2378.) Lamentations 3

June 13, 2018

“The sufferings of Jeremiah” etching by Marc Chagall, 1939.

Lamentations 3   (CEV)

Unlike in Job and many of the Psalms, God says nothing to the writer of Lamentations. What should we make of his silence?

One commentator, Kathleen O’Connor, calls God’s silence “inspired.” This resonates on three levels. First, God allows the suffering people to have their full say. He listens, without interrupting to comfort or correct. Second, the Prophets had already explained that this would happen and why. And third, although God does not speak as a character in the book, he speaks by including it in his Word, within the canon of Scripture.

–Christopher J. H. White

There Is Still Hope

The Prophet Speaks:

“Jeremiah’s personal lament is a reminder that suffering is always personal. When nations go through times of tragedy and tribulation, the greatest suffering always takes place at the individual level.”

–Philip Graham Ryken

1I have suffered much because God was angry.

2He chased me into a dark place, where no light could enter.

“This seems to be the hardest part of our lot, that God should lead us into darkness: ‘He hath led me, and brought me into darkness.’ Yet dear brethren, that is, on the other hand, the sweetest thing about our trial; because, if the darkness be in the place where God has led us, it is best for us to be in the dark.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

3I am the only one he punishes over and over again,

without ever stopping.

4God caused my skin and flesh to waste away,

and he crushed my bones.

5He attacked and surrounded me with hardships and trouble;

6he forced me to sit in the dark like someone long dead.

7God built a fence around me that I cannot climb over,

Job 19:8 (KJV)

 He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths.

and he chained me down.

8Even when I shouted and prayed for help,

he refused to listen.

9God put big rocks in my way

and made me follow a crooked path.

10God was like a bear or a lion waiting in ambush for me;

11he dragged me from the road, then tore me to shreds.

    12God took careful aim and shot his arrows

13straight through my heart.

Job 6:4 (NLT)

For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows.
      Their poison infects my spirit.
      God’s terrors are lined up against me.

14I am a joke to everyone–

no one ever stops making fun of me.

15God has turned my life sour.

16He made me eat gravel and rubbed me in the dirt.

“It could be argued that eating gravel refers to the type of bread made from the sweepings of the granary floor that Jeremiah must have received toward the end of the siege.”

–H. L. Ellison

17I cannot find peace or remember happiness.

18I tell myself, “I am finished!

I can’t count on the LORD to do anything for me.”

19Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering

makes me miserable.

20That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed.

21Then I remember something

that fills me with hope.

“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”
Martin Luther

22The LORD’s kindness never fails!

If he had not been merciful,

we would have been destroyed.

   23The LORD can always be trusted

to show mercy each morning.

“In a magnificent expression of faith in the unfailing mercies of God, the writer looks to the distant future with renewed hope.”

–Harrison

24Deep in my heart I say,

“The LORD is all I need; I can depend on him!”

25The LORD is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys him.

26It is good to wait patiently for the LORD to save us.

“Do not be in a hurry; do not expect to be delivered out of your trouble the first time you begin to cry unto God. Oh, no: ‘the Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.’

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“There are times when the only thing a sufferer can do is wait for God. But waiting is good because God is worth waiting for.”

–Philip Graham Ryken

27When we are young, it is good to struggle hard

28and to sit silently alone,

if this is what the LORD intends.

29Being rubbed in the dirt can teach us a lesson;

   30we can also learn from insults and hard knocks.

31The Lord won’t always reject us!

32He causes a lot of suffering,

but he also has pity because of his great love.

In his classic treatment of suffering, The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis wrote:

God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks in our conscience,
but shouts in our pain:
it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

Lewis argues that not only is it possible to find God when life is hard, but also it is in some sense easier than when life is good.

33The Lord doesn’t enjoy sending grief or pain.

34Don’t trample prisoners under your feet

35or cheat anyone out of what is rightfully theirs.

God Most High sees everything,

36and he knows when you refuse

to give someone a fair trial.

37No one can do anything

without the Lord’s approval.

38Good and bad each happen

at the command of God Most High.

Psalm 33:11 (NLT)

But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever;
      his intentions can never be shaken.

39We’re still alive!

We shouldn’t complain

when we are being punished for our sins.

40Instead, we should think

about the way we are living,

and turn back to the LORD.

41When we lift our hands

in prayer to God in heaven,

we should offer him our hearts

and say, 42“We’ve sinned!

We’ve rebelled against you,

and you haven’t forgiven us!

43Anger is written all over you,

as you pursue and slaughter us

without showing pity.

44You are behind a wall of clouds

that blocks out our prayers.

from My Utmost for His Highest,
by Oswald Chambers

GOD’S SILENCE — THEN WHAT?

