SEPTEMBER 17– SECOND ENTRY JEREMIAH 26-37
Today I desire to get caught up so I will be posting Jeremiah 26-37. My posts will be brief for each chapter to try to hit the high points. Read as much as you can. I know it is a long read, but just do what the Lord guides you to do. I do encourage you to read as much as you can, even if it takes you more than a day…..allow The Lord to speak to you from HIS Words. I pray each of you are blessed with each reading.
Today’s reading will require two clicks and here they are for you:
JEREMIAH 35-37 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2035-37&version=NIV
CHAPTER 26 — The events described in this chapter took place in 609-608 B.C., before the events described in chapter 25. King Jehoiakim was an evil king of Judah, self centered, materialistic, and he persecuted and murdered innocent people (bad, bad, bad boy!) Jeremiah was on trial for his life. God reminded Jeremiah NOT TO OMIT A WORD HE had given him to say to Judah….and Jeremiah did not omit anything!! Unfortunately the people did not like hearing they would be taken over by Babylon….so they decided it would be best to KILL JEREMIAH. Oh SURE…that’ll work!!! Thank heavens the elders had some sense and convinced the people to spare Jeremiah. Unfortunately THEY MISSED THE ENTIRE POINT!!! They spared Jeremiah, but missed the FACT…the TRUTH….that by NOT listening to Jeremiah and repenting to God their OWN LIVES WOULD NOT BE SPARED….they were going down!!
CHAPTER 27 — The year in this chapter is 593 B.C.. Jeremiah, bless him, God still had much for him to say to attempt to get the people to TURN BACK to THEIR GOD. He knew he was not getting through to them so maybe a picture would help…..you know a picture is worth a thousand words!! So Jeremiah continues preaching but wears a YOKE. The yoke (a wooden frame used to fasten a team of animals to a plow) was to be a symbol of the bondage Judah would enter into if they did not TURN BACK TO GOD.
Remember in this chapter that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, had ALREADY invaded Judah once and had taken MANY captives. I don’t know about you but that would have sent me a HUGE message. I mean friends and family had already been taken captive and living in Babylon….WHAT did they think would happen to them??? I mean Nebie baby (the King of Babylon) was NOT interested in the one true God or anything HE had to say, so he definitely would not be preaching to them!!
Jeremiah had given the same message of surrender to Nebuchadnezzar to King Zedekiah of Judah. However, the other leaders wanted Zedekiah to form an alliance and fight, after all it would be disgraceful for a king to surrender!!! PLUS….Jeremiah’s advising Zedekiah to surrender gave the FALSE prophets LOTS to falsely prophesy about….”WHO do they think they are…WE are strong…WE are RICH….THeY can NEVER take us..” right?
CHAPTER 28 — Jeremiah spoke the TRUTH. Hananiah spoke LIES. BUT…who did the people WANT to listen to??? In Deuteronomy 13; 18:20-22, God had ALREADY given the marks of a TRUE prophet, a TRUE prophet’s predictions ALWAYS came true and his words would NEVER contradict previous revelation. Jeremiah’s predictions were ALREADY coming true…from Hananiah’s death to the Babylonian invasion!!! BUT the people preferred to listen to comforting lies (while their world crumbled around them!!) It presents the question….. WHO do you listen to?????
CHAPTER 29 — Jeremiah wrote a letter (verses 4-23) to the people already in exile in Babylon. He encouraged them to PRAY for the pagan nation that, and its leaders who enslaved them. WOW!! WHAT a HUGE request!! Jeremiah also encouraged them to continue with their lives. I don’t know about you but when hard times hit, it is often a great challenge to continue with life and to PRAY for those who have harmed me. However, even 1 Timothy 2:1-2 tells us the same thing: “2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for ALL people— 2 for kings and ALL THOSE IN AUTHORITY, that we may LIVE peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
And Romans 6:13-14 takes it further: “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves TO GOD as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer EVERY PART OF YOURSELF to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin SHALL NO LONGER BE YOUR MASTER, BECAUSE you are not under the law, but under GRACE.”
THANK GOD we are under grace on this side of the cross and not the law!!! However, I often find myself trying to live by the law rather than grace and I have to FORCE myself to recall God’s Words so my MIND IS TRANSFORMED.
