Friday, April 30, 2010

Baruch - Jeremiah 45

Jeremiah 45:2 "Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch; v3 Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest."

There are several Baruch's mentioned in this area of the Bible. This one, I believe, is still talking about the one Jeremiah used as a scribe when he was in prison.

There must have been some event which caused Baruch to get stressed. I'm thinking that it had something to do with his relationship to Jeremiah, i.e. he was seen as helping Jeremiah and it is obvious that the leaders did not think much of Jeremiah.

v5 "And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not; for behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh saith the LORD; but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest."

I looked for the word 'prey' but found only Webster's definition which was not much help to me. I gather from this passage that things were not going to be peachy for Baruch but his life would be spared.

What I find amazing about this chapter is that the LORD would take a moment to send Baruch a message with all that was going on. Nations are falling, God's beloved Judah is being led into captivity. Yet he takes a moment to give some comfort to his servant and that of Jeremiah's. We do, after all, have Jeremiah's words preserved here.

So, the Lord is well able to deal with the masses and still pay attention to us as individuals. That's very comforting.

Psalm 136:1 "O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Open Refusal to Obey by People - Jeremiah 44

Jeremiah 44:16 "As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee."

See Exodus 5:2 Romans 2:3-9

We that is quite plan. They have completely rejected God's instructions to them which were given for their good.

They argue with Jeremiah. They argue that while they worshipped the 'queen of heaven' (Don't know where they got that from - probably Egypt) things were good. Then when they stopped burning incense and stuff things got bad. They Bible does not bear that up but that is the way they want to remember it.

v4 "Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate."

I have tried to do some study on the various gods where a woman depicts their image. They go by various names as well, usually altered to fit the local society. It is a long study.

v19 "And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?" referchapter 7:18

c7:v18 "The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger."

My Topical Reference says 'queen of heaven' was a name given to the moon by the Hebrews. and refers us to Ashtoreth who was a Syrian goddess, mentioned with Baal and Astarte goddess of the moon. So it is Syrian instead of Egyptian.

Caution: Study of the various gods is not necessary to understanding the scriptures. It is enough to recognize that there is only one true God. The God that made heaven and earth. Study of these false gods can lead the mind into very evil places and cause great harm. It is enough to be aware of their impotence and then learn about the real God.

Back to our chapter. Most of those who went down to Egypt did not survive their judgment. Yet a few did escape and return to Judah.

v28 "Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, mine or theirs."

v30 "Thus saith the LORD,..."

I have not yet found out if Jeremiah left Egypt with the small number that escaped or died in Egypt as some believe.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Johanan Refuses to Obey - Jeremiah 43

Jeremiah 43:7 "So they came into the land of Egypt; for they obeyed not the voice of the LORD; thus came they even to Tahpanhes."

Tahpanhes: a city in Egypt on a branch of the Nile.

The chapter comes after Jeremiah told the remnant that they would be safe in Judah. The leaders accused Jeremiah of being deceived by Baruch, you remember the scribe who wrote down what Jeremiah told him and the book that was burned.

v3 "But Baruch the son of Neriah setteth thee on against us, for to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they might put us to death, and carry us away captives in Babylon."

They, apparently, remember the time of Joseph when Israel was protected in Egypt but have forgotten the many years of slavery there and that they had to be delivered by Moses.

They have also 'forgotten' their promise to obey what ever word Jeremiah brought from the LORD. I think often we pray to tell God what to do rather than to submit to his wisdom in doing the thing we need instead of the thing we want.

As a reminder of the words Jeremiah spake from the LORD, a witness was set up in Egypt.

v9 "Take great stones in thine hand and hide them in the clay in the brick kiln, which is at the entry of Pharaoh's house in Tahpanhes, in the sight of the men of Judah;"

These were a material symbol of a prophecy spoken by Jeremiah that on that very spot the king of Babylon would sit after he had conquered Egypt and dealt with the remnant of Judah for disobeying the LORD.

v11 "And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword."

I do not know really, why Egypt tried to come to Judah's rescue earlier nor why they want to shelter them now. I'd think that after the Red Sea and the pestilence inflicted on them because of Israel that they would shun them. Now, the king of Babylon is coming.

v12 "And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives: and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment; and he shall go forth from thence in peace."

