Jeremiah 39-40

“The Chaldeans also burned with fire the kings palace and the houses of the people, and they broke down the walls of Jerusalem.” (39:8)

Exactly what Jeremiah said would happen, happened. The LORD had determined to burn down the city.

This struck me, in yesterday’s passage,

“Even if you had defeated the entire army of Chaldeans who were fighting against you, and there were only wounded men left among them, each man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.” (37:10)

There’s no foiling the plans of the LORD, so the way I see it, we’ve got 3 options.

  1. Surrender to His will and obey, as if floating gently with Him downstream.
  2. Kick and scream the whole way, wearing ourselves out, maybe even to injury, and still ending up in the same place.
  3. Float fearfully, worrying you may slip down some side stream He doesn’t know about and get lost, but then still arrive at the same place.

I find myself doing #3 more than I care to admit.

—-

“Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave orders about Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, saying, ‘Take him and look after him, and do nothing harmful to him, but rather deal with him just as he tells you’.” (39:11)

This is a very sweet gift to Jeremiah from the LORD to have him finally treated well, by Judah’s “enemy”, no less. 40:2-4 is beautiful. God was speaking to the Babylonians as He spoke to Jeremiah. How refreshing!

Fear not! God is in control! What has He promised which you believe, reject or fear is untrue? Who are your enemies? Could God use those you fear to bless and care for you? How would you react to that?

-Bethany

Jeremiah 37-38

Poor Jeremiah. Locked away and lowered into a dark and wet sewer with no food or water. I love the way God is faithful to him here, it’s very Daniel-and-the-lion’s-den. Ebed-melech, an important court official, receives permission to rescue Jeremiah from the cistern, feed him and put him back in a respectable prison cell. (In the next couple chapters we’ll read about how God rewards him for this.)

Even after being inhumanly treated for speaking God’s truth, he stands face-to-face with the king and does it again.

Sharing God’s message comes with an expensive price; you are vulnerable to mankind’s reactions to it. Jeremiah sets a brave and godly example for us: do it anyway. He is faithful to God and God alone, and he is advocated for, even in prison, because of this.

What keeps you from speaking God’s truth? What consequence are you afraid of? 

 

-Carly

 

 

Jeremiah 35-36

Obedience is not impossible.

“Indeed, the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have observed the command of their father which he commanded them, but this people [Judah] has not listened to Me.” (35:16)

The LORD blessed this family for their example of obedience. Sojourners in the land, not claiming any certain deity or religion, simply obeying their family patriarch.

“Therefore says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me always’.” (35:19)

He introduced Himself with a blessing. Then, went on to make a final plea:

“Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the calamity which I plan to bring on them, in order that every man will turn from his evil way; then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin.” (36:3)

This warning caused quite the buzz, but was ultimately rejected (burned) by the king.

There’s a lot here, from the relationship The LORD has with foreigners, to the harsh judgment He brings on those who lead His people badly.

What sticks out to me is His justice paired with patience. He creates every opportunity for redemption. His pursuit is relentless and His expectations are reasonable. He sees what people do with the information they have and proceeds accordingly, in righteousness and loving kindness.

We are accountable to what we know, which begs the question: what have I done with the information I’ve received?

-Bethany

Jeremiah 33-34

“Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace.” 33:6

The generation receiving this message from God was not the generation that would experience it, but they had something to look forward to for their children and grandchildren’s sake.

“In those days and at that time I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s like. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. In that day Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this will be its name: The Lord Is Our Righteous.” 33:17

Do you feel like you’re waiting around for God to fulfill his promises, but in the meanwhile, things are really, really bad? Here are some ways I serve myself up some of God’s promises in the waiting:

Seek his presence. We are not waiting alone. He has gifted us his Holy Spirit who comforts, protects and communicates with us.

Remember the gospel. This is huge! Even though we are still a waiting people as we anticipate Christ’s return, he has come and gone and conquered death in the meanwhile.

Consume the Word. Stay in Scripture! Whether it’s coming back to your favorite verses to reread, running through Paul’s letters for encouragement or trudging through the Old Testament (whoot-whoot), read. the. Bible. It shines light in the dark places. Following this blog and reading our posts doesn’t count! There is something holy and supernatural about reading his words the pages of that magnificent book.

Be encouraged, dear friends. God has already conquered death, suffering, anxiety, addiction, our failing bodies, divorce, unemployment, loneliness and heartache. We are waiting for his perfect peace to rescue us once and for all, but we are not waiting alone or without hope.

