2239.) Jeremiah 45

November 30, 2017

J45 follow

Jeremiah 45   (NLT)

A Message for Baruch

The prophet Jeremiah gave a message to Baruch son of Neriah in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, after Baruch had written down everything Jeremiah had dictated to him.

“Baruch happens to be the only man from the Old Testament who has been fingerprinted. In 1975 a group of archaeologists purchase some clay document markers from an Arab antiquities dealer. The archaeologists did not decipher the markers – which were the bookmarks of the ancient world – until 1986. When they did, they discovered that one of them bears the seal of Baruch son of Neriah. Since then, another document marker has been discovered that bears not only Baruch’s seal, but also a thumbprint, very probably the thumbprint of the scribe himself.”

–Philip Graham Ryken

He said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: You have said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the Lord has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’

“Baruch, this is what the Lord says: ‘I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted. Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”

God used this word to Baruch to speak to many throughout the centuries. Dr. J. Oswald Sanders coveted a certain job in a Christian organization, and he almost lobbied some influential friends for it. But walking through downtown Auckland, New Zealand, these words came to him with authority: “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not!” Consequently, he didn’t seek the position, but it later opened to him on its own in God’s timing.

When Charles Spurgeon was eighteen, he applied to Regent’s Park College. An interview was set and Spurgeon rose early and set out. But through a misunderstanding he missed his appointment and was not admitted. Bitterly disappointed, Charles walked through the countryside trying to calm down. Suddenly Jeremiah 45:5 came to mind: “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not!” Spurgeon never made it to college, but he went on to become the most effective preacher in England.

–David Guzik

This is a promise given to you for the difficult places in which you may find yourself—a promise of safety and life even in the midst of tremendous pressure. And it is a promise that adjusts itself to fit the times as they continue to grow more difficult, as we approach the end of this age. 

What does it mean when it says that you will “escape with your life”? It means your life will be snatched from the jaws of the Enemy, as David snatched the lamb from the lion. It does not mean you will be spared the heat of the battle and confrontation with your foes, but it means “a table before [you] in the presence of [your] enemies” (Psalm 23:5), a shelter from the storm, a fortress amid the foe, and a life preserved in the face of continual pressure. It means comfort and hope from God, such as Paul received when he and his friends “were under great pressure, far beyond [their] ability to endure, so that [they] despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8). And it means the Lord’s divine help, such as when Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7) remained, but the power of Christ came to rest upon him, and he learned that God’s “grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

May the Lord “wherever you go . . . let you escape with your life” and help you today to be victorious in your difficulties.

from Streams in the Desert, November 30

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Music:

HERE is a real treat —  Mahalia Jackson and “God Will Take of You.”  She is singing it directly to YOU!  You can believe it!

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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:
Be great.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/c3a03-be_great_in_all_things_christian_message_follow_his_will_tiffany_staples_motivation_matthew_jeremiah.jpg
verse 5.    https://i.pinimg.com/736x/d8/aa/78/d8aa78f921d75f980cb3aaf9a02ade81–april–do-you.jpg
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2238.) Jeremiah 36

November 29, 2017

J36 burning the scroll

Jeremiah 36   (NLT)

Baruch Reads the Lord’s Messages

During the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king in Judah, the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “Get a scroll, and write down all my messages against Israel, Judah, and the other nations. Begin with the first message back in the days of Josiah, and write down every message, right up to the present time. Perhaps the people of Judah will repent when they hear again all the terrible things I have planned for them. Then I will be able to forgive their sins and wrongdoings.”

 “If Jeremiah’s life were in danger, if he had no sons to carry on his word (Jeremiah 6:2), if the nation and the whole fabric of society were about to collapse, then a scroll would preserve the message.”

–Frank C. Thompson

So Jeremiah sent for Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated all the prophecies that the Lord had given him, Baruch wrote them on a scroll.

This account is of great interest in that it gives the only detailed Old Testament description of the writing of a prophetic book. That Jeremiah dictated to a secretary was normal for the times. Writing was a specialized skill, often restricted to the professional class. Learned men might have been able to read but scorned to write. The document was probably written on a blank papyrus scroll imported from Egypt.  (The Archaeology Bible)

Then Jeremiah said to Baruch, “I am a prisoner here and unable to go to the Temple. So you go to the Temple on the next day of fasting, and read the messages from the Lord that I have had you write on this scroll. Read them so the people who are there from all over Judah will hear them. Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the Lord’s forgiveness before it is too late. For the Lord has threatened them with his terrible anger.”

