Category Archives: 16 Prophets in 2016

Crying Out Loud

Book of Lamentations – the five funeral dirges.  The year is close to 587 BC, the first round of captives have been taken to Babylon from Judah. All that God had said in Jeremiah, was come true in Lamentations. The book is authored by Jeremiah – the Weeping Prophet. No matter how much Jeremiah warned the Southern kingdom of Judah, the would not listen to the pending judgment of Yahweh. While there is admitted guilt about the rebellion and immorality entrenched within Judah; there is still the request for mercy or as is sometimes translated lovingkindness. Chapter 3:21-25 is a clear example of HOPE for the mercy of God. I found it interesting that while punishment was being implemented, Judah was not crying out in repentance, but in anguish for being punished. I can remember as a child that I could start crying and wiggling around even before the spanking started – crying out I wouldn’t do it again, but never admitting that I deserved what punishment I was getting. In Crisis of our lives, we too often focus on the repercussions more that the offense. In Lamentations, Jeremiah is weeping or crying out loud about the truth of God’s judgment upon the “daughter of Zion.” I had to look up “daughter of Zion” to have a more full understanding of the phrase. It has to do with the relationship of Judah [IE. Israel] to the Father. SO a relationship is being expressed in “daughter of Zion.” Since we know that God “birthed” Israel from an old and man and woman beyond child-bearing years, the Heavenly Father can call Israel not only His people, but treat her as His child.

The very language of the book is descriptive of the prophetic message given Jeremiah before the captivity and exile. I do not know why we wait so long before we pay attention to the trouble that will be ours when we sin. Of course Israel, Samaria were deserving of the m=punishment they received, but Judah, it seems to appear was appalled that they were being punished.

Clearly represented in the “anger and wrath” of the LORD on Judah. Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed and ransacked by the enemies. Things were so bad inside the walls of the city, women boiled their children and ate them to stay alive. Famine, sword and pestilence just as they had been warned would occur, did – yet they still are complaining about their situation rather than acknowledge there is justification for their plight.

In each of the funeral messages, we find the depth of the punishment and wrath of God. The people of Judah were compared to the sins of Sodom, but considered worse, this being because they knew better.  While reading of the lament and sorrow of Jeremiah, I couldn’t help but think of 2 Chronicles 6 & 7, where Solomon prays to the LORD about the sin of rebellion Israel would potentially get entrenched in. Solomon asks the LORD to remember and forgive the people. The LORD answers Solomon’s prayer with an emphatic YES in 2 Chronicles 7:14. The exile and destruction of Judah is only comparable to the destruction of Jerusalem again in  70 AD. The land had become so polluted with the excesses of sin and immorality, God was compelled to “cleanse the land.” the Message to us [Americans] we cannot think we are above Israel and exempt from punishment. Arrogance and pride caused the fall of Judah and Israel; it will be the downfall of America as well. In our day we are hearing warning after warning to repent and return to the LORD. Will we heed the warnings or will we relive Lamentations “Crying out Loud” in sorrow for our unrepentant hearts over the judgment of God upon us?

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When it’s all said and done

Jeremiah 48-52; we conclude our reading of Jeremiah this week. It is obvious why he is called the “lamenting or weeping prophet.” Next week we will continue with Jeremiah’s writing with the book of Lamentations. .The last chapters of Jeremiah explain the demise of the foreign countries that mistreated Israel during the “disciplining of God’s people.” While we have learned that God uses “non-believing” rulers as instruments of His wrath and punishment, He still will hold them accountable for HOW they implement His punishment. Starting in chapter 46 – 51, we find each nation is judged by Jehovah. When I first started reading the judgments, I thought of Jesus’ message to the 7 churches in Revelation. However, that illustration breaks down rather quickly. While the nations are not the people of God Israel, they are not too far removed ancestrally. Egypt is implicated in chapter 46, as bible students we know enough about Egypt and the on and off wars with the Jews. They get punished for harboring Jews who have deserted Judah, also taking advantage of the plight of Judah’s discipline. Most of the judgement comes at the hands of Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar. The image that portrays Babylon as the greatest kingdom, with the Persians-Medes, Greeks and Romans in descending order, is reflected here with Jehovah “giving” the nations to Babylonian power.

