Jeremiah

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“Baruch, this is what the Lord says: ‘I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted. Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord, have spoken!’ (Jeremiah 45:4-5 NLT).

October 24, 2018

A CHAPTER FOR BARUCH
Amidst prophecies to the Jewish remnant and the nations surrounding Israel, God gave Jeremiah a message for Baruch, Jeremiah’s assistant and scribe. Jeremiah may have been God’s mouthpiece, but Baruch was his pen, and it had left him saying, “Woe is me” (Jer. 45:3). So, God gave a specific word to Jeremiah for Baruch: “Don’t seek great things for yourself. Be satisfied that you have been given your life.” You see, God doesn’t just address kings and nations, he also speaks to individuals. Baruch, who had written down chapter after chapter of Jeremiah’s prophecies, received one little chapter (Jer. 45) all to himself.

As you read God’s Word, do you ever feel that a certain passage was written just for you?

“Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’” (Jeremiah 35:19 NLT).

October 20, 2018

THE JEHONADAB PROMISE
Jehonadab the Recabite was descended from the Kenites, the family of Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro (See 1 Chron. 2:55). The Kenites moved with the “children of Judah into the Wilderness of Judah, which lies in the South near Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people” (Judges 1:16). Jehonadab commanded his children and their descendants, “You and your descendants must never drink wine. And do not build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. If you follow these commands, you will live long, good lives in the land” (Jer. 35:6-7). Centuries later, the prophet Jeremiah learned that the Recabites were still keeping Jehonadab’s command. But what of his promise and what of the promise of God upon his house?

Jehonadab’s promise was that if his children obeyed him, they would live long and good lives in the land. This is simply a restatement of the fifth commandment, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Ex. 20:12). So, Jehonadab’s promise was built on the principle of God’s commandment.

But what of God’s additional promise to Jehonadab’s children, that they “will always have descendants who serve me”? The 4th century historian, Eusebius, wrote that when the Jews were stoning James the Just, brother of Jesus, one of the sons of Rehab cried out, saying, “Stop! What are you doing?” Clarke, in his commentary, wrote, “Some suppose that the Essenes, in our Lord’s time, were literally Rechabite’ descendants and that these were they who followed our Lord particularly, and became the first converts to the Gospel.” While both of these reports are unsubstantiated, I believe that there must be a descendent of Jehonadab living and serving the Lord today, because He promised it.

When each of my children left home to go to college, I wrote them a letter, asking them to abstain from alcohol. I quoted this command and promise from Jehonadab in the letter. They agreed to obey their father’s command. I pray that the promise of Jehonadab and the promise of God, would be on my children and my children’s children. Not because they are teetotalers, but because they honor their father and mother, and more than that, they honor God.

“I will never abandon the descendants of Jacob or David, my servant, or change the plan that David’s descendants will rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them.” (Jeremiah 33:26 NLT).

October 19, 2018

ARE THERE STILL UNFULFILLED PROMISES FOR ISRAEL?
Some believe that the promises given to Israel now belong to the Church, that God is finished with Israel. However, this prophetic promise given through Jeremiah seems to say otherwise. It was easier to believe that God was finished with Israel from the time of 70 AD, when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, until May 14, 1948, when David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel, establishing the first Jewish state in 2,000 years. But this miraculous event makes it look as if there are still unfulfilled promises belonging to Israel.

Although the NLT translates it in the positive, Jeremiah’s prophecy was actually worded as a rhetorical negative, tying it to God’s covenant ruling the heavens and the earth, the day and the night. In other words, “If God doesn’t have laws governing planets and stars, then He will not have a promise concerning Israel.” But since we know that God’s laws concerning the earth and the heavens are still in effect, we must conclude that His promises concerning Israel are still in effect as well. Yet, all these promises are ultimately connected to, and fulfilled by, Jesus the Messiah.

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Let the record show that this man Jehoiachin was childless. He is a failure, for none of his children will succeed him on the throne of David to rule over Judah.’” (Jeremiah 22:30 NLT).