Baruch did as Jeremiah told him and read these messages from the Lord to the people at the Temple. He did this on a day of sacred fasting held in late autumn, during the fifth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah. People from all over Judah had come to Jerusalem to attend the services at the Temple on that day. 10 Baruch read Jeremiah’s words on the scroll to all the people. He stood in front of the Temple room of Gemariah, son of Shaphan the secretary. This room was just off the upper courtyard of the Temple, near the New Gate entrance.

So, in 605 B.C., the year Nebuchadnezzar made his first move against Jerusalem, the Lord commanded Jeremiah to write down all the prophecies he had delivered. These were dictated to Baruch and read by him publicly at the temple a year later.

11 When Micaiah son of Gemariah and grandson of Shaphan heard the messages from the Lord, 12 he went down to the secretary’s room in the palace where the administrative officials were meeting.

This Michaiah was a godly man, having been connected with the reforms and revival under King Josiah (2 Kings 22:12-13). He heard all the words of the Lord from the book, and brought the message of the book to the leaders of Judah—sons of nobility and royalty, leaders in the kingdom.

–David Guzik

Elishama the secretary was there, along with Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Acbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials. 13 When Micaiah told them about the messages Baruch was reading to the people, 14 the officials sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah, grandson of Shelemiah and great-grandson of Cushi, to ask Baruch to come and read the messages to them, too. So Baruch took the scroll and went to them. 15 “Sit down and read the scroll to us,” the officials said, and Baruch did as they requested.

16 When they heard all the messages, they looked at one another in alarm. “We must tell the king what we have heard,” they said to Baruch. 17 “But first, tell us how you got these messages. Did they come directly from Jeremiah?”

18 So Baruch explained, “Jeremiah dictated them, and I wrote them down in ink, word for word, on this scroll.”

J36 scroll and ink

The only mention of ink in the Old Testament (but see also 2 Corinthians 3:3, 2 John 12, and 3 John 13). In ancient times ink was made from soot or lampblack mixed with gum arabic or oil.  (The Archaeology Bible)

19 “You and Jeremiah should both hide,” the officials told Baruch. “Don’t tell anyone where you are!” 20 Then the officials left the scroll for safekeeping in the room of Elishama the secretary and went to tell the king what had happened.

Once the princes had heard the prophecies, and after authenticating the document, they told Baruch and Jeremiah to hide. They knew the king would be displeased.

King Jehoiakim Burns the Scroll

21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from Elishama’s room and read it to the king as all his officials stood by. 22 It was late autumn, and the king was in a winterized part of the palace, sitting in front of a fire to keep warm. 23 Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up.

This was a deliberate, dramatic way to insult and reject the prophet and the God whom the prophet represented. Jehoiakim hoped to burn and destroy the word of the prophet and his God.

24 Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard. 25 Even when Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, he wouldn’t listen.

26 Then the king commanded his son Jerahmeel, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah. But the Lord had hidden them.

The king was not bothered in the least. As his scribe read the scroll (God’s word), the king cut it into pieces and burned it. The others were appalled. 

Jeremiah Rewrites the Scroll

27 After the king had burned the scroll on which Baruch had written Jeremiah’s words, the Lord gave Jeremiah another message. He said, 28 “Get another scroll, and write everything again just as you did on the scroll King Jehoiakim burned. 29 Then say to the king, ‘This is what the Lord says: You burned the scroll because it said the king of Babylon would destroy this land and empty it of people and animals.

This was the aspect of Jeremiah’s message that so upset Jehoiakim. He didn’t want to hear that Nebuchadnezzar was going to come again to Jerusalem and eventually destroy the city.

30 Now this is what the Lord says about King Jehoiakim of Judah: He will have no heirs to sit on the throne of David. His dead body will be thrown out to lie unburied—exposed to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. 31 I will punish him and his family and his attendants for their sins. I will pour out on them and on all the people of Jerusalem and Judah all the disasters I promised, for they would not listen to my warnings.’”

32 So Jeremiah took another scroll and dictated again to his secretary, Baruch. He wrote everything that had been on the scroll King Jehoiakim had burned in the fire. Only this time he added much more!

Jeremiah rewrote the prophecies, adding an appropriate section concerning the fearful doom of the king!