Next is Philistia, or the “giants of the coast.”  In chapter 47:5, we find a hint of Elijah and Mt. Carmel, with the “gash yourselves.” Then we move to Chapter 48, and Moab, just a way of understanding better, who is Moab? Moab is one of the children that resulted from the  incest  relationship between Lot and his daughters.  Moab, not from the chosen line of Abraham, find themselves worshiping the Canaanite gods – Chemosh [i.e. Molech and child burnt sacrifices]. Remember that when Israel tried to pass through the Moab land, they were forbidden, God pronounced a judgment on them then.  Now Moab is located in the East and South, or as we would know today as Jordan. Ruth was a Moabitess which God used to bring forth the lineage of David through Boaz.  Right behind the judgment of Moab is his brother Amon – the other part of the Lot and daughters actions. Essentially the same can be said about Amon that has been said about Moab. Even though God is going to give over these kingdoms to Babylon, He finishes His pronouncement by telling them that He will “restore their fortunes.” I have been amazed at the grace and mercy of God in Jeremiah, for while God will punish the nations and His people for their sins, He will restore them back to a right relationship with Himself. This is true about the believer, we do fall into sin patterns, but Our God will restore us to fellowship if we will repent and turn from our wicked ways.

Moving on to Chapter 490, we encounter Edom or Esau; this is a lot closer to Israel that the other nations. However, Edom is not chosen of God – Jacob was. The mistreatment by Edom while Israel was in the wilderness is repaid here. Edom will be a horror to all who witness their destruction. No promise of restoration is given to them. By the way – Edom becomes 1st century Idumea the heritage of King Herod. Think through that for a moment. Later in the chapter we read of two kingdoms, obscure at first but highly significant – Kedar and Hazor. The significance is they are the root ancestry of Mohammad, Islam and Muslims. Known as the “men of the east.” These two places will be haunted, desolate and uninhabited.  God continues His punishment of the nations with Elam, which is the capital of Susa, better known as Iran. [of course we have the story of Esther and how God used her to save the Jews] Finally at the end of the book, while all along God has been telling Jeremiah that Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar are the instruments of God for disciplining Judah, we find that God will also take away the kingdom and posture of Babylon. Why? Because of the “over the top” actions towards Judah. The lesson here is God may use who ever He wants, but there is still accountability for how we implement His plans.

In chapter 52, the fall of Judah is complete, the exiles are taken, the Temple is destroyed. A remnant remains – out of all the Jews only 4600 are captive and will be the nucleus that God uses to rebuild and restore the nation.  So begins with the close of Jeremiah 70 years of exile. Why? The people would not listen!! He that has ears let him hear what the angels says to the churches.

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Hearing, You hear not; Seeing, you see not

Our reading for this week is Jeremiah 43-47, the overwhelming thought kept coming back to me; even though Jeremiah kept telling them what was going to happen, the reason it was happening, they still refused to listen and return to the LORD. Matthew 13:13 is the title this week. Jesus spoke in parables for the same reason – the people hearing, couldn’t hear or see because of their blindedness and deaf ears to the Word of God.

I am a hearing aid wearer, I know what it means to be unable to hear. There are often times when I hear people say things that they didn’t say, or at least not what I thought they said. This means that I can get the wrong message because of my disability. Having a hearing disability is different that “not wanting to hear the message.”

With Jerusalem and Judah destroyed already by Nebuchadnezzar, and many taken into exile in Babylon; one would think the Jews would get the message. However, rather than listen to Jeremiah, they listened to their own words. Even though Jeremiah preached to them the “why” of their situation, they refused to repent and return to the LORD. The city lie in ruins, but rather return to God, they determine to go to Egypt of all places. God had delivered them from the slavery in Egypt – but here they are willingly going to return. This is significant, for in ministry I have found that believers will often return to the captivity that the Father had delivered them from. It doesn’t make sense that after given freedom, that men would seek to be incarcerated again. Going to Egypt is not the answer! Judah had developed alliances with Egypt, felt that they would be better offs there then in the ruins of Judah. But even though they saw the ruins, it never dawns on them that their sin of Baalism is the reason. So now that they have ruined the “Promised Land” they move on. Sin is like that – it is never content with destroying a single place or person, it wasn’t to engulf the entire world and families. It is clear that the women who serve the “queen of heaven” did so at the permission of their husbands. The entire family was involved in this cult worship. While reading this passage, I couldn’t help but think of today when people worship “Mother Earth” instead of the Father. Even though Judah had been scattered, and Jerusalem is an empty wasteland, the Jews come together to go down to Egypt. God is omnipresent – He knows where you and I go. He promises through Jeremiah, that the same result will occur in Egypt, that it did in Judah. Until the sin of rebellion and idolatry are properly reconciled with God, devastation, famine and sword will be used. Rather than repent, the people “bow up” and tell Jeremiah we will listen to our words.