October 13, 2018

THE AMAZING ACCURACY OF SCRIPTURE
The Lord gave Jeremiah this prophecy concerning Jehoiachin, grandson of King Josiah, that he would be childless. The prophecy further explained that his childlessness would not be due to not having any sons, but that none of them would sit on David’s throne. Indeed, Jehoiachin was taken into Babylonian captivity, where he had children, among them was his grandson, Zerubabbel, who later returned to Jerusalem, not as a king, but as a leader who lead in the rebuilding of the Temple. So, Jeremiah’s prophecy was fulfilled. No one from Jehoiachin’s line has ever sat on David’s throne.

Yet, if this is so, how would God fulfill His promise to David that the Messiah would come from his line, so that he always had a son to sit on his throne? In addition, what of Matthew’s genealogy that seems to state that Jesus was indeed born into Jehoiachin’s line (Jehoiachin was also called Jeconiah as in Matt. 1:12)? Doesn’t this show that Jeremiah’s prophecy was inaccurate?

The answer to the questions concerning Matthew’s genealogy is that it gives the line of Joseph, so that Jesus has legal claim to David’s throne through His stepfather.

And the answer to how Jesus can claim human descent from David is found in Luke 3:31, where the line of Jesus is traced through Mary’s line to David’s son, Nathan, the older brother of Solomon.

“And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15 NLT).

October 4, 2018

CHRIST, THE TRUE SHEPHERD AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART
The Lord gave Jeremiah this prophecy concerning Judah and Israel, that after a time of being scattered, God would bring them back and give them “shepherds” after His own heart. Perhaps the first fulfillment of this prophecy may be seen in Nehemiah, Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, who were godly shepherds that led the people back to the land. Yet, the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy is found in Christ and the apostles. For Christ identified himself as the “Good Shepherd [who] gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Christ is the “Chief Shepherd” (1 Pet. 5:4) of God’s flock and He gave His apostles the responsibility of being shepherds under His authority. Didn’t Jesus tell Peter, “If you love me, feed my sheep.”?

When Jesus saw the multitudes coming to Him, all weary and scattered, He was moved with compassion and saw that they were like “sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36).

Have you yet brought your cares and troubles to the Good Shepherd? He is the fulfillment of all the prophets and the True Shepherd of God’s flock. Let the Lord Jesus be your Shepherd and you shall no longer be in want.

“Thus Babylon shall sink and not rise from the catastrophe that I will bring upon her. And they shall be weary” (Jeremiah 51:64 NKJV).

October 28, 2017

Jeremiah gave a scroll to Seraiah, a staff officer to the king of Judah, before he went into Babylonian captivity. In the scroll were the words the Lord had given to Jeremiah concerning the future judgment on Babylon. He instructed Seraiah to read all the words of judgment in the scroll aloud when he arrived in Babylon. When he was finished reading, he was to “tie it to a stone and throw it into the Euphrates River” (v.63). The words would be a warning, and the scroll thrown into the Euphrates would be a sign, to make the Babylonians “weary” of the coming judgment. God had allowed Babylon to conquer Judah, but He did not hold them innocent. They too would be judged. For the Lord “rules over the nations” (Psa. 22:28) His purposes to unfold.

Today, the land where Babylon once stood is desolate. Its ruins lie in the desert of modern day Iraq. It fell to King Cyrus of Persia in 539 B.C. It sank and has not risen again in the 2500 years since.

‘Thus the Lord said to me: “Go and get yourself a linen sash, and put it around your waist, but do not put it in water.”’ (Jeremiah 13:1 NKJV).

October 9, 2017

The Lord often gave the prophet Jeremiah physical assignments in order to illustrate His feelings about Israel and Judah. After Jeremiah would perform the assignment, the Lord would explain its significance. The “linen sash” was one such assignment. The Lord would later explain that, “as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me” (Jer. 13:11).

The linen sash was to be worn about the waist. This would speak of the close intimacy with which God had joined Israel and Judah to Himself.

That it wasn’t to be “put in water,” may have referred to the normal bleaching and washing in water that linen cloth would be put through to make it clean and white. This symbolized Israel and Judah, whom by grace God had adopted as His own, even while still in a rough and unwashed state (Eze. 16:4).