–William MacDonald

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Music:

God has spoken to his people, alleluia, and his words are words of wisdom, alleluia.  HERE  is Desert Harmony, a children’s choir from the United Arab Emirates.

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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:
the king burns the scroll (Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett).      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/ff/Book_of_Jeremiah_Chapter_36-3_%28Bible_Illustrations_by_Sweet_Media%29.jpg
2000 year old Hebrew writing on papyrus.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/c2628-1.jpg
scroll and ink.   https://image.shutterstock.com/z/stock-photo-roll-of-parchment-ink-pot-and-writing-quill-medieval-still-life-isolated-white-background-1461624.jpg
the king, seated, burns the scroll.  https://witzend.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/jehoiakim-burns-scroll.jpg

2237.) Jeremiah 35

November 28, 2017

J35 Recabites

Jeremiah 35   (NLT)

The Faithful Recabites

This is the message the Lord gave Jeremiah when Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah: “Go to the settlement where the families of the Recabites live, and invite them to the Lord’s Temple. Take them into one of the inner rooms, and offer them some wine.”

The Recabites were related to Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro the Kenite (1 Chronicles 2:55).  Though not ethnic Jews, this nomadic tribes lived among or near the Israelites and zealously attempted to be faithful to the Lord.  (In modern terms they were something of a combination of back-to-nature hippies and zealously pure in their traditions Amish.) They got their name from their forefather Recab, whose son Jonadab had helped to remove Baal worship temporarily from Israel 250 years earlier (2 Kings 10:15-28).  The Recabiltes from one generation to the next took a permanent vow not to drink wine and obeyed Jonadab’s other instructions, including living in tents rather than in houses and towns—until the Babylonian invasion forced them to take refuge in Jerusalem.  Their faithfulness to their community’s values contrasted starkly with the lack of integrity in Judah as a whole, and particularly in Jerusalem, regarding the people’s covenant with God.  (The Archaeology Study Bible)

So I went to see Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah and grandson of Habazziniah and all his brothers and sons—representing all the Recabite families. I took them to the Temple, and we went into the room assigned to the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, a man of God. This room was located next to the one used by the Temple officials, directly above the room of Maaseiah son of Shallum, the Temple gatekeeper.

I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink, but they refused.

J35 painting-of-a-glass-of-wine

“No,” they said, “we don’t drink wine, because our ancestor Jehonadab son of Recab gave us this command: ‘You and your descendants must never drink wine. And do not build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. If you follow these commands, you will live long, good lives in the land.’ So we have obeyed him in all these things. We have never had a drink of wine to this day, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters. We haven’t built houses or owned vineyards or farms or planted crops. 10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed all the commands of Jehonadab, our ancestor. 11 But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked this country, we were afraid of the Babylonian and Syrian armies. So we decided to move to Jerusalem. That is why we are here.”

12 Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: 13 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Go and say to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me. 14 The Recabites do not drink wine to this day because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you refuse to obey me. 15 Time after time I sent you prophets, who told you, “Turn from your wicked ways, and start doing things right. Stop worshiping other gods so that you might live in peace here in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you would not listen to me or obey me. 16 The descendants of Jehonadab son of Recab have obeyed their ancestor completely, but you have refused to listen to me.’

The point was not strictly the drinking or not drinking of wine; it was obedience to the teaching of their spiritual father Jonadab. Jeremiah didn’t use this to make a point about drinking wine, but about obedience. Nevertheless, God honored the Rechabites for their steadfast refusal to drink alcohol, and they were not mocked or criticized for this obedience.

17 “Therefore, this is what the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Because you refuse to listen or answer when I call, I will send upon Judah and Jerusalem all the disasters I have threatened.’”

18 Then Jeremiah turned to the Recabites and said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed your ancestor Jehonadab in every respect, following all his instructions.’ 19 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’”

We do not know them, but God knows their names and remembers their faithfulness!

· The Rechabites obeyed a fallible leader; the people of Judah disobeyed the eternal God

· The Rechabites received their command only once from their leader and obeyed; the people of Judah received their command from God again and again and still disobeyed

· The Rechabites obeyed regarding earthly things; the people of Judah disobeyed in regard to eternal things

· The Rechabites obeyed their leader’s commands over about 300 years; the people of Judah continually disobeyed their God

· The Rechabites would be rewarded; the people of Judah would be judged

–David Guzik

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Music:

What a privilege to receive and to leave a godly heritage!  HERE  is Steve Green and “Find Us Faithful.”

