Tag Archives: jeremiah

Hypocrite! Hypocrite!

Jeremiah 40 to 43  In the NT, Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites meaning one who has the form of godliness without the power. But these religious leaders were not the first; Jeremiah meets them in our reading today. They came to Jeremiah feigning piety seeking God’s counsel about the next step.

Standing before him, they said: please pray to the Lord “your” God that He will tell us where we should go. We promise that whatever he says we will do. Ten days later Jeremiah emerges from his prayer closet with God’s counsel and it is resoundingly rejected. Those who were so pious showed their true heart when they said the Lord “our” God did not send you to tell us to stay here. How quickly they changed from ‘your’ God to ‘our’ God.

Setting piety aside they said, we are going to Egypt and guess what, you are going with us. How often are we like these people? We ask others to pray but when the answer comes we say no way did God say that. That is the height of hypocrisy!Jeremiah 40 43 hypocrisy2

God demands that we listen and obey. Proverbs 3 says ‘trust in the Lord’ with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. We say the first phrase but omit the second. God is not pleased.

 

Letter From Home

Jeremiah 29 112a

Jeremiah 29  Mail call has to be the very best time in a college student or a service man’s life. It is sweet to get that snail mail that has been lovingly sent with thoughts of news of home and family. Parents and friends want us to remember that whether life is good or bad, these two important principles must be on your mind always:   “don’t forget who you are and don’t forget whose you are.” Don’t bring shame upon the family name and on the name of Jehovah. Remain faithful to both.

Jeremiah was trying to instill those principles in the lives of the Judahites in Jerusalem but his words fell on deaf ears. Even hundreds of miles away the exiles were hearing—don’t worry, it will end soon. Our wealth will be returned to the Temple and our kings will rise again. Instead, life dragged on day after day after day. Lovingly, God sent them Ezekiel to explain it all and then out of the blue, the exiles received this love letter from Jeremiah.

Dear Exiles,

The news here is the same; King Zedekiah is stubborn. But you can know this; you are loved. So, don’t listen to the false reports of this ending! They are not from me! I want you to remain faithful. and live as if you were in Jerusalem. The Lord told me that He has “plans to prosper you, not to harm you. [He has] plans to give you a future filled with hope.” God will take care of you each day.

Loving you, Jeremiah.

PS  don’t forget to pray for the Babylonians.

PPS:   Don’t forget who you are; you are an Isaac, or a Joshua or a Rahab.

Don’t forget whose you are, you are a child of the Most High God.

What would you do with that letter; save it or toss it?

 

A Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Jeremiah 15 “Jeremiah’s Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”

Jeremiah 15 bad days

Alexander is a storybook character where nothing goes right in his world. Mother assures him that no matter where you are there will always be such days. That is where we find Jeremiah. He is having an Alexander Day and it is terrible, no good and very bad.

 

“I wish I never was born; Lord you know how I suffer; everyone treats me with contempt. I am all alone and have not one friend. Oh, woe is me!” Can you hear his whining?  It was just at that moment God came and said:  ‘You must repent of such words and thoughts!’  We might say it like this: “stuff it, or get over it!”

Jeremiah 15 god speakas

Jeremiah then took time from his pouting and went to God’s Word. His “words came to me, I drank them in and they filled my heart with joy and happiness.” God provides experiences to make us strong as a wall to whatever comes our way. The enemy will not be able to overcome us; He will be with us to rescue and deliver us.

God was his encourager and he lifted him from the miry clay of despair.

We all at times have an Alexander/Jeremiah day. If you can relate, God has heard your plea and He is saying return to Me. Repent of such words! Get over it! Remember, I am your joy and I will be your deliverer.

 

 

Bragging Rights?

Jeremiah 9:23 “What Do You Boast In”

jeremiah 9 boasting2a

One of my favorite TV shows is Chopped where contestants are given sundry food items from which they are to craft a dish in a prescribed time frame. Then the taste test begins and with each round the judges “chop” one contestant until there is only one left. To that person goes the “bragging rights” along with a financial reward.

