread_and_wine_mark_near_.svg.med.png
map.   http://www.saveyourheritage.com/images/map_captivity_routes.gif

1080.) Jeremiah 15

June 21, 2013

Jer15 16

Jeremiah 15   (NLT)

Judah’s Inevitable Doom

Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn’t help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight! And if they say to you, ‘But where can we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘Those who are destined for death, to death;
    those who are destined for war, to war;
those who are destined for famine, to famine;
    those who are destined for captivity, to captivity.’

“I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” says the Lord. “I will send the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, the vultures to devour, and the wild animals to finish up what is left. Because of the wicked things Manasseh son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem, I will make my people an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.

Manasseh was the most wicked king in Judah’s history (see 2 Kings 21:1-11, 16), and his sins were a primary cause of the nation’s eventual destruction (see 2 Kings 21:12-15; 23:26-27; 24:3-4).  (The Archaeology Study Bible)

“Who will feel sorry for you, Jerusalem?
    Who will weep for you?
    Who will even bother to ask how you are?
You have abandoned me
    and turned your back on me,”
    says the Lord.

Jer15 the_end_is_near_sign
“Therefore, I will raise my fist to destroy you.
    I am tired of always giving you another chance.
I will winnow you like grain at the gates of your cities
    and take away the children you hold dear.
I will destroy my own people,
    because they refuse to change their evil ways.
There will be more widows
    than the grains of sand on the seashore.
At noontime I will bring a destroyer
    against the mothers of young men.
I will cause anguish and terror
    to come upon them suddenly.
The mother of seven grows faint and gasps for breath;
    her sun has gone down while it is still day.
She sits childless now,
    disgraced and humiliated.
And I will hand over those who are left
    to be killed by the enemy.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Romans 6:23 (NIV)

For the wages of sin is death . . .

Jeremiah’s Complaint

Jeremiah has heard the bad news and turns to the Lord for comfort.  The following conversation between Jeremiah and God is precious to read.

10 Then I said,

“What sorrow is mine, my mother.
    Oh, that I had died at birth!
    I am hated everywhere I go.
I am neither a lender who threatens to foreclose
    nor a borrower who refuses to pay—
    yet they all curse me.”

11 The Lord replied,

“I will take care of you, Jeremiah.
    Your enemies will ask you to plead on their behalf
    in times of trouble and distress.
12 Can a man break a bar of iron from the north,
    or a bar of bronze?
13 At no cost to them,
    I will hand over your wealth and treasures
as plunder to your enemies,
    for sin runs rampant in your land.
14 I will tell your enemies to take you
    as captives to a foreign land.
For my anger blazes like a fire
    that will burn forever.”

15 Then I said,

Lord, you know what’s happening to me.
    Please step in and help me. Punish my persecutors!
Please give me time; don’t let me die young.
    It’s for your sake that I am suffering.
16 When I discovered your words, I devoured them.
    They are my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name,
    O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.

Jer15 Eat the Word

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

REJOICING IN GOD’S WORD

If you were to receive a note from the leader of your country or someone famous, you would probably save it as a keepsake.  How much more precious is a message from almighty God!

Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances that are beyond our control  This was the case for Mary and Martha as they were grieving the death of their brother Lazarus.  At these times a word from Jesus can bring much rejoicing (John 11:41-45).  Other times when Jesus speaks, His words bring correction.  “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23) and “O you of little faith” (Matthew 14:31) do not seem to bring joy.  Yet Jeremiah said that God’s word brought him joy.

It is overwhelming to consider that holy, almighty God would speak directly to us!  What a privilege that He would care enough to challenge our destructive thoughts or practices.  No matter whether His words are praising us or chastising us, we ought to consider it joy to receive life-changing words from our Master!

Every time we prepare to worship the Lord, we ought to do so with anticipation that almighty God may have something to say to us.  Whenever we open our Bibles, we should expect that God has something to tell us in our time with Him.  We ought to be far more concerned with what God will say to us during our prayer times than with what we intend to tell Him.

When you receive a word from your Lord, whether it be of praise or of correction, consider it joy that almighty God would speak to you.

17 I never joined the people in their merry feasts.
    I sat alone because your hand was on me.
    I was filled with indignation at their sins.

We will learn in the next chapter that Jeremiah never married.

18 Why then does my suffering continue?
    Why is my wound so incurable?
Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook,
    like a spring that has gone dry.”

19 This is how the Lord responds:

“If you return to me, I will restore you
    so you can continue to serve me.
If you speak good words rather than worthless ones,
    you will be my spokesman.
You must influence them;
    do not let them influence you!
20 They will fight against you like an attacking army,
    but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze.
They will not conquer you,
    for I am with you to protect and rescue you.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!
21 Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men.
    I will rescue you from their cruel hands.”

Romans 6:23 (NIV)

For the wages of sin is death . . . but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

_________________________

Music:

How tenderly the Lord reassures Jeremiah and calms his anxiety.  God promises to protect his prophet and encourages Jeremiah to remain faithful.  HERE is a song to lift up Jeremiah’s spirits and yours as well — Bruce Springsteen and “This Little Light of Mine.”

