Monthly Archives: July 2016

Famine for Bread [Word of God]

Our reading this week comes from Jeremiah 38-42. But I want to use a verse from chapter 37 and 38 as our thought for the week. Jeremiah 37:21 and 38:9; “until all the bread in the city was gone.” and “for there was no more bread in the city.” When we think of the promise of God that there would be war, fire, pestilence and famine in Jerusalem, these verse become prophetic. In Amos 8:11 we read “Behold the days are coming declares the Lord God, when I will send famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, rather for hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea and from the north even to the east; they will go to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, But they will  not find it.” I believe that we are living in a day and time when people are actually thirsting for the Truth and the “real” Word of God.”  All preaching isn’t preaching, and all sermons aren’t a result of the Holy Spirit action on the messenger. Even though God had been sending prophet after prophet to tell Israel, Samaria and Judah of the impending judgment, they did not listen.  Just as Zedekiah asked Jeremiah to inquire of the Lord for a word – when they already HAD THE WORD OF THE LORD. The message wasn’t what the King wanted to hear. We just heard from President Obama at the DNC about the hope for America, which I believe is a far cry from the truth about the future. Zedekiah listened to the false prophets of his day, yet rejected the Word of the Lord from Jeremiah until it was too late. Only when the city was being besieged did he ask Jeremiah for a Word.  There are many today in America and the est of the world that are very good at wordsmithing a message that the people will embrace. But as we have read countless times “hearing they hear not, and seeing they see not.” For when God gave accurate warning of the judgment, Judah rejected the message.  There are the preachers that preach a health and wealth message, along with those that give a “feel good” gospel. I cannot read that into the Bible. I see how that Jesus warned His disciples and us, that if we live for Him, all men will hate us. The church in America is in trouble, for we are creating too many “generational Churches.”  Churches that play to a particular age or cultural sector. When Jeremiah gave Zedekiah the message of surrender to Nebuchadnezzar and live, or resist and die, he chose to resist. why do people ask for the Word of the Lord, then reject the message? Of course there was the hypocrisy of Zedekiah – oh don’t tell anybody that I’ve been talking to you! I heard the Pope say this week that the World is at War – with itself. In all the mass killings from ISIS and disillusioned humanity, I have to agree. This is a very difficult time in human history. I want to hear of HOPE, I want to hear that all will be fine. But my spirit tells me otherwise. The is Hope for the future at Obama said, but it is found in the sovereign Rule of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior upon the throne of David.

Back to the Famine – there was some 400 years of silence between the close of the Old Testament and the appearance of John the Baptist – 400 years with no Word from God!  I can’t imagine a city without bread, yet we have thousands of cities today around the world without the Bread of God. Scripture speaks of preaching the word in season and out of season, when favorable and unfavorable. We are in a season of disfavor – Preach the Gospel anyway.  Something about our reading this week, while Zedekiah had been captured, the city in ruins and famine for food; God wasn’t done yet. [Jeremiah 42:18]

As bad as things are in our generation – there is Hope, in Jesus’ blood and righteousness. But if we continue to resist against the Hand of God; more is surely to follow of His righteous judgment against sin and idolatry. Are you hungry, are you thirsty, “come Unto Me!

Leave a comment

Filed under 16 Prophets in 2016

Promise Land and Purity – Wake Up !

Jeremiah 32-37 is our reading for the week. There really isn’t anything new as far as the preaching message of Jeremiah to Judah and the leadership [king, priests and prophets]. However the significant message is that the Promised Land has become so polluted that nothing grows. When Israel came out of Egypt, they were destined for the Promise Land, they were blessed to be a great nation, and had the blessing of Yahweh with them. In Numbers 13 we find the story of how the spies were sent in to “seek out” the Land. Now they spent 40 days in the Promised Land eating and enjoying the land of “milk and honey.” However, when they reported back to the leadership and people, 10 of the spies said the land is as the Lord God has said, but there are giants in the land with fortified cities. “We are like grasshoppers in their sight.” In other words we can go there. Two spies, Joshua and Caleb said, we can do this, the Lord our God will give this land to us. The majority ruled, actually fear ruled the day not faith. It would be 40 years before Israel would go into the land. God “purged” Israel of the sin, grumbling and anarchy that kept them in the Wilderness. For 40 years, Israel moved around in the wilderness – dying. When the people of God had been purged of the faithless people, Joshua was able to lead them into the Land that was already theirs. The point is that the people did not act on what God said, but on what man had said. God said “Go” but the spies said “No.” Our Heavenly Father will allow you to die in the Wilderness if you chose – but His plan will still be valid. When Israel did finally go in – they did not fully occupy the land. In fact we know that 2 1/2 tribes stayed on the wrong side of the river! After God “Purged” Israel, then He began purging the land  promised to His people. In that Israel did not fully purge the Canaanite tribes out of the land, but began to co-habitat with them, produced apostasy and cult worship of Baal.