As believers we are not in a contest nor do we have to fear being “chopped” but do we have bragging rights? Jeremiah says unequivocally no!  We have no bragging rights to ‘our” wisdom, power or wealth. We may be wise, but it is only partial for God knows all. Power or strength is temporary or someone else will prove stronger than us. Wealth ebbs and flows with the market and it cannot buy love joy or peace and even wise people die and leave their wealth to others.

What then can we “brag” or boast about? It is this: “God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, so that no one can boast in his presence” [1Cor 1] To have a personal relationship with the living God is something we can boast about. God says boast that we know and understand the attributes of God of faithfulness, fairness, and justice.

We haven’t been “chopped.” Go and brag about God each and every day giving Him the glory He deserves.

Do We Really Believe This?

google-cpu-knows2aPsalm 139 “Behold, Lord you know it all.”

Google knows a lot about us but the risen Christ, the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, knows each detail that Google does not.  He knows because you are always on His mind as you wade through the cultural waters and face different trials. He knows your heart, your name and your deeds which are seen by men.

Do we really believe all of this? If we do then the words of the psalmist should be a wake-up call because behind all of this lay our heart.

Jeremiah asked this question: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand/know it?” And the psalmist answered: “no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.” [Heb 4] One day we will stand before him and the books will be opened and THE Word will reveal every idle, spoken or whispered word. Our hearts will be revealed and all heaven and earth will know what He knows. He knows for He is the Living Word; sharper than any double-edged sword which can pierce our soul and spirit to judge the thoughts and intents of our heart.

Do we really believe this? 

As we ponder this it behooves us to pray as the psalmist: “Search me, O God, know my heart….see if there is any hurtful way in me; wash me thoroughly; cleanse me from my sin and lead me in the everlasting way.” [Ps 139 & 51]
 

God is Always Thinking

crooked-nail2aBattles are conquered in prayer, discouragement is defeated in prayer, self is humbled in prayer because God is exalted. That is the message Jeremiah sent to the exiles in Babylon. [Jeremiah 29] Although they Judahites had trudged the desert sands in chains they were now sitting beside the great city of Nebuchadnezzar wondering what lay ahead. Jeremiah sent this letter to them to remind them that God is in control. He knew from eternity past what He had planned for them. I know the thoughts that I “think” (present tense) toward you. God is always thinking about His plans for His children.

Today you may be experiencing your own exile of sorts. You are wondering where God is in all of what you are facing.  The enemy would have us dwell on the storm; the Good Shepherd would have us dwell on Him. He has plans to take you to the green lush pastures from where you can be fed from His Word. His plan is to lead you to the quiet waters where you can drink from the Living Water. For now, you are in a holding pattern.  Trust in Him with all your heart, do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and He will make the crooked straight so you may not stumble.

God knows the past, present and future. Will you trust Him?

Four Young Men Who Took a Stand

young-man2aTaking a stand before you are in the battle helps you to “Prove God and Know God”

If you keep a journal, you know that when you look back you see life from a different perspective from where you are now. The past reveals much about your life, your ambitions, and your goals but it also reveals your weaknesses and strengths. Journey with the prophet Isaiah back to when King Hezekiah revealed the priceless treasures of his kingdom to the Babylonians. Listen to what Isaiah told him: “a time is coming when everything in your palace and the things your ancestors have accumulated to this day will be carried away to Babylon.” [Is 39] Fast forward to Daniel chapter 1 and we find ourselves trodding the sands of the desert on our way to Persia/Babylon as King Nebuchadnezzar’s siege brought about the first wave of deportations. Not only was King Jehoiakim captured and taken along with the vessels of the temple but in that entourage were those of royal descent (a.k.a. Daniel and his three friends). Jeremiah had reminded King Jehoiakim that the only way a person can walk in the way of Jehovah and be blessed by Jehovah is to ‘know’ Jehovah but he thought his way was better. The ways of the world are never better and often come at a high price which he will soon find out. ( He will be left unburied just like a dead donkey.  His body will be dragged off and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem.) Jeremiah 22.