When He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was —John 11:6

Has God trusted you with His silence — a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, then praise Him— He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes. The actual evidence of the answer in time is simply a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you may have said, “I asked God to give me bread, but He gave me a stone instead” (see Matthew 7:9).  He did not give you a stone, and today you find that He gave you the “bread of life” (John 6:35).

A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that His stillness is contagious— it gets into you, causing you to become perfectly confident so that you can honestly say, “I know that God has heard me.” His silence is the very proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will always bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of His silence. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of His intimacy— silence.

45You allowed nations

to treat us like garbage;

46our enemies curse us.

47We are terrified and trapped,

caught and crushed.”

48My people are destroyed!

Tears flood my eyes,

49and they won’t stop

50until the LORD looks down from heaven and helps.

51I am horrified when I see what enemies have done

to the young women of our city.

52No one had reason to hate me,

but I was hunted down like a bird.

53Then they tried to kill me

by tossing me into a pit and throwing stones at me.

54Water covered my head–

I thought I was gone.

55From the bottom of the pit, I prayed to you, LORD.

56I begged you to listen.

“Help!” I shouted. “Save me!”

You answered my prayer

57and came when I was in need.

You told me, “Don’t worry!”

58You rescued me and saved my life.

Jonah 2:5-7 (NLT)

“I sank beneath the waves,
      and the waters closed over me.
      Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.
I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.
      I was imprisoned in the earth,
      whose gates lock shut forever.
   But you, O Lord my God,
      snatched me from the jaws of death!
As my life was slipping away,
      I remembered the Lord.
   And my earnest prayer went out to you
      in your holy Temple.”

59You saw them abuse me, LORD,

so make things right.

60You know every plot they have made against me.

61Yes, you know their insults and their evil plans.

62All day long they attack with words and whispers.

63No matter what they are doing, they keep on mocking me.

64Pay them back for everything they have done, LORD!

65Put your curse on them and make them suffer.

     66Get angry and go after them

until not a trace is left under the heavens.

_________________________

Music:

Lamentations 3:22-23   (NIV)

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
   for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness.

HERE  is Fernando Ortega singing a lovely, and uncommon, version of the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”

_________________________

Contemporary English Version (CEV)   Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
Chagall.    http://www.georgetownframeshoppe.com/marc-chagall-etching-the-bible-suffering-of-jeremiah
dog fenced in.    http://www.chainlinkfence.com/_images/dk3.jpg
arrow through the heart.    http://rlv.zcache.com/cupid_arrow_in_heart_tshirt-p235058565772337845trlf_400.jpg
verses 21-23 with sky and tree.   http://holyrosarysite.com/archives/3296/greennature1
hope.  http://cache2.artprintimages.com/p/LRG/22/2205/V6CAD00Z/art-print/karen-tribett-hope.jpg
verse 26.   https://i.pinimg.com/originals/9f/b2/62/9fb262507c326b6ba44eb04d8e695295.jpg
Thy will be done.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/thywillbedone-sunsetcopy28web29.jpg
Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead (mosaic from Ravenna, Italy, 6th century).     https://saintspeterandpaulboone.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/lazarus-ravenna-500s.jpg
Jonah.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/jonah-and-whale-wallace.jpg
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2377.) Lamentations 2

June 12, 2018

“Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem” by Rembrandt, 1630 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Lamentations 2   (CEV)

The LORD Was Like an Enemy

This chapter is an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

The Prophet Speaks:

1The Lord was angry!

God had warned them so many times to return to Him or face punishment. But they did not listen. So now, the Lord makes good His promise with a series of strong actions. All this destruction comes from God, even if it was through the instrument of the Babylonian army.

So he disgraced Zion though it was Israel’s pride

and his own place of rest.

In his anger he threw Zion down from heaven to earth.

2The LORD had no mercy!

He destroyed the homes of Jacob’s descendants.

In his anger he tore down every walled city in Judah;

he toppled the nation together with its leaders,

leaving them in shame.

Psalm 89:39-40 (NIV)

You have renounced the covenant with your servant
   and have defiled his crown in the dust.
You have broken through all his walls
   and reduced his strongholds to ruins.

3The Lord was so furiously angry

that he wiped out the whole army of Israel

by not supporting them when the enemy attacked.

He swallowed up the descendants of Jacob

like a raging fire.

4He attacked like an enemy with a bow and arrows,

killing our loved ones.

He burned to the ground the homes on Mount Zion.

I know a woman whose house burned to the ground. She says that even now, years after, she is sometimes jolted awake by the memory of yet another thing that was lost. The blanket her grandmother had knit for her when she was born. The baptismal dress her children wore. Her  wedding invitation, framed in a mother-of-pearl frame. Her scrapbook of her brother’s senior year in high school, beginning with football practice (he was the quarterback) and ending with the fatal car wreck the night after graduation. Totally random, she says, the things she remembers. And always with a pain deep inside. Life can be hard.

