3617.) Jeremiah 31

February 28, 2023

Jer31 heart everlasting

Jeremiah 31   (NLT)

Hope for Restoration

Such words of endearment from God to his people!

“In that day,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people. This is what the Lord says:

“Those who survive the coming destruction
    will find blessings even in the barren land,
    for I will give rest to the people of Israel.”

Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
    With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.

This statement was spoken to Israel; but the love it describes is God’s love for every believer. “You must go back beyond your birth, beyond Calvary and Bethlehem, beyond the fall of man and the Garden of Eden, and as you stand looking out into the immensity of eternity, dare to believe that you were loved and chosen in Christ, the object of God’s most tender solicitude and pity.”

–F. B. Meyer

I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel.
    You will again be happy
    and dance merrily with your tambourines.

J31 tambourine

Tambourines were used on joyful occasions (see Psalm 68:25), especially following a military victory. Dancing in ancient times was often a religious activity (see Psalm 149:3).  (The Archaeology Study Bible)

Again you will plant your vineyards on the mountains of Samaria
    and eat from your own gardens there.
The day will come when watchmen will shout
    from the hill country of Ephraim,
‘Come, let us go up to Jerusalem
    to worship the Lord our God.’”

In ancient Israel a person always went “up” to Jerusalem, not only because its elevation was above the surrounding countryside but also because it was the royal city and the center of the nation’s religious life.  (The Archaeology Study Bible)

Come, let us go — This was fulfilled under the gospel; for both Galilee and Samaria received the gospel.
–John Wesley

Now this is what the Lord says:
“Sing with joy for Israel.
    Shout for the greatest of nations!
Shout out with praise and joy:
‘Save your people, O Lord,
    the remnant of Israel!’
For I will bring them from the north
    and from the distant corners of the earth.
I will not forget the blind and lame,
    the expectant mothers and women in labor.
    A great company will return!
Tears of joy will stream down their faces,
    and I will lead them home with great care.
They will walk beside quiet streams
    and on smooth paths where they will not stumble.
For I am Israel’s father,
    and Ephraim is my oldest child.

10 “Listen to this message from the Lord,
    you nations of the world;
    proclaim it in distant coastlands:
The Lord, who scattered his people,
    will gather them and watch over them
    as a shepherd does his flock.
11 For the Lord has redeemed Israel
    from those too strong for them.

12 They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem.
    They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—
the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil,
    and the healthy flocks and herds.
Their life will be like a watered garden,
    and all their sorrows will be gone.
13 The young women will dance for joy,
    and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration.
I will turn their mourning into joy.
    I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.
14 The priests will enjoy abundance,
    and my people will feast on my good gifts.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Rachel’s Sadness Turns to Joy

15 This is what the Lord says:

“A cry is heard in Ramah—
    deep anguish and bitter weeping.
Rachel weeps for her children,
    refusing to be comforted—
    for her children are gone.”

Here the Lord spoke through a poetic image, picturing Rachel (the mother of Benjamin and Joseph, ancestors of prominent tribes of Israel) weeping for her children. She does this from Ramah, near where she was buried (1 Samuel 10:2).

“Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, is pictured as weeping in despair over the exiled tribes. To her comes the comforting assurance that her children will be miraculously returned to her.”

–Arthur E. Cundall

The words are quoted in Matthew 2:18 concerning Herod’s slaughter of the innocents.   (The Reformation Bible)

16 But now this is what the Lord says:
“Do not weep any longer,
for I will reward you,” says the Lord.
“Your children will come back to you
from the distant land of the enemy.
17 There is hope for your future,” says the Lord.
“Your children will come again to their own land.
18 I have heard Israel saying,
‘You disciplined me severely,
like a calf that needs training for the yoke.
Turn me again to you and restore me,
for you alone are the Lord my God.
19 I turned away from God,
but then I was sorry.
I kicked myself for my stupidity!
I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’

20 “Is not Israel still my son,
    my darling child?” says the Lord.
“I often have to punish him,
    but I still love him.
That’s why I long for him
    and surely will have mercy on him.

21 Set up road signs;
    put up guideposts.
Mark well the path
    by which you came.
Come back again, my virgin Israel;
    return to your towns here.
22 How long will you wander,
    my wayward daughter?
For the Lord will cause something new to happen—
    Israel will embrace her God.”

23 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people of Judah and its towns will again say, ‘The Lord bless you, O righteous home, O holy mountain!’ 24 Townspeople and farmers and shepherds alike will live together in peace and happiness. 25 For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.”

Psalm 36:8   (ESV)

They feast on the abundance of your house,
    and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

26 At this, I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very sweet.

27 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will greatly increase the human population and the number of animals here in Israel and Judah. 28 In the past I deliberately uprooted and tore down this nation. I overthrew it, destroyed it, and brought disaster upon it. But in the future I will just as deliberately plant it and build it up. I, the Lord, have spoken!

29 “The people will no longer quote this proverb:

‘The parents have eaten sour grapes,
    but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste.’

30 All people will die for their own sins—those who eat the sour grapes will be the ones whose mouths will pucker.

The idea here seems to be that many people in Jeremiah’s time assumed that God’s judgment against them was due not to their own sins but to the sins of their ancestors. Here the Lord clarifies the situation!

31 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah.

This verse contains the only Old Testament use of the phrase “new covenant,” which (together with its use in the New Testament) has come down to us (via Latin) as “new testament,” the name that was later applied to the distinctively Christian part of the Biblical canon.  (The Archaeology Study Bible)

32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord.