One of my favorite Scriptures is buried in this letter to those in exile — Jeremiah 29:11-14: “For I know the plans I have for you, DECLARES The Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. THEN you will CALL UPON ME and COME and PRAY to me and I will LISTEN to you. You will seek me and find me when you SEEJ ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART. I WILL be FOUND by you DECLARES The Lord, and will bring you back from captivity.” In the midst of their disobedience, in captivity, and exiled from their country…. GOD gives them a PROMISE. This is a promise for us too. HOWEVER… do you know God’s plan for you? Do you KNOW what HE had placed on your heart for you to do to further HIS Kingdom. If not…I encourage you to PRAY and ASK Him to show you. I know I have mentioned a book in previous entries, but if you have never read “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson…..you will be greatly BLESSED by his instruction and leadership on PRAYER to our ABBA FATHER. Also did you know that the Word “prosper” here is actually PEACE??? The word prosper in this WHOLE Chapter is PEACE in Hebrew. Let’s put the Scripture in its context, When you are in a trial that even I have ordained for you, call out to me and I will give you peace during that time. You need to call out to me with your heart and I will be found.
Do you get the feeling that Jeremiah was trying to help the captives TRANSFORM while in captivity????
And incase you are wondering… Shemaiah is a FALSE PROPHET (around 596 B.C.)
CHAPTER 30 — Restoration is Promised. OH… just think about this for a minute….Jeremiah has already prophesied that they will be in captivity and exile for SEVENTY YEARS. Some scholars believe the years of captivity and exile were from 605-538 BC from the first deportation of Judah to Babylon. Others believe it was the years 586-516 BC from the last deportation to Babylon and the destruction of theTemple to the rebuilding. And a third possibility was that 70 years was an approximation meaning the symbolic number of an average lifetime. Regardless of what you believe….they were in captivity and exile for a LONG time….NOT THE SHORT CAPTIVITY PREDICTED by the FALSE PROPHETS!!
Chapters 30 and 31 both demonstrate that through Jeremiah, God wanted HIS people to have HOPE and consolation amidst the trouble and gloom. As much as the Israelites and Judeans did not listen to God, HE STILL LOVED THEM and their would come a time when HE would gather HIS people together again. Like Isaiah, Jeremiah prophesied events of the “near” future and the distant future (the second coming of Christ.) Scriptures like: “So do not fear and do not be dismayed….I WILL SURELY SAVE you out of a distant place.” I LOVE the calming verses of 18-22!! And the last line in this chapter is: “In days to come you will understand this!”
CHAPTER 31– There are so many beautiful scriptures in this chapter of hope for a stubborn people who were now LIVING in CAPTIVITY and in EXILE and the ones who had not been captured had not escaped punishment for their rebellion. YET in the midst of it all… there are so many words of hope here…even for us today. Words that stood out to me were: verse 20: “Therefore my heart YEARNS for him; I have GREAT COMPASSION for him..” verse 22: “The Lord will create a NEW THING on earth…” (can you say JESUS and when HE comes, dies on the cross, and is resurrected…we get HIS heart when we believe!!) Verse 31: “…when I will make a NEW COVENANT…” (OH YEAH…that’s JESUS and WE, YOU and I, are under the NEW COVENANT TODAY!!) verse 33: “I will put MY law IN THEIR MINDS and WRITE IT ON THEIR HEARTS. I WILL BE THEIR GOD, and THEY WILL BE MY PEOPLE.” (JESUS JESUS JESUS!!) verses 38-40 — “The days are coming ……the city will NEVER again be uprooted or demolished.” (this points to the restored Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah.)
CHAPTER 32 — God told Jeremiah to buy a field outside of Jerusalem, land that the enemy soldiers occupied. Jeremiah was demonstrating his FAITH in God’s promise to bring HIS people back and to rebuild Jerusalem. When Jeremiah questioned if he did the right thing, he sought through prayer, relief from his doubts. He recalled all that God had done as Creator, the wise Judge, and Redeemer, and his doubts and fears were quieted and his TRUST was increased. Trust does not always come easy. Look at a few of our Bible heros! It was not easy for David to believe that he would become king even after he was anointed. But he TRUSTED God. It was not easy for Moses to believe that he and his people would escape Egypt, but he TRUSTED God. Matthew 17:20 says: “He replied, “Because you have so little faith. TRULY I tell you, IF YOU HAVE FAITH AS SMALL AS A MUSTARD SEED, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. NOTHING will be impossible for you.”
In Leviticus 25:23-24 we read: ‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.
The land is redeemed just like we are redeemed in Christ. Everything is owned by the Lord, and everything is given an opportunity to come back to him. This land purchase is a promise that He will bring His people back, rebuild, and restore His people, just as promised. It may seem impossible to everyone… the captives, the soldiers, and even to Jeremiah, but in verse 26 it ways “Is anything too hard for me?” and in verse 37 is says “I will bring them back to this place and let them live in Safety. They will be my people and I will be their God”.