 

-Carly

Jeremiah 31-32

“The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” (31:3)

This passage is full of hope. The LORD’s anger is not forever and He will never forsake His people. In the middle of this glorious promise is one sad verse reading:

“Thus says the LORD, “A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.” (31:15)

This seems random and out of place, but it is later referenced in Matthew 2:18 when Herod slaughters the babies of Bethlehem in hopes of killing the new baby king Jesus. Hope is coming in a profound and unlikely way. But wait! There’s more!

“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”‬ (‭31:33-34‬)

It wasn’t game over for Israel as they were systematically deported to Babylon. Not by a long shot. Their story was far from over, because their God was far from finished.

What season do you find yourself in? Is it hopeful? Hopeless? Beginning? Ending? Transitioning? Maintaining? Life is full of seasons. We are descending into winter. It’s exciting because it’s still crisp and fall-ish, but with Thanksgiving past, we can now get into the Holiday spirit! But then, after New Year, it will be January, and if you’re in the Northwest it means plenty more months of cold, wet, dark, non-Christmas winter. Sometimes those months make me disbelieve in Spring or Summer. Can the ground come to life again? Is it always going to be this cold and dark?? It’s easy to get caught up in these moments.

That’s what makes 31 such a wonderful chapter. In the midst of a terrible season for Israel, God leans back and joyously announces His exciting plans for the coming millennia.

“You know, one day, it won’t be such a battle to convince you to know me and do the right thing. The right thing will be at your core. You will know me! I will be yours and you will be MINE!”

This Day is very far off, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Just like a long winter doesn’t make Summer less real.

My details of my life seem very up in the air at the moment, but God has been gracious to me. He’s given me a healthy little nephew who reminds me how much life and abundance is still ahead, no matter what.

He loves us with an everlasting love. How does that change the way you see today?

-Bethany

Jeremiah 29-30

If you’re remotely familiar with Scripture, or even if you’re not, you know about Jeremiah 29:11. You’ve probably passed it along to a friend in a crisis, texted it to someone who just lost their job, or maybe someone rattled it off to you during a pep talk.

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’ ”

Isn’t it interesting to read it in context, though? This nice, affirming verse comes in the middle of God telling the exiles: get comfortable. You are not going home for a long time. Spread out, plant gardens and grow your family. This was probably the last thing you’d want to hear after you’ve been kidnapped and dragged away from your home to a strange land. There’s more. Not only are the exiles told that they are going to set down roots and be there for seventy years, but God instructs them to “work for the peace and prosperity of the city” of Babylon. These people just attacked, conquered and imprisoned them. And now God is asking them to work towards their well-being.

Have you been in this spot before? Have you felt exiled to a certain job, living situation, city or relationship and you just want God to scoop you out of it, but instead he tells you to settle in? AND, in the meanwhile, do his work?

Never, in the Bible, have I read something that implies we are allowed to hide out and kick our feet up. Even prisoners. We are God’s people. His hands and feet. He wants us to grow fruit, work the soil, raise children and love people really, really well no matter where we are or what we’re doing. This is where the good stuff happens. When you engage, invest and work hard. Whining and hiding out, waiting to be rescued, is not what we’re called to.

Luckily, for Israel, their situation has a good ending:

“ ‘For I will bring you home again from distant lands, and your children will return from their exile. Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet, and no one will terrorize them. For I am with you and will save you,’ says the Lord.”

We have a great ending to our rescue story too, thanks to King Jesus who will permanently rescue us from our exile. But in the meanwhile, let’s seek the welfare of where we are.

 

-Carly

 

 

 

Jeremiah 27-28

The LORD’s message is consistent. He warns and pleads repentance over and over. If you feel this is getting redundant—it is. God won’t let you miss what He has to say.

Of course, often times we choose to ignore Him, or favor the words of those who tell us what we want to hear (Hananiah had the message people wanted, they trusted him over Jeremiah, and the LORD took him out).

It reminds me of Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

We suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Why?? Could be a number of reasons: desire for independence, control, to be our own king, to decide good and evil for ourselves. Wasn’t that the problem in the garden?

Alright, so what to we do? Listen! He still speaks. He’s still always right. He’s still the only reliable source. What has the LORD been trying to tell you?

Take time to listen, and give thanks! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

-Bethany