1108.) Jeremiah 43

July 31, 2013

J43 egypt-tour

Jeremiah 43   (NLT)

Jeremiah Taken to Egypt

When Jeremiah had finished giving this message from the Lord their God to all the people, Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the other proud men said to Jeremiah, “You lie! The Lord our God hasn’t forbidden us to go to Egypt! Baruch son of Neriah has convinced you to say this, because he wants us to stay here and be killed by the Babylonians or be carried off into exile.”

They say, God would have said what we wanted him to say.  You are lying to us and you are against us.

So Johanan and the other guerrilla leaders and all the people refused to obey the Lord’s command to stay in Judah. Johanan and the other leaders took with them all the people who had returned from the nearby countries to which they had fled. In the crowd were men, women, and children, the king’s daughters, and all those whom Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had left with Gedaliah. The prophet Jeremiah and Baruch were also included. The people refused to obey the voice of the Lord and went to Egypt, going as far as the city of Tahpanhes.

And so, following their own plans, they go to Egypt.  They drag Jeremiah along with them.

Then at Tahpanhes, the Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “While the people of Judah are watching, take some large rocks and bury them under the pavement stones at the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace here in Tahpanhes. 10 Then say to the people of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will certainly bring my servant Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, here to Egypt. I will set his throne over these stones that I have hidden. He will spread his royal canopy over them. 11 And when he comes, he will destroy the land of Egypt. He will bring death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and war to those destined for war. 12 He will set fire to the temples of Egypt’s gods; he will burn the temples and carry the idols away as plunder. He will pick clean the land of Egypt as a shepherd picks fleas from his cloak. And he himself will leave unharmed. 13 He will break down the sacred pillars standing in the temple of the sun in Egypt, and he will burn down the temples of Egypt’s gods.’”

Jeremiah assures them that Nebuchadnezzar will come to Egypt and bring disaster with him both for them and for the Egyptians.

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Music:

Jeremiah goes to Egypt in chapter 43 and after chapter 44 we hear nothing more about him.  It is assumed he died in Egypt.

HERE  is music composed for the 1978 movie Death on the Nile, based on a book by Agatha Christie.  (Fun movie, with an all-star cast, great scenes of several cultural highlights of Egypt, and Academy Award-winning costumes!)

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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:
Tour Egypt.    http://www.wishclickngo.com/images/outbound-tours/egypt-tour-main-img.jpg

1107.) Jeremiah 42

July 30, 2013

J42 follow

Jeremiah 42   (NLT)

Warning to Stay in Judah

Then all the guerrilla leaders, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, approached Jeremiah the prophet. They said, “Please pray to the Lord your God for us. As you can see, we are only a tiny remnant compared to what we were before. Pray that the Lord your God will show us what to do and where to go.”

They say, Lord, lead our steps.  Guide our way.

“All right,” Jeremiah replied. “I will pray to the Lord your God, as you have asked, and I will tell you everything he says. I will hide nothing from you.”

Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord your God be a faithful witness against us if we refuse to obey whatever he tells us to do! Whether we like it or not, we will obey the Lord our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us.”

They say, We will follow the Lord our God.

Ten days later the Lord gave his reply to Jeremiah. So he called for Johanan son of Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders, and for all the people, from the least to the greatest. He said to them, “You sent me to the Lord, the God of Israel, with your request, and this is his reply: 10 ‘Stay here in this land. If you do, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you. For I am sorry about all the punishment I have had to bring upon you. 11 Do not fear the king of Babylon anymore,’ says the Lord. ‘For I am with you and will save you and rescue you from his power. 12 I will be merciful to you by making him kind, so he will let you stay here in your land.’

13 “But if you refuse to obey the Lord your God, and if you say, ‘We will not stay here; 14 instead, we will go to Egypt where we will be free from war, the call to arms, and hunger,’ 15 then hear the Lord’s message to the remnant of Judah. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you are determined to go to Egypt and live there, 16 the very war and famine you fear will catch up to you, and you will die there. 17 That is the fate awaiting every one of you who insists on going to live in Egypt. Yes, you will die from war, famine, and disease. None of you will escape the disaster I will bring upon you there.’

Deuteronomy 17:16   (NIV)

The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.”