J31 husband loves

Ephesians 5:25-27   (NIV)

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

The prophet’s design is here to express the difference betwixt the law and the gospel. The first shews duty, the latter brings the grace of regeneration, by which the heart is changed, and enabled for duty. All under the time of the law that came to salvation, were saved by this new covenant; but this was not evidently exhibited; neither was the regenerating grace of God so common under the time of the law, as it hath been under the gospel.

–John Wesley

34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis Kinlaw


The picture Jeremiah gives in his message to the people of Israel is remarkably realistic. He knew the human heart, and he told the people of God about the tragedy of trusting in the flesh. Jeremiah provided the groundwork for much of the New Testament teaching about grace. He also saw into the future. He was watching the old covenant of Moses come apart and the old legal relationship that bound the people of God together break into pieces, but Jeremiah realized that this was not the end. A new covenant would come, and it would be written not on tablets of stone but on the human heart. Then humanity would do the will of God, not because of an external force, but because they knew God and desired to do his will.

Jeremiah wrote a message of hope mixed with pathos—the hope of God’s new covenant and the desperate reality of human sin. When we meet God and live with him, we discover who we are in the light of who God is. God is the one who gives a realistic picture of human life. When he presents that realistic picture to the human heart and we accept it, an unshakable realism comes into our life and witness.

With that realism comes the assurance that God can turn the “ought” of his Law into delight as the psalmist declares (Ps. 1:2; 119:14-15; 47. 92). Jeremiah did not give up even when he wanted to because he knew that God would prevail and that he, through God’s grace, could prevail. The message is applicable to us too. His way can be our delight as well.

35 It is the Lord who provides the sun to light the day
    and the moon and stars to light the night,
    and who stirs the sea into roaring waves.
His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    and this is what he says:
36 “I am as likely to reject my people Israel
    as I am to abolish the laws of nature!”
37 This is what the Lord says:
“Just as the heavens cannot be measured
    and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored,
so I will not consider casting them away
    for the evil they have done.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

38 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when all Jerusalem will be rebuilt for me, from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 A measuring line will be stretched out over the hill of Gareb and across to Goah. 40 And the entire area—including the graveyard and ash dump in the valley, and all the fields out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the Horse Gate—will be holy to the Lord. The city will never again be captured or destroyed.”



We can treasure verse 3 as God says:   “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.  With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”  Rest in the Lord and his love for you.

HERE  is Michael Joncas’ “I Have Loved You with an Everlasting Love.”


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:
calligraphy by Michael Noyes.    http://www.michaelnoyes.com/images/products/product_120_copyright.png
tambourine.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/j31-tambourine.jpg
Sing with joy.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/jer31-sing.jpg
Psalm 25.   https://dailyverses.net/2016/5/6
roadmarks.   https://i.pinimg.com/originals/05/e1/98/05e1986a6a41c58e080ca211f27afdb4.jpg
loving husband.  http://www.godvine.com/pics/diary/diary.jpg 

3616.) Jeremiah 30

February 27, 2023

Jer30 17 waterfall

Jeremiah 30   (NLT)

Promises of Deliverance

Chapters 30-33 contain messages of hope and deliverance and are the bright spot of consolation in a book majoring on judgment.

–William MacDonald

“Think no more of Jeremiah as exclusively the weeping prophet; for the flashes of his delight make the night of his sorrow brilliant with an aurora of heavenly brilliance.” 

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Write down for the record everything I have said to you, Jeremiah. For the time is coming when I will restore the fortunes of my people of Israel and Judah. I will bring them home to this land that I gave to their ancestors, and they will possess it again. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

This is the message the Lord gave concerning Israel and Judah. This is what the Lord says:

“I hear cries of fear;
    there is terror and no peace.
Now let me ask you a question:
    Do men give birth to babies?
Then why do they stand there, ashen-faced,
    hands pressed against their sides
    like a woman in labor?
In all history there has never been such a great day of terror.
    It will be a time of trouble for my people Israel.

The idea of the great day is often connected to the calamity that comes upon the earth in the very last days.

· The great day of the LORD is near; it is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the LORD is bitter; there the mighty men shall cry out  (Zephaniah 1:14)
· For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?  (Revelation 6:17)
· Gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty  (Revelation 16:14) 

–David Guzik

    Yet in the end they will be saved!
For in that day,”
    says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
“I will break the yoke from their necks
    and snap their chains.
Foreigners will no longer be their masters.
    For my people will serve the Lord their God
and their king descended from David—
    the king I will raise up for them.

10 “So do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant;
    do not be dismayed, Israel,”
    says the Lord.
“For I will bring you home again from distant lands,
    and your children will return from their exile.
Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet,
    and no one will terrorize them.

God’s promise to Israel was that they would not become extinct as a people, either by death or assimilation. They would endure terrible affliction, yet survive.

11 For I am with you and will save you,”
    says the Lord.
“I will completely destroy the nations where I have scattered you,
    but I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you, but with justice;
    I cannot let you go unpunished.”