Well, it is a far cry from the greatness when David and Solomon were kings. Those kings honored God in their doings and the kingdom was great. The people turned to idols and the kingdom fell. It should be clear which way was best.

Next chapter, tells of the arrogance of the people. They are no longer ashamed of their transgression but lash out.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Safety Promised in Judah - Jeremiah 42

Jeremiah 42:10 "If ye will still abide in the land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up, for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you." See here.

Repent: turn from

In summary: Jerusalem has fallen and the king of Babylon has left Gedaliah governor. Baalis sent Ishmael to kill Gedaliah and he did so. Johanan went after Ishmael with a group of men and rescued those he had taken but Ishmael got away.

In this chapter, the people are gathered together and they have asked Jeremiah to ask the Lord what they should do and promised that they would do it.

Jeremiah's message is for them to remain in Judah and the Lord would protect them. Johanan and others do not accept the message and so set their faces to go into Egypt.

v15-16 "And now therefore hear the word of the LORD, ye remnant of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there; Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die."

The Lord is willing to let the remnant remain in Judah and to bless them there and pretty much begs them not to go down to Egypt. They are altogether turned from the Lord in their hearts by this time. Fear and idol worship drive them as we will see later.

v19 "The LORD hath said concerning you, O ye remnant of Judah; Go ye not into Egypt; know certainly that I have admonished you this day."

In the next chapter we will see the response of the leaders of the remnant to Jeremiah and thus to the Lord. I know it broke his heart.

It seems that they no longer trusted the prophets words to them from the Lord.

v22 "Now therefore know certainly that ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go and to sojourn."

As parents, we often make this speech to our have grown children. "You are headed into trouble by doing those things that you should not do."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Gedaliah Dead - Jeremiah 41

Jeremiah 41:2 "Then arose Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and the ten men that were with him, and smote Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan with the sword, and slew him, whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land."

Jerusalem has fallen. The king of Babylon has made Gedaliah governor. The remnant were promised that they would be safe in Judah if they submitted to the governorship. Jeremiah was there and he had said all along that Judah should do so. But Ishmael, probably out of jealousy, came after the battle was over and sat down to eat with Gedaliah, then rose up and killed him and all the Jews with him. Then I guess he went back under the rock he crawled from under.

Then , not knowing the deed that was done, there came some men to make offerings at the house of the LORD where Gedaliah was. Ishmael was not only a murderer but a liar as well.

v6 "And Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went froth from MIzpah to meet them, weeping all along as he went; and it came to pass as he met them, he said unto them, Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. v7 And it was so, when they came into the midst of the city, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah slew them, ..."

Ishmael carried away the women that were left and went back where he came from.

Johanan was left to deal with the situation. He gathered men and went after Ishmael and slew him and recovered the women. But Johanan was now afraid of the Chaldeans since Ishmael had also slain some of them and Johanan thought the people might be blamed.

v17 "And the departed, and dwelt in the habitation of Chimham, which is by Bethlehem, to go to enter into Egypt."

I don't read of anything good that happened to Israel when they went into Egypt. We'll see in following studies.

I wonder what good things would have happened to their offspring had they stayed in the area of Bethlehem and had been there when Jesus was born.

Psalm 41:9 "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gedaliah Governor of Judah - Jeremiah 40

Jeremiah 40:5 "Now while he was not yet gone back, he said, Go back also to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon hath made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people: or go wheresoever it seemeth convenient unto thee to go. So the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a reward, and let him go."

The Chaldeans are leaving Judah and have left Gedaliah in charge as governor. A man who was of the princes of Judah (the fallen government) is not pleased with this arrangement, perhaps he still wants to be king, and so sets a trap for Gedaliah who was for peace as best they could manage under the Chaldeans.

v9 "And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan sware unto them and to their men, saying Fear not to serve the Chaldeans; dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you."

It sounds a lot like the instructions given by Jeremiah for the king to surrender to the Chaldeans to preserve his life.

Then appears two men: Johanan who was for Gedaliah. Ishmael sent by Baalis (king of Ammonites) to kill Gedaliah.

v15 "Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying Let me go, I pray thee, and I will slay Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it; wherefore should he slay thee, that all the Jews which are gathered unto thee should be scattered, and the remnant in Judah perish?"

