Category Archives: Psalms

Jeremiah 38-40; Psalms 74; 79

Jeremiah 38-40; Psalm 74 and 79

Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2038-40;%20Psalms%2074;79&version=NIV

CHAPTER 38 — Jeremiah, HOW faithful was he???? He kept right on preaching what God told him to preach, regardless of what the people did to him, regardless of how much they disliked him, regardless of what happened to him…..THAT is faithfulness, trust, and belief in a BIG GOD!!! Once again he is telling the leaders to SURRENDER (oh, how humiliating that would be to the King and all the leaders of Judah!!) to the Babylonians so they could LIVE. He added if they did not surrender they WOULD DIE!!

So what happens??? The leaders THROW the guy in a cistern (a DEEP hole with rock sides designed to hold/collect rain water.) Interestingly King Zedekiah tells the leaders who want to kill Jeremiah: “He is in your hands.” King “Z” wanted to be on Jeremiah’s side but peer pressure was too much for him!! (Maybe a man without a spine, you think???) So in the cistern Jeremiah goes. There is no water ONLY MUD where Jeremiah SANK into. ICK!!!!! The thought of someone putting me in a cistern wigs me out…..it would have been dark, damp, full of mud…..and I don’t even want to think what kind of bugs and snakes or other creatures might be living down there that would be crawling all over me!! GAG!!! Jeremiah if left in there could have drown, died of exposure to the elements, or simply starved to death. YET..the scripture says NOTHING about Jeremiah begging not to be put in there, or screaming as they were lowering him inside, or yelling out “hey….could you throw a little bread down?” I can imagine Jeremiah praying to God the entire time this was happening to him. Here is a picture of what a cistern may have looked like at that time.

Jeremiah cistern-empty3-lg1

And God sent Ebed-Melech (whose name means “servant of the king”), an Ethiopian eunuch who was an official in the royal palace. Ebed-Melech went against the grain. HE convinced King Zedediah to save Jeremiah so Zedediah ORDERED Ebed-Melech to lift Jeremiah out of the cistern. Ebed-Melech’s obedience to God could have resulted in the loss of his job AND the loss of his life!! However, he feared God more than he feared the risk!! Because of his obedience to God to stand against the murder plot against Jeremiah, he was spared when Jerusalem fell (39:15-18.) Now he is a man we would all do well do model, know what I mean?

NO WONDER JUDAH was in MAJOR TURMOIL!! This King is being tossed about like the waves of the sea!! 1st—THIS King actually LISTENED to Jeremiah (37:21) 2nd –OK—“He is in your hands.” In other words….go ahead and kill him (38:5)!! and 3rd — OK — Ebed-Melech, grab 30 men and lift Jeremiah out before he dies…..so the King rescued Jeremiah (38:10)!!! Reminds me of Ephesians 4:13-14: ” …until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. THEN we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”

Jeremiah was not popular. His words undermined the morale of the army and the people. YET he was doing EXACTLY what God called him to do. He was telling Judah the exact words God gave him to tell them. Jeremiah CHOSE to serve God and do HIS will. Compare him to King Zedekiah who couldn’t decide on ANYthing because he was more concerned with what people thought than what God wanted.

NOW… Jeremiah was out of the cistern and Zedekiah wanted to ask his opinion!!! Jeremiah asked him why because he wouldn’t listen to him and then he’d probably kill him. Interestingly Zedekiah wanted to hear what Jeremiah/God has to say and asked Jeremiah to promise him that he would tell NO ONE what they spoke of. He asked Jeremiah to tell people he was pleading with Zedekiah not to send him back to Jonathan’s house to die!!! DO…..Zedekiah hears Jeremiah tell him once again to surrender to the King of Babylon so he and his family could live. BUT…did Zedekiah listen????

CHAPTER 39 — This is a critical chapter. It is HISTORY. We are reading about the fall of Jerusalem in this chapter. And, we will read this account from 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles tomorrow. Again, anytime God has something repeated twice it should get out attention, three times we really need to pay attention, and more than three……STAND UP and TAKE notes….memorize it. There is a reason God repeats things.

