Jeremiah 21, July 19, Thursday

Bible Reading in 2018: Reading the Major Prophets, God’s Good Word in Bad Times

Jeremiah 21, July 19, Thursday

This chapter occurred after the first invasion of Nebuchadnezzar in which the king and skilled workmen had been taken captive and Zedekiah had been installed on the throne. Now Zedekiah had rebelled and the Babylonian army had returned.

Note that Jeremiah is viewed in a new light. He had prophesied the first Babylonian invasion and it had occurred. Apparently, he was now viewed as truly speaking for God.

Zedekiah sent a two-man delegation to Jeremiah with the appeal to inquire of the Lord for the nation, v. 1-2. Their language may indicate that they wanted a miracle like that done in Isaiah’s day at Samaria, Is 36. Note that no evidence of repentance of the king and the nation is given. They apparently just wanted a miracle to get them out of the present trouble.

Jeremiah’s message, v. 3-7, is that God would not relent of the destruction of pestilence, sword, and famine that had been prophesied earlier, Jer. 15:2-3.

In v. 8-10, the Lord offers them a choice: surrender and live or continue to rebel and die as the city is overcome and burned.

In v. 11-14, the Lord again calls on the king to execute justice or suffer God’s wrath. God would use fire to punish their wickedness, something they deserved, v. 14.

Message of the chapter: An appeal to God without repentance did not work. A fiery destruction from the Babylonians would come.

Application: Today we must repent of our sins and obey God before we can expect forgiveness.

#jeremiah21 #appealforhelp #Zedekiah’sappeal #biblereading #prophecy #GodagainstJudah #fierydestructionofJerusalem

 

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Jeremiah 31, July 18, Wednesday

Bible Reading in 2018: Reading the Major Prophets, God’s Good Word in Bad Times

Jeremiah 31, July 18, Wednesday

The first three words, “at that time”, show that this chapter is a continuation of chapter 30:24, which refers to the ‘latter day’ when the captives would understand what God had accomplished. Note that Israel, v. 1, the former nation as a whole, is being discussed. Ephraim, v. 6, is an old name for the northern kingdom or the nation as a whole.

In v. 2-6, the Lord begins the main thrust of this chapter, namely, prophecy of the physical restoration of the old nation. First, He makes it plain that He is doing so because he loves them, not because they deserve it, v. 3. The future Israel is clearly spiritual, v. 4, where she is called a virgin as contrasted to old physical Israel that had been an adulteress with idols.

In v. 7-9, the remnant, v. 7, is saved due to their attitude of repentance, v. 9.

In v. 10-14, this repentance brings forth joy, happiness, and comfort.

In v. 15-20, the sadness felt by the exiles is addressed. They should feel happy because God loves them as a dear son.

Note the sadness in v.15. This verse is quoted in Matt. 2:18 and shows the same type sadness felt when Herod tries to kill Jesus.

In v. 21-26, the exiles are told to set up road markers they will eventually need on the return home. Note that v. 1-26 was a divine vision to Jeremiah.

In v. 27-30, a characteristic of the new spiritual kingdom is given: every person is responsible for his own sins.

Verse 31 is one of the most important verses of the Old Testament. God plainly states that He will establish a new covenant with His people. This new covenant was established in the New Testament and clearly applies to Christianity as discussed by Jesus and Paul, Luke 22:20, Heb. 8:8-12, 2 Cor. 3:6. (See also Friday’s reading.)

In v. 31-34, a key characteristic of Christianity is made clear. Unlike the old covenant where physical birth made one a member (to be later taught God’s will in maturity) one cannot be a part of the new covenant (a Christian) until one is taught and obeys.

At the end of the chapter, v. 35-40, the Lord states that the promised return to Jerusalem is as sure as the fixed order of the universe.

Message of the chapter: The future spiritual Israel will happen and be a time of happiness. The new covenant is announced and characteristics are given.

Application: This chapter teaches that Christianity is a taught religion. Only the taught and obedient are part of the church, the new covenant, the spiritual kingdom.

#Jeremiah31 #spiritualisrael #newcovenant #biblereading #prophecy #characterofChristianity #remnantIsrael

Jeremiah 30, July 17, Tuesday

Bible Reading in 2018: Reading the Major Prophets, God’s Good Word in Bad Times

Jeremiah 30, July 17, Tuesday

This chapter begins with the command to Jeremiah to write ‘because…a restoration is coming.’ Note that God is unafraid to have His prophecy written down and read in the future. The fulfillment of these prophecies would strengthen the faithful returning exiles and us today to believe that God is real and can work his plan.