5The Lord was like an enemy!

He left Israel in ruins

with its palaces and fortresses destroyed,

and with everyone in Judah moaning and weeping.

6He shattered his temple like a hut in a garden;

he completely wiped out his meeting place,

and did away with festivals and Sabbaths

in the city of Zion.

In his fierce anger he rejected our king and priests.

7The Lord abandoned his altar and his temple;

he let Zion’s enemies capture her fortresses.

Noisy shouts were heard from the temple,

as if it were a time of celebration.

Psalm 74:7-8 (NIV)

They burned your sanctuary to the ground;
   they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.
They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!”
   They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.

8The LORD had decided

to tear down the walls of Zion stone by stone.

So he started destroying and did not stop

until walls and fortresses mourned and trembled.

9Zion’s gates have fallen

facedown on the ground;

the bars that locked the gates are smashed to pieces.

Her king and royal family are prisoners in foreign lands.

Her priests don’t teach,

and her prophets don’t have a message from the LORD.

10Zion’s leaders are silent.

They just sit on the ground,

tossing dirt on their heads and wearing sackcloth.

Her young women can do nothing

but stare at the ground.

11My eyes are red from crying,

my stomach is in knots, and I feel sick all over.

Psalm 22:14 (NIV)

I am poured out like water,
   and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
   it has melted within me.

My people are being wiped out,

and children lie helpless in the streets of the city.

12A child begs its mother for food and drink,

then blacks out

like a wounded soldier lying in the street.

The child slowly dies in its mother’s arms.

“This pathetic and tragic scene stands in stark contrast to the ideal of happy, carefree children playing in the streets of Jerusalem, a situation which is promised when the nation is restored, as in Zechariah 8:5–

The streets of the city

Shall be full of boys and girls

Playing in its streets.

–R. K. Harrison

13Zion, how can I comfort you?

Isaiah 40:1-2 (NIV)

Comfort, comfort my people,
   says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
   and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
   that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
   double for all her sins.

How great is your pain?

Lovely city of Jerusalem,

how can I heal your wounds, gaping as wide as the sea?

14Your prophets deceived you

with false visions and lying messages–

they should have warned you

to leave your sins and be saved from disaster.

15Those who pass by shake their heads and sneer

as they make fun and shout,

“What a lovely city you were, the happiest on earth,

but look at you now!”

“Colorful Town” by Dora Ficher, 2009.

Psalm 50:2 (ESV)

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
    God shines forth.

16Zion, your enemies curse you and snarl like wild animals,

while shouting, “This is the day we’ve waited for!

At last, we’ve got you!”

17The LORD has done everything

that he had planned and threatened long ago.

He destroyed you without mercy

and let your enemies boast about their powerful forces.

18Zion, deep in your heart you cried out to the Lord.

Now let your tears overflow your walls day and night.

Don’t ever lose hope or let your tears stop.

19Get up and pray for help all through the night.

Pour out your feelings to the Lord, as you would pour water out of a jug.

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

Dinah Craik (1826-1887), English poet and novelist

Beg him to save your people,

who are starving to death at every street crossing.

Jerusalem Speaks:

20Think about it, LORD!

Have you ever been this cruel to anyone before?

Is it right for mothers to eat their children,

The loss of a child is surely one of the worst things to befall a parent. But how desperate must a parent be, to then eat the child? The suffering in Jerusalem must have been awful. 

or for priests and prophets to be killed in your temple?

21My people, both young and old, lie dead in the streets.

Because you were angry,

my young men and women were brutally slaughtered.

22When you were angry, LORD,

you invited my enemies like guests for a party.

No one survived that day;

enemies killed my children,

my own little ones.

_________________________

Music:

One morning in March 1991, four year old Conor Clapton, son of the important and influential English guitarist, singer, and song-writer Eric Clapton, died when he fell from a 53rd-story window in a New York City apartment. He landed on the roof of an adjacent four-story building. This song is Clapton’s expression of grief at the loss of his little boy. I remember when this happened; we were living in Italy at the time and I had two precious sons — Sean was 5 and Devlin was not quite 1.

To all the fathers and mothers who have lost a child, beginning with Adam and Eve and continuing to this very day — the promise is sure. There will be no “Tears in Heaven.”  HERE  is Eric Clapton and his song.

(with love to Judy, Marlys, Mary, Jan and Don, Cary and Andy, Joan Elaine and Larry . . .)