As we read each of these chapters, KNOW that we are reading the Fall of Jerusalem to Babylon EXACTLY as it was prophesied. Try to grasp the 5 “W’s” of the captivity and ask yourself the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and WHY of the Scripture….and don’t leave out the HOW question. We have been reading months and months of prophecy concerning the captivity and exile …. and the REMNANT!! NOW….we are reading prophecy fulfilled!! Don’t forget the REMNANT is VERY important so if you write (or color) in your Bible like I do ….. circle this word EACH time you see it mentioned.

And then came the fall of Jerusalem…..so very sad. King “Z” did NOT heed Jeremiah’s advice he ASKED for in Chapter 38!! He rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, who captured him, killed his sons in front of him, blinded him, and took him back to Babylon where he died. Ummmmmmm…….isn’t this exactly what Jeremiah said would happen???

CHAPTER 40 — Jeremiah was freed BY THE BABYLONIANS, just like the Lord said would happen in the first chapter. If you have time, take a minute to reread this part of the first chapter. The detail and the truth of just this part of the prophecy is INCREDIBLE!!

“But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will RESCUE you,” declares the LORD.”

Jeremiah was FREE to go WHEREVER he desired. The Babylonian commander did NOT KNOW God, but he acknowledged that God had given the Babylonians victory!! He recognized the existence of God and all HE could do, BUT he did not personally accept HIM. Knowing God personally is very different than simply knowing about HIM. Even the enemy KNOWS about HIM, even believes in all HE can do; but the enemy does not desire a personal relationship with HIM. The enemy desires to be god, and have the power; therefore, he desires to keep you and all people from having a deep personal relationship with our personal Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Jeremiah could have gone to Babylon and lived in great comfort and power. He would have been favored by the Babylonians, but hated by the Judean exiles. However, in Judah he would continue to face hardship, remain poor and unwanted; BUT the Judean REMNANT would KNOW he was NOT a TRAITOR. Jeremiah returned to Judah.

PSALM 74 — This psalm was written by Asaph or one of his descendants since many believe this was written after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. It is a plea for God to help HIS people defend HIS cause and remember HIS promises. Sometimes when we are going through hard, challenging, times in our life it can seem as if God is slow to intervene on our behalf. We can become impatient waiting for HIM to act. We may become depressed, angry, or feel our trust waxing. However, in those times it is sooooooooo important that we keep our focus on HIM. KNOW that HIS timing is not our timing and HIS ways are not our ways. Look at all the things the psalmist focuses on that God did in the past which help to focus on God’s character. THIS psalm is a perfect reminder of why it is so important to KNOW Scripture …when in doubt…pull it out!!! There are nights when I go to bed repeating one verse of Scripture over and over and over again until I fall asleep. And in times when my mind seems to go completely numb and I am totally overwhelmed…..I sing: “Jesus loves me THIS I KNOW…”

PSALM 79 — This is another psalm of Asaph again written after the Babylonians had leveled Jerusalem (as was prophesied.) The theme of this psalm is when we are outraged by injustice, CRY OUT TO GOD, not against HIM. In verse 6, Asaph asked God to “pour out HIS wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge YOU.” Ironically, God was pouring out judgement on Israel (both Israel and Judah…remember they were a unified nation at one time) for this very thing. God desires our trust in HIM, our faith in HIM, our devotion to HIM….regardless of our circumstances. And, sometimes it is hard to keep our focus on HIM when our world seems to be collapsing. Yet, it seems that through hardships…when we totally surrender “it” ALL to HIM….that we become closer to HIM…we learn how to pray through things….and develop more into HIS image. Know that God never said this life would be “easy” or “fair”; however, HE did say HE would NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, EVER leave us or forsake us.

Sharing HIS love,

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2 Kings 18:9-37; Psalms 46, 80, 135

2 Kings 18:9-37; Psalm 46, 80, 135

Click here for reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%2018%3A9-37%3B%20Psalm%2046%2C%2080%2C%20135%20&version=NIV;AMP

2 KINGS 18: 9-37 — Incase you feel as if this all sounds REALLY familiar…. it IS…we have read all this last week in Isaiah. However, note the time frames. The first part of our read is sort of a flash back and we re-read the Assyrian’s taking Israel into Captivity and WHY they are being held captive.