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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 tests the Recabites.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/j35-recabites.jpg
“Painting-of-a-glass-of-wine”    https://urbanambles.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/painting-of-a-glass-of-wine.jpg
George MacDonald.   http://www.georgemacdonaldquotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/ObedienceToChrist.jpg

2236.) Jeremiah 25

November 27, 2017

Jer25 seventy

Jeremiah 25   (NLT)

Seventy Years of Captivity

Jeremiah predicts seventy years of Babylonian captivity for Judah as judgment for persistent sin, and warns the neighboring nations as well of judgment at the hands of Babylon. In chapters 26-29, his message meets opposition from false prophets, priests, and the people.  (The Reformation Bible)

Some scholars think the round number of “seventy years” represents the period from 605 to 538 B.C. These are the years between the time Judah became a Babylonian vassal state and the beginning of Judah’s return from exile as allowed by Cyrus of Persia.

This message for all the people of Judah came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign over Judah. This was the year when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon began his reign.

This was 605 b.c., an important year in world history and Biblical history. In world history the Egyptians were overwhelmed at Carchemish in modern Turkey, near the Syrian border. The Babylonian armies chased the fleeing Egyptians south. In Biblical history Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem but had to leave quickly because his father died and it was the first year of his reign in Babylon. It’s possible that this prophecy came between the two events.

–David Guzik

Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people in Judah and Jerusalem, “For the past twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until now—the Lord has been giving me his messages. I have faithfully passed them on to you, but you have not listened.

But you would not listen.

But you have not listened.

“Again and again the Lord has sent you his servants, the prophets, but you have not listened or even paid attention. Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the Lord gave to you and your ancestors forever. Do not provoke my anger by worshiping idols you made with your own hands. Then I will not harm you.’

“But you would not listen to me,” says the Lord. “You made me furious by worshiping idols you made with your own hands, bringing on yourselves all the disasters you now suffer. And now the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Because you have not listened to me, I will gather together all the armies of the north under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom I have appointed as my deputy.

“Nebuchadnezzar, my deputy,” or in other translations, “my servant”:  “It was not so much that God’s pleasure was on King Nebuchadnezzar but that as the Lord’s instrument he was to execute the divine plan for Judah and the nations. He was unconsciously doing God’s will by devoting whole populations to destruction.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

I will bring them all against this land and its people and against the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy you and make you an object of horror and contempt and a ruin forever. 10 I will take away your happy singing and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. Your millstones will fall silent, and the lights in your homes will go out. 11 This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.

As the daughter of a farmer, I find this explanation for “seventy years” interesting:

2 Chronicles 36:20-21   (NIV)

He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.

Leviticus 25:3-5 teaches that the land was to lie fallow every seventh year. The people had disobeyed this law. God makes it up to the land, so to speak.

12 “Then, after the seventy years of captivity are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his people for their sins,” says the Lord.

Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were God’s servant in carrying out His judgment against Judah, and they would be judged by their evil deeds and works of their own hands. They served God’s purpose, but it did not excuse or justify their destructive actions.

–David Guzik

“I will make the country of the Babylonians a wasteland forever. 13 I will bring upon them all the terrors I have promised in this book—all the penalties announced by Jeremiah against the nations. 14 Many nations and great kings will enslave the Babylonians, just as they enslaved my people. I will punish them in proportion to the suffering they cause my people.”

The Cup of the Lord’s Anger

Jer25 cup-of-wrath

15 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled to the brim with my anger, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it. 16 When they drink from it, they will stagger, crazed by the warfare I will send against them.”

17 So I took the cup of anger from the Lord and made all the nations drink from it—every nation to which the Lord sent me. 18 I went to Jerusalem and the other towns of Judah, and their kings and officials drank from the cup. From that day until this, they have been a desolate ruin, an object of horror, contempt, and cursing.

God’s judgment is first visited upon his chosen people, and then upon Judah’s enemies.