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)  Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Your words were found.   http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-W550VYP0EiY/UV8sakvkJRI/AAAAAAAAPXw/8vNwZT1fZJI/s1600/Jeremiah+15+16.jpg
the end is near.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-h17MgbHyor0/T0oGQSid2TI/AAAAAAAAA-A/PnZTR3cCFPs/s1600/the_end_is_near_sign.jpg
Bible on dinner plate.    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cfGnLJsHnbA/T9-NBXZ7R2I/AAAAAAAAC3M/EIHWj6MzTc8/s1600/Bible-Eat+the+Word.jpg

1079.) Jeremiah 14

June 20, 2013

Jer14 22

Jeremiah 14   (NLT)

Judah’s Terrible Drought

The people are so hardened in their sin that God will not answer even Jeremiah’s prayer for deliverance from the punishment of drought.  In answer to Jeremiah’s question whether God has rejected Judah completely (verse 9), God replies that the coming judgment is inevitable because of Judah’s sin.  (The Reformation Bible)

This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord, explaining why he was holding back the rain:

“Judah wilts;
    commerce at the city gates grinds to a halt.
All the people sit on the ground in mourning,
    and a great cry rises from Jerusalem.
The nobles send servants to get water,
    but all the wells are dry.
The servants return with empty pitchers,
    confused and desperate,
    covering their heads in grief.
The ground is parched
    and cracked for lack of rain.
The farmers are deeply troubled;
    they, too, cover their heads.
Even the doe abandons her newborn fawn
    because there is no grass in the field.
The wild donkeys stand on the bare hills
    panting like thirsty jackals.
They strain their eyes looking for grass,
    but there is none to be found.”

Such a clear picture Jeremiah paints with his words!

The people say, “Our wickedness has caught up with us, Lord,
    but help us for the sake of your own reputation.
We have turned away from you
    and sinned against you again and again.
O Hope of Israel, our Savior in times of trouble,
    why are you like a stranger to us?
Why are you like a traveler passing through the land,
    stopping only for the night?
Are you also confused?
    Is our champion helpless to save us?
You are right here among us, Lord.
    We are known as your people.
    Please don’t abandon us now!”

The prophet Jeremiah, confessing for the people, asks for relief from the drought and the famine.  But the Lord says there will be no relief; rather, the people will be destroyed by sword, by famine, and by pestilence.

–William MacDonald

10 So this is what the Lord says to his people:
“You love to wander far from me
    and do not restrain yourselves.
Therefore, I will no longer accept you as my people.
    Now I will remember all your wickedness
    and will punish you for your sins.”

The Lord Forbids Jeremiah to Intercede

11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for these people anymore.

We are instructed often in Scripture to pray unceasingly, with fervency and belief.  So it is a bit of a shock to hear God say, “Don’t pray for them.”  God’s patience had run out with the people’s continual sinning and he had made up his mind as to his course of action.  Sad words:  Too Late.

12 When they fast, I will pay no attention. When they present their burnt offerings and grain offerings to me, I will not accept them. Instead, I will devour them with war, famine, and disease.”

13 Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord, their prophets are telling them, ‘All is well—no war or famine will come. The Lord will surely send you peace.’”

14 Then the Lord said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. 15 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine!

This is one of the most frightening themes in the Bible, in my opinion — that there are those who think they are serving God in their religious work, but God does not know them.  Lord, help me be a true disciple!

Matthew 7:15-23   (NIV)

True and False Prophets

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

True and False Disciples

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

16 As for the people to whom they prophesy—their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and war. There will be no one left to bury them. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters—all will be gone. For I will pour out their own wickedness on them. 17 Now, Jeremiah, say this to them:

“Night and day my eyes overflow with tears.
    I cannot stop weeping,
for my virgin daughter—my precious people—
    has been struck down
    and lies mortally wounded.
18 If I go out into the fields,
    I see the bodies of people slaughtered by the enemy.
If I walk the city streets,
    I see people who have died of starvation.
The prophets and priests continue with their work,
    but they don’t know what they’re doing.”

A Prayer for Healing

Jer14 healed

19 Lord, have you completely rejected Judah?
    Do you really hate Jerusalem?
Why have you wounded us past all hope of healing?
    We hoped for peace, but no peace came.
    We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.
20 Lord, we confess our wickedness
    and that of our ancestors, too.
    We all have sinned against you.
21 For the sake of your reputation, Lord, do not abandon us.
    Do not disgrace your own glorious throne.
Please remember us,
    and do not break your covenant with us.

22 Can any of the worthless foreign gods send us rain?
    Does it fall from the sky by itself?
No, you are the one, O Lord our God!
    Only you can do such things.
    So we will wait for you to help us.

Jer14 raining

Psalm 135:6-7   (NIV)

The Lord does whatever pleases him,
    in the heavens and on the earth,
    in the seas and all their depths.
He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
    he sends lightning with the rain
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

_________________________

Music:

verse 22:  So we will wait for you to help us.

HERE  is “While I’m Waiting”  by John Waller.  Perhaps you are waiting for something or someone . . . such a long time, it seems . . .  and you may be weary.  Jesus understands, and is beside you even in the waiting.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)  Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Are there any among the idols.   http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-9Rqh7uEvYJg/UJwonzwkdII/AAAAAAAAAdc/qhRTWKOfa88/s640/jeremiah-14-22.png
by his stripes.   http://danielgelyana.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/healing_header.jpg
raining.    http://listresearchers.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/raining-coloring-page.jpg