The short chapter 45 is rich with truth. Baruch lamented because it seemed that God was adding greatly to the sorrow of the day. But the father reminds him that it is the sorrow of God over His people who refuse Him. God had enough. Even in Egypt, there would be few left. Those that “escaped” from Judah would meet their death there, very few would return. In Jeremiah 52:30, it list only 4600 people taken into captivity. From that remnant God would build Israel again.

In our current world situation, and most directly America, I struggle with trying to communicate to the “church” the great need for the people of God to repent and rejoice. When I think of the great devastation done to Israel and Judah for refusal to listen to God, I cannot but think that “our land” is being purged and judged because the “church” has lost is first love. We hear about all the problems in our own country, the world countries,; yet we will not be humbled. America is entrenched into a political abyss with the election looming. I watch “Christians” line up on either side of the political aisles. Rather than fall on our faces before God, we still are listening to our own words.  I am familiar with the statistics of church decline and death – 800-1000 will close their doors this year just in SBC churches. Are we guilty of “hearing but not hearing, seeing but not seeing?” I think the hand writing is on the wall!! Daniel 5:25-28

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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!

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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!

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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. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/deeper-walk/features/21141-the-most-misused-verse-in-the-bible. 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!

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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?

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Broken Jars and Ruined Clay

this blog covers Jeremiah 18-22; there are two references to the potter and clay. The first is when the potter is working the clay into a vessel, the second it when the clay has been fired and fixed, but is deliberately broken. This past weeks reading means a lot more if you have an understanding of ceramics. Behind the Potter and clay is the understanding that God the father is the potter, fashioning Israel the clay into the vessel He wants to make. Israel, the pot is being designed for the intended use of Jehovah. We have heard many times – “will the clay say to the Potter, why have you made me this way?” [Romans 9:20-21] This illustration to Judah is to bring to mind that God is God and that He is in control. The Triune God in the creator of the world. He- Jehovah has ultimate power and authority. The Potter finds the clay/vessel is not fit for use. It obviously hasn’t been fired so The Potter crushes it, puts it back on the wheel. The Clay is remade-Judah reformed by God. When thinking of this and the inability for Israel to be a useful vessel, the thought that the Gentiles becoming the New Vessel that God would make, came to my mind. However, I did have to remember, that at some point the New vessel would become unfit as well and have to be crushed. The problem with both Israel and the Gentile vessels is that they become rigid and unmalleable in the hands of God. Israel was in the hands of God, to do as he wills, as is the vessel – the Church  today. There is a promise in this passage of hope. If . . . .evil nation repents, God will relent the evil. If . . . Evil nation continues evil, I will withhold the good I intended. But herein lies the problem with Judah and the Church we will now allow ourselves to be molded by the Father. So God says – Judah – “I am fashioning calamity against you.” Rather than repent, the reply; It’s HOPELESS;  We will trust in ourselves! We will act according to our own heart [stubborn and evil]. What choice does the Potter [God] have but to crush the vessel? In that Judah could repent – the problem was the said it was “hopeless” – yet the real problem was they didn’t want to change! Depending on how people “turn” will determine blessing or discipline. “My people have forgotten Me” replaced Him. Apostasy has entrenched Judah. Even though Nature will act normal, Judah has “abnormal” behavior [13-17]. The problem with THE CHURCH today is the same problem Judah had then – refusal to obey God. Refusal to be “under the creative power of the Holy Spirit. “We’re fine just the way we are, leave us alone.” Jeremiah 19; The Broken Jar. We find  the Valley of Ben-Hinnom also called –Topheth nor Ben-Hinnom. It will be renamed  Valley of Slaughter. To understand this the background is Topheth was a location in Jerusalem in the Gehinnom where worshipers influenced by the ancient Canaanite religion engaged in the human sacrifice of children to the gods Moloch and Baal by burning them alive. Jesus actually refers to this place when He talks of the Hinnom Valley. Many verses describe the “garbage” that went on in the valley of Hinnom – 2 Kings 23:10; Matt 5:20-22; Mark 9:42-45; unquenchable fire, and the worm never dies. Gehenna or Hinnom are plays on words. Hinnom was a garbage heap, where the fire would smolder and the stench smoke would reek with the putrid smell of burning carcasses. A very graphic picture of the future for Judah, but also for those going to be cast into Gehenna. Yet unrepentant they remain. Jeremiah 21; God is a gracious and merciful God. There is always a caveat in thee passages of punishment where God gives hope of another outcome. Today in our land and nation we find that so much devastation and evil at work. Yet, the Church and the world remain Unrepentant. We must heed the warnings. If there is judgment coming, then what will you do? Will you seek God? Or will you resist God?Was it too late? Verse 10?Was repentance and staving off judgment possible? Is it too late for the Church in America?