When we approach our passage for the week, we find that God is doing the same thing again. The deportations to Babylon guaranteed a “Remanent” to be returned to the Land. Those that remained behind would be “purged” with sword, famine, and pestilence. In Jeremiah 32:29, fire is going to be used. Herein lies the work of God again. He will purge the Promised Land of the sin and apostasy of His people. When God was done with Jerusalem [through Nebuchadnezzar] nothing but ashes remained. The bodies laid in the streets and became carnage for the vultures. The Land lay desolate for 70 years, just as God had said. After the “purging” God would draw back His people from the places they had been scattered. They would be His people and He would be their God.

Even though Israel benefited from Jehovah, given the Law and blessings as His people, they did not FULLY serve Him. They served Jehovah when it was convenient. The people still wanted their gods of the world.  we find today in our society, the same is true, for churches, communities and countries. “with their mouth they serve Me, but their heart is far from Me.”

Come with me to the time of Jesus’ ministry – the same thing is being repeated. The People of God are not godly or righteous. They have polluted the Land again, except this time it is with hypocrisy and spiritual debauchery. The religious leaders of the day were “caught up in a system” of their own making. They appeared righteous outside, but empty full of dead men inside. As Jesus preached the conflict became evident. When Jesus sent the disciples out, “go to the Lost Sheep of Israel.” Just as Judah and Israel rejected the prophets who spoke the message of God, the religious leaders would reject Jesus. The parable about the Landowner and the workers outlines my point. The vineyard was leased out so to speak, when harvest time came, the owner sent His emissaries to get the harvest, they were killed. Finally, the Son of the owner was sent – they killed him and claimed the inheritance. The Last Straw parable would be a good name for this. When the people of God reject the Message of God, they will be “purged and refined with fire.” In AD 70 – the very same destruction that happened in 587-582 BC returned. God would purge the Promised Land again. This time a more grave situation, the very Son of God had been rejected and killed. The Promised Land laid waste until after 6 million Jews were “purged” – then they were allowed to return – again from the places that God had scattered them.  It was better to be scattered than to stay and die. But mark this – God will cleanse the Land of sin. Wake Up America – the Land is polluted and purge and fire are coming!

Leave a comment

Filed under 16 Prophets in 2016

I have a Plan – God

This weeks reading includes Jeremiah 28-32; my focus will be on a much used and often wrongfully used passage of Jeremiah 29:11. The context of the verse and the modern-day application are worlds apart. Much like the much maligned passage of Matthew 18:18-19. In the latter passage, the context is the conflict and restoration of a brother, and the steps to reconcile the problem. Too many times, a viewpoint or theology is developed based on a single verse. This is not exegesis, but eisegesis – the former is “reading out of the passage, the latter is reading into the passage. The first is acceptable theology and a biblically sound approach to scripture.  In Jeremiah 29:11, there has been a very strong approach to personal blessing from God. In the article by Relevant you can read similar comments concerning this verse. When we look at the context of the verse we find that God is giving a message to Jeremiah about how God is not going to forsake them, but that the exile in Babylon will have its limits. While the sin of Judah, and for that matter Israel was grave in that it caused such discipline and punishment from God; they would not be discarded. God had “birthed” the nation with His plans in mind. These plans have not changed. Even today when the “church” is being disciplined for failure morally and neglectfully, God is still going to use His body the Church. Additionally, we know that from Romans 9-11, that God will visit Israel again and that just as they rejected the Gospel of Jesus as messiah; and the Gentiles received the Gospel because of their rejection; likewise when the “fullness of the times of the Gentiles” is complete, Israel will be grafted back into the Vine.

So when we read Jeremiah 28-29, the total message is that God will punish His people. But the message also is there is hope for a future for them and subsequent generations that follow. Jeremiah tells the first wave of exiles to “buy houses, plant gardens, take wives and such – in other words get settled for the long haul. While God had told Judah they would be in exile for 70 years, there wouldn’t be any time off for good behavior. At this point it needs to be stated the difference between captivity and exile. Captivity is what happened for 400 plus years in Egypt – Israel through Jacob moved there on purpose. However, the sin of Judah caused their captivity, where the land was invaded and the people carted off. As I said last week, it was better to be an exile then someone left behind, for those they would meet their death with the sword.

Jeremiah continues to instruct Judah to “seek the welfare of the city, and to pray to the LORD on its behalf.” These appear to be strange instructions from the prophet of God concerning his people in exile. However, this is not a different message, Jeremiah has been saying all along not to fight against King Nebuchadnezzar, for he is God’s arm of punishment against them.  Jeremiah tells Judah quit listening to your prophets and diviners, they are lying to you.