Then we jump to 10 years later, the 14th year of Hezekiah’s reign, placing us about 701 B.C. (numbers get closer to zero as we get closer to the NT) Sennacherib, king of Assyria, is the son of the king that deported Israel’s people (Northern Territory). To keep them from attacking the southern territory, Judah, they paid them an annual tribute. But when Sennacherib took his fathers reign, Hezekiah stopped paying, thinking Assyria would just forgot or ignore them (ummmm…NOT!!) Do you remember when Hezekiah “showed off” all his riches, all the Lord gave him he was prideful about……well the people he “showed off” all his riches to REMEMBERED his massive riches and came for them!!

Sennacherib began to attack, so Hezekiah quickly paid him all he had, but it didn’t matter Sennacherib attacked anyway (look at the cross references…and see how many of them came from Isaiah…..YEP…God gave Isaiah the words to prophesy it ALL!!!)

PSALM 46: This Psalm begins with What is your view of God?? The Psalm begins with “God is our refuge and strength, an EVER PRESENT HELP in times of trouble..” And it ends with “Be Still and know that I am God”. This reminds me of when Elijah heard and felt the wind, felt the earthquake, and saw the fire ….. BUT HE HEARD The Lord God in a WHISPER!! (1 Kings 19)

PSALM 80 — This is a Psalm about Restoration. My favorite verse was “Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us that we may be saved.” The SAME thing is said in verses 3, 7, and 19. I find it interesting how God repeated it three times!!! I’d say this is important!!

PSALM 135– We are reminded in the Psalm of praise that God is God….there is NO OTHER. HE is the ONLY ONE worthy of praise….any other form of worship is a waste of time.

Sharing HIS love,

Isaiah 37-39, Psalm 76

Isaiah 37-39; Psalm 76

Click here for today’s reading: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2037-39%3B%20Psalm%2076&version=AMP;NIV

Today’s read was a HUGE WOW!!! for me personally!! I have been reading a book called “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson that is ALL about prayer. TALK about God’s timing for me between the book I am reading and Hezekiah’s prayer. I could barely read my Scripture because tears of joy were running down my face.

OK… enough about me…. let’s unfold today’s reading. I would LOVE to hear if anything special stood out to you today. (I always LOVE your emails and comments to see how God is working in your lives through the readings.)

If all the names of the kings, places, details are confusing you…. STEP BACK….. PRAY…. ASK God to open your eyes and your heart so that HIS Word will touch you in a way it never has before. God LOVES us to ASK HIM for things within HIS will. The word ASK which means in Hebrew: “ask, enquire, beg, require, request, earnestly,” is stated 173 times in the KJV!!!! I also looked up the word PRAY in the NT (Greek) meaning “ask, beseech, pray, desire, intreat” and it is mentioned 58 times!!!! Ummmmm…..maybe God is trying to tell us something about praying and asking…eh?? Keep in mind that I did not go through every possible use of each of the words ASK or PRAY…. I ONLY LOOKed up ONE of EACH!!! There were many more in Strong’s Concordance. BUT….my purpose was to focus your attention on the fact that God WANTS us to ASK HIM and PRAY to HIM for EVERYTHING!! HE is the Giver and Creator of EVERYthing…..so why not ASK and PRAY for EVERYTHING….it all belongs to HIM anyway… “know what I mean Vern?”

Keep in mind that prayer is a gift, a precious gift, yet most people never unwrap the package…let alone take it out of the box and use it. I have heard many people say: “but I don’t deserve to ask HIM for anything,” or “I don’t want to bother HIM,” or “I just don’t feel right about going to HIM with every little thing,” and I could go on….but I am sure you get the point. Look at what James 4:2-3 says: “…YOU DO NOT HAVE BECAUSE YOU DO NOT ASK GOD. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Both parts of that verse are equally important….You have not because you ask not AND….. IF we ask for things that are totally against God’s will….those things will not be answered the way we pray for them to be. How do we know God’s will…..by reading HIS Word and praying according to HIS will.