 

 

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Ruined and Totally Worthless

Jeremiah 13-17;in this selection of chapters, Jeremiah is told to use a waistband as an illustration. The Linen waistband; practice is to soak the belt in water to make it supple and flexible. Like any new belt very stiff and uncomfortable. The point is God was “uncomfortable for Israel to “Wear”. They sought after other gods’ that were more easy to serve [actually] or serve their desires. This is still thought of today, that God is too restrictive. To get rid of the “stiffness” bury in the river, subject it to the elements. This is what God did to Judah, He allowed the unbelieving nations and idolatry to have its effect on them.  Just like the belt being ruined, so had Judah. Because of Judah’s Pride and stiffnecked they would be ruined. The indictment of God against Judah/Israel, The people just won’t listen. The proverb – Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall! Judah had become worthless, being saturated with all the “filth” of the pagan nations.In the waistband – we are to cling to the LORD, listen to His counsel and trust Him. God is going to subject Judah to the treatments of the  nations like a bunch of “drunks.

Pity and compassion days are over for Judah, Yahweh has had enough. Warning after warning – but still the people will not listen. Even though captivity is coming, the kings and queens will be humble and taken as prisoners, the people won’t listen. So ask the question like most of us – WHY have these things happened? Verse 22. God gives them His answer. –Because of the magnitude of your iniquity!  In a very vivid illustration of becoming naked, God is going to remove their skirt, Their heels will be exposed, which means that God is going to reveal what is under the surface. It would be different if Judah would change, but they won’t is fact God gives some examples of things that cannot change. –Verse 23 – somethings you can’t change. Judah takes great pleasure in their sins, adulteries, prostitution, and abominations.

Jeremiah 14, Judah likes it Agricultural gods in Baalism which is dominated with a procreation mentality. So for the land to be in famine state exposes the Baalism lack of power to produce. It is God of Heaven that cause the earth to produce, something Judah and Israel forgot. The coming conditions of the Land [a Lion King scenario]; –No rain/water,  Animals languish in starvation,They recognize the “why” they still won’t repent. Rather they plead for God to act, so as not to bring shame on Himself. Confess apostates, confess sin, iniquities exposed – but Judah will not repent.  It’s like they are telling God fix this, but we are going to continue to do. God’s answer [vs. 10-12] – why? –They love to wander, –Won’t keep their feet in check, –Rejected by the Lord, –He calls them to account. Then the Lord says – “Do Not pray for this people – Jeremiah, I will not listen. They may fast, They may offer burnt offerings, They may offer grain offerings, I will not going to accept them, –I will make an end of them by Sword, Famine and Pestilence.”

Jeremiah tries to defend the people vs. 13, it because of the , Conflicting message from false prophets, but they Speaking for God, but not His message.

Jeremiah 15- It’s too late Baby now! Yahweh says “even  if Moses and Samuel interceded, No! By the time that Judah came to acknowledge God; it was way too late! But this isn’t any new news – the warning had been given 100’s of years earlier. Foretold Deut. 28:63-68; I told you before this would happen! No there are Four future possibilities for the people.

–Death by disease; –War, –Starvation, or –Captivity. Either way Bodies would be eaten and rot in the streets.

Jeremiah 16, When they ask WHY [ as if they didn’t know, but then again maybe Judah was clueless, surely not innocent or ignorant of God’s desires.

–What is our sin?

–What is our iniquity?

–Why has the Lord declared this calamity? Answer: verse 11; Your fathers idolatry and sin, Your idolatry and sin, you have done more than they have; your stubborn evil heart, don’t listen, You have forsaken Me! Forsaken My Law, You want to serve other gods – wish granted!!

The Hope of restoration

–God restored from Egypt when they were slaves

–God blessed them in the Wilderness of disobedience

–God rose up a great nation in David

–God delivered them to Babylon/Assyria

–God returned them to the Promised Land, Ezra

–God delivered them again to Roman armies; rejection of Jesus the Savior

–God restored them 1948, after 6 million slaughtered

–God will judge them again at End of the Age

–Final Restoration and deliverance

In all that has been said, God still gives the Hope of being Restored. Even when it is over, God still has compassion for restoration.