I asked a question of my bible study folks [we are studying Jeremiah right now] – how do you know if someone is speaking for the Lord or of themselves? This is a predicament that Judah had – Jeremiah said one thing, and the other prophets said another – who do you believe? I think that may be a problem churches have today – too many voices, and all are saying they have “the Word of the Lord.” Answer to this is where is the Spirit of God, does the message align with scripture and does the character of the messenger reflect holiness and righteousness? Go with the person.

After reiterating the 70 years of exile – verse 10 says I will bring you back into the Land I promised you. THEN verse 29 – “for I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and hope.” But the message doesn’t stop there – verse 12 is highly reflective of 2 Chronicles 7:14 – this is both prescriptive and descriptive of renewal and revival. “Then you will call on Me, and come pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart. Judah would return to the Land and the Lord, exiled brought them to their knees. So as you can see quite a different message when looking at the context. While I know that God has plans for us in our lives, we find that elsewhere. But here we find the restoration of Judah promised – AFTER their punishment.  Never read into scripture what you want the bible to say – it is sufficient to stand on its own message!

Leave a comment

Filed under 16 Prophets in 2016

Lies and Liars – Prophets and Preachers

Jeremiah 23-27 is our focal passages. The overwhelming thread of thought is that Judah was being deceived by false prophets, crooked priests and people fell for the lies. Jeremiah heard from the LORD and was ridiculed because the message was an unfavorable one to the hearers. Jeremiah has been preaching God’s message for 20 plus years at this point, however, no one has heeded the warning of impending judgment. Of course when Jeremiah began preaching King Josiah was doing his reforms, so Jeremiah’s message fell on deaf ears.  Now that years have passed and the reforms ceased, Judah falls back into severe apostasy with Baal worship. In chapter 23, the indictment of bad shepherds is pronounced. Similar passage is found in Ezekiel 34. The standard for shepherding is found in Jesus Christ and John 10. Rather than protecting and caring for the sheep, the false prophets of Judah were nothing more than “hirelings”.  I find that it is so reassuring that with all of the calamity and forecast ed tribulation, the Father in Heaven always presents Hope of recovery. Jesus was prophesied to come and bring restoration to the land, the people and to worship. Jesus is called “Lord our righteousness; which equals Jehovah-Tsidkenu. When the people looked to the religious leaders all they got was lies – You will have peace; No calamity will come was their message. This false message is false hope. We live in a day and time where we condone immorality and gross sin; preachers are too scared to bring the Truth of the word of God. For some reason so many are afraid to speak against known sin – could it be they are hirelings afraid of losing their jobs if they do? Are we living in such a time that Paul described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and 1 Timothy 4:1-3? No wonder the High Priest and prophets of Judah wanted to kill Jeremiah. The major problem was that Jeremiah had heard from the LORD what to preach, the false prophets “borrowed” from each other a prosperity message. [Jer. 23:30]

In chapter 24, Jeremiah recounts the first deportation of people to Babylon. the oracle of God in the illustration of the two baskets of figs is profound. Those that were the good figs, were those that were going to be spared and sent to captivity, because they had the favor of God. Those that were rotten figs, were those that would die in the land, because of their disobedience. Odd that it would be God’s favor to be deported into Babylon captivity. But this is the message Jeremiah preached – “Do not resist and fight against King Nebuchadnezzar, for he is the vessel of God towards you.” We find in Jeremiah 27, a clear pronouncement of favor for King Nebuchadnezzar with God. Anyone who did not serve Nebuchadnezzar would be taken captive and or die. When it is all said and done, only 4600 people were taken captive in Babylon – from that remnant God would restore Israel.

We live in such a time in America, I wonder what is the voice of the prophets? Are we as preachers, speaking for God, His message or our own? In America we are in a season of discord and division politically, racially and spiritually – people are listening but are they getting the Message of God from the pulpits?

In a previous post called “Kingdoms Come and Kingdoms Go” I talked about how that politically nations rise and fall. We have seen this in America and especially reminded of volatility in BREXIT this last week. King Nebuchadnezzar was given a dream of the greatest kingdoms of history – Babylon was on top, then Medes-Persians, Greeks and Romans. Each of these empires have been used by God for the advancement of HIS KINGDOM, but in each case there was a limited time of their existence. Babylon will be judged, but for now it is the Arm of God towards Judah. Is America in a similar situation, where God is using what we would call a “an infidel or heathen ruler to judge His people the Church in America?” Can we be found fighting against that which God is doing as Judah did? Should we not be like Daniel, who although was taken during the first wave of captivity, continue to serve God and live to fight another day? I do not mean we should embrace our “captors” or compromise the message. But are we fighting for nationalism or for the Gospel?

1 Comment

Filed under 16 Prophets in 2016