The Lord’s word continues to be against seeking refuge in Egypt.  The issue, as ever, is false trust and the delusion of safety in human power and calculation.  (The Reformation Bible)

18 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Just as my anger and fury have been poured out on the people of Jerusalem, so they will be poured out on you when you enter Egypt. You will be an object of damnation, horror, cursing, and mockery. And you will never see your homeland again.’

19 “Listen, you remnant of Judah. The Lord has told you: ‘Do not go to Egypt!’ Don’t forget this warning I have given you today. 20 For you were not being honest when you sent me to pray to the Lord your God for you. You said, ‘Just tell us what the Lord our God says, and we will do it!’ 21 And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the Lord your God any better now than you have in the past. 22 So you can be sure that you will die from war, famine, and disease in Egypt, where you insist on going.”

They say, No way!  That is not what we want to do.  We do not want to stay here at the mercy of the Babylonians.

God said to stay but it seems that the people were already determined to flee to Egypt.  Jeremiah told them flatly they would meet disaster there.

“Modern Christians often do the same thing:  they ask God for guidance—and they often request counsel from parents, Sunday School teachers, elders, pastors, and others—yet their mind is already made up to do what they want.  Unfortunately, such ‘seeking counsel’ is all window dressing.”

–William MacDonald

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Music:

Let’s not say we want God’s direction and then go our own way.  HERE  is “I Will Follow”  by Chris Tomlin.

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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:
I have decided.     https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/p480x480/601795_564930103529556_544426610_n.jpg

1106.) Jeremiah 41

July 29, 2013

J41 Murder

Jeremiah 41   (NLT)

The Murder of Gedaliah

But in midautumn, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family and had been one of the king’s high officials, went to Mizpah with ten men to meet Gedaliah. While they were eating together, Ishmael and his ten men suddenly jumped up, drew their swords, and killed Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had appointed governor. Ishmael also killed all the Judeans and the Babylonian soldiers who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah.

Hospitality was one of the most highly regarded virtues of the ancient world.  Ancient custom with respect to hospitality normally meant that a host tried to protect a guest from harm.  Gedaliah likely assumed that his guests in turn would not harm him, much less kill him.  (The Archaeological Bible)

Death count: Gedaliah plus the Judeans and the Babylonian soldiers.

The next day, before anyone had heard about Gedaliah’s murder, eighty men arrived from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria to worship at the Temple of the Lord. They had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes, and cut themselves, and had brought along grain offerings and frankincense.

These cities were important religious centers in the former northern kingdom that fell in 722 B.C.  These men are a remnant of Israel’s population who had made pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the great feasts.  Their personal appearance reflects their mourning for the fall of Jerusalem.  They were bringing bloodless offerings, since the altar of the temple had been destroyed.  Even though the temple itself was in ruins, the site was still considered holy.  (The Reformation Bible)

Ishmael left Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he went. When he reached them, he said, “Oh, come and see what has happened to Gedaliah!”

But as soon as they were all inside the town, Ishmael and his men killed all but ten of them and threw their bodies into a cistern.

Death count: Gedaliah plus the Judeans and the Babylonian soldiers plus 70 Israelites.

The other ten had talked Ishmael into letting them go by promising to bring him their stores of wheat, barley, olive oil, and honey that they had hidden away. The cistern where Ishmael dumped the bodies of the men he murdered was the large one dug by King Asa when he fortified Mizpah to protect himself against King Baasha of Israel. Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with corpses.

10 Then Ishmael made captives of the king’s daughters and the other people who had been left under Gedaliah’s care in Mizpah by Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard. Taking them with him, he started back toward the land of Ammon.

11 But when Johanan son of Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders heard about Ishmael’s crimes, 12 they took all their men and set out to stop him. They caught up with him at the large pool near Gibeon. 13 The people Ishmael had captured shouted for joy when they saw Johanan and the other guerrilla leaders. 14 And all the captives from Mizpah escaped and began to help Johanan. 15 Meanwhile, Ishmael and eight of his men escaped from Johanan into the land of Ammon.

Death count: Gedaliah plus the Judeans and the Babylonian soldiers plus 70 Israelites plus two of Ishmael’s men.