19 I gave the cup to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, his attendants, his officials, and all his people, 20 along with all the foreigners living in that land. I also gave it to all the kings of the land of Uz and the kings of the Philistine cities of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and what remains of Ashdod. 21 Then I gave the cup to the nations of Edom, Moab, and Ammon, 22 and the kings of Tyre and Sidon, and the kings of the regions across the sea. 23 I gave it to Dedan, Tema, and Buz, and to the people who live in distant places. 24 I gave it to the kings of Arabia, the kings of the nomadic tribes of the desert, 25 and to the kings of Zimri, Elam, and Media. 26 And I gave it to the kings of the northern countries, far and near, one after the other—all the kingdoms of the world. And finally, the king of Babylon himself drank from the cup of the Lord’s anger.

27 Then the Lord said to me, “Now tell them, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Drink from this cup of my anger. Get drunk and vomit; fall to rise no more, for I am sending terrible wars against you.’ 28 And if they refuse to accept the cup, tell them, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: You have no choice but to drink from it. 29 I have begun to punish Jerusalem, the city that bears my name. Now should I let you go unpunished?

While judgment would begin among God’s people (see verse 18 above), it would in no way finish there. The judgment of God’s people was a certain prophecy of coming judgment upon the nations.

No, you will not escape disaster. I will call for war against all the nations of the earth. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!’

30 “Now prophesy all these things, and say to them,

“‘The Lord will roar against his own land
    from his holy dwelling in heaven.
He will shout like those who tread grapes;
    he will shout against everyone on earth.
31 His cry of judgment will reach the ends of the earth,
    for the Lord will bring his case against all the nations.
He will judge all the people of the earth,
    slaughtering the wicked with the sword.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!’”

32 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
    “Look! Disaster will fall upon nation after nation!
A great whirlwind of fury is rising
    from the most distant corners of the earth!”

33 In that day those the Lord has slaughtered will fill the earth from one end to the other. No one will mourn for them or gather up their bodies to bury them. They will be scattered on the ground like manure.

The destruction is almost beyond comprehension. But this is a prophecy, spoken in advance, and as such it gives nations time to repent.

34 Weep and moan, you evil shepherds!
    Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock!
The time of your slaughter has arrived;
    you will fall and shatter like a fragile vase.
35 You will find no place to hide;
    there will be no way to escape.
36 Listen to the frantic cries of the shepherds.
    The leaders of the flock are wailing in despair,
    for the Lord is ruining their pastures.
37 Peaceful meadows will be turned into a wasteland
    by the Lord’s fierce anger.
38 He has left his den like a strong lion seeking its prey,

Jer25 Aslan

The Lord is pictured as a lion. Four years ago on a family vacation I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to two of our granddaughters, then ages 4 and 7.  They learned to love Aslan!

    and their land will be made desolate
by the sword of the enemy
    and the Lord’s fierce anger.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Kendall Payne and “Aslan.”  She says, “After re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis as an adult, I fell in love with Aslan all over again.”

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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:
seventy.     http://www.giuaabbigliamento.it/img/seventy.gif
but you have not listened.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/jer7-not-listen.jpg
cup of wrath.   http://borivaliassembly.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/cup2.jpg
Aslan.    http://www3.telus.net/st_simons/Aslan1.jpg

2235.) Psalm 119:65-80

November 24, 2017

Psalm 119:65-80

(Good News Translation)

The Value of the Law of the Lord

65 You have kept your promise, Lord,
and you are good to me, your servant.

We don’t think about it enough, but it is wonderfully true that “You have dealt well with Your servant, O LORD.” Think of all the ways God has dealt well with us. He loves us, He called us, He drew us to Himself. He rescued us, He declared us righteous, He forgave us, He put His Spirit with us, He adopted us into His family. He makes us kings and priests and co-workers with Him, and He rewards all our work for Him.

–David Guzik

66 Give me wisdom and knowledge,
because I trust in your commands.
67 Before you punished me, I used to go wrong,
but now I obey your word.

68 How good you are—how kind!
Teach me your commands.

Another translation of this verse goes, “You are good and you do good.” This is praise for who God is, and for what God does. Even afflictions work out to show God’s kindness. With that in mind, where is room for complaining?

“We talk of goodness, but yield to discontent. We do not profess to dislike trials in general — only the trial pressing upon us — any other cross than this; that is, my will and wisdom rather than God’s.”

–Charles Bridges

“I never,” said Martin Luther, “knew the meaning of God’s word, until I came into affliction. I have always found it one of my best schoolmasters.”

69 The proud have told lies about me,
but with all my heart I obey your instructions.
70 They have no understanding,
but I find pleasure in your law.
71 My punishment was good for me,
because it made me learn your commands.