But Gedaliah would not believe Johanan. I suppose he felt like everyone wanted to just live quietly for a change. But he was wrong and we will follow the story in the next chapter.

v16 "But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said unto Johanan the son of Kareah, Thou shalt not do this thing; for thou speakest falsely of Ishmael." And by doing so, he signed his own death warrant. Tomorrow the next part of the story.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jerusalem Fails - Jeremiah 39

Jeremiah 39:2 "And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up."

Zedekiah has been king for nine years when the king of Babylon laid siege to the city, then after about two years they entered the city. These two years or so were are very bad time for Jerusalem. It could have been avoided if they had listened to Jeremiah and the words of the Lord.

v4 "And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king's garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls; and he went out the way of the plain."

At this point, there was no mercy from the Chaldeans. They broke up the city, killed the sons of Zedekiah and put out the kings eyes, leading him away in chains to Babylon.

v8 "And the Chaldeans burned the king's house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem."

So a great kingdom, created and built up by the LORD, is brought down because they turned from the LORD and would not be corrected.

As for Jeremiah, he remained with the remnant that was left.

v12 "Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee." So said Nebuchadrezzar to the captain of the guard.

As for Ebedmelech the Ethiopian who helped Jeremiah and saved his life. He was given a good word from the Lord.

v17 "But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the LORD: and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid."

v18 "For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee; because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saved with Rotten Rags & Clouts -Jeremiah 38

Jeremiah 38:12 "And Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so."

The princes do not like the message of surrender brought by Jeremiah. The message is to save the people alive by following God's plan but the princes are set on fighting which would be to the death. So they put Jeremiah in a dungeon which sounds like a well-type hole where there was mire but no drinkable water or food. He would surely die there.

v4 "Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death; for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them; for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt."

They had it wrong. They thought by killing the messenger, the message would not be effective. The thing is, the plan would go forward, Jeremiah was there because of the mercy of the Lord in wanting to save some of the people.

v7 Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah int he dungeon; the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin; v8 Ebedmelech went forth out of the king's house, and spake to the king saying,"

Ebedmelech: servant of the king

So Ebedmelech took thirty men and went to where Jeremiah was left in the dungeon. We should not the name dungeon as used in its original purpose which I expect was a dumping place for human waste.

Ebedmelech did not have the fine cords the princes used to let Jeremiah down into the mire but he used what he could find. Some old rotten rags and discarded pieces of cloth were tied together to make a cord and it was let down to Jeremiah. Then, he was pulled up.

Sometimes it seems there is no one or nothing to help in our time of need. God often uses the most unlikely person and the seemingly useless things to fulfill his purpose.

v13 "So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon; and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison."

The king called Jeremiah secretly to find out what the word from the Lord was. It had not changed.

v17"...If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon's princes, then thy soul shall live,...v18 But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Zedekiah, king of Judah - Jeremiah 37

Jeremiah 37:1 "And king Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah."

Coniah is a whole other story. Zedekiah is king and Jerusalem is in the end days. The Chaldeans have besieged Jerusalem but Pharaoh's army is on the way so the Chaldeans pull out. It seems that Jerusalem is saved.

v5 "Then Pharaoh's army was come forth out of Egypt: and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem."

Meanwhile, Jeremiah tried to leave the city to go into the land of Benjamin but the princes thought he was going over to the Chaldeans and arrested him. So he is in prison in the scribes house which is nothing more than a dungeon.

v17 "Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from the LORD? And Jeremiah said, There is: for, said he, thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon."

Jeremiah is plan with the king. He asked him where the prophets were that told him everything was going to be just peachy. He also asked Zedekiah to not put him back in the dungeon. So he was allowed to stay in the court of the prison.

v21 "Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison and that they should give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers' street until all the bread in the city were spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison."

We should note since the Chaldeans are retreating and Pharaoh's seems to be coming to the rescue that there was a word from the Lord on the matter.

v10 "For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire."

Judah has rejected God and his words from Jeremiah and the Chaldeans are the instrument of their punishment. It was to happen as God said it would.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Burning of the Book - Jeremiah 36

Jeremiah 36:1 "And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah King of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying v2 Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee from the days of Josiah, even unto this day."