The language in this chapter powerfully shows God’s future plans for the restored kingdom of both Judah, the southern tribes, and Israel, the northern tribes. God planned that the faithful remnant from Judah and the scattered faithful from the other tribes would all be in the future kingdom which He would establish (see Acts 10 for the addition of the Gentiles to the church.)

In v. 1-7, the Lord promises to save Jacob, a name for the entire nation of Israel during the coming terror.

In v. 8-11 God explains that Jacob would be saved and returned despite undergoing the discipline of the Lord.

In v. 12-15, God explains that their terrible sins are ‘incurable.’ The nation must go through the cleansing process of captivity.

In v. 16-17, God shows His impartiality. The cruelty of their captors would be punished, as well Judah. Then national health would be restored.

In v. 18-22, God prophesies that the faithful remnant of the captives will be restored to their land, even though Jerusalem has become a mound of dirt and stone. An extra prophecy of the future is that their king will be one of them, clearly a reference to the Messiah as the future king of a spiritual kingdom.

Verses 23-24, illustrate the effect on humans. God’s fierce anger will appear as a terrible storm as God carries out His plan. In latter times they would be able to read Jeremiah’s prophecies and understand.

Message of the chapter: The nation, both Israel and Judah, would be resettled to the land by the power of God. Enemies would be punished and the future Messiah would become their spiritual king.

Application: Reading God’s word today builds faith that He is real and in control.

#jeremiah30 #judahandisrael #jeremiahwrite #biblereading #prophecy #greatguilt #futureunderstanding

Jeremiah 29, July 16, Monday

Bible Reading in 2018: Reading the Major Prophets, God’s Good Word in Bad Times

Jeremiah 29, July 16, Monday

This chapter was penned after the first time the Babylonians took the king and all the skilled workers as captives to Babylon. It contains 3 letters, two to the exiles, v. 1-23 and 29-32, and one to Jerusalem, v. 24-28.

The first letter deals with false prophets in Babylon among the exiles, v. 1-9. Apparently, these false prophets were prophesying that the exiles would soon return home. The Lord countered their prophecy by telling them to build houses, plant gardens, give their children in marriage, and multiply.

In v. 10-14, God gives a time frame of 70 years before the faithful would return to Jerusalem.

In verses 15-23, God tells the remnant left in Jerusalem that they will perish in a terrible destruction because they did not listen and obey his words. The fate of two wicked false prophets is foretold: They would be burned. When it happened, it became a saying/curse among the exiles.

One of the Babylonian false prophets, Shemaiah, v. 24-32, is singled out for special mention. He had sent a letter back to Jerusalem complaining about Jeremiah’s letter saying the exile would be long. He called for Jeremiah to be put in stocks and bonds. He was punished with no surviving relatives because he had spoken rebellion against God’s word.

Message of the chapter: The exile would be so long that the captives should become Babylonian citizens, build houses and gardens and have children. False prophets and the wicked in Jerusalem are condemned.

Application: Ignoring His word is never pleasing to God.

#jeremiah29 #70yearsinBabylon #falseprophets #biblereading #prophecy #shemaiah #letterstoexiles #ignoringGod’sword

John 10, July 13, Friday

Bible Reading in 2018: Reading the Major Prophets, God’s Good Word in Bad Times

John 10, July 13, Friday

This amazing chapter describes Jesus as the Good Shepherd, identifies his role as the Good Shepherd, and shows how to prove His Deity.

In v. 1-6, Jesus describes the relationship He has with the sheep. They hear His voice and not others. This was not clear to His audience so He continues in v. 7-13. Jesus is THE door for His sheep and provides good pasture and life. Again, He stresses that His sheep listen to Him and not others. Further, He is willing to lay down His life for His sheep and did so on the cross.

Two points are made in v. 14-18: Jesus has other sheep which He will add to make one flock, no doubt an allusion to Acts 10 where Gentiles were made full members of the church. The second point is that Jesus will die of His own accord. He didn’t have to die but did so willingly.

The Jews were unbelievers. However, the crowd began to offer proof of His Deity, namely, His miracles, v. 19-21.

In v. 22-30, Jesus confirms that His works, His miracles prove that He is the Christ.

In v. 31-39, the Jews decided to stone Him because He claimed Deity. But Jesus stumped them by referring to Ps. 82:6, “I said, you are gods.” They could not answer and Jesus went across Jordan where many believed in Him.