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven
Will it be the same
If I saw you in heaven
I must be strong, and carry on
Cause I know I don’t belong
Here in heaven

Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven
I’ll find my way, through night and day
Cause I know I just can’t stay
Here in heaven

Time can bring you down
Time can bend your knee
Time can break your heart
Have you begging please
Begging please

(instrumental)

Beyond the door
There’s peace I’m sure.
And I know there’ll be no more…
Tears in heaven

_________________________

Contemporary English Version (CEV)   Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
Rembrandt.    http://www.artchive.com/artchive/r/rembrandt/jeremiah.jpg
home burning.    https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/592-lamentations-2/
heart melt.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/heartmelt.jpg
little girl.   https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/592-lamentations-2/
Ficher.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/6a0111685bdd87970c01127919ef9f28a4-800wi.jpg
pitcher,  pouring water.   http://www.cancerfreesociety.org/Pitcher%20Pouring%20Water%20copy.jpg

2376.) Lamentations 1

June 11, 2018

“How deserted lies the city!” engraving by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, 1860.

The five chapters of Lamentations are five poems, each lamenting the destruction and desolation that came to Jerusalem as a result of the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The first chapter, for example, is an acrostic poem; each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The poems function as a formal ritual by which the exiles could grieve over the calamity, over their pain and loss.

Traditionally the book has been ascribed to the prophet Jeremiah, although no name is attached to it. No matter who wrote it, as one scholar noted, “the whole song stands so near the events that one feels everywhere as if the terrible pictures of the destruction stand still immediately before the eyes of the one lamenting.”

Orthodox Jews read aloud the entire book on the ninth day of the month Ab, the traditional date of the destruction of Solomon’s Temple. In Christian traditions, Lamentations is often read during the days of Holy Week.

Lamentations 1  (CEV)

Lonely Jerusalem

The Prophet Speaks:

1Jerusalem, once so crowded,

lies deserted and lonely.

This city that was known

all over the world

is now like a widow.

This queen of the nations

has been made a slave.

“It was common in the Old Testament for cities to be portrayed as women,” says the footnote for this verse in The Archaeological Study Bible.

2Each night, bitter tears flood her cheeks.

None of her former lovers

are there to offer comfort;

her friends have betrayed her and are now her enemies.

The “lovers” and “friends” refer to foreign allies who had promised to help Judah, but did not.

3The people of Judah are slaves,

suffering in a foreign land,

with no rest from sorrow.

Their enemies captured them

and were terribly cruel.

Yes, we have read of the offenses the people of Israel endured from the Babylonians — their Temple ransacked and burned, the city walls of Jerusalem destroyed, the people carried off into exile, the king blinded . . .

4The roads to Zion mourn

because no one travels there

to celebrate the festivals.

Before the fall of Jerusalem, the people of Israel celebrated seven annual feasts:

  • Passover – to remember how the Lord rescued his people from bondage in Egypt
  • Feast of Unleavened Bread – to avoid yeast, a symbol of evil; to be ready to follow God
  • Offering of Firstfruits – to celebrate God’s gracious provision at the beginning of the barley harvest
  • Pentecost – to show gratitude for the wheat harvest and the giving of the law through Moses
  • Feast of Trumpets – to usher in a month with particularly significant holy days
  • Day of Atonement – to fast, pray, and confess on the holiest day of the year
  • Feast of Booths – to recall life in the wilderness by constructing small huts and camping out while also praising God for the year’s harvest

The city gates are deserted;

priests are weeping.

Young women are raped; Zion is in sorrow!

5Enemies now rule the city

and live as they please.

The LORD has punished Jerusalem

because of her awful sins;

he has let her people be dragged away.

6Zion’s glory has disappeared.

Her leaders are like deer

that cannot find pasture;

they are hunted down

till their strength is gone.

7Her people recall the good life

that once was theirs;

now they suffer and are scattered.

The Garden of Exile (above), part of the Jewish Museum Berlin, represents the experience of European Jewish exiles, driven from their home during World War II.  Standing in between the rows of forty-nine concrete container columns is a claustrophobic, disorienting experience, where you are aware that logically, escape is very close but physically, you feel as if you are trapped forever.The Museum documents European Jewish history and the overwhelming loss of  Jewish history and culture due to the Holocaust during World War II.

No one was there to protect them from their enemies

who sneered when their city was taken.

8Jerusalem’s horrible sins

have made the city a joke.

Those who once admired her

now hate her instead–

she has been disgraced;

she groans and turns away.

9Her sins had made her filthy,

but she wasn’t worried about what could happen.

And when Jerusalem fell,

it was so tragic.

No one gave her comfort when she cried out,

“Help! I’m in trouble, LORD!  The enemy has won.”

Psalm 25:18-19 (ESV)

Consider my affliction and my trouble,
   and forgive all my sins.