In this chapter, we get a good sense of what it was like back then. I will set the stage, so to speak:

Johoiakim is in the winterhouse warming by a fire.
Jeremiah is locked up in prison.
The princes are gathered together in the king's house.
Baruch is a scribe called by Jeremiah to take down the words.

v8 "And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD's house."

Another person, Michaiah heard the words and went to tell the princes who called for Baruch and told him to sit down and read the words to them.

v13 "Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people."

Upon hearing the words, the princes sent for Baruch to hear it first hand.

v15 "And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears."

The princes were afraid when they heard the words and decided the king needed to hear them. So they told Baruch to hide and to hide the book but some and speak the words to the king. They also told Jeremiah to hide but they must have had to take him out of the place where he was being held.

v19 "Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah, and let no man know where ye be."

v22 "Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month; and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him."

So now they are reading to the king from the book. It is Jehudi reading now.

v23 "And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth."

Then the sad words: v24 "Yet they were not afraid, ..."

Jehoiakim was twenty-five when he became king so he would be about twenty-eight or nine now. II Chronicles 36 tells about him. It tells us that Johoiakim was punished for this deed but the words of the book were preserved.

v32 "Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Johoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire; and there were added besides unto them many like words."

So the burning ended up increasing the size of the book.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Father's Commandment - Jeremiah 35

Jeremiah 35:14 "The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed, for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment, notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking but ye hearkened not unto me."

Here we have a comparison between an earthly father and our Heavenly Father. In dealing with Israel to turn from their wicked ways, the Lord sent prophet after prophet, 'rising early' to entreat Israel to turn from idols and obey the Lord's commands. They would not. But here is a man who commanded his children to not, nor never, drink wine and they obeyed.

v5 "And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine."

They all knew Jeremiah. Upon the Lord's command he had brought the wine into a chamber of His house to offer it to the children of Rechab. Even at that, they refused saying that their father(Jonadab) told them not to. Furthermore, they said, he told us not to build houses and live in tents and until we fled into the city, we lived in tents. We did not build houses as our father commanded.

v8 "Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters; v9 Nor to build houses for us to dwell in: neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed: v10 But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us."

The illustration here is that if a family can obey the command of their earthly father, surely it is not too hard for Israel to obey the commands of God who led them out of bondage into the promised land.

There was a reward for Jonadab the son of Rechab. v19 "Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me forever." His blood line would continue always.

Jonadab : whom Jehovah impels. Also, given as Jehonadab (whom God incites) Son of Shimeah, the brother of David. II Samuel 13:3,5,32,35 II Kings 10:15

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Liberty taken Away - Jeremiah 34

Jeremiah 34:15 "And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name. v16 But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, whom he had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return and brought them unto subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids."

The original covenant is found in Exodus 21:2. I suppose there were a number of reasons why a person could become a servant. He may have had a bad year and lost his home and crops. Being a servant would be a way for them to remain in the homeland and get a new start. The deal was that they would go free after a set time. These people were obeying the rule by letting them go free but then they would bring them under their authority immediately after.
They obeyed the letter of the law.

Exodus 21:2 "If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing."

I believe if we looked back we would find that the Jews were confronted with the 'commandments' as a whole, then in one chapter only the sabbath was mentioned, then in this chapter it was the liberty of the servants that they had failed in. One by one they broke the commandments and covenant that they agreed to.

Their punishment was that they would be given over to the enemy and would die except for Zedekiah, king of Judah.

v4 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah kind of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of thee, Thou shalt not die by the sword; But thou shalt die in peace; and with the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings which were before thee, so shall they burn odors for thee; and they will lament thee, saying Ah lord! for I have pronounced the word, saith the LORD."

These one-by-one offenses show clearly to Israel that their punishment is justified. Jeremiah's book, he was commanded to write, will serve as a reminder when Israel looks back to the captivity.

Friday, April 09, 2010

A Promise - Jeremiah 33

Jeremiah 33:3 "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."

It is hard to talk to someone who will not talk to you. So it was with Israel. The Lord had tried to talk with them but as it says in another chapter, they had turned their back to him.

But here is a promise that if they would call to him, He would answer. It was in the captivity that a young man did just that and he was shown 'great and mighty things'. His name was Daniel.

