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Jeremiah Journey Wk 8

Jeremiah is a challenge to the status quo.

Jeremiah is a challenge to our comfort zone.

I want us to get real about this before we drift and wander into other areas of biblical study.

I want us to get comfortable with the reality of what Jeremiah bith represents and presents throughout this journey.

7 Weeks into the Jeremiah Journey 

After 7 weeks, I wonder about this journey together.

Jeremiah is 52 books.  An entire year is 52 weeks.

By simple calculation, we should complete our journey by the end of 2018.

However, Jeremiah is more than a book of the Bible.  Jeremiah is more than a biblical character.  Jeremiah is beyond a prophetic figure preached and taught Sunday by Sunday in churches around the world.

Jeremiah is a Challenge to the Status Quo

For many of us, we tend to favor the contemporaries of Jeremiah more than the prophet himself.  We rest on the laurels of our good works and the good vibes of how good things are going with God’s grace and His countenance shining upon us.

We need a wake up call.

We are too aligned with the status quo.  We are too attached to traditionalism.  We are far too conservative in our approach to ministry.  We are way too complacent with our attack on social issues.

We have to see the challenge for us in Jeremiah’s calling to call out things as they truly are in God’s eyes.  The prophetic voice is oftentimes called upon to stand up to authority, to speak out against watered-down spirituality disguised as religion rather than routine, and to simply say “Thus sayeth the Lord” with boldness before the people.

We need to face the challenge to the status quo.

Jeremiah is a Challenge to Our Comfort Zone

We need to see Jeremiah, “the weeping prophet,” as a scriptural mirror held up before our very souls.   We need to see how much of ourselves can be seen in Jeremiah.  We need to see how much of our spirits reflect a similar spirit to that of Jeremiah.

  • Jeremiah Speaks Truth to Power: He dealt with fellow ministers of the Lord who wanted him to shut up and shut down the prophetic calling out of Israel and its leadership.  It got him bound in chains.  It got him on the wrong side of society, even his own kin.
  • Jeremiah Struggled with His Message: Any preacher, missionary, minister, evangelist or other type of servant of the Lord understands this.  Some of what we are called to say and do in the name of the Lord takes us to a place where we find more struggle and strife than we find comfort.  We are forced to seek the Lord repeatedly, especially when we realize what we have as our obligation to the Lord.  We struggle with it because we understand cause and effect.  We struggle with it because we can see the end result of how our sermons, Bible lessons and messages will be received by the people.
  • Jeremiah Submitted to the Lord: Despite what his calling took him through, Jeremiah faced the challenge.  He struggled but he submitted.  He struggled with his own qualifications to even be a prophet but he submitted to the Lord.  He said he would not share the Word of the Lord any longer but he came around in the same breath and submitted to the Lord.  He submitted to the Lord and faced the prophetic challenge.

Jeremiah represents a challenge for us to get out of comfort zone and to get more comfortable with what God is truly calling for us to do with our lives, our voices, our purpose.

Our Journey Continues. . .

“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever. – Jeremiah 7:5-7 (ESV)

Chapter 7 gave Israel a challenge to once again to repent.  It addressed the nation’s idolatry, its wickedness, its injustice and its depth of transgressions.  It offered Israel an out.

As we move into chapter 8, keep Jeremiah’s predicament in mind.  He was not an outsider.  He was from among this same nation of people.  These were his countrymen.  These were his kin.  These were his own people.  Look at the depth of emotion that arises from Jeremiah in chapter 8.  See how he is personally touched by his challenge to preach prophecy to his people.

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Jeremiah Journey Wk 7

Hear this, people of the earth:

I am going to bring disaster to the people of Judah!

It will happen because o the evil they plan.

They have not listened to my messages. They have rejected my teachings.

Jeremiah 6:19 (NCV)

The Lord shared His displeasure with Israel, particularly Judah, multiple times and multiple ways.  He stated it over and over again.  He pointed out the idolatry and refusal of the people to repent and restore their relationship with the Lord.

Multiple Times

The Book of Jeremiah is ripe with God expressing both is displeasure with and His desire for Israel.  It starts as early as the first chapter of the book.  It evolves into a flurry of frustration filled with the fiery wrath of God’s prophecy against the people.

Multiple Ways

The Book of Jeremiah uses metaphors, object lessons and just plain old prophetic talk.  The message was released but it was not received.  The message was revealing but it was rejected by the people.

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Read Jeremiah chapter 7 this week.

Jeremiah, you will tell these things to the people of Judah.  But they will not listen to you! You will cll to them, but they will not answer you.

Jeremiah 7:27 (NCV)

As we continue our reading of the Book of Jeremiah, let us keep in mind that God is offering a message to the people through His chosen vessel- the prophet Jeremiah.  Sadly, as the Lord stated: They have not listened to my messages. They have rejected my teachings (Jeremiah 6:19, NCV).