Consider how many are my foes,
   and with what violent hatred they hate me.

10Zion’s treasures were stolen.

Jerusalem saw foreigners

enter her place of worship,

though the LORD

had forbidden them to belong to his people.

11Everyone in the city groans

while searching for food;

they trade their valuables

for barely enough scraps to stay alive.

Jerusalem shouts to the LORD,

“Please look and see how miserable I am!”

Jerusalem Speaks:

12No passerby even cares.

Why doesn’t someone notice

my terrible sufferings?

You were fiercely angry, LORD,

and you punished me worst of all.

Lamentations 1:12   (NIV)

“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
   Look around and see.
Is any suffering like my suffering?”

The first time this verse registered with me was during a season of Lent sometime when I was in high school. The local Methodist church put a cross out on their front lawn, draped in a purple cloth, with a sign that read, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?” I see it clearly in my mind’s eye still, and I answer — Yes, Lord, your crucifixion is something to me! It is your wounds, and my healing! It is your sorrow, and my joy! It is your death, and my life! Thank you with all my heart!

13From heaven you sent a fire

that burned in my bones;

you set a trap for my feet

and made me turn back.

All day long you leave me

in shock from constant pain.

14You have tied my sins

around my neck, and they weigh so heavily

that my strength is gone.

You have put me in the power

of enemies too strong for me.

15You, LORD, have turned back my warriors

and crushed my young heroes.

Judah was a woman untouched,

but you let her be trampled like grapes in a wine pit.

16Because of this, I mourn,

and tears flood my eyes.

Sometimes Jeremiah is described as the weeping prophet, and he would agree with the description. Lamentations was not written with a dry eye, but with overflowing eyes.

–David Guzik

No one is here to comfort or to encourage me;

we have lost the war–

my people are suffering.

The Prophet Speaks:

17Zion reaches out her hands,

but no one offers comfort.

Isaiah 1:15 (NIV)

When you spread out your hands in prayer,
   I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
   I am not listening.

   Your hands are full of blood!

The LORD has turned the neighboring nations

against Jacob’s descendants.

Jerusalem is merely a filthy rag to her neighbors.

Jerusalem Speaks:

18The LORD was right,

but I refused to obey him.

Now I ask all of you to look

at my sufferings–

even my young people have been dragged away.

19I called out to my lovers,

but they betrayed me.

My priests and my leaders died

while searching the city for scraps of food.

20Won’t you look and see

how upset I am, our LORD?

My stomach is in knots,

and my heart is broken

because I betrayed you.

In the streets and at home,

my people are slaughtered.

21Everyone heard my groaning,

but no one offered comfort.

My enemies know of the trouble

that you have brought on me,

and it makes them glad.

Hurry and punish them, as you have promised.

22Don’t let their evil deeds escape your sight.

Punish them as much as you have punished me

because of my sins.

I never stop groaning–

I’ve lost all hope!

“The last two verses are a tentative prayer that God will vindicate His righteousness among the other nations. If Judah has needed to experience judgement to lead her to repentance, then others need the experience of judgement also.”

–Christopher J. H. Wright

_________________________

Music:

Where to go for comfort? Where to go for hope? “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life!”

1 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

HERE  is “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”  sung by Deborah Liv Johnson.

_________________________

Contemporary English Version (CEV)   Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
Carolsfeld.     http://www.pitts.emory.edu/woodcuts/1853BiblD/00011488.jpg
“The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem,” by David Roberts (1850).   http://lh3.ggpht.com/_djGdu0EN2ao/SJhW2K1WHkI/AAAAAAAAADI/72hr8XEOEHQ/%5BRoberts,%20David%5D%20The%20Siege%20and%20Destruction%20of%20Jerusalem%20%281850%29.jpg
blowing the shofar.    http://rinah-shalom.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/blowing_the_shofar.gif
Garden of Exile.    https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/garden-of-exile-at-the-jewish-museum-in-high-res-stock-photography/530366700
fallen stones in Jerusalem.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/NinthAvStonesWesternWall.JPG
crucifixion.    http://yearintheoffice.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/card-_84-crucifix-front.jpg
reaching hand.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/reachinghand1.jpg
stomach in knots.  https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/591-lamentations-1/

2375.) Psalm 20

June 8, 2018

Psalm 20   (NRSV)

Prayer for Victory

The picture is that of King David before battle, at the tabernacle of God, offering prayers and sacrifices. 

With the eye of faith, we see that this also speaks to the great battle fought by one greater than King David — by Jesus, the Son of David and the King of Kings. We can see this prayer being offered prophetically for Jesus as He pointed Himself toward the cross, where He would fight the greatest battle against sin, death, and Satan’s power.

