Jeremiah 47-48 B

“On account of the day that is coming To destroy all the Philistines, To cut off from Tyre and Sidon Every ally that is left; For the LORD is going to destroy the Philistines, The remnant of the coastland of Caphtor.” (47:4‬)

Wikipedia states that the Philistines were defeated, taken into exile by Nebuchadnezzar, and never recovered. The LORD completed the task He employed His people to accomplish 800-ish years prior.

Sometimes we tell ourselves, and each other, that if we don’t “do the LORD’s work”, it will never happen. We need to rally because He’s depending on us.

No way.

He doesn’t rely on us for anything. He is patient, and invites us to be involved, but He isn’t about to let our bumbling inability to act slow Him down forever. All His plans will come to pass.

His judgment against Moab is different. He will destroy the “People of Chemosh”, but will one day restore their fortune.

“Woe to you, Moab! The people of Chemosh have perished; For your sons have been taken away captive And your daughters into captivity. Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab In the latter days,” declares the LORD. Thus far the judgment on Moab.” (48:46-47‬)

“And Moab will be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel, their confidence.” (48:13‬)

To refresh, Chemosh is Moab’s god, and Bethel is where Jeroboam set up a golden calf for Israel to worship instead of having them go to the temple in Jerusalem. So much of this is rooted in our inability to see Who God is, and foolishly chasing after false power, to our shame.

Everything will come to light, in time.

If you’re impatient for His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, JOIN HIM. Pray this prayer as Jesus taught us. Press on to Know Him. Discover the attributes of His Kingdom and ask Him how you can be a part of bringing it to earth, living it on earth. Jesus did say the Kingdom was at hand.

He will do it. Will you be with Him?

-Bethany

Jeremiah 41-43 B

We do three chapters today, because it forms a complete narrative. You can’t end on that 42 cliffhanger, although it would have been easy to guess that these people who just asked for advice would quickly toss it aside.

To summarize:

People of Judah: What should we do? We will do anything you say!

Jeremiah: the LORD will be with you if you stay here and HE will keep you safe. Whatever you do, don’t go to Egypt. EGYPT=DEATH.

People of Judah: Oh what!? No way! We are definitely going to Egypt.

So, spoiler alert, they go to Egypt and die. It’s like, why did they even ask? Just to check and see if they might coincidentally be planning to do as the LORD wants?

There’s definitely been times in my life I’ve had a question I didn’t really want to ask the LORD. It’s easier for my conscience to wonder into a grey area without checking than to ask when my mind is already made up.

Have you ever done that? Are you doing it now? When’s a time when you asked the LORD for His word and then really didn’t want to obey it? What fears or mistrust led you in our out of that situation?

-Bethany

Jeremiah 37-38 B

King Zedekiah and the other officials keep waiting for Jeremiah to change his story. What makes them think that imprisoning him or mistreating him will change the Word of the LORD? If it merely changes his dedication to delivering it, it still doesn’t change the actual truth of the matter.

The same is true today. We can twist the truth to suit out fancies, but it will find us in the end. The truth has a way of coming to light.

Still, we like to distract ourselves with easy-to-disgust lies and half truths. Zedekiah was outraged Jeremiah wouldn’t give him better news. He wanted to hear that his stellar leadership and kingliness would win out in the end. No such luck.

Salvation via surrender is not what the prideful want to hear, but it’s still the way we draw closer to the LORD.

Unrelated… I like how it’s an Ethiopian eunuch that saves Jeremiah from the muddy cistern. I really love it anytime a Gentile wanders in and does the right thing in the middle of Israel’s inability to do remotely so. It also piques my interest to note there’s more than one Ethiopian eunuch mentioned in the Bible (see also Acts 8:25-39).

What does your surrender look like today?

-Bethany

Jeremiah 33-34 B

“Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel and will rebuild them as they were at first. I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me. It will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.’” (33:6-9‬)

The restoration of the LORD is thorough. It’s prophesied to be so thorough that it will invoke fear and trembling in those refined. They will be so healed and filled with peace, goodness, praises and joy, that they with tremble with fear. Interesting.

The LORD set out to accomplish incredible things in this world and they were to bless us. Why would an all powerful, almighty God spend His efforts on our healing? He truly is love.

The world is broken and He is the healer and restorer. He doesn’t save us to make us safe, He makes us whole, He rights the wrongs, and here we see that He’s promising to do this to the nation of Israel, as they are getting carted off into exile.