Jeremiah Journey Wk 6

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This week we begin to make a shift in our journey.  As you turn the pages and explore chapter 6 of Jeremiah, look at where we have been so far.  The Jeremiah Journey continues. . .

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Jeremiah Journey Wk 5

“For this the earth shall mourn,
    and the heavens above be dark;
for I have spoken; I have purposed;
    I have not relented, nor will I turn back.”

-Jeremiah 4:28 (ESV)

Last week, we looked at chapter 4 in Jeremiah and saw God’s frustration with Israel’s idolatry.  At the end of the day, we learn how God’s wrath is on its way.  It is presented as inevitable as well as eventual with an invasion from the North.

How can I pardon you?
    Your children have forsaken me
    and have sworn by those who are no gods.
When I fed them to the full,
    they committed adultery
    and trooped to the houses of whores.

-Jeremiah 5:7 (ESV)

God refuses to hold back as He stated in Jeremiah 4:28.  Yet, the rebellious children of Israel refused to repent.  God calls out for them to repent.  God calls them on their mess, expecting them to turn their hearts again towards God, but they continued to rebel and not repent.

As you read through chapter 5 this week, answer the following questions:

  1. What is God’s desire for Israel as He presented in the first 4 chapters of Jeremiah?
  2. How does God describe Israel’s rebellion?
  3. Write down some key terms from chapter 5 that let you know what has become of the relationship between God and Israel.
  4. Summarize your thoughts and ideas regarding chapter 5 in one phrase or sentence.

Feel free to answer these questions via comments directly to the blog post, i.e. Question #1: God wanted loyalty and fidelity from Israel, especially the House of Israel.  Keep your eyes out for a special activity this weekend as we move on to chapter 6.

Jeremiah Journey Wk 4

The Jeremiah Journey continues as we look back and look forward.

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Looking Back (Jeremiah Chapter 3)

God’s Anger Led to God’s Wrath (Israel’s Idolatry)

Last week we read Jeremiah chapter 3.  It showed us how God had some stinging accusations against both Israel and Judah.

The Lord said to me, Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.

– Jeremiah 3:11 (NIV) 

One of the keys to keep in mind is that God’s accusations are accurate.  He sees all.  He knows all.  He can see beyond the surface and deep into the recesses of our hearts.  He knows our intentions.

What does God see in your heart today? It’s totally between you and Him.  Be mindful that He is neither mocked nor fooled by any deception that we may seek to put forth.  He sees us for what we really are.

But like a woman unfaithful to her husband,
    so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,”
declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 3:20 (NIV)

Despite all that He spoke out against Israel and Judah.  God sought their repentance.  He called for the faithless to return to Him.  He sought to cure them.  He desired to offer them hope and cleansing.

“Return, faithless people;
    I will cure you of backsliding.”

-Jeremiah 3:22 (NIV)

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Looking Ahead at Jeremiah Chapter 4

Anguish and Agony Ahead (God’s Warning of Things to Come)

C.H. Spurgeon simply said that we can either be humble or be humbled.  That was the plight of this faithless nation.  God’s call for its return to Him fell on deaf ears.  He answered with a rebuttal of the disaster to come.

As you read chapter 4 of Jeremiah, be sure to pay close attention to the prophecy of things to come.  See the words that God uses to describe the anguish and agony the nation will suffer due to its refusal to repent.

 

 

 

Jeremiah Journey Wk 3

Why do you contend with me?
    You have all transgressed against me,
declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 2:29 (ESV)

Part of our work last week was to look at chapter 2 and reflect.  Our reflective responses are still being collected this week.  Be sure to log and submit your answers for us.  We want to share our collective responses in the near future.

Looking Ahead

If a man divorces his wife
    and she goes from him
and becomes another man’s wife,
    will he return to her?
Would not that land be greatly polluted?
You have played the whore with many lovers;
    and would you return to me?
declares the Lord.

-Jeremiah 3:1 (NLT)

The opening lines of chapter 3 are enough to make some Christians unsettled.

God’s judgment is direct and open.  There is no holding back.  He lets loose and it is all fire.  He doesn’t give the people any break or leeway.  He just speaks on what they have done and what it really looks like to Him.

. . .You have played the whore with many lovers. . .

The comparison to whorees is a direct correlation to the idolatry of Israel.  It is akin to Isaiah’s opening chapter.  It is reflective in a metaphoric sense to God’s appeal to Hosea, utilizing Hosea’s match with Gomer as a symbolic object lesson about His own relationship with a whore-like nation of “chosen people.”

If a man divorces his wife
    and she goes from him
and becomes another man’s wife,
    will he return to her?
Would not that land be greatly polluted?

Spend some time this week reflecting on one single question: Has my relationship with the Lord been pure or polluted lately? Which one and what makes you say so? Think about it as you read chapter 3 in Jeremiah.  Compare it to Isaiah chapter 1.  Look at it in light of Hosea’s major  hurdle.  Then look at your response again after having read chapter 3.  Feel free to comment directly to this post with your responses.