–David Guzik

1The Lord answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you!

2May he send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion.

3May he remember all your offerings, and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices. Selah

4May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your plans.

Isaiah 26:8 (NLT)

Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws;
our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.

When our desires are in accord with the plan and will of God for us, we can pray this same prayer with confidence. We can also look for God to bring our desires more and more into conformity with His, in the course of Christian growth.

5May we shout for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners. May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

Here the raising of the banners signifies God’s victory over the enemies.

6Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand.

7Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.

Some trust in

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses:  but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”  — Psalm 20:7 (King James Version)

Proverbs 18:10  ESV

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
    the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

8They will collapse and fall, but we shall rise and stand upright.

9Give victory to the king, O Lord; answer us when we call.

“This is the language of faith, not after the battle, but before it.”

–J. Campbell Morgan

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “My Heart’s Desire” by the Newsboys.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
verse 4 with a rock.   https://dailyverses.net/psalms/20/4
verse 4 with clouds.   https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f6/f2/79/f6f279c33e2fc6f0261312238f9e5523.jpg
Roman chariot.  http://www.estatevaults.com/bol/chariot-roman.jpg

2374.) Obadiah

June 7, 2018

Obadiah  (NLT)

 1 This is the vision that the Sovereign Lord revealed to Obadiah (a prophet from Judah) concerning the land of Edom.

Edom was the rocky range of mountains east of the Arabah, stretching about 100 miles north and south, and about 20 miles east and west. It was well watered, with abundant pasturage. Sela (Petra), carved high in a perpendicular cliff, overlooking a valley of marvellous beauty, far back in the mountain canyons, was the capital. Edomites would go out on raiding expeditions, and then retreat to their impregnable strongholds high up in the rocky gorges.

Edomites were descendants of Esau, but were always bitter enemies of the Jews, perpetuating the enmity of Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:23, 27:41). They refused passage to Moses (Numbers 20:14-21) and were always ready to aid an attacking army.

–from Halley’s Bible Handbook

Edom’s Judgment Announced

We have heard a message from the Lord
that an ambassador was sent to the nations to say,
“Get ready, everyone!
Let’s assemble our armies and attack Edom!”

2 The Lord says to Edom,
“I will cut you down to size among the nations;
you will be greatly despised.
3 You have been deceived by your own pride

Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)

   Pride goes before destruction,
   a haughty spirit before a fall.

because you live in a rock fortress
and make your home high in the mountains.
‘Who can ever reach us way up here?’
you ask boastfully.

Petra  is a historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma’an that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited tourist attraction.  It lies on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.  Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It was described as “a rose-red city half as old as time” in a poem by John William Burgon. UNESCO has described it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage.” Petra was chosen by the BBC as one of “the 40 places you have to see before you die.”

–Wikipedia

So they boasted of their natural defenses . . .

4 But even if you soar as high as eagles
and build your nest among the stars,
I will bring you crashing down,”
says the Lord.

5 “If thieves came at night and robbed you
(what a disaster awaits you!),
they would not take everything.
Those who harvest grapes
always leave a few for the poor.
But your enemies will wipe you out completely!
6 Every nook and cranny of Edom
will be searched and looted.
Every treasure will be found and taken.

7 “All your allies will turn against you.

. . . and they boasted of their alliances . . .

They will help to chase you from your land.
They will promise you peace
while plotting to deceive and destroy you.
Your trusted friends will set traps for you,
and you won’t even know about it.
8 At that time not a single wise person
will be left in the whole land of Edom,”
says the Lord.

“Job and his friends” by Eberhard Waechter (1762-1852)

. . . and they boasted of their wisdom.

Speaking of men who were regarded as wise — Eliphaz, one of Job’s three friends (Job 2:11), was from Teman in Edom. Herod the Great was also an Edomite (Luke 1:5), but we can’t count him among the wise!

“For on the mountains of Edom
I will destroy everyone who has understanding.
9 The mightiest warriors of Teman
will be terrified,
and everyone on the mountains of Edom
will be cut down in the slaughter.

Reasons for Edom’s Punishment

10 “Because of the violence you did
to your close relatives in Israel,
you will be filled with shame
and destroyed forever.
11 When they were invaded,
you stood aloof, refusing to help them.
Foreign invaders carried off their wealth
and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem,
but you acted like one of Israel’s enemies.