Jer30 range

Both Israel and Judah will be regathered at some future time. Jeremiah associated events of the near future and those of the distant future. Reading these prophecies is like looking at several mountain peaks in a range. From a distance they look as though they are next to each other, when actually they are miles apart. Jeremiah presents near and distant events as if they will all happen soon. He sees the exile, but he sees also the future day when Christ will reign forever. The reference to David is not to King David, but to his famous descendant, the Messiah (Luke 1:68).  (The Life Application Bible)

12 This is what the Lord says:
“Your injury is incurable—
    a terrible wound.
13 There is no one to help you
    or to bind up your injury.
    No medicine can heal you.
14 All your lovers—your allies—have left you
    and do not care about you anymore.

False gods and false friends never fail to fail.

I have wounded you cruelly,
    as though I were your enemy.
For your sins are many,
    and your guilt is great.
15 Why do you protest your punishment—
    this wound that has no cure?
I have had to punish you
    because your sins are many
    and your guilt is great.

God reminded them that the catastrophe came upon them from His own hand. They were not accidents or events of bad luck.

16 “But all who devour you will be devoured,
    and all your enemies will be sent into exile.
All who plunder you will be plundered,
    and all who attack you will be attacked.

Jer30 health17 I will give you back your health
    and heal your wounds,” says the Lord.
“For you are called an outcast—
    ‘Jerusalem for whom no one cares.’”

Psalm 6:2   (ESV)

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
   heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.

18 This is what the Lord says:
“When I bring Israel home again from captivity
    and restore their fortunes,
Jerusalem will be rebuilt on its ruins,
    and the palace reconstructed as before.
19 There will be joy and songs of thanksgiving,
    and I will multiply my people, not diminish them;
I will honor them, not despise them.
20     Their children will prosper as they did long ago.
I will establish them as a nation before me,
    and I will punish anyone who hurts them.
21 They will have their own ruler again,
    and he will come from their own people.
I will invite him to approach me,” says the Lord,
    “for who would dare to come unless invited?
22 You will be my people,
    and I will be your God.”

23 Look! The Lord’s anger bursts out like a storm,
    a driving wind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked.
24 The fierce anger of the Lord will not diminish
    until it has finished all he has planned.
In the days to come
    you will understand all this.



I will give you back your health and heal your wounds,” says the Lord.  HERE  is “Healing Is in Your Hands”  by Christy Nockels.


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 30:17, waterfall.   http://wallpaper4god.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/jeremiah30_17.jpg
Blue Ridge Mountains range.    http://www.shopwildernessroad.com/about-us-southwest-virginia/
I will restore you to health, flowers.    http://images.splitcoaststampers.com/data/gallery/500/2012/06/16/Jer_30_17_Restore_Health001_by_seamom.jpg

3615.) Psalm 119:65-80

February 24, 2023

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.



“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.


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.   https://thebreathablebody.com/reasons-breathing-through-your-nose-is-good-for-you/
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

3614.) Jeremiah 29

February 23, 2023

Jer29 sprout plans

Jeremiah 29   (NLT)

A Letter to the Exiles

Jeremiah wrote a letter from Jerusalem to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people who had been exiled to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. This was after King Jehoiachin, the queen mother, the court officials, the other officials of Judah, and all the craftsmen and artisans had been deported from Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 29 contains a letter from Jeremiah (writing as the Lord’s prophet) to the exiles in Babylon. It was especially directed to the leaders of the Jewish community there. By this time Babylon had already invaded Judah and Jerusalem twice (605 b.c. and 598 b.c.) and taken captives each time. There still remained a sizable population in Jerusalem and Judah, but they would also soon be conquered and carried away in forced exile.

–David Guzik

He sent the letter with Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah when they went to Babylon as King Zedekiah’s ambassadors to Nebuchadnezzar.

This was the ancient equivalent of a diplomatic pouch, to ensure the letter’s safe arrival.

This is what Jeremiah’s letter said:

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”

Amazing! They were commanded to pray for the prosperity of their captors! Doing so shows their acceptance of the Lord’s judgment upon them and opens the way for peace. The Lord’s blessing can come on any nation through the prayer and action of God’s people.

“Jeremiah had foretold the ultimate overthrow of Babylon with no uncertain sound. Of that issue there could be no doubt. But so long as it remained, and they were held there as captives by the will of God, let them secure peace for themselves, by seeking the peace of the city, and that by prayer.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

“Wherever you find yourself, seek the peace and comfort of those about you.”

–F. B. Meyer

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let your prophets and fortune-tellers who are with you in the land of Babylon trick you. Do not listen to their dreams, because they are telling you lies in my name. I have not sent them,” says the Lord.

10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years.

“The exile did last seventy years. R.K. Harrison counts seventy years from the Babylonian victory at Carchemish in 605 b.c. to the return of the first exiles in 536 b.c.”

–Philip Graham Ryken

But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 

God’s plan for all of us is infinitely  bigger than we have ever dreamed. We have limited vision, and we look at our own resources and plan accordingly. We should lift our eyes to God and ask for his plan for our life. We will always build smaller than God wants to build. God desires to take us, to go as far as he can possibly go with us, and to exhaust all the resources that are in us in order to make us a blessing to the world. Many of us would have been more faithful to God and would have risked a little more if we had dreamed how good God was going to be to us. Do not determine what God wants to do in your life by what you can see. Let him decide that.

