Category Archives: Jeremiah

Can we accept “No” from God?

Can we accept “No” from God?

“You lie!  The Lord our God hasn’t told you to tell us not to go to Egypt!” Jeremiah 43:2

Johanan and his buddies had no intention of obeying God.

Should they leave Judah and escape the Babylonians by fleeing to Egypt?  Made sense.  Egypt would protect them from the Babylonians.  To stay put and cooperate with them was way too risky.

But they asked Jeremiah to check in with God and vowed (“May the curse of God be on us if we refuse to obey whatever He says we should do.”) to do God’s will.

Who were they kidding?  They only wanted confirmation of plans they already had in place.

They weren’t planning to stay.  They were going to get their “safety” from Egypt.

How like us.  We have The God yet how often we put our trust in lesser gods.

God knows our hearts and is never deceived by what we say.

Johanan ignored what God wanted him to do and got the disaster he deserved.

God puts people into our lives to be like Jeremiah.  They have His Words and those words may not be, at times, what we want to hear.  But we should.

We need to ask God directly for His Will and we need to be willing to accept that Will

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But the Lord hid them

“Then the king commanded Jerahmeel, Seraiah, and Shelemiah to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah.  But the Lord hid them!” Jeremiah 36:26

Obey God without question.

Jeremiah lived that way.

In today’s story, Baruch is invited to live the same way.

Jeremiah is in some form of confinement.  He has received a prophecy from God and is unable to present what he has heard to the king.  He asks Baruch to handle that part for him.

Dangerous? You bet!

The king wouldn’t be hearing good news.  Jeremiah was already limited by the king because of the steady gloom-and-doom prophecies he had shared.  The king would not be a happy listener.

But here comes Baruch with another prophecy that Jeremiah had heard from God.

The king, as expected, was angry.

After listening to the prophecy, he burned the scrolls upon which Jeremiah had written the prophecy.

Then the king wanted to “interact” with Baruch and Jeremiah.  No doubt that interacting with the angry king wouldn’t have gone well.

BUT the Lord hid them.

The record does not show how God did this, but for the moment they were spared.

God can do remarkable things.

We limit Him by our vision of Him as “limited.”  He isn’t.

We look at mountains and see…….mountains!  God sees things His own way.

We are not promised an escape from every trouble that comes along.  However, we know that He knows our predicament.

Our task is to be obedient to His Will and trust in Him as we carry it out.

 

 

 

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Jeremiah says it, God confirms it

Jeremiah: “O Lord God!  You have made the heavens and earth by your great power; nothing is too hard for you! – Jeremiah 32:17

God: “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind; is there anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

There you have it!

Jeremiah has prophesied that bad times are coming for the residents of Jerusalem.  They will be defeated by the Babylonians and exiled to Babylon.

But Jeremiah has also prophesied that God will bring the captives back to Jerusalem seventy years after they have been taken away.  Obviously, those returning will be descendants of those taken to Babylon.

Today’s verse relates to God telling Jeremiah to accept an offer to purchase land.  Talk about long-range planning!

The land would be taken by the Babylonians but later the Jews would be returning to it, according to God.

Those Jews with deeds to land would have something very valuable in the future………and Jeremiah would be one of them.

God has things figured out.  He knows the past, present, and future.

My task is to trust Him.  To rely on Him.  To seek His Will.

Jeremiah had that type of trust.  He had to believe that God would do in the days ahead as He had said He would.  Jeremiah agreed to buy land that was about to be taken over by others and to believe that the invaders would be driven out and his land would be returned to him or his family.  A lot of trust required!

Jesus has promised to return to earth.  The earth we know now will never be the same again when He does.

My job is to be preparing myself and everyone I know for that return.  It will happen as He says.

 

 

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Ahikam

“But Ahikam (son of Shaphan), the royal secretary, stood with Jeremiah and persuaded the court not to turn him (Jeremiah) over to the mob to kill him.” Jeremiah 26:24

Just before this verse we read the disturbing story about another prophet named Uriah who was also prophesying a future of gloom and doom for Jerusalem.

Uriah feared for his life and ran to Egypt.  That didn’t slow down King Jehoiakim.  He sent men to Egypt to capture Uriah and return him to Jerusalem.  King Jehoiakim, himself, killed Uriah.

This incident returns us to an earlier incident in Jeremiah 26 where a mob wants to do in Jeremiah for the dire consequences ahead that he has been prophesying about.