Also take a look at: “You will ask what you desire, and it shall be done.” Jn 15:7 NKJV
God LOVES to show us Himself in so many ways. We limit Him with our unbelief. If we know we have unbelief, don’t allow the enemy to bring condemnation because that is NOT from God….simply confess and be like the man in Mark who said: “Lord, help thou my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) SO….. Who is ready to begin ASKING God….just KNOW….HE answers in HIS timing not ours because HIS ways are higher than ours. He can see what we can’t. AND ALWAYS be sure you are praying in accordance with his will. For example if you are praying for God to have someone murdered…..ummmmmm……murder is NOT part of HIS will!! OR if you are praying that a relationship with someone you love will work out…BUT that person is not open to knowing The Lord OR is married….that is not God’s will either. Just a couple of examples to make a point.

A little overview of Isaiah (incase anyone else like me forgot)… this book is a mini format of the entire bible. Today we are finishing the Old Testament (OT) part. The first 40 chapters were Words of Judgement (OT) the next 26 Chapters will be Words of Comfort (NT). So here were are….just before the PIVOT of the book of Isaiah. Chapter 41 begins the Words of Comfort!!!

CHAPTER 37 —The things we can learn from Hezekiah’s actions are powerful!! Hezekiah had been doing exactly what Isaiah was preaching for 36 chapters. Isaiah said: “Turn to the Lord.” Hezekiah did. As Chapter 37 opened Hezekiah was in distress from the words of the messengers of Sennacherib, BUT he did not give up. He PRAYED. He brought together his team, the priests, and Isaiah. Isaiah tells him NOT to give up… God IS IN CONTROL and will REVEAL HIMSELF!! In verse 4 Hezekiah PRAYS FOR THE REMNANT that still survived out of Judah!!! (Can you say … J-E-S-U-S???!!!)

I just ATE UP Hezekiah’s prayer in verses 14-20!! Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers of the King of Assyria (more threats, more mocking God, more blasphemy of God!!) Yet Hezekiah went up to the Temple of The Lord. HE laid the letter before The Lord. And HE PRAYED!!! Hezekiah acknowledged that God ALONE is God. There is ONLY one worthy of our Prayer! ONE. Key word there, the Assyrians NEVER denied there was a God, just that they had adopted all the pagan gods too!!!! Remember JESUS is the ONLY way and we can NOT serve two masters….EVER!!! WE MUST CHOOSE!!! Hezekiah BOLDLY asked for victory….why?? Verse 20, did you catch the SO THAT? “So That ALL the kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, Oh Lord, are God!!”

Hezekiah BOLDLY asked God for victory…..and God answered….with victory…..in ONE night the Assyrians were destroyed…. ONE NIGHT…. the mighty warriors, the world power in that day who had taken so much land and so many captives…..were destroyed by the hand of God in ONE night.

Incase you skimmed over verse 31….. I HAD to make sure you didn’t miss such importance…..

“Once more a REMNANT of the house of Judah
will take root below and bear fruit above.

For out of Jerusalem will come a REMNANT,
and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

CHAPTER 37 ends with the Miracle of Assyria falling in a day. (You have to picture the Greatest World Power Falling in a day to an enemy nation…JUST as we are witnessing the falling of our own Nation today… with each law that passes that does not support God’s way….with each mutter that the USA should not support Israel…..with each leader that rules in whatever capacity but stands for NOTHING). I come back to PRAYER here…. PRAY for our Nation… our leaders…for a REVIVAL of Biblical proportions….Praying to the ONE true God for our Nation and the hearts of all leaders in our Nation and globally is the ONLY answer. I love verse 35…”I WILL defend this city and SAVE IT for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!!” OH YEAH…that’s what I’m screamin!!!