16 Then Johanan son of Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders took all the people they had rescued in Gibeon—the soldiers, women, children, and court officials whom Ishmael had captured after he killed Gedaliah. 17 They took them all to the village of Geruth-kimham near Bethlehem, where they prepared to leave for Egypt. 18 They were afraid of what the Babylonians would do when they heard that Ishmael had killed Gedaliah, the governor appointed by the Babylonian king.

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Music:

There are classic country music songs which tell the stories of murders!  Johnny Cash and “Folsom Prison Blues” — “I shot a man in Reno / just to watch him die” — does it get more cold-blooded than that?  “Papa Loved Mama” by Garth Brooks — “Mama’s in the graveyard and Papa’s in the pen.”  And of course, “Frankie and Johnny” — “He was her man, but he was doin’ her wrong.”  But for a good laugh when thinking about murder (?!), there’s nothing better than the Dixie Chicks and “Goodbye Earl.”  HERE  it is for your listening pleasure!

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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:
murder.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c8/Murder_title.jpg

1105.) Jeremiah 40

July 26, 2013

J40 Babylonian Empire mapJeremiah 40   (NLT)

Jeremiah Remains in Judah

The Lord gave a message to Jeremiah after Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had released him at Ramah. He had found Jeremiah bound in chains among all the other captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being sent to exile in Babylon.

The captain of the guard called for Jeremiah and said, “The Lord your God has brought this disaster on this land, just as he said he would. For these people have sinned against the Lord and disobeyed him. That is why it happened. But I am going to take off your chains and let you go. If you want to come with me to Babylon, you are welcome. I will see that you are well cared for. But if you don’t want to come, you may stay here. The whole land is before you—go wherever you like. If you decide to stay, then return to Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan. He has been appointed governor of Judah by the king of Babylon. Stay there with the people he rules. But it’s up to you; go wherever you like.”

Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, gave Jeremiah some food and money and let him go. So Jeremiah returned to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah, and he lived in Judah with the few who were still left in the land.

The Lord takes care of his prophet through the kindness of the Babylonian captain of the guard!

Gedaliah Governs in Judah

The leaders of the Judean guerrilla bands in the countryside heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam as governor over the poor people who were left behind in Judah—the men, women, and children who hadn’t been exiled to Babylon. So they went to see Gedaliah at Mizpah. These included: Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, Jezaniah son of the Maacathite, and all their men.

Gedaliah vowed to them that the Babylonians meant them no harm. “Don’t be afraid to serve them. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and all will go well for you,” he promised. 10 “As for me, I will stay at Mizpah to represent you before the Babylonians who come to meet with us. Settle in the towns you have taken, and live off the land. Harvest the grapes and summer fruits and olives, and store them away.”

J40 grapes and olives

At the moment of judgment, we are given a glimpse of future blessing in the land.  (The Reformation Bible)

11 When the Judeans in Moab, Ammon, Edom, and the other nearby countries heard that the king of Babylon had left a few people in Judah and that Gedaliah was the governor, 12 they began to return to Judah from the places to which they had fled. They stopped at Mizpah to meet with Gedaliah and then went into the Judean countryside to gather a great harvest of grapes and other crops.

A Plot against Gedaliah

13 Soon after this, Johanan son of Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. 14 They said to him, “Did you know that Baalis, king of Ammon, has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to assassinate you?” But Gedaliah refused to believe them.

15 Later Johanan had a private conference with Gedaliah and volunteered to kill Ishmael secretly. “Why should we let him come and murder you?” Johanan asked. “What will happen then to the Judeans who have returned? Why should the few of us who are still left be scattered and lost?”

16 But Gedaliah said to Johanan, “I forbid you to do any such thing, for you are lying about Ishmael.”

Unfortunately, Gedaliah is wrong . . . (cue ominous music)

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Music:

I think what it must have been like for Jeremiah and the others — their king deported, their temple burned, the walls of Jerusalem knocked down, Babylonians in charge.  How helpless and lost many may have felt!  What kind of future was possible for them now?  Fortunately, God is still on his throne and his word still stands true.  HERE  is an Isaac Watts hymn to encourage us all:  “I Sing the Mighty Power of God.”