–Dennis F. Kinlaw

12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

15 You claim that the Lord has raised up prophets for you in Babylon. 16 But this is what the Lord says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all those still living here in Jerusalem—your relatives who were not exiled to Babylon. 17 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “I will send war, famine, and disease upon them and make them like bad figs, too rotten to eat. 18 Yes, I will pursue them with war, famine, and disease, and I will scatter them around the world. In every nation where I send them, I will make them an object of damnation, horror, contempt, and mockery. 19 For they refuse to listen to me, though I have spoken to them repeatedly through the prophets I sent. And you who are in exile have not listened either,” says the Lord.

20 Therefore, listen to this message from the Lord, all you captives there in Babylon. 21 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about your prophets—Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah—who are telling you lies in my name: “I will turn them over to Nebuchadnezzar for execution before your eyes. 22 Their terrible fate will become proverbial, so that the Judean exiles will curse someone by saying, ‘May the Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned alive!’

Jer29 burning

The Babylonians used fire as a method of execution — remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 

Apparently Ahab and Zedekiah were among the prophets who lied to the people of God, telling them of Nebuchadnezzar’s weakness and the soon restoration of the Jews to Judah. Not only were they wrong generally, they were wrong regarding themselves personally, and would soon be executed by the king they said was fading in power and influence.

23 For these men have done terrible things among my people. They have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have lied in my name, saying things I did not command. I am a witness to this. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

A Message for Shemaiah

Shemaiah wanted Zephaniah to do everything he could to oppose and discredit Jeremiah, denying his message that they would be in exile for a long time and should make the best of it. But God vindicates Jeremiah and confirms his message. 

24 The Lord sent this message to Shemaiah the Nehelamite in Babylon: 25 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: You wrote a letter on your own authority to Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, the priest, and you sent copies to the other priests and people in Jerusalem. You wrote to Zephaniah,

26 “The Lord has appointed you to replace Jehoiada as the priest in charge of the house of the Lord. You are responsible to put into stocks and neck irons any crazy man who claims to be a prophet. 27 So why have you done nothing to stop Jeremiah from Anathoth, who pretends to be a prophet among you? 28 Jeremiah sent a letter here to Babylon, predicting that our captivity will be a long one. He said, ‘Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce.’”

29 But when Zephaniah the priest received Shemaiah’s letter, he took it to Jeremiah and read it to him. 30 Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: 31 “Send an open letter to all the exiles in Babylon. Tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Since he has prophesied to you when I did not send him and has tricked you into believing his lies, 32 I will punish him and his family. None of his descendants will see the good things I will do for my people, for he has incited you to rebel against me. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”



What a comfort to know that God holds the future and he means it for our good.  HERE  is David Meece, a Christian Music Hall of Fame-er, with “God Holds the Future” (and shades of the BeeGees!)

You haven’t rested for days
And you’re so wrapped up in worry
That you can’t even think
You’ve done the best you can do
But the answer still evades you
To the problems that you face

God holds the future — He’s got a plan
There’s no need to worry, ’cause it’s all in His hand
So if you are struggling, with what you should do
God holds the future for you.

He’ll lead you if you just ask
But you’ve got to trust His wisdom
And believe in His word
He sees what you cannot see
And He knows and wants the best for you
So it’s time that you learned.


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:
verse 11 with plant growing in the dirt.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/18c3a-1.jpg
Matthew 5:44.   https://i.pinimg.com/originals/7a/aa/51/7aaa5196a9d961d6aec3fb7213fac9d2.jpg
verse 11 with sunrise.   https://www.missionariesofprayer.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/jeremiah-29-11.png
You will seek me and find me.   http://therescuedletters.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Jeremiah-29-13-www.therescuedletters.com_-1024×512.jpg

3613.) Jeremiah 28

February 22, 2023

Jeremiah 28   (NLT)

Jeremiah Condemns Hananiah

Zedekiah was the puppet king put on the throne of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. In this season Nebuchadnezzar was distracted by problems in other parts of his empire. Judah and some of the surrounding nations thought it was a smart time to rebel against what seemed to be a weakened king of Babylon. In Jeremiah 27, the prophet spoke to a gathering of representatives of those kingdoms, who came to Zedekiah to plot their strategy.

–David Guzik (and all comments in red)

One day in late summer of that same year—the fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah—Hananiah son of Azzur, a prophet from Gibeon, addressed me publicly in the Temple while all the priests and people listened.

This prophet and son of a prophet didn’t like Jeremiah’s gloomy message to the gathered kings (Jeremiah 27:1-11). Jeremiah came to them wearing the yoke an animal would use, to show that they would remain subjected to Nebuchadnezzar and their dreams of successful revolt would be unfulfilled.

He said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will remove the yoke of the king of Babylon from your necks. Within two years I will bring back all the Temple treasures that King Nebuchadnezzar carried off to Babylon. And I will bring back Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the other captives that were taken to Babylon. I will surely break the yoke that the king of Babylon has put on your necks. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”

False prophet Hananiah directly challenges Jeremiah’s message.  Instead of seventy years, he claims they will be gone no more than seven (four years have already passed, as per v. 1, and then about two more).

Jeremiah responded to Hananiah as they stood in front of all the priests and people at the Temple. He said, “Amen! May your prophecies come true! I hope the Lord does everything you say. I hope he does bring back from Babylon the treasures of this Temple and all the captives. But listen now to the solemn words I speak to you in the presence of all these people. The ancient prophets who preceded you and me spoke against many nations, always warning of war, disaster, and disease.

“Namely, Joel, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and others; all of whom denounced similar evils against a corrupt people.”

–Adam Clarke

So a prophet who predicts peace must show he is right. Only when his predictions come true can we know that he is really from the Lord.”