When threatened, Jeremiah didn’t run: “the Lord sent me to speak every word that you have heard from me.” Jeremiah 26:15.

Now Jeremiah is facing the same ruler (King Jehoiakim) that had captured and killed Uriah. Jeremiah’s life was truly in the balance.

Then there comes the great word, “BUT.”

“But Ahikam.”  This man, with royalty connections does two amazing things; he stands with Jeremiah and he speaks persuasively to spare Jeremiah’s life.

Was it risky for Ahikam to do this?  How could we think otherwise?

There weren’t soft landings for those displeasing authorities.  Think of the Esther story.  If this goes wrong, I’m dead.

But Ahikam, for whatever reasons, does the tough thing and Jeremiah is saved to prophesy some more.

This is about taking a right stand without caring about the consequences.

We live in a world where evil happens all around us.  A look at the news, a glance at the paper and there we find it on a regular basis.

Have we grown numb to it?

Have we grown used to it?

We live in a world where evil is legislated into existence.  It becomes the “law” of the land, but we are quite sure that it defies a truth in the Bible.  It will never be “right.”  Yet we live with it………..and say nothing.

We act like Uriah.  We run and hide when what we say gets us in trouble.

Many of us take it even further back than that; we say nothing at all about things we know are wrong.

What cowards!

 

 

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Don’t get God mad

“Don’t anger Me by worshiping idols..” Jeremiah 25:6

How many times does God have to tell us?

Worshiping someone/something above Him insults Him.

Why?

He is above everything.

He created the earth and everything around it.

He didn’t create and then take a vacation.  He’s still running what He created.

To suggest by actions that He was less and/or is less, angers Him.  And rightly so!

And we do it all the time.

We get wrapped up in our affluence.

We must have certain things in order to be happy.

How foolish!  Any “real” happiness comes from an everlasting relationship with Him.  Why put ultimate energy in promoting lesser things?  Things that are terminal.

I was talking to a student driver this morning about her trip to Africa.  She said that one of the things she witnessed was people with less living as if they weren’t.  Their happiness should have been affected by their conditions but often it was not.

Paul in jail, and out of jail, rejoiced because his relationship to God was his ultimate thing.

I must learn to live like that.

I often put hurdles between God and myself, telling myself that if I can jump those hurdles then I’ll be happy.  The “hurdles” are my counterfeit gods and having them angers God, as today’s verse tells me.

What is more important to me than God?  If anything comes to mind, it must be lessened because He deserves to be worshiped not those things.

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Near or far?

“But can you name even one of these prophets who lives close enough to God to hear what he is saying?” Jeremiah 23:18

Proximity to God correlates with how Godly I will live.

The prophets God is talking about in today’s verse were telling the people that they had nothing to worry about.  Jeremiah, saying what God told him to say, was saying just the opposite.

Who could you trust?  Obviously, the one closest to God would hear/tell what God said best.

I apply this to my own life.  I cannot expect to accurately do what God wants if I have distanced myself from Him.  Absence from His presence is a mistake.

Walking with God takes discipline.  I must pay attention because His “walk” may have a different pace than I had planned.

Think of your day.  Sometimes things come up that redirect you to things you hadn’t planned for the day.

If I chose my own “pace,” I could well miss out on His plans for me.  I could even find His plans troubling.

I do not know what He has for me to do.  I dare not pre-determine that this is what I’ll do or won’t do.

My best posture is to stay close to Him.  Close enough that I can talk to Him.  Close enough that I can hear Him talking to me.

The false prophets in Jeremiah’s day told the people what THEY thought was going to happen.  These prophets had little or no contact with God although they professed otherwise.

Jeremiah was tight with God.  His words, though unpopular, were true.  There was trouble coming he said.  All wasn’t well.  Jeremiah’s proximity to God enabled him to get right what he was supposed to do and say.

I crave His insights.  I must preserve in staying close to Him.

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Speaking His Words

“and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate.  There proclaim the words I tell you……” Jeremiah 19:2

God has words that He wants said, and as His representative I must be saying them.

How am I doing at it?

Judging by reactions, sometimes better than others.

Why the inconsistency?

I think that the “inconsistency” starts with my way of getting His Words.

How often have I spoken first and regretted it later?

In much of my life I prepare in advance.  I check my wardrobe.  I check my schedule.  All before I set out.

