Tag Archives: Jeremiah

Standing Firmly in Faith ~ Jeremiah 26:1-24

“But as for me, behold, I am in your hands; do with me as is good and right in your sight. ~ Jeremiah 26:14

I wonder sometimes how I would react if my life were in danger because of my faith. Would I stand firm, trusting God that His will is as good and perfect as I believe it is, or would I turn against Him to spare my life?

This passage presents an interesting turn of events. As Jeremiah continues to faithfully prophesy in the Lord’s name about the disasters to come if Judah does not repent of her sin, the priests and prophets seize him and, with all the people, declare he must die. Jeremiah warns them that they are about to spill innocent blood; if they do, disaster will befall them. Then, exhibiting complete trust in God, he tells them to do with him as they will. People begin to listen, beginning with some officials and then some of the elders of the land, who remember that Micah, a prophet before Jeremiah, prophesied the same things from the Lord that Jeremiah was prophesying. As they consider Micah and other past prophets who proclaimed similar messages they begin to realize that Jeremiah truly is a prophet from God and they wisely spare his life.

As I read about God’s heroes of faith, including people like Jeremiah, Noah, Stephen, Paul and many others, I am humbled when I realize how much growing I have yet to do. Looking back over my life I see a long road of maturation leading me to where I stand today and for that I am truly thankful. However, I also realize that I still have much growing to do. As I look ahead, I am eager to walk with my Lord wherever He may lead me.

For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. ~ Galatians 2:19-20

Ponder this: When I consider the faith with which God has gifted me I am truly thankful. I wonder, sometimes, if I am doing enough to share it with the world.

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, Thank You for those who have come before me and trusted completely in You even when their very lives were threatened for doing so. Teach me through their example, and equip me to be Your witness, even in situations in which the easy way out is to remain silent. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Light Piercing the Darkness ~ Jeremiah 25:1-14

“And the LORD has sent to you all His servants the prophets again and again, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear, saying, ‘Turn now everyone from his evil way and from the evil of your deeds, and dwell on the land which the LORD has given to you and your forefathers forever and ever; ~ Jeremiah 25:4-5

English: Okienko Zbójnickie Cave in Kraków, Po...

English: Okienko Zbójnickie Cave in Kraków, Poland Polski: Okienko Zbójnickie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember as a Boy Scout we went spelunking on one of our weekend camping trips. We entered this narrow, wet cave in groups of eight. Each of us had a flashlight, and I had the map. As we entered the cave and rounded the first bend the outside light from the entrance quickly gave way to complete darkness. At one point along the way we all turned off our flashlights and experienced a scary, overcoming darkness. Within a few seconds we felt completely disoriented and scared. We quickly turned our lights back on and held tightly to them as we completed our journey.

In this passage, God’s words through the prophet Jeremiah are words of anger and warning of consequence for sin. For 23 years, Jeremiah has proclaimed God’s wrath to Israel and for 23 years Israel has chosen not to listen. In this passage, God’s sovereignty is on full display as He lays out the consequences for Israel’s sin. (Read on, though; there is a Light to come!)

Note that God refers to King Nebuchadnezzar as “servant” in describing how this foreign king will come against Israel and bring them into exile in Babylon. They will be in exile for 70 years. At the end of the exile period, God says He will punish Babylon for its deeds. After all, even in His anger, Israel is still God’s chosen people.

Human wisdom says this is unfair. However, we must always remember that God is completely sovereign over His creation. He can use whomever he wants, even those who do not acknowledge Him, to carry out His good and perfect will. This is a tough pill to swallow. We all sin and the message here is that God is angered by that, and sin bears its consequence. For Israel, the consequence was to be a successful invasion by a foreign power.

There is no good news in today’s Jeremiah passage. But in order to understand where we humans stand in relationship to our sovereign God, we must understand His wrath over sin. Is God as angered by our sin as He was over the sins of Israel in Jeremiah’s day? The Bible tells us He is. In fact, the Bible tells us that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and the punishment for sin is death. What hope do we have? Where do we turn?

Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6:21-23

Cross & Clouds

Cross & Clouds (Photo credit: John H Wright Photo)

In ourselves there is no hope. If we rely on our efforts, our knowledge, our works, to appease God’s righteous anger with our sin we become like a group of boy scouts trying to find our way through a dark, wet cave with no flashlight; we will get nowhere. Recognizing that fact, God paid the price in full for our sins. Justification for sin comes through the shedding of blood, and Jesus shed His blood on the cross in our behalf. The Light of the World has overcome the wet darkness of that cave of sin. Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords humbled Himself to die, that we who believe in Him would be forgiven and spared the punishment we deserve. That is Good News, indeed!

Ponder this: At we read about God’s wrath we must never forget that God shows His love and mercy through Jesus. Isn’t it comforting to know that through Jesus we are forgiven? Who in your world needs to hear this Good News?

