Saturday, March 30, 2019

Saturday - Jeremiah 45 - A Personal God

think sometimes we get the idea that God only works on a cosmic scale. And indeed, He is a big God who does really big things. But, if you'll think about the narrative of the whole Bible, so much of it is comprised of stories that involve God's interaction with individuals. In Jeremiah 45, for example, we have an account of God, who had been issuing prophecies aimed at nations and empires, suddenly sending a prophecy that was directed specifically at Jeremiah's personal secretary.  The same God, who is known as the Lord of hosts (armies), is also known as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Jeremiah's secretary, Baruch, had been applying himself to the task of recording his master's enormously important prophecies. As he recorded one thundering providential threat after another, he became increasingly concerned about his own plight. But his angst was actually unnecessary. God was watching out for him. God had a good plan which was designed specifically for Baruch. He had no cause for worry or fear.

There are really two practical lessons which we can learn from this passage. On the one hand, it is important to take notice of the fact that God reminded this administrative assistant not to seek great things for himself. On the other hand, it is refreshing to realize that God had a plan for this one small man. God is a God of individuals.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Friday - Jeremiah 44 - Troubles in a Foreign Land

OD save us all from any hardness akin to the calloused rebellion that the Jews in Egypt exhibited when Jeremiah preached to them. They denied THAT God HAD sent him. They denied THE God THAT sent him. They continually worshipped false gods, and even stooped to reverencing the imaginary "queen of heaven" (Jeremiah 44:17). They set their own standards (which were no standard at all) while they turned up their nose at the revelations of God. They misrepresented and then misinterpreted their own history. And so, God set a painful course for them (Jeremiah 44:27). Their future troubles would not be incidental. In fact, the few survivors who would eventually make it out of Egypt were only to be kept alive in order for them to testify concerning the truth of God's words.

It is evident that the reason that the Jews of Jeremiah 44 got into so much trouble was due to their willingness to contradict God. Whatever can be said about God, He simply cannot and will not allow His words to be canceled by the whims and preferences of sinful humans. In our society today, there are so many opinions that stand in contradistinction to the decrees of God. In time, there will be a proof of who is right and who is wrong. God's words will stand forever. The fickle opinions of secular men and unbelievers change with the circumstances of each generation. God's words are perfect and powerful. The words that He has given are spirit and life (John 6:63). Any time that we (who are pilgrims, strangers and sojourners in this world today) speak against the dictates of Jehovah, we are sure to bring great troubles on ourselves just like those Jews in Egypt did.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Wednesday/Thursday - Jeremiah 43 - Jeremiah in Egypt

OMETIMES we find ourselves in bad situations that are not of our own making. What are we to do then? Well, look up my friend. God is still on the throne. Jeremiah had preached against fleeing to Egypt. Yet, he ended up being taken there by force. What a frustration that must have been to him! And yet, his mission didn't suffer any for it. God kept speaking to him, and he kept spreading God's word.

The people who had spoken so nobly to Jeremiah about their intentions concerning Gods words, well, their fate of noble piety was short lived. They flatly denied that Jeremiah had received a word from God at all (Jeremiah 43:2). And then, under Johanan's "leadership" they hightailed it to Egypt... with Jeremiah and his secretary in tow (Jeremiah 43:6).

But, just like Jonah couldn't hide from God in Joppa, nor in the belly of a whale, even so this remnant of Jews couldn't escape from God or from His words even down in Egypt. God instructed Jeremiah to hide large stones in a brick oven at Pharaoh's house. And, he had to do it in full view of his Jewish brethren. Then he was to proclaim to them the one message that they would have hated the most.  He declared that the Babylonians were going to invade Egypt successfully. The stones in the brick kiln were going to belong to Chaldeans soon enough. All of Johanan's efforts to run from Nebuchadnezzar were useless. And of course, this is no surprise. Johanan had been moving in contradiction to God's directives.  So, pain was inevitable.