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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:
map of Babylonian Empire.    http://www.keyway.ca/gif/babylon.gif
grapes and olives.    http://imagesus.homeaway.com/mda01/bd0a837c-7a1d-427a-b001-7a4874c39016.1.12

1104.) Jeremiah 39

July 25, 2013

J39 Jerusalem falls

Jeremiah 39   (NLT)

The Fall of Jerusalem

In January of the ninth year of King Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar came with his army to besiege Jerusalem. Two and a half years later, on July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, the Babylonians broke through the wall, and the city fell.

This was 586 B.C.

All the officers of the Babylonian army came in and sat in triumph at the Middle Gate: Nergal-sharezer of Samgar, and Nebo-sarsekim, a chief officer, and Nergal-sharezer, the king’s adviser, and all the other officers.

When King Zedekiah and all the soldiers saw that the Babylonians had broken into the city, they fled. They waited for nightfall and then slipped through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden and headed toward the Jordan Valley.

But the Babylonian troops chased the king and caught him on the plains of Jericho. They took him to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who was at Riblah in the land of Hamath. There the king of Babylon pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. He made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons and all the nobles of Judah. Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon.

Meanwhile, the Babylonians burned Jerusalem, including the palace, and tore down the walls of the city. Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, sent to Babylon the rest of the people who remained in the city as well as those who had defected to him. 10 But Nebuzaradan left a few of the poorest people in Judah, and he assigned them vineyards and fields to care for.

Jeremiah Remains in Judah

11 King Nebuchadnezzar had told Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, to find Jeremiah. 12 “See that he isn’t hurt,” he said. “Look after him well, and give him anything he wants.” 13 So Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard; Nebushazban, a chief officer; Nergal-sharezer, the king’s adviser; and the other officers of Babylon’s king 14 sent messengers to bring Jeremiah out of the prison. They put him under the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, who took him back to his home. So Jeremiah stayed in Judah among his own people.

15 The Lord had given the following message to Jeremiah while he was still in prison: 16 “Say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will do to this city everything I have threatened. I will send disaster, not prosperity. You will see its destruction, 17 but I will rescue you from those you fear so much. 18 Because you trusted me, I will give you your life as a reward. I will rescue you and keep you safe. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”

Remember Ebed-melech — the court official who rescued Jeremiah from the cistern, even protecting him in the process with soft rags where the ropes might rub him.  God shows kindness to him.  Amy Carmichael reminds us that “The God who knew the heart of His servant Ebed-melech knows our heart too.  And He assures us and reassures us.”

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Music:

The last ten years in my life have been ones where I have experienced loss and diminishment.  That said, the Lord has always been faithful and I have always had enough, and more than enough.  I have learned that the best response to a difficult situation is always to praise God for who He is and what He is doing, even if it is utterly beyond my understanding.  So you can imagine that this chapter strikes a chord with me, and that this song is a favorite of mine.  HERE  is “Praise You in the Storm”  by Casting Crowns.

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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:
Jerusalem falls.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/nebuchadnezzar.jpg

1103.) Jeremiah 38

July 24, 2013

J38 cistern
Jeremiah 38   (NLT)

Jeremiah in a Cistern

Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah heard what Jeremiah had been telling the people. He had been saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, famine, or disease, but those who surrender to the Babylonians will live. Their reward will be life. They will live!’ The Lord also says: ‘The city of Jerusalem will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’”

So these officials went to the king and said, “Sir, this man must die! That kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few fighting men we have left, as well as that of all the people. This man is a traitor!”

Yes, certainly an unpopular message!

King Zedekiah agreed. “All right,” he said. “Do as you like. I can’t stop you.”

So the officials took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him by ropes into an empty cistern in the prison yard. It belonged to Malkijah, a member of the royal family. There was no water in the cistern, but there was a thick layer of mud at the bottom, and Jeremiah sank down into it.

This was likely a deep pit with only a small opening in the top.  Whether it was empty from water shortage or disuse is not clear.  They may have hoped Jeremiah would die there.  (The Reformation Bible)

But Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, an important court official, heard that Jeremiah was in the cistern. At that time the king was holding court at the Benjamin Gate, so Ebed-melech rushed from the palace to speak with him. “My lord the king,” he said, “these men have done a very evil thing in putting Jeremiah the prophet into the cistern. He will soon die of hunger, for almost all the bread in the city is gone.”