P119 coins
72 The law that you gave means more to me
than all the money in the world.

The largest Bible in the world is in the Vatican. It is a manuscript Bible and written in Hebrew. The book weighs 320 pounds and there is a history connected with it. Some Italian Jews obtained a view of the precious volume, and told their co-religionists of Venice of it. The consequence was that a syndicate of Venetian Jews endeavored to purchase it, offering the Pope the weight of the book in gold as the price. Pope Julius II, however, refused the offer, even though the value of such a large amount of gold was enormous. The saving truth which the Bible contains, accessible to the poorest, is more valuable than all material wealth combined.

–Christian Science Journal

The Justice of the Law of the Lord

The reference to God forming him is a deliberate echo of Genesis 2, which says God ‘formed man from the dust of the ground’ (Genesis 2:7)

73 You created me, and you keep me safe;
give me understanding, so that I may learn your laws.

74 Those who honor you will be glad when they see me,
because I trust in your promise.
75 I know that your judgments are righteous, Lord,
and that you punished me because you are faithful.
76 Let your constant love comfort me,
as you have promised me, your servant.

P119 Hebrews
77 Have mercy on me, and I will live
because I take pleasure in your law.

78 May the proud be ashamed for falsely accusing me;
as for me, I will meditate on your instructions.
79 May those who honor you come to me—
all those who know your commands.

80 May I perfectly obey your commandments
and be spared the shame of defeat.

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Music:

“Beneath the Cross of Jesus” is a hymn that has long spoken to me. And particularly the line shown above: “My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.”  So many things I have done which I am ashamed of or embarrassed by, so many foolish or unkind things — yet at the cross, all is forgiven.  HERE  is the hymn sung by The Hastings College Choir from Hastings, Nebraska.

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Good News Translation (GNT)   Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society
Images courtesy of:
You have done many good things.   https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4085/5064866654_738a306de9_b.jpg
coins.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/psalm119-72.jpg
breath of life.   http://learn-biblical-hebrew.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/breath-of-life.jpg
Hebrews 4:16.    http://ih2.redbubble.net/image.11592695.2391/flat,550×550,075,f.jpg
my sinful self.   http://images.slideplayer.com/25/7969489/slides/slide_40.jpg

2234.) Psalm 145

November 23, 2017

Psalm 145   The Message

David’s Praise

A magnificent hymn reminding us of all that God has provided for us!  We sing praises to Him for his greatness, his goodness, his grace, and his glory!

Psalm 145 is an acrostic psalm that uses each of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order, almost like an ABC book. Today we alphabetize lots of things, but not usually our poetry. The Hebrews didn’t have books readily available, so much of their theology was memorized. Psalm 145 may have been written the way it was to make it easier to remember, since each verse starts with the next letter in the Hebrew alphabet.

–Robert J. and Laura Keeley

Psalm 145 is the last psalm attributed to David in the collection of Psalms.

(1-3) Learning from David’s example of a heart fully given to praise.

I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King!
    and I’ll bless your name into eternity.

· He did it with the direct address (You)

· He did it with the personal reference (my God)

· He did it with a surrendered heart (my King)

· He did it unending (forever and ever…every day)

–David Guzik

I’ll bless you every day,
    and keep it up from now to eternity.

God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.
    There are no boundaries to his greatness.

(4-7) Passing the praise of God from one generation to another.

Ps145 future generations

Generation after generation stands in awe of your work;
    each one tells stories of your mighty acts.

Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking;
    I compose songs on your wonders.

Your marvelous doings are headline news;
    I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.

The fame of your goodness spreads across the country;
    your righteousness is on everyone’s lips.

(8-9) The memory and present experience of God’s goodness.

God is all mercy and grace—
    not quick to anger, is rich in love.

Ps145 steadfast love

God is good to one and all;
    everything he does is suffused with grace.

(10-13) All creation declares God’s praise.

10-11 Creation and creatures applaud you, God;
    your holy people bless you.

They talk about the glories of your rule,
    they exclaim over your splendor,

12 Letting the world know of your power for good,
    the lavish splendor of your kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal;
    you never get voted out of office.

Psalm145_13 flowers

God always does what he says,
    and is gracious in everything he does.

(14-16) The kindness of God to those in need.