Message of the chapter: Jesus as the Good Shepherd will willingly die for His sheep. His Deity is proven by His miracles.

Application: It is the same today. The miracles of Jesus prove that He is the Son of God.

#John10 #SonofGod #miracles #biblereading #goodshepherd #goodshepherdgivesHislife  #Jesusdiedwillingly #proofofDeity

Jeremiah 28, July 12, Thursday

Bible Reading in 2018: Reading the Major Prophets, God’s Good Word in Bad Times

Jeremiah 28, July 12, Thursday

This chapter comes after the harsh condemnation of false prophets in chapter 23. Hananiah, a false prophet, claims God inspired him to prophesy that the captivity will be over in two years and the vessels of the temple returned, v. 1-4. Note the characteristics of this false prophet: He claims to speak from God, not an idol.

The false prophets of Jeremiah’s day claimed to speak from God, like Jeremiah, in contrast to the false prophets earlier in Samaria that claimed to prophesy from Baal.

Jeremiah says, v. 5-9, that he hopes Hananiah’s prophecy will come to pass. However, Jeremiah uses two arguments to show that Hananiah’s prophecy is false. First, all the faithful earlier prophets and Jeremiah had prophesied just the opposite. If Hananiah is right, then all these earlier prophets are liars. Second, Jeremiah recalls what Moses had said in Deut. 18:22. The way to know if a prophet is from God is to see if the prophecy comes true. If not, the prophet is a false prophet and not from God.

Hananiah seemed to be enraged and broke the yoke worn by Jeremiah and uttered a prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar would be broken in two years, v. 10-11.

God sent a prophecy to Hananiah by Jeremiah, v. 12-17. God would put an iron yoke on all the nations that rebelled against the Babylonians. Jeremiah told Hananiah that he was a false prophet and would die that year. Hananiah died as prophesied.

Message of the chapter: A bold false prophet is opposed by Jeremiah. The false prophet dies that year.

Application: The words of men are never to be received instead of the word of God.

#jeremiah28 #hananiah #ironyoke #biblereading #prophecy #falseprophecy #deathofhananiah

Jeremiah 27, July 11, Wednesday

Bible Reading in 2018: Reading the Major Prophets, God’s Good Word in Bad Times

Jeremiah 27, July 11, Wednesday

This chapter contains powerful prophecies for the people of Jeremiah’s day about the coming destruction and proof that the Bible is from God.

The chapter begins with God instructing Jeremiah to make a yoke and wear it during prophesying. Note the situation: Five countries have sent representatives to Zedekiah, no doubt to discuss what to do about the Babylonians. Earlier, Nebuchadnezzar had taken over the country and removed the skilled workers and the king, Jeconiah (Jehoiachin in 2 Kings 24.) Ultimately all these countries, including Judah, would rebel against Babylon. But God sent Jeremiah to warn them that rebellion would fail.

God states that He is in control of Babylon and its king, His servant, and will give all the rebellious nations to Babylon, v. 3-7. God warns these nations that if they listen to their false prophets and rebel, destruction and expulsion awaits. On the other hand, if they choose to serve Babylon, they can remain in their lands, v. 8-11.

Judah and Zedekiah are mentioned specifically, v. 12-15, as listening to the false prophets predict a rosy future.

A specific prophecy is given to the priests and the people about the vessels and metals of the temple, v. 16-22. All would be taken to Babylon. However, God promised that the vessels would be brought back at the time designated by God. This is a remarkable prophecy that could only result from God. In the first place, looted vessels could not be expected to ever be recovered. Secondly, metal vessels were often melted and converted into something to aid in idol worship. Not so with these vessels. They would come back some seventy years later, chapter 25:12. It happened, exactly as God said.

This prophecy is another in a long line that helps us know the God inspired the Bible.

Message of the chapter: God is controlling Babylon and what would become of the vessels of the temple.

Application: God is in control today and working his plan. The Bible must have come from God.

#Jeremiah27 #rebellion #jeremiahyoke #biblereading #prophecy #templevessels #returnofvessels

Jeremiah 24, July 10, Tuesday

Bible Reading in 2018: Reading the Major Prophets, God’s Good Word in Bad Times

Jeremiah 24, July 10, Tuesday

After the false dreams of the false prophets in Jeremiah 23:27, God gives Jeremiah a vision of two baskets of figs. The timing of this vision is remarkable, coming as it did after Nebuchadnezzar had removed from the land the skilled people and the king, Jeconiah (called Jehoiachin in 2 Kings 24:12-14.) One might imagine that the captives/exiles were lost forever and those remaining in the land would be the only hope for the future Messiah. Not so.