10 So the king told Ebed-melech, “Take thirty of my men with you, and pull Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies.”

11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to a room in the palace beneath the treasury, where he found some old rags and discarded clothing. He carried these to the cistern and lowered them to Jeremiah on a rope. 12 Ebed-melech called down to Jeremiah, “Put these rags under your armpits to protect you from the ropes.”

Then when Jeremiah was ready, 13 they pulled him out. So Jeremiah was returned to the courtyard of the guard—the palace prison—where he remained.

J38 ebedmelech

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

The dungeon where Jeremiah was kept was one of those horrible pits that were used in olden times as prisons.  The king only told Ebed-melech to take thirty men and pull Jeremiah out of the dungeon with ropes, before he died.  But that kind man, whose name means “Servant of the King,” took the trouble to go and fetch pieces of cast-off clothes and old soft rags.  He told Jeremiah to put them under his armpits to keep the ropes from hurting him as they pulled him out.

In Matthew 25:40 we read what the King of Kings must have said to Servant of the King, Ebed-melech.  Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.

Think of it, every little thoughtful kindness we do for someone in need, our Lord notices.  He takes it as service done to Him.  Let us serve Him by serving others, however humbly, today.

Zedekiah Questions Jeremiah

14 One day King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah and had him brought to the third entrance of the Lord’s Temple. “I want to ask you something,” the king said. “And don’t try to hide the truth.”

15 Jeremiah said, “If I tell you the truth, you will kill me. And if I give you advice, you won’t listen to me anyway.”

16 So King Zedekiah secretly promised him, “As surely as the Lord our Creator lives, I will not kill you or hand you over to the men who want you dead.”

17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “This is what the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender to the Babylonian officers, you and your family will live, and the city will not be burned down. 18 But if you refuse to surrender, you will not escape! This city will be handed over to the Babylonians, and they will burn it to the ground.’”

19 “But I am afraid to surrender,” the king said, “for the Babylonians may hand me over to the Judeans who have defected to them. And who knows what they will do to me!”

20 Jeremiah replied, “You won’t be handed over to them if you choose to obey the Lord. Your life will be spared, and all will go well for you. 21 But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the Lord has revealed to me: 22 All the women left in your palace will be brought out and given to the officers of the Babylonian army.

The loss of a harem was a humiliating consequence for a king defeated in war.  (The Reformation Bible)

Then the women will taunt you, saying,

‘What fine friends you have!
    They have betrayed and misled you.
When your feet sank in the mud,
    they left you to your fate!’

23 All your wives and children will be led out to the Babylonians, and you will not escape. You will be seized by the king of Babylon, and this city will be burned down.”

24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Don’t tell anyone you told me this, or you will die! 25 My officials may hear that I spoke to you, and they may say, ‘Tell us what you and the king were talking about. If you don’t tell us, we will kill you.’ 26 If this happens, just tell them you begged me not to send you back to Jonathan’s dungeon, for fear you would die there.”

27 Sure enough, it wasn’t long before the king’s officials came to Jeremiah and asked him why the king had called for him. But Jeremiah followed the king’s instructions, and they left without finding out the truth. No one had overheard the conversation between Jeremiah and the king. 28 And Jeremiah remained a prisoner in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.

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Music:

Yes, the Lord has won the final victory but, like Jeremiah in prison, we may feel overwhelmed by some of the difficulties in our life.  People who are unkind and so wrong seem to be in control of our circumstances.  Even so, let us not lose faith, but let us hold on to grace.  Our God will supply all our needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus!  HERE  is Tenth Avenue North and “Losing.”

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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:
Jeremiah in the cistern (Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett).   http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c2/Book_of_Jeremiah_Chapter_38-2_%28Bible_Illustrations_by_Sweet_Media%29.jpg
Jeremiah is rescued.    http://alaskabibleteacher.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/ebedmelech.jpg

1102.) Jeremiah 37

July 23, 2013

J37 prison

Jeremiah 37   (NLT)

Zedekiah Calls for Jeremiah

Zedekiah son of Josiah succeeded Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim as the king of Judah. He was appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. But neither King Zedekiah nor his attendants nor the people who were left in the land listened to what the Lord said through Jeremiah.