“Death of Caesar” by Vincenzo Camuccini

from Morning and Evening,
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Even thou wast as one of them.” –Obadiah 1:11

Brotherly kindness was due from Edom to Israel in the time of need, but instead thereof, the men of Esau made common cause with Israel’s foes. Special stress in the sentence before us is laid upon the word thou; as when Caesar cried to Brutus, “and thou Brutus”; a bad action may be all the worse, because of the person who has committed it. When we sin, who are the chosen favorites of heaven, we sin with an emphasis; ours is a crying offense, because we are so peculiarly indulged. If an angel should lay his hand upon us when we are doing evil, he need not use any other rebuke than the question, “What thou? What dost thou here?” Much forgiven, much delivered, much instructed, much enriched, much blessed, shall we dare to put forth our hand unto evil? God forbid!

A few minutes of confession may be beneficial to thee, gentle reader, this day. Hast thou never been as the wicked? At an evening party certain men laughed at uncleanness, and the joke was not altogether offensive to thine ear, even thou wast as one of them. When hard things were spoken concerning the ways of God, thou wast bashfully silent; and so, to on-lookers, thou wast as one of them. When worldlings were bartering in the market, and driving hard bargains, wast thou not as one of them? When they were pursuing vanity with a hunter’s foot, wert thou not as greedy for gain as they were? Could any difference be discerned between thee and them? Is there any difference? Here we come to close quarters. Be honest with thine own soul, and make sure that thou art a new creature in Christ Jesus; but when this is sure, walk jealously, lest any should again be able to say, “Even thou wast as one of them.” Thou wouldst not desire to share their eternal doom, why then be like them here? Come not thou into their secret, lest thou come into their ruin. Side with the afflicted people of God, and not with the world.

12 “You should not have gloated
when they exiled your relatives to distant lands.
You should not have rejoiced
when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune.

1 Corinthians 13:6 (NIV)

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

You should not have spoken arrogantly
in that terrible time of trouble.
13 You should not have plundered the land of Israel
when they were suffering such calamity.
You should not have gloated over their destruction
when they were suffering such calamity.

Amos 1:11-12 (NCV)

This is what the Lord says:
    “For the many crimes of Edom,
       I will punish them.
    They hunted down their relatives, the Israelites, with the sword,
       showing them no mercy.
    They were angry all the time
       and kept on being very angry.
So I will send fire on the city of Teman
       that will even destroy the strong buildings of Bozrah.”

You should not have seized their wealth
when they were suffering such calamity.
14 You should not have stood at the crossroads,
killing those who tried to escape.
You should not have captured the survivors
and handed them over in their terrible time of trouble.

All in all, Edom treated God’s people terribly when distress and calamity came upon them. For all this, God’s judgment was coming upon them.

  • First they did nothing
  • Then they rejoiced in their distress and calamity
  • Then they took advantage of their vulnerable state
  • Then they joined in the violence against God’s people

–David Guzik

Edom Destroyed, Israel Restored

15 “The day is near when I, the Lord,
will judge all godless nations!
As you have done to Israel,
so it will be done to you.
All your evil deeds
will fall back on your own heads.

God will give simple justice to the Edomites, no more and no less. What they did to the people of Judah will also be done to them. The same principle is true for us, so if we want mercy from God, we do well to give mercy to others.

16 Just as you swallowed up my people
on my holy mountain,
so you and the surrounding nations
will swallow the punishment I pour out on you.
Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger
and disappear from history.

17 “But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape;
it will be a holy place.
And the people of Israel will come back
to reclaim their inheritance.
18 The people of Israel will be a raging fire,
and Edom a field of dry stubble.
The descendants of Joseph will be a flame
roaring across the field, devouring everything.
There will be no survivors in Edom.
I, the Lord, have spoken!

The trials and burdens among God’s people are only temporary, because among them they will find a refuge and they will reclaim their inheritance. However, the attack coming against Edom will be different — Israel will be the fire and they will be the stubble, and Edom will be completely devoured.

The word of the Lord through Obadiah proved true. The Edomites fought side by side with the Jews the rebellion against Rome in 66-70 a.d. and were crushed by Rome, never to be heard of as a people again. The predictions of Obadiah 1:10 and 1:18 were precisely fulfilled. You just won’t meet an Edomite today.

–David Guzik

19 “Then my people living in the Negev
will occupy the mountains of Edom.
Those living in the foothills of Judah
will possess the Philistine plains
and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria.
And the people of Benjamin
will occupy the land of Gilead.
20 The exiles of Israel will return to their land
and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath.
The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north
will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev.
21 Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem
to rule over the mountains of Edom.
And the Lord himself will be king!”

Revelation 11:15 (NIV)

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

   “The kingdom of the world has become
   the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
   and he will reign for ever and ever.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “King of Kings” — a Messianic praise song sung by Karen Davis. What a joy it will be, to sing to Jesus together with all the saints and the angels in heaven!