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Filed under 16 Prophets in 2016

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Reading Jeremiah 8-12; in 2 Chronicles 6 & 7 we find the prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the New Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon prays for the dedication of the Temple, that it would be a place where God would be found. However, the problem wasn’t with God but with the people of Israel. Solomon knew how the people would be in the lust for things of this earth. He knew or better yet prophesied that Israel would wander and drift into idolatry and pagan worship. He foresaw that they would become enslaved again in sin, and as a result the blessing of God would turn into a disciplining situation. The drift of God’s people from Him has been an ongoing problem since the time of the first sin and Adam. Instead of listening and loving the LORD God, mankind seeks his own pleasures. Man doesn’t want to be without, or prevented from satisfying his sensual desires. Even today I still hear people complain that God is too strict, and that He [God] doesn’t want people to have any fun. In chapter 7, Look at what they are doing! 17-19. They had been breaking the Covenant with God since coming out of Egypt. Time after time, God wanted to destroy the stiff-necked people, but for intercessory prayer, He relented. Problems: –Won’t Listen, –Won’t obey –Stubbornness/evil heart –Backward not forward! Disobedient Prophets/People. What was God to do? Let it go? People count on grace/mercy of God. God chose Jeremiah, the task preach Jeremiah! But they won’t listen -27. Preach it anyway.

Jeremiah begins to outline all the abominations of Judah. A place called Topheth – Hinnom valley;  is a place of child sacrifices. The Lower South wall, they just threw dead bodies into a refuse pit where the fire and worm did not die. In Chapter 8- Grave robbers.Worse insult to desecrate the graves of the dead. But the condition of Judah has so degraded spiritually, even though such turmoil and anguish, they would rather continue in their sin Rather than repent – they would rather die instead. This has a Revelation connotation during the Bowls. How bad is it? Apostasy of Judah – every depth/level

Verse 14 – what are we waiting for? Rather than repent, they look for a way of escape [humm sounds like wanting the rapture]. IN America, we hope in the return of Jesus to end the troubles of our time. Do we not see that it is the hand of God on His people, trying to bring them to repentance and back to Him? We are Blinded by our own pride and religious regimes! All that Judah had hoped would happen, that God would bail them out didn’t happen. Summer is past and we are not Saved! In the season of hope, or so they thought, that God would deliver – no time for salvation was gone, time for turning to God over – Do Not Pray for these people for I will not listen! The presumption that God would do something to deliver them from Babylon, yet they missed that it was God behind the scenes working

Jeremiah is called the “Weeping Prophet” – he Lamented – weeping or crying over the people.

Condition of the people:

  • Adulterers
  • -Liars
  • -Treacherous dealings
  • –Do not know God
  • –Evil to Evil
  • –Life in utter chaos
  • –Watch Out for everyone – trust no one!

The LORD

–Exercises Justice

–Exercises Loving kindness

–Holy and righteous judgments

-“Psalm 51” – broken and contrite heart God will not despise! No fleshly animal sacrifices. But a heart humbled.–Uncircumcised, circumcised – not the foreskin, but of the heart. Pharisees boasted of being Abraham’s children and circumcised – outward looks don’t count

Jeremiah 10; Judgment is coming; the True God is going to act on Judah and the nations.Shepherds have become Stupid – 3X used times. I often have heard that a preacher is not to use the word “stupid” – but here we have it used over and over. A quick definition – doing something when the person knows better, ignoring all caution and warning.

Desolation of Judah – Lion King after the Hyenas destroyed it. Judah will be Corrected with Justice God, not with wrath. We must always remember that Israel is God’s own people. He will not tolerate sin in His children. He will Discipline us, but not destroy them for they have led us astray.It will be a thorough cleansing of Judah, they will be refined by fire, and they will not forget it! Judgment coming on gentile and Judah. Jeremiah 12:10 – bad shepherds; Ezk. 32:1-10. Desolation 3X = barren, isolated, empty. All The efforts of the wicked will result in emptiness.Unproductive crops and lives. Uprooted– the damage of pulling something up by its roots. Remove the plant from its protective and sustaining source

BUT – Merciful God – “But” verse 15, I will have compassion on them, bring them back into the land.“If” – they must listen! They must learn My ways 2 Chronicles 7:14, MY People, My Ways; if they don’t I will uproot them permanently

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Filed under 16 Prophets in 2016