10 Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke off Jeremiah’s neck and broke it in pieces.

Jer28 hananiah

11 And Hananiah said again to the crowd that had gathered, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Just as this yoke has been broken, within two years I will break the yoke of oppression from all the nations now subject to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.’” With that, Jeremiah left the Temple area.

Now it is in God’s hands. Either one or the other, Hananiah or Jeremiah, is speaking the true words of the Lord.

12 Soon after this confrontation with Hananiah, the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: 13 “Go and tell Hananiah, ‘This is what the Lord says: You have broken a wooden yoke, but you have replaced it with a yoke of iron. 14 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I have put a yoke of iron on the necks of all these nations, forcing them into slavery under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control.’”

The yokes of iron can be understood as God’s stricter discipline upon His people. If we resist God’s gentler discipline – yokes of wood– we may find ourselves under much more unpleasant yokes of iron. It is far better to surrender the better yoke of Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28-30). 

15 Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. 16 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘You must die. Your life will end this very year because you have rebelled against the Lord.’”

17 Two months later the prophet Hananiah died.

A true prophet, of course, is one whose predictions come true. Here Jeremiah passes the test.



HERE  is a song about yokes being broken!  And for us, it is a True Prophet who says so!  “I Am Free.”


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 wearing a yoke.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/91532-www-st-takla-org-bible-slides-jeremiah-1483.jpg
Hananiah takes the yoke.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/jer28-hananiah.jpg

3612.) Jeremiah 27

February 21, 2023

Jeremiah 27   (NLT)

Jeremiah Wears an Ox Yoke

Jeremiah gives Judah an object lesson from God.

This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord early in the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah.

2 This is what the Lord said to me: “Make a yoke, and fasten it on your neck with leather straps.

 A yoke was wood, tied with leather thongs, that went under and above the neck of a large animal so the beast could pull a plow.

Then send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through their ambassadors who have come to see King Zedekiah in Jerusalem. Give them this message for their masters: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: With my great strength and powerful arm I made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose. Now I will give your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control. All the nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until his time is up.

My servant: “It is a most condescending way to speak about the most powerful man on the face of the earth: ‘my servant Nebuchadnezzar.’ It is the kind of language an ancient king would used to describe one of his vassals.” (Ryken)

Shall serve him and his son and his son’s son: “And all nations shall serve him (Nebuchadnezzar), and his son, (Evil-merodach, Jeremiah 52:31), and his son’s son (Belshazzar, Daniel 5:11). All which was literally fulfilled.” (Clarke)

–David Guzik

Then many nations and great kings will conquer and rule over Babylon. So you must submit to Babylon’s king and serve him; put your neck under Babylon’s yoke! I will punish any nation that refuses to be his slave, says the Lord. I will send war, famine, and disease upon that nation until Babylon has conquered it.

“‘Do not listen to your false prophets, fortune-tellers, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers who say, “The king of Babylon will not conquer you.” 10 They are all liars, and their lies will lead to your being driven out of your land.

“In a time of national crisis, religious fakers always flourish because many people want to hear only comforting messages, which may often be untrue.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

I will drive you out and send you far away to die. 11 But the people of any nation that submits to the king of Babylon will be allowed to stay in their own country to farm the land as usual. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”

12 Then I repeated this same message to King Zedekiah of Judah. “If you want to live, submit to the yoke of the king of Babylon and his people.

It sounds like a strange message — Serve the conquering king and live! It certainly puts King Zedekiah in an awkward position. Jeremiah calls on him to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar at a time when many of the other leaders wanted him to form an alliance and fight. It would be disgraceful for a king to surrender and he would look like a coward. This was a great opportunity for the false prophets, who kept saying that the Babylonians would not defeat the great city of Jerusalem and that God would never allow the magnificent, holy temple to be destroyed.  (The Life Application Bible)

13 Why do you insist on dying—you and your people? Why should you choose war, famine, and disease, which the Lord will bring against every nation that refuses to submit to Babylon’s king? 14 Do not listen to the false prophets who keep telling you, ‘The king of Babylon will not conquer you.’ They are liars. 15 This is what the Lord says: ‘I have not sent these prophets! They are telling you lies in my name, so I will drive you from this land. You will all die—you and all these prophets, too.’”

16 Then I spoke to the priests and the people and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not listen to your prophets who claim that soon the gold articles taken from my Temple will be returned from Babylon. It is all a lie!

In the ancient world, conquering kings would take the images of the defeated people’s gods and put them in their own temples. Since there were no images of God, Nebuchadnezzar took the temple vessels instead.

17 Do not listen to them. Surrender to the king of Babylon, and you will live. Why should this whole city be destroyed? 18 If they really are prophets and speak the Lord’s messages, let them pray to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Let them pray that the articles remaining in the Lord’s Temple and in the king’s palace and in the palaces of Jerusalem will not be carried away to Babylon!’

19 “For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken about the pillars in front of the Temple, the great bronze basin called the Sea, the water carts, and all the other ceremonial articles. 20 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon left them here when he exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon, along with all the other nobles of Judah and Jerusalem. 21 Yes, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about the precious things still in the Temple and in the palace of Judah’s king: 22 ‘They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for them,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again.’”

And they will be returned, in Ezra 7.



Jer27 burden light

HERE   is the wonderful Robert Shaw Chorale with “His Yoke Is Easy” from Handel’s Messiah.