_________________________

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:
Obadiah title.  http://jimlepage.com/blog/word-obadiah
Petra.  http://www.passenger6a.com/all-roads-lead-to-petra/
Waechter.   http://media.kunst-fuer-alle.de/img/41/m/41_00288012~eberhard-waechter_job-and-his-friends.jpg
Camuccini.   http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ac/Cesar-sa_mort.jpg/400px-Cesar-sa_mort.jpg
Love never fails.   https://darrellcreswell.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/true-love-never-fails/
bad choice.    http://whimsicalleaf.blogspot.com/2012/11/wrong-choices.html
all gone.   https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/694-obadiah/
King Jesus.  http://www.clarion-call.org/yeshua/feasts/rosh/jesus2.gif

2373.) Jeremiah 40

June 6, 2018

J40 Babylonian Empire mapJeremiah 40   (NLT)

Jeremiah Remains in Judah

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

The captain of the guard called for Jeremiah and said, “The Lord your God has brought this disaster on this land, just as he said he would. For these people have sinned against the Lord and disobeyed him. That is why it happened.

The Babylonian Nebuzaradan believed the word of God more than Yahweh’s covenant people did.

But I am going to take off your chains and let you go. If you want to come with me to Babylon, you are welcome. I will see that you are well cared for. But if you don’t want to come, you may stay here. The whole land is before you—go wherever you like. If you decide to stay, then return to Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan. He has been appointed governor of Judah by the king of Babylon. Stay there with the people he rules. But it’s up to you; go wherever you like.”

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

The Lord takes care of his prophet through the kindness of the Babylonian captain of the guard! And Jeremiah chose to live among his people because he loved them. “Jeremiah was not a vindictive man, nor did he feel the slightest elation at the downfall of his adversaries. They were his people, he loved them, and he wept bitterly for them, as the book of Lamentations shows.”

–Arthur E. Cundall

Gedaliah Governs in Judah

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

Gedaliah vowed to them that the Babylonians meant them no harm. “Don’t be afraid to serve them. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and all will go well for you,” he promised.

Gedaliah assures the officers and their men that truly, their best and wisest action was to surrender to God’s judgment through the Babylonians and make the most of the life they had.

10 “As for me, I will stay at Mizpah to represent you before the Babylonians who come to meet with us. Settle in the towns you have taken, and live off the land. Harvest the grapes and summer fruits and olives, and store them away.”

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

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

So the Jews who did not go to Babylon remain in Judea with a sense of a new normal.

A Plot against Gedaliah

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

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

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

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

_________________________

Music:

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

_________________________

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

Images courtesy of:
map of Babylonian Empire.    http://www.keyway.ca/gif/babylon.gif
grapes and olives.    https://tavolamediterranea.com/2018/03/03/mediterranean-triad-grapes-grains-olives-barley-porridge/

2372.) Jeremiah 38

June 5, 2018

J38 cistern
Jeremiah 38   (NLT)

Jeremiah in a Cistern

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

“Those clamouring princes were unquestionably the politicians who had influenced the king against the word of the prophet; and had advocated resistance to Babylon when Jeremiah had persistently declared its futility.”

–J. Campbell Morgan

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

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

“He was, of course, a puppet king, set up by Nebuchadrezzar after the exile of Jehoiachin and possibly not accepted by everyone in the nation as the true king.”

–J. A. Thompson

“Zedekiah seems to have been an alumnus of the same school of politics that Pontius Pilate later attended.”

–Philip Graham Ryken

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

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

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

“A stranger, but (as that good Samaritan in the Gospel) more merciful than any of the Jewish nation, who gloried in their privileges.”

–John Trapp

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

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

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

J38 ebedmelech

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

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

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

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

Zedekiah Questions Jeremiah

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

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

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

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

“All he had to do was trust the prophet, to lift his head high, take up the flag of truce, walk past the princes and out to the Chaldean armies. This simple act of contrition would have saved the city.” 

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

Such weakness of character for a king! He knew the right thing to do, but was afraid to do it.

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

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

Then the women will taunt you, saying,

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah went back to the prison; Zedekiah went to the palace. It would turn out better for the prophet than for the king. “Zedekiah returned to the palace to suffer the anguish of knowing what was right to do but lacking the courage to do it.” (Thompson)

_________________________

Music:

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

_________________________

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

Images courtesy of:
Jeremiah in the cistern (Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett).   http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c2/Book_of_Jeremiah_Chapter_38-2_%28Bible_Illustrations_by_Sweet_Media%29.jpg
Jeremiah is rescued.    http://alaskabibleteacher.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/ebedmelech.jpg
You can’t handle the truth.  http://plantsvszombies.wikia.com/wiki/File:You-cant-handle-the-truth-meme-generator-you-want-the-truth-you-can-t-handle-the-truth-9789dd.jpg