In that entourage are four young men who had purposed in their hearts to ‘know’ God and not defile themselves. Just as God did with Esther, He was at work behind the scenes preparing and raising up His remnant for one reason: His Name may be glorified. As God has done numerable times He “will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent.” [1Corinthians 1]

These four (Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, or Azariah) had made a choice in Jerusalem to exemplify  the character quality of holiness not WHEN they entered captivity but BEFORE captivity. Just like them we too do not decide to avoid temptation IN the temptation but BEFORE the temptation.

Daniel appealed to the head of the captives, Ashpenaz, to have the temptation of  drink and food, which would defile him, be removed. We prove God by placing Him first believing He is true to His Word. “prove me now” saith the Lord is exactly what Daniel said to Ashpenaz: “prove thy servants.” [Mal 3/Dan 1] In essence when Daniel appealed, he was doing what Jesus said we are to do—appeal to God this way: “lead me not into temptation.” [Matt 6]

Because Daniel, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah purposed to ‘know’ God, He blessed them beyond all the rest and He will do the same for you. God’s plans include you if you will “seek Him early.”

 

Be Discerning; Be a Watchman!

wal2alJeremiah 23 “Be Discerning; Be a Watchman on the Wall”

Jeremiah’s words could have been written today for today our culture “demonizes what is right and celebrates what is wrong.” [Decision Magazine] Our culture wants God’s love apart from the price paid on the cross.  The people of Judah were uncomfortable with Jeremiah’s words of impending judgment for their sin and so they flocked to the street corners to hear those who preached “you can be happy for God is with us.” Jeremiah’s words fell upon deaf ears and sometimes landed him in stocks or a mud filled cistern. How then do we discern those who are not of God because they only know ‘about’ God but do not ‘know’ God?

Jeremiah gave the people at least 6 ways to discern those false prophets. We can learn from his words.  The question do we just want our ears tickled or yearn for truth? Observe and listen carefully. Do their words line up with what God’s Word? Secondly, observe their lives in and out of the temple or church or whatever you call your religious institution; is it consistent? Are they honoring God in word and deed? Thirdly, are they presenting false hopes? These street corner preachers countered Jeremiah’s words of judgment with ‘nothing bad will happen to you.’ Fifthly, they were in a hurry to present their message. Sixthly they claimed to hear God speaking but had they been in God’s inner circle they would have heard the same words of impending Babylonian judgment God gave Jeremiah due to their disobedience.

Fast forward to today. There are sheep in wolves clothing amongst us. We must also discern the character of them. Listen and look; observe their fruits, listen to the doctrine they teach. “We dare not become lazy and expect others to do our studying and thinking for us.” [B. Deffinbaugh]

“Jeremiah’s Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”

jeremiah-alexander-day2aAlexander is a storybook character where nothing goes right in his world. Mother assures him that no matter where you are there will always be such days. That is where we find Jeremiah. He is having an Alexander Day and it is terrible, no good and very bad.

“I wish I never was born; Lord you know how I suffer; everyone treats me with contempt. I am all alone and have not one friend. Oh, woe is me!”  It was just at that moment God came and said:  ‘You must repent of such words and thoughts!’  for  “anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy.” [Pro 12:25]

And so he listened and it was then that God’s “words came to me, I drank them in and they filled my heart with joy and happiness.” The Spirit of God touched him and he heard God say: “I will make you strong as a wall to these people…they will not be able to overcome you; I will be with you to rescue you and deliver you.” God was his encourager and he lifted him from the miry clay of despair.

We all at times have an Alexander/Jeremiah day but if we read and meditate upon the Word of God we will find that it is the Balm of Gilead to our souls. It is then that the joy of our salvation begins its healing process.

Beloved, are you having a terrible, no good; very bad Alexander/Jeremiah day? Be encouraged, God has heard your plea and He is saying: repent of such words! I am your joy and I will be your deliverer.