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 wearing a yoke.   https://i.ytimg.com/vi/wx-aVboAdaE/hqdefault.jpg
yoke.   http://www.smp.org/size/files/3ee73fe2ea5aae97fbe2b42a241309a0/51037-Jeremiah_27.jpg.960x.jpg
My yoke is easy.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/44497-matthew11_30.jpg

3611.) Jeremiah 26

February 20, 2023

Jer26 Proverbs-1_33

Jeremiah 26   (NLT)

Jeremiah’s Escape from Death

Jeremiah — life on the edge!

This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah. “This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard in front of the Temple of the Lord, and make an announcement to the people who have come there to worship from all over Judah. Give them my entire message; include every word. Perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways. Then I will change my mind about the disaster I am ready to pour out on them because of their sins.

“Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you will not listen to me and obey my word I have given you, and if you will not listen to my servants, the prophets—for I sent them again and again to warn you, but you would not listen to them— then I will destroy this Temple as I destroyed Shiloh, the place where the Tabernacle was located. And I will make Jerusalem an object of cursing in every nation on earth.’”

The priests, the prophets, and all the people listened to Jeremiah as he spoke in front of the Lord’s Temple. But when Jeremiah had finished his message, saying everything the Lord had told him to say, the priests and prophets and all the people at the Temple mobbed him. “Kill him!” they shouted. “What right do you have to prophesy in the Lord’s name that this Temple will be destroyed like Shiloh? What do you mean, saying that Jerusalem will be destroyed and left with no inhabitants?” And all the people threatened him as he stood in front of the Temple.

Jer26 dont-mess

Jeremiah has raised their hackles!

It is no surprise that the priests and false prophets were infuriated by Jeremiah’s message that the temple would be destroyed. The temple was important to them because the people’s reverence for it brought them power. By saying that the temple would be destroyed, Jeremiah undermines their authority. Jesus also infuriated the religious leaders of his time by foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple (Matthew 24:2).  (The Life Application Bible)

10 When the officials of Judah heard what was happening, they rushed over from the palace and sat down at the New Gate of the Temple to hold court. 11 The priests and prophets presented their accusations to the officials and the people. “This man should die!” they said. “You have heard with your own ears what a traitor he is, for he has prophesied against this city.”

12 Then Jeremiah spoke to the officials and the people in his own defense. “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this Temple and this city,” he said. “The Lord gave me every word that I have spoken. 13 But if you stop your sinning and begin to obey the Lord your God, he will change his mind about this disaster that he has announced against you. 14 As for me, I am in your hands—do with me as you think best. 15 But if you kill me, rest assured that you will be killing an innocent man! The responsibility for such a deed will lie on you, on this city, and on every person living in it. For it is absolutely true that the Lord sent me to speak every word you have heard.”

16 Then the officials and the people said to the priests and prophets, “This man does not deserve the death sentence, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.”

17 Then some of the wise old men stood and spoke to all the people assembled there. 18 They said, “Remember when Micah of Moresheth prophesied during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah. He told the people of Judah,

‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
Mount Zion will be plowed like an open field;
    Jerusalem will be reduced to ruins!
A thicket will grow on the heights
    where the Temple now stands.’

19 But did King Hezekiah and the people kill him for saying this? No, they turned from their sins and worshiped the Lord. They begged him for mercy. Then the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had pronounced against them. So we are about to do ourselves great harm.”

Jer26 micah

So, on the advice of some wise old men, they consider sparing Jeremiah’s life, as King Hezekiah spared Micah’s life. But it doesn’t seem to occur to them to turn from their sins and worship the Lord, which is what both Micah and Jeremiah preached.

20 At this time Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim was also prophesying for the Lord. And he predicted the same terrible disaster against the city and nation as Jeremiah did. 21 When King Jehoiakim and the army officers and officials heard what he was saying, the king sent someone to kill him. But Uriah heard about the plan and escaped in fear to Egypt. 22 Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt along with several other men to capture Uriah. 23 They took him prisoner and brought him back to King Jehoiakim. The king then killed Uriah with a sword and had him buried in an unmarked grave.

How many faithful people through the centuries are known now only to the Lord! Uriah is an otherwise unknown prophet who counted obedience to God worth more than his life. In many parts of the world today, following Jesus is a dangerous, even life-threatening, decision. Such facts make me resolve to be more intentional and less casual in my witness to Christ!

24 Nevertheless, Ahikam son of Shaphan stood up for Jeremiah and persuaded the court not to turn him over to the mob to be killed.

So overall, not a bad day for Jeremiah!

Psalm 118:24-25   (ESV)

This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Save us, we pray, O Lord!
    O Lord, we pray, give us success!



I love the utter confidence Jeremiah has in the Lord, such that death does not frighten him at all. As Proverbs 1:33 says in the top picture, he was able to “be at ease” even when the crowd was threatening him. To inspire us to a similar trust:   HERE  is Selah and “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”


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:
Proverbs 1:33.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/jer26-proverbs-1_33.jpg
Don’t mess.   https://quotesgram.com/img/mess-with-me-quotes/697022/
Micah 6:8.    https://samoaglobalnews.com/micah-68/

3610.) Jeremiah 25

February 17, 2023


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.


Fallow ground, or fallow soil, is simply ground or soil which has been left unplanted for a period of time. The land is left to rest and regenerate.

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. Some 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.



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.”