After Jeremiah had worn the linen sash around his waist for a while, the Lord told him to go to the “Euphrates and hide it there in a hole in the rock” (Jer. 13:4). After several days, the Lord had him return and retrieve the sash. But it was ruined by its exposure to the elements, “profitable for nothing” (Jer. 13:7). Jeremiah could no longer wear it.

The Lord told Jeremiah that His intent was that Israel and Judah would have clung to Him. But instead, they had fallen into the “hole” of idolatry with the foreign peoples of the land. His desire was that they would have become His people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear” (Jer. 13:11).

Can you picture Jeremiah holding the ruined sash up over his head and preaching to Israel and Judah? Can you hear him saying, “You were meant to cling to the Lord for glory and praise, but you ruined yourself by choosing to cling to false gods instead!”?

To whom are you “clinging” today?

“Cursed is the man who does not obey the words of this covenant which I commanded your fathers in the day I brought them out of the land of Egypt” (Jeremiah 11:3-4 NKJV).

October 8, 2017

The Lord reminded Jeremiah that the Mosaic Covenant was conditional. It contained both blessing and curse that was conditional upon their obedience to the law. Obeying the law, they were under its blessing. Disobeying the law, they came under its curse. Israel was unable to obey the law, so they fell under the curse of the law.

However, the Abrahamic Covenant was unconditional. God gave it freely by His grace. It was based on God’s promise, not God’s law. This covenantal promise was given to Abraham that in his “Seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 22:18). The apostle Paul said that this “Seed” is Christ (Gal. 3:16).

A promise must be believed to be received, but a law must be obeyed. Yet, both the promise and the law were fulfilled in Christ Jesus. For He who knew no sin, became sin for us and has “redeemed us from the curse of the law” by becoming accursed Himself (Gal. 3:13). Christ has taken our curse that we might receive His blessing.

The promise reveals God’s GRACE, but the law reveals our GUILT. So, let us rejoice and be glad that the blessing of salvation depends on God’s PROMISE, not our PERFORMANCE!

“Oh, that my head were waters, And my eyes a fountain of tears, That I might weep day and night For the slain of the daughter of my people!” (Jeremiah 9:1 NKJV).

October 7, 2017

The LORD had revealed the coming destruction of Jerusalem to the prophet Jeremiah. He had called Jeremiah to warn the people of Judah of God’s coming judgment. Yet, such a calling and such foreknowledge was nearly more than Jeremiah could bear. He was heart broken over his people’s sin and rebellion. His sorrow was so deep that he wished for an unlimited supply of tears that he “might weep day and night” for his people. Yet, he was the only one weeping. The people continued going about their day to day tasks, as if no warning had been given. They scoffed at Jeremiah’s preaching and gathered to themselves false prophets who were saying, “‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace” (Jer. 8:11). To them, Jeremiah was just a gloomy, weeping prophet with nothing good to say.

However, Jeremiah’s tears came from the same source as his message, namely, the Lord. For the Lord was heartbroken over His people’s rebellion, which He called adultery because of their idolatrous ways. Jeremiah was surely feeling God’s grief just as he heard God’s words of wrath.

I wonder, who feels God’s grief for their people today? Who is weeping as Jeremiah did for the people of our cities, our nation, and our world to turn from their wicked ways, and turn to God through faith in Christ Jesus, our Lord?

“A voice was heard on the desolate heights, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel. For they have perverted their way; they have forgotten the Lord their God.” (Jeremiah 3:21 NKJV).

October 4, 2017

In the heights where Israel had once committed idolatry, she now wept with prayers of supplication for God’s help. She had awareness of her own crooked ways and her failure to remember God first. Yet, God was still waiting for her to repent.

There is a difference between being sorry for our sins and repenting of our sins. Often we are more sorry for the consequences of sin, than the sin itself. We weep over the brokenness of our world and cry out to God, but we don’t repent. Repentance is more than sorrow. In repentance we simultaneously turn from sin and turn towards Christ by faith. It is the prayer of repentance that God answers.

There is much weeping in our country these days, but little repentance.