14 God gives a hand to those down on their luck,
    gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.

15 All eyes are on you, expectant;
    you give them their meals on time.

16 Generous to a fault,
    you lavish your favor on all creatures.

My family has often used the verses above as a grace at table.

(17-21) The love and righteousness of the Lord.

17 Everything God does is right—
    the trademark on all his works is love.

Ps145 pray

18 God’s there, listening for all who pray,
    for all who pray and mean it.

19 He does what’s best for those who fear him—
    hears them call out, and saves them.

20 God sticks by all who love him,
    but it’s all over for those who don’t.

21 My mouth is filled with God’s praise.
    Let everything living bless him,
    bless his holy name from now to eternity!

 “Whatever others may do, I will not be silent in the praise of the Lord, whatever others may speak upon, my topic is fixed once for all: I will speak the praise of Jehovah. I am doing it, and I will do it as long as I breathe.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“The last verse of Psalm 145 is the last word we have from David in the Bible. It is his last will and testament. If he had said nothing else in his long life, these words would be a fine legacy for future generations. In it he praises God and invites others to praise God also.”

–James Montgomery Boice

“So ends David’s contribution to the Psalter, on a note of praise which is wholly his own (v 21a), yet as wide as mankind and as unfading as eternity.”

–Derek Kidner

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Music:

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! And to my readers outside of the USA, may I say how thankful I am for your support of DWELLING!

HERE is “For the Beauty of the Earth,” sung by BarlowGirl (3 sisters from Elgin, IL).

HERE  is another version of the hymn, but a different tune, sung by Libera (English boys choir).

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The Message (MSG)   Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
Images courtesy of:
verse 1.   https://i.pinimg.com/originals/cd/47/f8/cd47f8c872facc0422bed0649a1b3f12.jpg
Imagine God’s future.    http://www.whitehousefumc.org/clientimages/57113/children/psalm22_30.jpg
steadfast love.    http://patriciawonders.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/hearts.jpg
Psalm 145:13.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/63c1d-psalm145_13.jpg
verses 15-16.   https://cccooperagency.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/encouragement_psalm_145_15_16.jpg?w=394
The Lord is near to all.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/c299c-psalms145_18.jpg
King David.   https://www.dcriggott.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/thumbnail/0f396e8a55728e79b48334e699243c07/i/m/img_5832.jpg

2233.) 2 Kings 24

November 22, 2017

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, were built by King Nebuchadnezzar in about 600 BC to please his foreign wife, who longed for the plants of her homeland. The gardens were destroyed by earthquakes after the 2nd century BC.

2 Kings 24   (NIV)

1 During Jehoiakim’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years.

Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonian Empire, was concerned with Judah because of its strategic position in relation to the empires of Egypt and Assyria. Therefore it was important to him to conquer Judah and make it a subject kingdom, “his vassal,” securely loyal to Babylon.

  • Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem because the Pharaoh of Egypt invaded Babylon. In response the young prince Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians at Charchemish, and then he pursued their fleeing army all the way down to the Sinai. Along the way (or on the way back), he subdued Jerusalem, who had been loyal to the Pharaoh of Egypt.
  • This happened in 605 B.C. and it was the first (but not the last) encounter between Nebuchadnezzar and Jehoiakim. There would be two later invasions (597 and 587 B.C.).
  • This specific attack is documented by the Babylonian Chronicles (a piece of it pictured above), a collection of tablets discovered as early as 1887, held in the British Museum. In them, Nebuchadnezzar’s 605 B.C. presence in Judah is documented and clarified. When the Babylonian chronicles were finally published in 1956, they gave us first-rate, detailed political and military information about the first 10 years of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. L.W. King had prepared these tablets in 1919; he then died, and they were neglected for four decades.
  • Excavations also document the victory of Nebuchadnezzar over the Egyptians at Carchemish in May or June of 605 B.C. Archaeologists found evidences of battle, vast quantities of arrowheads, layers of ash, and a shield of a Greek mercenary fighting for the Egyptians.
  • This campaign of Nebuchadnezzar was interrupted suddenly when he heard of his father’s death and raced back to Babylon to secure his succession to the throne. He traveled about 500 miles in two weeks – remarkable speed for travel in that day. Nebuchadnezzar only had the time to take a few choice captives (such as Daniel), a few treasures and a promise of submission from Jehoiakim.