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.     https://gclabels.net/Number%20Seventy%20%2870%29%20Fluorescent%20Circle%20or%20Square%20Labels
but you have not listened.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/jer7-not-listen.jpg
fallow ground.  https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/what-is-fallow-ground.htm
cup of wrath.   http://borivaliassembly.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/cup2.jpg
Aslan.    https://ponderingprinciples.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Aslan.jpg

3609.) Jeremiah 24

February 16, 2023

Jer24 good and bad figs

Jeremiah 24   (NLT)

Jehoiachin was carried into exile in 597 B.C.  Officials, craftsmen, and artisans were also deported, with only the poorest and weakest people being left behind in Judah.  (The Archaeology Bible)

Good and Bad Figs

After King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon along with the officials of Judah and all the craftsmen and artisans, the Lord gave me this vision. I saw two baskets of figs placed in front of the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem. One basket was filled with fresh, ripe figs, while the other was filled with bad figs that were too rotten to eat.

Then the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

I replied, “Figs, some very good and some very bad, too rotten to eat.”

Then the Lord gave me this message: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: The good figs represent the exiles I sent from Judah to the land of the Babylonians. I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them.

Judgment upon a nation or community means that all suffer, even those who may be individually innocent of the sins that brought God’s judgment. What God said to Jeremiah through the two baskets of figs means that even when all suffer under a national judgment, God still knows the difference between those caught up in the judgment and those who brought down the judgment.

–David Guzik

I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.

Jer24 7Another New Covenant promise!

“But the bad figs,” the Lord said, “represent King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, all the people left in Jerusalem, and those who live in Egypt. I will treat them like bad figs, too rotten to eat. I will make them an object of horror and a symbol of evil to every nation on earth. They will be disgraced and mocked, taunted and cursed, wherever I scatter them. 10 And I will send war, famine, and disease until they have vanished from the land of Israel, which I gave to them and their ancestors.”


I love fresh and dried figs, but especially fresh. Newly picked from the tree and warm from the sun fresh!

“To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean.” 

–Elizabeth David

“No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.”




It is my choice, which kind of fig I am. And my choice comes in circumstances a hundred times each day, to be a good fig, obedient to Christ.  HERE  is a song of commitment, one that I have sung privately to the Lord countless times. “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Mack Wilberg directing.


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:
good and bad figs.    http://www.bibleplaces.com/images12/Baskets-of-good-and-bad-figs,-Jeremiah-24,-tb092506048-bibleplaces.jpg
Jeremiah 24:7.    http://wallpaper4god.com/wallpapers/jeremiah-247_813_1680x1050.jpg
three figs.    http://lahainagrill.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/istock_000011333027medium_fresh-fig.jpg

3608.) Jeremiah 23

February 15, 2023

Jer23 righteous branch

Jeremiah 23   (NLT)

The Righteous Descendant

“What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the Lord.

In the previous chapter, God pronounced His judgment and doom against several kings (shepherds) of Judah.

The flock of Jeremiah’s day was indeed scattered. Some were carried away to Babylon and the nations as captives, and others went as refugees to Egypt. This could all be traced back to ungodly and poor leaders for the people of God.

–David Guzik

Therefore, this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them. But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the Lord, have spoken!

“For the time is coming,”
    says the Lord,
“when I will raise up a righteous descendant
    from King David’s line.
He will be a King who rules with wisdom.
    He will do what is just and right throughout the land.
And this will be his name:
    ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’
In that day Judah will be saved,
    and Israel will live in safety.

Jer23 righteousness

Isaiah 58:8   (ESV)

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Righteousness is something positive. The work of Jesus in His people is not only to clean the stain of sin. The perfect obedience and righteousness of Jesus is ours in Him. “It speaks of one who will not only reflect the righteousness of God but will convey it to his people, making it their own possession.”

–Derek Kidner

Paul may have had this promise in mind when he spoke of Christ Jesus as our righteousness, in 1 Corinthians 1:30.  

“In that day,” says the Lord, “when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ 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.’ Then they will live in their own land.”

Israel rightly celebrated the deliverance from Egypt. Jeremiah announced that an even more wonderful deliverance would happen in connection with the gathering of Israel presented as an aspect of the New Covenant.

Israel was created in the Exodus out of Egypt and they were restored in the gathering out of Babylon and the nations. God promised that the restoration of Israel would be greater than the creation of Israel. This connects to the principle that restored or redeemed man is greater than created or innocent man.

–David Guzik



Jesus, our righteousness, our salvation, is promised to us again!  HERE  is “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” a capella — one of my favorite Advent carols.


Judgment on False Prophets

My heart is broken because of the false prophets,
    and my bones tremble.

 “Next to the ungodly kings, the false prophets were most responsible for bringing about the nation’s ruin.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

I stagger like a drunkard,
    like someone overcome by wine,
because of the holy words
    the Lord has spoken against them.
10 For the land is full of adultery,
    and it lies under a curse.
The land itself is in mourning—
    its wilderness pastures are dried up.
For they all do evil
    and abuse what power they have.

The great contrast between their message and his message made Jeremiah nauseous. His main message was repent; their main message was relax. They couldn’t possibly both be right.

–David Guzik

11 “Even the priests and prophets
    are ungodly, wicked men.
I have seen their despicable acts
    right here in my own Temple,”
    says the Lord.
12 “Therefore, the paths they take
    will become slippery.
They will be chased through the dark,
    and there they will fall.
For I will bring disaster upon them
    at the time fixed for their punishment.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

Psalm 34:15-16    (NIV)

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to blot out their name from the earth.