They intentionally ignore the word of God and yet expect God’s blessing.

Nevertheless, King Zedekiah sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the priest, son of Maaseiah, to ask Jeremiah, “Please pray to the Lord our God for us.” Jeremiah had not yet been imprisoned, so he could come and go among the people as he pleased.

At this time the army of Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt appeared at the southern border of Judah. When the Babylonian army heard about it, they withdrew from their siege of Jerusalem.

Egypt and Babylon were in contention for the region.  Many in Judah were looking to Egypt for support; the Babylonians would have withdrawn to counter the Egyptian advance.  (The Reformation Bible)

Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: The king of Judah sent you to ask me what is going to happen. Tell him, ‘Pharaoh’s army is about to return to Egypt, though he came here to help you. Then the Babylonians will come back and capture this city and burn it to the ground.’

“This is what the Lord says: Do not fool yourselves into thinking that the Babylonians are gone for good. They aren’t! 10 Even if you were to destroy the entire Babylonian army, leaving only a handful of wounded survivors, they would still stagger from their tents and burn this city to the ground!”

J37 jeremiah-king

It is an unpopular message . . .

Jeremiah Is Imprisoned

11 When the Babylonian army left Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s approaching army, 12 Jeremiah started to leave the city on his way to the territory of Benjamin, to claim his share of the property among his relatives there. 13 But as he was walking through the Benjamin Gate, a sentry arrested him and said, “You are defecting to the Babylonians!” The sentry making the arrest was Irijah son of Shelemiah, grandson of Hananiah.

14 “That’s not true!” Jeremiah protested. “I had no intention of doing any such thing.” But Irijah wouldn’t listen, and he took Jeremiah before the officials. 15 They were furious with Jeremiah and had him flogged and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary. Jonathan’s house had been converted into a prison. 16 Jeremiah was put into a dungeon cell, where he remained for many days.

17 Later King Zedekiah secretly requested that Jeremiah come to the palace, where the king asked him, “Do you have any messages from the Lord?”

“Yes, I do!” said Jeremiah. “You will be defeated by the king of Babylon.”

It is an unpopular message, but Jeremiah keeps on giving it . . .

18 Then Jeremiah asked the king, “What crime have I committed? What have I done against you, your attendants, or the people that I should be imprisoned like this? 19 Where are your prophets now who told you the king of Babylon would not attack you or this land? 20 Listen, my lord the king, I beg you. Don’t send me back to the dungeon in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for I will die there.”

It is an unpopular message, but Jeremiah keeps on giving it, and the king cannot deny the truth of it.

21 So King Zedekiah commanded that Jeremiah not be returned to the dungeon. Instead, he was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. The king also commanded that Jeremiah be given a loaf of fresh bread every day as long as there was any left in the city. So Jeremiah was put in the palace prison.

Thy Word, O Lord, like gentle dews,
Falls soft on hearts that pine;
Lord, to Thy garden ne’er refuse
This heavenly balm of Thine.
Watered by Thee, let every tree
Then blossom to Thy praise,
By grace of Thine bear fruit divine
Through all the coming days.

Thy Word is like a flaming sword,
A wedge that cleaveth stone;
Keen as a fire, so burns Thy Word,
And pierceth flesh and bone;
Let it go forth o’er all the earth
To cleanse our hearts within,
To show Thy power in Satan’s hour,
And break the night of sin.

Thy Word, a wondrous guiding star,
On pilgrim hearts doth rise,
Leads those to God who dwell afar,
And makes the simple wise.
Let not its light e’er sink in night,
But in each spirit shine,
That none may miss Heaven’s final bliss,
Led by Thy light divine.

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Music:

What is the Lord trying to say to me that I am ignoring?  Are my ears truly open and am I consciously listening for the voice of the Lord?  Am I welcoming the Holy Spirit — the very spirit of Jesus — into every aspect of my life to change me more and more into his likeness?

HERE  is Casting Crowns and “All to Jesus I Surrender.”

_________________________

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:
Jeremiah in prison (Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett).   http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Book_of_Jeremiah_Chapter_37-2_%28Bible_Illustrations_by_Sweet_Media%29.jpg
Jeremiah and the king.    http://navigatornate.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/jeremiah-king.jpg