Daniel 9:3 " And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes; v4 And I prayed..."

As promised an angel fought his way to Daniel and told Daniel of many thing that were to come.

Daniel 10:14 "Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days; for yet the vision is for many days."

Daniel had been reading the book of Jeremiah when he decided to seek God's face diligently to find out the future of his people.

Here in Jeremiah and this chapter, the promise is continued that after the 70 years Judah and Israel would return to claim their homeland.

v7 "And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first."

Sometimes, in trying to understand the details of these chapters, it might be easy to overlook a major truth. That truth is that God will perform what he says he will perform. He said in our text verse that he would answer when he is sought with a true heart. The story of Daniel bears that out. We can hold that fact in our heart.

v14 "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah."

It is the same God that we, as Christians, serve. He made us many promises. One was that He would return someday and he will.

He goes on to compare His covenant with the day and the night. It goes on and on. And with the sands of the sea. He says if you (earthlings) can break the covenant of the night or day then it might be possible for His covenant with David to be broken.

v21 "Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers."

He is saying that they will be gone from the land but only for the time specified by Him.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Jeremiah in Prison - Jeremiah 32

Jeremiah 32:2 "For then the king of Babylon's army besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah's house. (See Nehemiah 3:25)

In these books of the Bible, the kings and the prophets, there is usually, if not always, two points of reference. In the Kings and Chronicles it most often tells the year of reign of the king of Judah and the king of Israel. In Jeremiah, it tells the year of the reign of the king of Judah and the king of Babylon. It is a double reference which takes care of the overlap and lapse of the king ships and leaves no doubt as to when the events took place. Refer back to chapter 24 where it was the first year of king Nebuchadrezzar's reign.

Zedekiah, king of Judah, is mad at Jeremiah because Jeremiah prophesied that the king would be carried away. As if to avoid the fulfillment of the prophecy, the king locked up the messenger.

v7 "Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth; for the right of redemption is thine to buy it." See also the book of Ruth.

I believe this is for a witness. The evidence of the purchase was to be done before witnesses and the evidence buried in an earthen vessel to 'keep for many days'. I believe until after the 70 years of captivity when it would show the confidence in Jeremiah's prophesy which was actually the Lord's words.

v9 "And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle's son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver."

After this was done, Jeremiah prayed to the Lord.

v17 "Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:"

Those things which seem impossible when we face them are merely another act which the Lord can perform at his will.

v27 "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is there any thing too hard for me?"

Jeremiah answered that question for us. There is not.

So again we are given the reason why the captivity must take place.

v33 "And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face; though I taught them, rising up early and teaching the, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction."

I know Israel went through a lot, as recorded in the Bible. It is good for us that those things were recorded for we learn a lot about God and his heart from reading the stories. How little we would know were it not for the Old Testament.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

New Covenant - Jeremiah 31

Jeremiah 31:33 "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."

I believe this refers to the giving of the Holy Spirit to dwell within the new born Christian. No longer is it just a set of rules to follow but a person from within that tells what is right and wrong.

This chapter reminded me of the Song of Solomon. It tells of the love the LORD has for Israel.

v3 "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."

Then he goes on to describe how it will be in Israel after the time of trouble. The people will do well and the land will be fertile.

v12 "Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd; and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all."

This is a wonderful message of hope delivered to Israel at the time of their captivity. It was hope for their children. What better hope can a man have than that his children do well?

v17 "And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border."

Israel as a nation has sinned, worshipped idols and turned from the Lord. The nation is being chastened. These words seem to be directed at the families and of a more personal nature.

v16 "Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and thy shall come again from the land of the enemy."

I don't know if I got it right or not, but it seems like the scene when a parent has to correct a child with spanking. The child weeps and it hurts the parent but the punishment must stand if the child is to be helped in life.

So, this is not the abandonment of Israel. The Lord was angry but has not forsaken.

v37 "Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD."

Of course, we know it is impossible to measure those things. A parent who loves cannot totally cast away their child. If they do, there was no love in the first place. The Lord loves Israel. He has proved it over and again. And now, as a Christian, we are partakers in that love. And that is wonderful.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Trouble & Comfort - Jeremiah 30

Jeremiah 30:1-2 "The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book."