CHAPTER 38 — Hezekiah PRAYS again, God hears, and HE answered!!! And God gave Hezekiah a SIGN of His promise. Notice verse 7 — “This is the LORD’s sign to you that the Lord will do what HE has promised.” Did you ever think about the fact that God WILL give us a sign if needed!!! That makes me want to SHOUT to the LORD from my back porch to thank HIM!!! Hezekiah’s sign from the Lord was moving the Sun back 10 steps in shadow. We serve an awesome God…. a God who DESIRES to answer our prayers…. a God who CAN and WILL give us signs when needed. So EXPECT GREAT answers to your prayers that are in line with HIS will, and stand in AWE of HIM when HE blesses you with a “little sign” of HIS power a confirmation, an acceptance along the path!!! If He can draw the sun back, surly he can speak through a bumper sticker if He needs to. As we read the rest of 38 remember Hezekiah did not have the Full Bible with the description of How wonderful Heaven is and that Jesus goes up to prepare a place for us, so his speaking of the grave may be confusing…but 38 ends with His reassurance that He will see Heaven, the temple of the Lord…because of the SIGN God gave him…. the sun moving back.

For a moment …. stop and think of some of the miracles we have seen in our reading thus far….. God parted the Red Sea during its PEAK fullness so HIS people could walk through on DRY land!! Enoch walked with the Lord for 300 years and the Lord simply took him up to save him from the great flood!! Noah built an ark in the middle of the desert with no clouds in sight! Abraham and Sarah had Isaac when they were 100/90 respectively to fulfill the beginning of God’s promise to HIS people. The HUGE….IMPREGNABLE walls came tumbling down because Joshua and the Israelites OBEYED God and walked around the city of Jericho and prayed as HE commanded….and the WALLS came CRUMBLING DOWN!!!! God brought in THOUSANDS of quail to feed HIS people (quail ONLY live near water and it took a miracle of wind to blow in this quail from 50 miles away into the desert.) Peter walked on water…if only for a moment. Elisha saw Elijah being taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire. Elisha prayed that his servant would see ALL of God’s army that was with them….and the servant DID see angels sitting on chariots of fire who out numbered there enemies!! Jonah was swallowed and spit up by a gianormous fish to convert the city of Nineveh!! JESUS died and was resurrected so WE could a have personal relationship with HIM now and forever. And there are SO many more miracles, but these are the ones that came to me at this moment. ALL of these miracles came about because of prayer and obedience….because people stepped out and boldly prayed in accordance with God’s will….and prayers were answered. NOW that could make anyone’s day GREAT!!! What God does for one of HIS children HE will do for ALL if we follow HIM, obey HIM, and ASK in accordance with HIS will.

CHAPTER 39 — An Envoy means ” A representative of a government who is sent on a special diplomatic mission” (not talking down to anyone but sometimes I have to look these things up.) Merodach-Baladan was a Babylonian Prince. He was planning a revolt against Assyria and was forming his alliance with Judah. He probably hoped to convince Hezekiah to join his side (wouldn’t you want the Lord’s power on your team??) Hezekiah feeling honored and maybe his head was held a bit too high showed the envoys his treasures (ouch, Prideful for what the Lord had blessed him with), But Isaiah had warned the king not to trust Babylon because some day they would turn on Judah and steal all that wealth! Hezekiah may have been just showing them all that God could bring to someone but unfortunately this gesture had a huge consequence that we will read about in Daniel and 2 Kings 25.

Psalm 76 — This was written by Asaph and it praises God for his awesome power. It was most likely written to celebrate the defeat of Sennacherib’s army after he invaded Judah (2 Kings 18- 19:37) and as we saw in today’s reading in Chapter 37!!

As we leave today’s reading…has God placed a dream on your heart, a vision in your mind, a desire that you KNOW is from HIM it hasn’t happened yet. Are you praying BOLDLY for the answer? Are you supporting your prayer with Scriptures? Are you tired and overwhelmed….it’s OK….just KEEP praying just as Hezekiah, Moses, Joshua, and so many more did!!! And…ask others to join you in prayer…there is power when two or more agree in prayer as well!!!

Sharing HIS love,