Without planning, my day can be thrown off.

I want to use God Words, but I must have His timing when I speak.

Certainly, there are times to speak immediately and there are times to wait.

Certainly, there are times to say nothing, even in obvious situations.

To generate words that He would like, I must have stored up His words in advance.

The first Person I should speak to each day is God.  I must declare His place in my life, and I must ask Him to give me His Words and His Timing with those words.

Jeremiah was so filled with God that he had to say what God wanted him to say.

May I have that same divine enabling today.

 

 

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God on Vacation

I’m away from home.

Those quiet times aren’t quiet and there never is time or opportunity to deliberately spend time with Him.

The Bible studies and church gatherings I love are in the rear-view mirror.

And my Godly behavior slips away.

I think, “I can’t wait to get home and restore my Christian life to what it should be.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8 – “But blessed in the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.”

That “tree” is not going to change, no matter what happens.  It is developing roots and has a good chance of handling anything that comes along.

When my conditions change, my relationship with God doesn’t have to change.

As a believer, I have the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit didn’t stay in Amesbury.  He travels!

“There’s so many people around and my “schedule” is all messed up!” Would I dare to think that the Holy Spirit ducks out when things get chaotic?

I need to get it into my head that the Holy Spirit is ALWAYS with me.

I cannot use my away-from-home setting as an excuse for disconnecting from Him.

Vacations are a test of my “root structure.”

I struggle with it.  How about you?

And what do you do about it?

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God’s Word is sharp. Our tongues shouldn’t be.

“Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully.  With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors, but in their hearts they set traps for them.”  Jeremiah 9:8.

All Scripture is “God breathed” and is useful to the child of God.

I am a child of God.  Let me make the above verse “useful” to me.

Describing my tongue as an “arrow” is not a compliment.  To help me get that point, the word “deadly” is added.

My tongue can do awful things.

Jesus is talking to Jeremiah about His people, the Israelites.  But it also easily refers to me.

This verse gets even worse.  It explains what a hypocrite I am, and that God has heard my hypocrisy.  How? I talk “nice” to other people but my love for them is lukewarm at best.

So on one hand I’m hurting (with words) those closest to me, and on the other hand I’m deceiving the rest of the world with my words.

Talk about getting whacked up side the head!

Again, and yet again I write this: I must deliberately let God run every part of me.  Less than that, the wheels come off.  And how often that has happened.

I must love God so much (and for good reasons) that I verbally reveal that special relationship at home and on the road.  I must ditch the arrow!  God’s Word is sharp, my tongue must not be.

Conclusion: My words near and far reveal my relationship to God.

 

 

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What happens when God gets angry?

“Because of the Lord’s anger she will not be inhabited but will be completely desolate.  All who pass Babylon will be appalled; they will scoff because of her wounds.” Jeremiah 50:13.

God is in charge.  He punishes.  He rewards.  He does it when He chooses.

Babylon was used to punish Israel.  Now Babylon is punished for abusing Israel.

I have often misunderstood God’s timing.  I am looking for the instant reward or the instant punishment.

I do something good and expect that a watching God has taken my goodness in and will act accordingly. There will be acclaim and a bunch of “Well done’s.”

When I see or read of evil I expect a watching God to catch it and punish it.  The evil-doer will learn an immediate lesson.

God’s timing is not like that.  I cannot, and never will be able to, fathom how/when God works.

I know that He’s watching but His reward/punish system is His own.  He’ll react in His own way and often contrary to what I would expect.

When I realistically look at my life I notice that I am a sinner.  I do/say things wrong regularly.  I embarrass my spiritual self and I offend God.  How dare I wonder why I’m not getting acclaim for an occasional good deed!  On balance alone, my sins far outweighs my goodness.  I deserve punishment and sometimes I get it.  Other times it doesn’t happen to me.

I want my life to be clean before Him.  I MUST constantly check for sin and immediately repent of it.  I don’t want God to have reasons to be angry.  It concerns me.  It upsets me.

Even though God has reason to be angry with me, I know that He loves me.  I belong to Him.  I’m a child of His.  I have an eternal spot in heaven with Him.  That’s why those who have rejected God must not realize the consequence of angering Him.  They could be severely punished, as the Babylonians were, in this life.  They will be punished in the next life by being eternally separated from God.

Conclusion: I must not anger God.  I must beg Him to reveal my sins to me and then repent of them.

 

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