One of the baskets had good figs and the other bad figs. God explained to Jeremiah that the exiles were the good figs and would return to the land later as God’s people. Those returning were those who would return to God with their whole heart!

The bad figs were the remnant of people left in Judah. God would not protect them. They would be driven down to Egypt and be lost as God’s people.

Thus, the plan which God would carry out would be opposite to the expectations of men.

Message of the chapter: God prophesies that the captives would be brought back and the remnant left in the land would be lost.

Application: God can accomplish His will even when it seems opposite to what we expect.

#jeremiah24 #basketoffigs #goodfigs #biblereading #prophecy #badfigs #returnoftheexiles

Jeremiah 23, July 9, Monday

Bible Reading in 2018: Reading the Major Prophets, God’s Good Word in Bad Times

Jeremiah 23, July 9, Monday

This chapter rings with prophecy about what would happen in the future to God’s people.

1) Verses 1-8, a condemnation of the current shepherds and a prophecy of the Good Shepherd, (See John 10 and Friday’s reading.)

2) Verses 9-40, a condemnation of the current false prophets.

The problem was that the shepherds, the leaders, listened to the false prophets and let the sheep, the people of Judah, be scattered, v. 1-2. In the future, God would gather up the scattered sheep and provide faithful shepherds. No doubt this refers to the formation of the New Testament church guided by elders, bishops, or shepherds.

Verse 5 is an important prophecy about Jesus, called the Branch because He would spread like a tree and build a new kingdom (See Zechariah 3:8-9 and 6:12 for further elaboration on this concept,) and reign on David’s throne. The New Testament often referenced Jesus as a king (See Matt. 2:2; Luke 1:32; 19:38; and John 1:49.)

Another reference to the new exodus is found in v. 7-8, a bringing back of the house of Israel from their scattered locations.

Jeremiah moans about the false prophets, v. 9-12, and notes their character. The prophets and priests were ungodly people who God would punish in the future.

Jeremiah’s characterization of the prophets is made clear in v. 12-15. These prophets, unlike the earlier false prophets of Samaria, were evil in their daily life. Therefore, they would have a particularly bitter future in front of them.

In v. 16-22, the methods of these prophets are exposed. Without word from God they had prophesied a rosy future for Judah instead of trying to turn Israel from their daily wickedness. Such falsehoods angered and brought forth wrath from God.

Another technique used by the false prophets was to prophesy from ‘dreams’ and claim it was from God, v. 23-32. Absolutely untrue!

Finally, a phrase used by the false prophets is exposed, the ‘burden of the Lord.’ Jeremiah says that these prophets were the ‘burden.’ Destruction was to come.

Message of the chapter: Jesus is announced as the future Branch and King. False prophets were condemned.

Application: Jesus remains the eternal King. We should always take God’s word over the words of men.

#jeremiah23 #branch #Jesus #biblereading #prophecy #falseprophets #dreamlies #Jesusasking

2 Timothy 4, July 6, Friday

Bible Reading in 2018: Reading the Major Prophets, God’s Good Word in Bad Times

2 Timothy 4, July 6, Friday

Timothy, as a young preacher, is further addressed in this chapter. He is charged to preach the ‘word,’ referring back to the scriptures set forth in chapter 3. If so, Timothy will be able to reprove, rebuke, and exhort Christians to live as God directs in His word. Note that the age of the preacher is not important as to whether he is young or old. If he preaches God’s word he can do the job of correct preaching, v. 1-5.

Note also that the time of year or attitude of the audience is not important. The important point is to preach God’s word.

A prophecy and warning are given, v. 3, that people will not want to hear God’s word. Instead, they will desire to hear what will please their ears and thus will wander off into myths, or doctrines not found in the Bible. But Paul says, ‘never mind’: do this work of preaching, v. 5.

Paul reflects on his life of preaching and the crown of life he expects, a reward for all who love His appearing, v. 6-8.

Paul ends the chapter and this book with personal requests and remembrances, v. 9-20. He is especially anxious for Timothy to come soon and bring his books, parchments, and cloak.

Message of the chapter: Timothy is to preach the word as an evangelist. Comments about the end of Paul’s life appear at the end of the chapter.

Application: Preaching today still needs to be anchored in the word of God.

#2timothy4 #preachtheword #timothy #biblereading #crownoflife #endpaul’slife  #itchingears #useGod’swordinpreaching