–David Guzik

But then he turned against Nebuchadnezzar and rebelled. 2 The LORD sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the LORD proclaimed by his servants the prophets. 3 Surely these things happened to Judah according to the LORD’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, 4 including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive.

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Music:

The shedding of innocent blood.  HERE  is the old hymn, “Jesus, your blood and righteousness,” written by Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf in the 1700’s, with a new tune by the vocalist, Lori Sealy.

Jesus, Your blood and righteousness
my beauty are, my glorious dress;
‘midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
with joy I lift up my head!
Bold shall I stand in Your great day;
for who a charge to me shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am
from sin, fear and guilt and shame.

Through Your blood and righteousness
I am so richly blessed.
By grace I’m justified,
redeemed by the LORD Jesus Christ.

Jesus, be endless praise to You,
whose boundless mercy did pursue –
and for me full atonement made,
Your blood my ransom paid!

Through Your blood and righteousness
I am so richly blessed.
By grace I’m justified,
redeemed by the LORD Jesus Christ!

When from the dust of death I rise
to claim my mansion in the skies,
then this shall still be all my plea,
He lived and died for me!

O let the dead now hear Your voice,
now bid the banished ones rejoice,
their beauty this their glorious dress,
Your blood and righteousness.

Through Your blood and righteousness
I am so richly blessed.
By grace I’m justified,
redeemed by the LORD Jesus Christ.

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5 As for the other events of Jehoiakim’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 6 Jehoiakim rested with his ancestors. And Jehoiachin his son succeeded him as king.

7 The king of Egypt did not march out from his own country again, because the king of Babylon had taken all his territory, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Euphrates River.

Egypt had been soundly defeated by Nebuchadnezzar.  Now Babylonia is the “super power” of the Fertile Crescent.

Jehoiachin King of Judah

The teenage king. Nothing in his three-month reign would give Jerusalem confidence.

8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan; she was from Jerusalem. 9 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father had done.

10 At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, 11 and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city while his officers were besieging it. 12 Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his attendants, his nobles and his officials all surrendered to him.

In the eighth year of the reign of the king of Babylon, he took Jehoiachin prisoner. 13 As the LORD had declared, Nebuchadnezzar removed the treasures from the temple of the LORD and from the royal palace, and cut up the gold articles that Solomon king of Israel had made for the temple of the LORD. 14 He carried all Jerusalem into exile: all the officers and fighting men, and all the skilled workers and artisans—a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left.

And certainly they — the poorest of the land — would not cause Nebachadnezzar any problems.

15 Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon.

He also took from Jerusalem to Babylon the king’s mother, his wives, his officials and the prominent people of the land. 16 The king of Babylon also deported to Babylon the entire force of seven thousand fighting men, strong and fit for war, and a thousand skilled workers and artisans. 17 He made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Remarkably, Jehoiachin spent 37 years in prison, a humiliated and forgotten man. He had lots of time to consider his life, and perhaps brought to mind stories he had heard about his grandfather, Josiah, and memories of the dishonorable death of his father. Perhaps he even prayed, and humbly sought mercy from the Lord.

With a change of Babylon’s kings came a change in Jehoiachin’s fate. Evil Merodach became the king of Babylon, and in the year he began to reign, he released Jehoiachin from prison. The new king was kind to him, and gave him a prominent position in his administration, better than all the other exiled kings who were with him in Babylon. Jehoiachin dined at the king’s table regularly, and his needs were met by the king of Babylon for the remainder of his life. His children included Shealtiel, in the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:12. (2 Kings 24:8-16; 2 Chronicles 36:9, 10)

–Pete Miller of ShareFaith.com

Zedekiah King of Judah

Puppet king of Nebuchadnezzar. Last king of Judah.

18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. 19 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as Jehoiakim had done. 20 It was because of the LORD’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.

The Fall of Jerusalem

Many Jews of the time believed that God would never allow the city of Jerusalem to fall. They did not realize that God was more concerned with their hearts (in terms of justice, truth, worship, forgiveness, kindness, etc.) than he was with their nation as such. Their sins had to be dealt with before their flag could fly with honor.

Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

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New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
hanging gardens of Babylon.    https://www.realmofhistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/animation-hanging-gardens-of-babylon_2.jpg
Babylonian Chronicle.   http://cojs.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/Babylonian_Chronicle-2.jpg
captive Jehoiachin.   http://www.temkit.com/08-Bible-Prophecy/Knowing-Prophecy/images/captivek.jpg