From our studies, we remember that there were other prophets which were false prophets during the time that Jeremiah was preaching. I find no books by their name. Jeremiah's words from the LORD have stood the test of time. We can look back and Israel can look back and see that Jeremiah was the true prophet and that the words of the LORD were true.

V 3 "For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah saith the LORD; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it."

Seventy years is a long time and so we know that most of those taken into captivity will not return (did not return) but the nation returned.

Israel is afraid and trembling. The people are afraid. There is a lot of comfort in this chapter for them. Although this verse stands out:

v7 "Alas, for that days is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it."

For the sake of space, I will hit some highlights:

v11 "...and will not leave thee altogether unpunished."

v17 "For I will restore health unto thee, and will heal thee of thy wounds..."

v19 "...they shall not be few, I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small."

v20 "...I will punish all that oppress them."

v22" And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God." See also Ezek. 36:28

So the book is written. We can look back at the words and say that it was so. This verse perhaps also refers to a future time when Israel will look back at many things that are written and will consider them.

v24 "The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it."

It reminded me of an old song: We will understand it better by-and-by.

Friday, April 02, 2010

70 Years in Captivity - Jeremiah 29

Jeremiah 29:13 "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

It was a simple truth. Those who went off to Babylon into captivity would be preserved as a nation. Those who rebelled against the captivity (the plan to keep unity) were slain and scattered. The false prophets are dealt with severely because their lives gave the people false hope. If the people believed they were going to be there only a short time they would not settle down and raise families and thus the nation would die.

v5 "Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; v6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished."

That was God's plan and that was what was going to happen. The people should accept it and have a life there.

I could have titled this 'The Devil Goes to Babylon' because false prophets were right there telling lies again. Jeremiah sent them a letter..

v15 "Because ye have said, The LORD hath raised us up prophets in Babylon...v17 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil." See chapter 24 8&10.

This spoke to the people who were left in Judah who refused to leave.

All this trouble on Israel is because of their rebellion against the LORD, lest we forget. They had turned to idols. I expect those who were now telling a false prophesy were the same ones guilty of promoting the evil to the people in the first place. Nevertheless, the people followed.

These troubles are to bring Israel back to God. As the text verse says "...when ye shall search for me with all your heart." The generation that left Israel will die and another generation will have a family before they return to their homeland. Hopefully, the corruption will be gone out of them.

The balance of the chapter deals with some of the false prophets: Ahab the son of Kolaiah, Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, and Shemaiah the Nehelamite who got their sentence in a letter.

v23 "Because they have committed villainy in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbors' wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and am a witness, saith the LORD. (Zeph 3:4)

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Amen Jremiah 28

Jeremiah 28:6 "Even the prophet Jeremiah said, Amen: the LORD do so; the LORD perform thy words which thou hast prophesied, to bring again the vessels of the LORD's house, and all that is carried away captive, from Babylon into this place."

The dispute is over the treasures of the Lord's house. The false prophet is saying they will be back in two years. He guarantees it. Jeremiah has been trying to tell them that they will be in captivity for 70 years along with those who submit to the yoke of Babylon. Nevertheless, Jeremiah says Amen to the boost of the false prophets. I think it would have been pleasing to Jeremiah if it had been true.

v1 "And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, and in the fifth month, tht Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake unto me in the hosue of the LORD, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying v2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon."

Hananiah really stepped over the line with his remarks. We know from the last chapter that God send Jeremiah out with a wooden yoke to illustrate the yoke that the children of Israel would be under in Babylon but were assured that it would be broken after a set time. Hananiah shortened the time by about 68 years. He also took the wooden yoke off Jeremiah and broke it.

v3 "Within two full years, will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the LORD's house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon;"

Well, he was wrong. Jeremiah presented to him a test.

v9 "The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known that the LORD hath truly sent him."

v10 "Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah's neck, and brake it."

He went on with his speech and I suppose it pleased the people and he had favor with them. But he would not live to see that his prophesy did not come true.

v14 "For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him; and I have given him the beasts of the field also."

v17 "So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month."

It had to be a difficult thing for Jeremiah to be the only one in the kingdom who brought bad news even though it was the truth. Israel was to go into captivity to keep them together as a nation. Those who rebelled were scattered. Nebuchadnezzar was the instrument of the Lord to carry out this plan.

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