That’s why He’s angry with them when they re-enslave their fellow man after formally setting them free. He said,

“I made a covenant with your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, saying, ‘At the end of seven years each of you shall set free his Hebrew brother who has been sold to you and has served you six years, you shall send him out free from you; but your forefathers did not obey Me or incline their ear to Me’.” (34:13-14‬)

All brokenness, like slavery, came with an expiration date. In perfect time (7 years) all would be set right. Their refusal to cooperate with this, sent desperate times into desperate measures. The exile would be for their refining, but it too had an expiration: 70 years.

How has the LORD brought healing and restoration into your life? Where have you witnessed His refining fire for your purification? How do you think His powerful work of healing affects fear of Him?

-Bethany

Jeremiah 29-30 B

“For thus says the LORD concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your brothers who did not go with you into exile— thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, I am sending upon them the sword, famine and pestilence, and I will make them like split-open figs that cannot be eaten due to rottenness.” (29:16-17‬)

A little nod to the prophecy in 24:5-10 about the two baskets of figs, the people left after the first deportation were still fooling themselves that they had escaped the discipline of the LORD.

The first deportation had, indeed, happened. All the nobles and artisans of the land had left. Daniel and his friends were already in the service of Nebuchadnezzar. The Lord had specified that those who were faithful to him would be sent into exile and those left in the land would suffer from plague, sword, and famine.

But of course, those left in the land were telling themselves the worst had past, the articles from the temple would be returned soon, everything would go back to normal shortly. Jeremiah tells them “this isn’t over, it’s just beginning.” He tells the faithful in exile, “get comfortable”.

We are impatient people. We like to see things resolve quickly. In the case of the exile, even righteous men like Daniel would have to endure the full sentence of the crimes of his people. 70 years, and not a moment less.

Those concerned with the glory of the LORD returning to Israel need not worry about it happening, oh it would, just not in their lifetime. It’s not about them, after all, it’s about HIM.

I have to remind myself regularly to pray for the LORD’s will to be done in my life, keeping in mind that it’s only truly done in His way and time.

The LORD’s message to the faithful in exile was that He hadn’t abandoned them. He was purposing to give them a future (29:11). It just probably wasn’t the future they were imagining. Instead of retiring in their own land, they would be strangers in a foreign land. They were to be a blessing there.

When life leads you into unexpected places, how do you react? How can you chose to be a blessing in unfavorable circumstances?

-Bethany

Jeremiah 25-26 B

“Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and to the prophets, ‘No death sentence for this man! For he has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God.’” (26:16‬)

I am reminded of Jeremiah’s call at the beginning of this book, specifically the LORD’s promise: “they will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you.” (1:29)

The LORD doesn’t promise and easy path, but He does promise to be with His people. In 20:2 we find Jeremiah beaten and put in stocks. His life was no picnic, and his message was rarely heeded, but he couldn’t deny his calling (20:9).

Reading chapter 26, today, had me wondering how many times Jeremiah thought to himself, this is it. He would be faithful to the end, and therefore perhaps never feared it. A lot changes when your fear is only of the LORD.

Sometimes we get the idea in our heads that the LORD owes us an easy life. For Jeremiah, this was certainly not the case.

How important is truth to us? How fervently do we cry for His Kingdom come come and His Will to be done on earth as it is in heaven? How does that impact our lives from day to day?

Pray through, and meditate on, the Lord’s Prayer today. What are the implications of it in your life?

-Bethany

Jeremiah 21-22 B

I wanted to zero in on 22:16, “He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?But Carly did a good job with that one last time so I’ll let that speak for itself. However, I will go more into the lead in.

The LORD outlines their destruction (plague, sword, famine, capture) and even uses the phrase I am against you, Jerusalem at one point in chapter 21 (v13).

Interjected more than once is this charge:

“Administer justice every morning; rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed.” (21:12)

“Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.” (22:3)

He even goes so far to say that He will call off the destruction if only they will make this change, but alas, there’s a call for woe.

“Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for their labor.” (22:13)

He makes the point that you can be just, generous, fair and still have a nice house. Just look at your father Josiah!

I don’t know why people get it in their heads that you have to be greedy in order to gain wealth. Look at companies like Dutch Bros or Trader Joe’s. They treat their employees very well and are some of the more successful in the US (operating in the black), weathering bad economies and expanding when others have had to close doors. The way we build our lives and conduct our business is very important.

What are you building? A business? A family? A legacy? What is it built on? How can you administer justice and do what is right in your sphere of influence?

-Bethany