 My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, I know I sin every day. I ask Your forgiveness as I seek to turn away from my sins and live a life that glorifies You. Thank you for Jesus’ sacrifice in my behalf for I know it is through Him and Him alone that I am reconciled to You. In His name I pray, AMEN.

Our Need for a Savior ~ Jeremiah 16:1 – 17:18

This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.  ~ Jeremiah 17:5-6

Many Christians today do not like to talk about the wrath of God. They don’t like to acknowledge that God judges human behavior and has set consequences for sins. We must understand this truth: without God’s wrath and absent sin’s eternal consequence there is no need for a Savior. When we understand the holy wrath of God and the fact that each and every one of us has earned nothing more than His wrath because of our sin, the good news of the Gospel rings loud and clear!

Think of it this way: if you are not thirsty and somebody offers you a glass of water chances are you’ll reject the glass of water, or perhaps you’ll drink some of it out of some sense of obligation. No big deal, right? But when you’re thirsty, really thirsty, that glass of water is the most precious gift somebody can offer you. We have to know what it’s like to be thirsty to really appreciate the water and we must understand the breadth and reach of God’s righteous wrath before we truly appreciate our need for the Gospel.

Throughout the book of Jeremiah, God is pouring out His wrath on Israel because they have rejected Him. Israel’s seeking after false gods is a sin that we all commit. The false gods in my life include riches and materialism. They include a set of priorities that are not properly arranged. I am in prayer over this and I ask God to change me and change my life to glorify and serve Him first and foremost.

Take heart: even as God pours out His wrath He offers a promise:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord 
and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters 
which spreads out its roots by the river, 
and will not fear when heat comes; 
But its leaf will be green, 
and will not be anxious in the year of drought, 
nor will cease from yielding fruit. ~ Jeremiah 17:7-8

I used to worry about the future, but I don’t any more. My future is bright. No, I don’t have a crystal ball or special powers to see what lies ahead. I am not confident in the prospects of a fat retirement account or a winning lottery ticket. Those things offer nothing. No, I have something far greater. I have the Lord. I have God’s Word. God’s Word is without error; it is eternally true. God’s Word is the one solid foundation upon which to build this life. It is available to me, and it is available to you. Place your trust in God. Open His Word. Read it. Study it. Ask God to help you live by it, and watch what He does with your life!

Ponder this: In what have I placed my hope? Do those things distract my attention from God’s Word?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, as I read Jeremiah I become very conscious of my own sin. Forgive me, Lord, and help me to live a life of repentance. Show me when I err and help me place my trust in You and You alone for my salvation that comes only through Your Son, Jesus Christ. It is in His name I pray, AMEN.

Protection for the Godly ~ Jeremiah 14:1 – 15:21

“I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you,” declares the Lord.” ~ Jeremiah 15:20

God continues to pour out His anger against Israel for rejecting Him and chasing after foreign gods. As He spells out the consequences for Israel’s sin, Jeremiah asks the Lord about prophecies being spoken – prophecies that contradict what God is saying through Jeremiah, “But I said, ‘Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’” (14:13) I can only imagine the level of persecution Jeremiah was enduring. Here he is, rightfully prophesying God’s anger to Israel; certainly a prophesy that the people do not want to hear. In the other ear are false prophets reassuring the people that all is well.

What is God’s response? He assures Jeremiah that these prophets are not prophesying in God’s name; He did not send them. Their words are worthless. “Then the Lord said to me, ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.’” (14:14) God goes on to tell Jeremiah about the consequences that await such false prophets and the people who abide by their words.

Because he alone is standing on God’s Word, Jeremiah is a loner, rejected by the people and even threatened physically. In chapter 15, Jeremiah asks God “Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? You are to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails.” (15:18) God reassures Jeremiah that He will restore him if he repents. God will protect him: “I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you,’ declares the Lord.” (15:20) With a promise like that, surely Jeremiah was reassured and strengthened to continue standing firmly on God’s Word.

Our national discourse is rife with false prophets dispensing false teachings, and people within and outside the church are lapping them up like so many thirsty dogs. Christians who stand firmly on God’s Word are openly persecuted. The aim of the enemy, of course, is to silence us. As Jeremiah prophesied God’s Truth to Israel he was faced with a people that rejected God’s Word in exchange for the empty promises of false prophets speaking with no basis in Godly authority. His life was threatened, and here God promises to protect him.

Ponder this: Instead of giving in to persecution and being silenced, we too can stand firmly on God’s promise. Jesus said: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) That is good news indeed! Let us stand firmly upon God’s Word, faithfully resting in the knowledge and truth that this battle has already been won!

My Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, my heart aches for those who speak falsely and those who so eagerly lap up their false teachings. Awaken your church, Lord, and awaken our country. Strengthen those who speak the truth and lead us back to You through faithful preachers and teachers. Let me be a witness to Your eternal truth according to Your will. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

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