CHAPTER 33 — A Promise of Restoration!! Jeremiah is being held prisoner in the courtyard and God comes to him!!! OH how I LOVE verse 3: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” God was telling Jeremiah he could call on HIM and HE would answer him….and HE tells us the SAME thing!!! SOOOOO many wonderful promises from GOD in this chapter…. health and healing…abundant peace and security…prosperity…sounds of joy and gladness…forgiveness…restoration and did you notice that in verse 15 & 16….this is all about JESUS!!! Yeah baby……. JESUS…. if you write in your bible…write it beside these verses so you will always remember.
CHAPTER 34 — My Bible titles this section as “God’s promised judgment arrives.” and this chapter as “Warning to Zedekiah.” THIS chapter describes the fulfillment of MANY of Jeremiah’s predictions which all came from God as prophecy. If you have a Bible with cross references you will notice the cross references are from Genesis to Revelation. Babylon had laid siege for the third time under King Nebuchadnezzar on Jerusalem and the city is about to fall. Zedekiah panicked, finally decided to listen to Jeremiah, and as a last resort decided to appease God, so he freed the slaves. We know from Deuteronomy and Leviticus that these laws were established by God and IGNORED for a long time. After the siege was lifted (as God faithfully does) the people (as we often do) returned to their old ways. The people would go to the Temple and make promises to The Lord; then go home and return to their old habits. OH MAN……I know I am writing about Jeremiah, but don’t we do the same thing??? We promise to make changes as we sit in church on Sunday mornings and by Sunday night forget what we promised to do. Zedekiah had made a promise to God along with all his people. They did set the slaves free…..went to their homes….and put the slaves back into slavery!!! God told Zedekiah that Judah would be burned to the ground. ON this side of the cross…… God says in John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” THANK GOD!!
CHAPTER 35 — The Recabites are the first people we read about in this chapter. WHO ARE THEY?? They were nomads with a commitment. Their forefathers (NOT God) told them 200 years ago not to drink wine, never build a home, and never plant a vineyard. They had to live in tents. AND THEY LISTENED!!! The Recabites’ code of living can be compared with that of the Nazirites. If you recall a Nazirite vow could be made by a man or woman as an adult and was voluntary. It HAD to be kept once it was made (unless a wife’s husband objected to her vow.) A Nazirite vow could also be made on behalf of a child by his or her parents for example Samuel, Samson, and Jesus. The Racabites were TOLD how to live by their forefathers and DID IT. God was telling HIS PEOPLE how to live and they ignored it (ummmmmmm……..we do this today too…..know what I mean?) God tells us…we ignore. Their forefather told them ONCE, God told the Israelites CONSTANTLY….OVER AND OVER again….but they would not listen. The Recabites are going to be rewarded, the Israelites are going to be punished.
MANY lessons in this chapter of obedience and faithfulness but the idea of God’s children being shamed by Nomads was so sad. TODAY…..think of the many false religions where people FAITHFULLY OBEY; yet we …. we have the POWER of the Holy Spirit LIVING IN US, speaking to us to discern right from wrong, we have the LIVING WORD of God to guide us yet we so often disobey. God is concerned about our hearts…NOT what we look like, or how our actions APPEAR to make us look like we are DOING all the right things. There is ONLY ONE way into heaven and HIS NAME IS JESUS. Choosing JESUS is about believing that HE is and asking for HIS forgiveness and changing our ways….our hearts so we seek HIM more than anything else. No amount of actions or deeds will give us salvation.
CHAPTER 36 — The events in this chapter actually happened in the summer of 605 BC shortly after Nebuchadnezzar’s victory over the Egyptian army at Carchemish, before Chapters 34 and 35. The people are fasting, which usually happened in times of national emergencies. Babylon was destroying city after city in Judah. Jeremiah was telling the people what they needed to do as The Lord had guided him to do….but they REFUSED to listen. The leaders were mad, had no fear of the Word, and thought they could destroy God’s Word by trying to burn it….God’s Word will stand forever (Psalm 119:89.) Of course the leaders tried to kill Jeremiah and Baruch the scribe but they had been hidden!! God told Jeremiah to write another scroll with the same words with Baruch as his scribe!!
CHAPTER 37 — King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon appointed Zedekiah (bad King of Judah), son of Josiah (the good king of Judah), as the new King of Judah. Zedekiah and his officials refused to listen to anything The Lord had to say……..well…..unless he was realllllllly desperate and then he only listened for a short time (long enough to make it APPEAR as if he did the “right” thing.) Although Zedekiah and his officials did not want to listen to what Jeremiah had to say….. BUT….they STILL wanted the blessings of his prayers!!! They also wanted to know if the Lord had any word for THEM (as if the message already given would change.) Sound familiar????
Sharing HIS love,