Jeremiah 49-50 B

“I will come like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan, leaping on the sheep in the pasture. I will chase Edom from its land, and I will appoint the leader of my choice. For who is like me, and who can challenge me? What ruler can oppose my will?” 49:19

These chapters highlight other nations’ misplaced trust in themselves. We’re reminded that God is sovereign over all the nations. Even when Israel’s enemies are given a temporary place of power over them, God is still in control.

He appoints the leader of his choice. That truth can be hard to accept, but who can challenge and oppose his will?

Bethany wrote an encouraging response to these chapters. I like how she pointed out that God takes care of our enemies, too.

Is that hard for you to accept? Take time to reflect on God’s sovereignty over the nations currently. How do these chapters encourage/discourage you?

-Carly

Jeremiah 44-46 B

“…they burned incense and worshiped other gods-gods that neither they nor you nor any of your ancestors had ever even known.” 44:3b

I’ve noticed a handful of my friends being vocal about practicing witch craft lately. It’s kind of casual, just a moon ritual here, or a spell recited there. Maybe a little altar set up in the corner of their room that they showcase on Instagram.

People want to be a part of something, they want to connect and be part of an experience. They want an altar; something to prop up and worship. They want to feel powerful. What alarms me is they have no idea what they’re aligning themselves with. Or should I say, who.

I took note of the verse above because it’s a reminder that we get to personal know our God. There is no other religion that compares to knowing the LORD. No other god. No other power. His story and history with us is written down. His spirit is everywhere. No spells are needed to talk or summon him.

Who are you aligning yourself with?

Do you know the source of the power you invite into your life?

-Carly

Jeremiah 39-40 B

“Settle in the towns you have taken, and live off the land. Harvest the grapes and summer fruits and olives, and store them away.” 40:10b

Under this verse in my Bible, I printed the words “invest” with a smeary pen.

Gedaliah is offering hope and provision to the remnant left in Judah. They own nothing, and he’s giving them a place to settle down and live off the land.

Sometimes we find ourselves in a place we don’t want to call home. We have a different future dreamed up in our head and are convinced this is just a pit stop along the way.

But every time I’ve found myself in a temporary circumstance and dug in anyway, God blessed me immensely. He’d give me community that’d become family. He’d endear me to a location I thought I hated. He’d show me beauty I didn’t know was there, or weave me into friendships and connections I didn’t know I needed. He has so much purpose and intention for our lives all the time. Invest where you are, even if you feel like you’re being held captive in a place you don’t want to be. Keep your perspective wide, remembering that some people really are held captive. And look at these chapters! God is faithful and kind to them too. It’s not a mistake, and he’s not outside of it.

Are you investing where he has you?

-Carly

Jeremiah 35-36 B

The story about the Recabites is interesting. Sometimes it feels utterly impossible that any of us could follow through and obey for any amount of time!

What do you think is different about Israel? Why is their relationship with God so turbulent?

The second half of chapter 36 is such a reminder that we can’t hide from God’s word. We can ignore it, neglect it, cut it up and burn it into the fire like King Jehoiakim. But it doesn’t make it untrue and it doesn’t make it go away.

How do you find yourself hiding from God’s warnings?

-Carly

Jeremiah 31-32 B

“Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”

Something I easily forget is that God’s anger is holy. Ours…isn’t. It’s usually rooted in fear, or pride, and revolves around us getting our own way. Even when our fists are shaking in righteous anger, we mishandle it expose our sinfulness.

What does it look like to display holy anger? Is it possible for us?

How do we exercise discipline out of a desire to sanctify, and not to reach for revenge?

Anger is a God-given emotion, and yet we rarely see it displayed in a godly and healthy way.

What are your thoughts on this?

-Carly

Jeremiah 27-28 B

“With my great strength and powerful arm I made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose. Now I will give your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control.” 27:5-6

Sometimes we think just because God puts someone in a position of power, he approves of everything they do. Or even that he thinks they’re a great leader.

King Nebuchadnezzar is a great villain of the Bible. He was great, powerful and apparently a servant of God. (Meaning, he was working for God’s purposes whether he knew it or not. Interesting.) Here God defends him, insisting Babylon must submit to him.

Is God asking you to submit to leadership that kind of, well, sucks?

Or maybe you’re on the other side of things. Are there things in your life, or things about your character, that you think God is approving of just because he hasn’t put an end to it?

I keep reminding myself that not everything in Jeremiah is applicable to my life. God doesn’t always want you to put up with toxic leaders. This is definitely a specific point in history with a specific story, and I don’t have to find personal meaning in it.

But wow, can you imagine receiving this message from Jeremiah? Tomorrow he writes a letter to the exiles and it’s devastating.

-Carly

Jeremiah 23-24 B

” ‘For the time is coming,‘ says the Lord, ‘when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land: And this will be his name: ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness. In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety.’ ” 23:5-6

I love glimpses of Jesus in the Old Testament. I needed this today! I needed to read that God had a plan for the exiles (24:6). I needed to remember that even when society and current leaders fail, it doesn’t derail God’s ultimate plan to redeem and reconcile all things back to him.

The exiles will be drawn back! A new King is coming! And the rotten fruit will be scattered and thrown out.

What promises did you read today?

-Carly