13 “I saw that the prophets of Samaria were terribly evil,
    for they prophesied in the name of Baal
    and led my people of Israel into sin.
14 But now I see that the prophets of Jerusalem are even worse!

God compared the prophets of Jerusalem and Judah to the prophets of Samaria that led the northern kingdom to spiritual and social ruin some 150 years before.

    They commit adultery and love dishonesty.
They encourage those who are doing evil
    so that no one turns away from their sins.
These prophets are as wicked
    as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah once were.”

How did the nation become so corrupt as to be compared to Sodom and Gomorrah?  A major factor was false prophecy. The false prophets had a large, enthusiastic audience and were very popular because they made the people believe that all was well. By contrast, Jeremiah’s message from God was unpopular because it showed the people how bad they were.

There are four warning signs of false prophets—characteristics we need to watch for even today. (1) They may appear to speak God’s message, but they do not live according to his principles. (2) They water down God’s message in order to make it more palatable. (3) They encourage their listeners, often subtly, to disobey God. (4) They tend to be arrogant and self-serving, appealing to the desires of their audience instead of being true to God’s Word.  (The Life Application Bible)

15 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says concerning the prophets:

“I will feed them with bitterness
    and give them poison to drink.
For it is because of Jerusalem’s prophets
    that wickedness has filled this land.”

16 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to his people:

“Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you,
    filling you with futile hopes.
They are making up everything they say.
    They do not speak for the Lord!
17 They keep saying to those who despise my word,
    ‘Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!’
And to those who stubbornly follow their own desires,
    they say, ‘No harm will come your way!’

18 “Have any of these prophets been in the Lord’s presence
    to hear what he is really saying?
    Has even one of them cared enough to listen?
19 Look! The Lord’s anger bursts out like a storm,
    a whirlwind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked.
20 The anger of the Lord will not diminish
    until it has finished all he has planned.

God’s anger against the corrupt prophets was not just a matter of personal irritation. It was righteous and would be performed against them until His justice was accomplished.

In the days to come
    you will understand all this very clearly.

Which is to say — the people would know the truth of this prophecy when Jerusalem fell.

21 “I have not sent these prophets,
    yet they run around claiming to speak for me.
I have given them no message,
    yet they go on prophesying.
22 If they had stood before me and listened to me,
    they would have spoken my words,
and they would have turned my people
    from their evil ways and deeds.
23 Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord.
    “No, I am far away at the same time.
24 Can anyone hide from me in a secret place?
    Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?”
    says the Lord.

25 “I have heard these prophets say, ‘Listen to the dream I had from God last night.’ And then they proceed to tell lies in my name. 26 How long will this go on? If they are prophets, they are prophets of deceit, inventing everything they say. 27 By telling these false dreams, they are trying to get my people to forget me, just as their ancestors did by worshiping the idols of Baal.

“Once men forgot the character of Yahweh, they could be persuaded to accept all kinds of doctrines.”

–J. A. Thompson

28 “Let these false prophets tell their dreams,
    but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word.
    There is a difference between straw and grain!

Jer23 hammer

29 Does not my word burn like fire?”
    says the Lord.
“Is it not like a mighty hammer
    that smashes a rock to pieces?

30 “Therefore,” says the Lord, “I am against these prophets who steal messages from each other and claim they are from me. 31 I am against these smooth-tongued prophets who say, ‘This prophecy is from the Lord!’ 32 I am against these false prophets. Their imaginary dreams are flagrant lies that lead my people into sin. I did not send or appoint them, and they have no message at all for my people. I, the Lord, have spoken!

False Prophecies and False Prophets

We all know what it is like to have someone quote us, but quote us wrongly. The presumption of him or her! How offensive that is! How much more so for Almighty God, to hear people using his name to say things entirely opposite of what he means.

33 “Suppose one of the people or one of the prophets or priests asks you, ‘What prophecy has the Lord burdened you with now?’ You must reply, ‘You are the burden! The Lord says he will abandon you!’

34 “If any prophet, priest, or anyone else says, ‘I have a prophecy from the Lord,’ I will punish that person along with his entire family. 35 You should keep asking each other, ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What is the Lord saying?’ 36 But stop using this phrase, ‘prophecy from the Lord.’ For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God, the living God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

37 “This is what you should say to the prophets: ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What is the Lord saying?’ 38 But suppose they respond, ‘This is a prophecy from the Lord!’ Then you should say, ‘This is what the Lord says: Because you have used this phrase, “prophecy from the Lord,” even though I warned you not to use it, 39 I will forget you completely. I will expel you from my presence, along with this city that I gave to you and your ancestors. 40 And I will make you an object of ridicule, and your name will be infamous throughout the ages.’”


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 righteous Branch.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/jer23-righteous-branch1.jpg
The Lord our Righteousness.    http://b.vimeocdn.com/ts/188/727/188727046_640.jpg
Bethlehem baby.   http://www.f-covers.com/cover/baby-jesus-manger-facebook-cover-timeline-banner-for-fb.jpg
the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.    https://assetsnffrgf-a.akamaihd.net/assets/m/1102016020/univ/art/1102016020_univ_cnt_2_xl.jpg
hammer.    https://aviesplace.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/jeremiah-23-29.jpg