Re: Verse reading – Jeremiah 18:1-12; 19:1-15 (day two)
I am going to bring on this city and the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words. (19:15) Is getting your way worth it? Jeremiah could not have been a popular figure when he delivered these words, but the reality is that the truth was painful. Maybe you know someone like this; unwilling to listen, bend their will, or repent. At times we even champion people with iron wills, but at what cost to their souls. We are not in a position to negotiate with God, we don’t have anything to bargain with. The arrogance that may work in a corporate setting will be smashed like a clay pot. We don’t have to be this way, God is offering to refine and shape up into His character if we will let go of ours.
Re: Verse reading – Jeremiah 18:1-12; 19:1-15 (day one)
It is a trick question, I suppose. The true answer is that God never acts contrary to His own word and character. His does, however, leave Himself room for “flexibility” depending on how His word is received. He can (and does) warn nations of coming judgment. If that nation repents, He “will relent from the calamity planned” (18:8) He can (and does) announce His blessing on nations. If that nation becomes overconfident, takes His blessings for granted and moves into evil, He “thinks better of the good with which I had promised to bless it” (18:10) From our side, it may appear that He is changing His mind. From His perspective, God is ruling the world with absolute moral consistency. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. The one who sows to his own flesh . . .corruption; the one who sows to the Spirit. . .eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8)
Re: Verse reading – Jeremiah 7:1-16 (day seven)
“Stand at the gate of the Lord’s house and there proclaim this message.” (v 2) Early in my years as a minister, I was too timid. For fear of offending (or of being rejected) I spoke softly, rarely taking the risks necessary to be noticed and heard. Probably a common “young” mistake. Maybe the reason that God instructed Jeremiah to “stand in the gate of the Lord’s house”. Three gates lead from the Court of the Gentiles into the Holy Place. To climb those stairs and turn back to face the people in that courtyard would have placed Jeremiah up high and visible to thousands. Paul had similar words for his young preacher-boy, Timothy. “Let no one look down on you because you are young, but in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself!” (1 Timothy 4:12) “Stand up, Stand up for Jesus, you soldiers of the cross” says the old song. Encouragement you need?
Re: Verse reading – Jeremiah 7:1-16 (day six)
“It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it ‘a robbers den’ “. (Matthew 21:13 and Jeremiah 7:11) Jesus thought often about Jeremiah. Identified with him. Was inspired by him. Even quoted him. Days before the cross, Jesus used Jeremiah’s words. The same mistake was being made. A robbers den is a place where criminals go to feel safe without repentance. Temple worship was serving a similar purpose . No urgency of the conscience. No reminder of a glorious and holy God. No call to righteousness. Just “feel good” sermons, patriotic pride and fellowship. A place to rest, not repent. 6 years ago, I didn’t need encouragement. I needed surgery! Massive, painful surgery. Strange. Short-term hurt was long-term help. Spiritually true, Jesus believes. Encouragement or conviction? Community or a call to repentance? What does a SINNER need? What does a sinner NEED? These are the courageous questions that motivated the Savior.
Re: Verse reading – Jeremiah 7:1-16 (day four)
Jeremiah refers to Shiloh, which was a period of Israel’s history over 300 years before. They had the same problems then…they rejected God’s principles, rejected His dominion over them, and worshipped other gods. Then, they would go to the Temple and expect God to honor them, provide for them, and protect them. God destroyed the Temple in discipline. Now, here in Jeremiah’s time, Judah is doing the same thing. God warns Jeremiah not to even pray for them because He won’t listen. (V. 16) They will be punished. Fast forward 600+ years…Jesus is in the Temple quoting Jeremiah that they are doing the same thing. They are making God’s house a den of thieves. Israel will not learn. How about us? Do we believe God will not punish us when we disobey? Are we so disoriented to God that we can’t even recognize our sin? Proverbs 1:33 says, “But he who listens to Me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of fear.” Proverbs 1:20-33 is good wisdom to follow.
Re: Verse reading – Jeremiah 7:1-16 (Day Three)
“Hear the word of the Lord.” God does not waste his words. If he knows that people are still capable of turning theirs ears to him and hearing him and heeding his word, he will speak. Therefore, no matter how harsh the message, if we will hear, we have not passed beyond hope. When the scriptures speak, what kind of reception do your ears give it? Do your ears signal the need to yawn? Do your ears notify your mind to start wandering? Do your ears tell you that somebody else ought to hear this? Or do your ears tell you that you need to change course? What happens to you when the Bible says to you, “Hear the word of the Lord”?
Re: Verse reading – Jeremiah 7:1-16 (day two)
“Stand in the gate of theLord’s house and proclaim there this word and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah, who enter by these gates to worship the Lord!’” 3 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. I cannot imagine that these were easy words to hear, but how difficult must they have been for Jeremiah to say? A reckoning was coming, it was needed and Jeremiah was the mouthpiece for the Lord. Jeremiah’s job was not to interpret or convert the words to flowery prose, he was to deliver them verbatim to the people of Israel. Somewhere along our journey we may fall into one of these categories. We may be the mouthpiece of the Lord, called to deliver a tough message. Or we may be Israel needing a severe course correction. Pray for the correct response to the Lord’s direction.
Re: Verse reading – Jeremiah 7:1-16 (day one)
“Go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I made my name to dwell at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel.” (v 12) It was small city in the North. Gone now. Destroyed by the invading Assyrian army. Significant in history because the Lord had often appeared to Israel there. “And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, because the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 3:21) When Jeremiah needed to challenge the stubborn idea that God would NEVER let Jerusalem fall (because it was a holy place, a “God” place) he used Shiloh as an illustration. God did let Shiloh fall! Just because a place or a church or a person has been holy in the past, it does not prevent present judgment. A glorious past is no exemption. Go to Shiloh. See for yourself.
Re: Verse reading – Jeremiah 1 (day seven)
I feel insecure, sometimes. Inadequate for the challenges facing my family, church and soul. Anyone with me? I am tempted in these moments to live in denial. If I ignore these threats, they will go away, right? My plan is to not have one! Self-awareness of weakness is permitted, I think, until it sends the believer into retreat or paralysis. I am impressed with God’s warning to Jeremiah. “Do NOT be dismayed before them.” (v 17) Reminds me of similar words given to Joshua. “Have I not COMMANDED you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) The days ahead will challenge all of us. Jesus warned us to be ready. We ARE weak. Truly. This fact, however, does not exempt us from duty. Courage is required. He has commanded us to trust Him and be strong. Weakness is no excuse.
Re: Verse reading – Jeremiah 1 (day six)
“Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you; beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you”–Civilla Martin. It is an old hymn. Words unnoticed by many. Misunderstood. Until Jeremiah 1:17 reminds us of God’s command to His young prophet, “Do not be dismayed before them, lest I dismay you before them.” The Hebrew word means “to be shattered”. An inner condition we often treat as a weakness or misfortune but rarely as sin. God knows. Often our fear before the enemy is self-allowed. We are shattered and overwhelmed by our opposition because we refuse the steps of grace that will make us strong! “Let not your heart be troubled” said the Lord to His trembling disciples. Face Goliath! Fight the fear! The enemy knows if He can make us surrender to fear we will never have energy to fight anything else. New thought, I suppose. Fear is disobedience.