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Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – Jeremiah 31:31 (NKJV)

God Promises a New Future with His New Covenant

Judah and Israel were expected to rejoice with singing and dancing, according the Lord. He declared a bright and bountiful future for them along with a new covenant between both Judah and Israel with Him. This included prosperous crops planted “on the mountains of Samaria” (v. 5, NKJV). The entire future looked pleasant for “the remnant of Israel” who the Lord was bringing back to the land of their forefathers, the land of promise given over to the children of Israel.

The new future promised to Israel and Judah hinges upon a “new covenant” between God and them. “At that time,” declares the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.” (v. 1, NASB). According to the Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: “A covenant was an agreement between two parties that laid down conditions and guaranteed benefits, depending upon a person’s keeping or breaking the covenant.” Additionally, it says: “Covenants between God and the people he created, however, differed from purely human covenants. They were not agreements between equals, because God was always the one who gave, and people were always the ones who received.”

Tune in for Live @ Lunch Bible Study Wednesday at 11 AM PST

Live @ Lunch Bible Study Continues with the Jeremiah Journey

This week we’ll continue with the #JeremiahJourney and explore the new future promised by God with the new covenant He made with Judah and Israel. Last week’s Bible study lesson on chapter 30 focused on the promise of a new covenant coming forth. What we did not get were the enumerated details that God included in this current chapters. This chapter is filled with promises of a hopeful and plenteous future of God with His people in a time of harmony and bliss.

This sounds like almost too much, huh? Is this really in the Bible like that?

Jeremiah is the type of biblical text that challenges the reader to keep an eye out for anything odd or out of place. This chapter is no different, especially as you encounter Jeremiah’s brief explanation of his “vision” in verse 26 and the usage of Ephraim as an address about the house of Jacob and an inclusion of the Northern Kingdom starting at verse 15.

What are to Make of Jeremiah Awaking from a Deep Sleep (v. 26)

Consider that Jeremiah awakens in somewhat of a stupor in the midst of God laying out His declaration of the future of the remnant of Israel. He says that his sleep was god to him, even referenced it as “sweet” in another translation. Commentaries widely vary on their interpretation of this verse, including one where the church is substituted for Israel in the latter days and the rejoicing is rooted in the prophecy of the incarnation of Christ. Somebody please tell me that I go that wrong. Otherwise, we’re back to addressing replacement theology and all that comes with it. I mean even covenant theology is scrutinized by Dr. Reluctant online. Bob on Books gives a thorough review of another book on Jeremiah and its theology presented by a book like The Theology of Jeremiah: The Book, the Man, the Message by John Goldingay

Ephraim: Son of Israel and Cameo Appearance in Jeremiah Chapter 31

God even includes a mention of Ephraim in a section of this chapter. To novice Bible readers, this might seem like a vast departure from the subject of Israel and Judah without some explanation. Ephraim was the second son of Joseph, son of Jacob AKA Israel. Oddly enough, the favoritism that plagued Jacob’s fatherhood with his own sons extended to how he dealt with Ephraim and Manasseh. This ends up with Ephraim receiving rights of the first born and bypassing Manasseh, all of which was against Joseph’s own wishes. Based on this switch of roles, Ephraim is referred to as Israel and symbolically represents the tribes of the Northern Kingdom. Read more about this odd relationship and role for this “son of Jacob” in our weekly Bible study discussion guide.

Pray and Don’t Lose Heart

Get your FREE copy of the August 2021 Prayer Calendar from Life Path Multimedia Ministries. Join us in an effort to pray more in these days as we see a drift from the things of God towards the ways of the world in our churches and among our family and friends. It’s not a new thing that we’re facing, but it also has an age old cure in the effectual fervent prayer of those who seek the Lord’s intervention on today’s matters of heaven and earth. Prayer is just one of our weapons of spiritual warfare available to help us and strengthen us.

Download the Prayer Calendar for FREE
In case you missed last week’s livestream: watch it here!!
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David Their King

But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. – Jeremiah 30:9 (NASB)

While studying something totally different, I came across something interesting and related to our current study in Jeremiah. It sparked me to research the relationship between Jesus and David more intensely. It also provided me with a clearer understanding of David’s earthly kingdom versus his everlasting kingdom promised to him by God.

Jesus Questioned the Pharisees about the Son of David (Matthew 22:41-46)

After some testing from the Sadducees and Pharisees, Jesus turned the tables and posed 2 questions to the Pharisees:

  • Whose Son is the Christ? (v. 42)
  • How does David call Him “Lord” if He is the Son of David? (v.44)

To the first question, they all responded: “The Son of David.”

However, the second question posed by Jesus did not elicit such a collective response. Jesus asks the second question based on Psalm 110:1, a psalm of David. Sadly, the response to the second question went something like this: “And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore (v. 46, NKJV).”

No one was able to answer Him.

Imagine that no answer to the question could be found among those who claimed to be the “keepers of the law.” The answer was beyond the scope of their grasp and understanding. Even though they worked closely with the Holy Scriptures, the Torah, the Law of God, they had no answer to provide Jesus for His second question. They had no understanding of how David could call Him both Son and Lord.

David’s Kingdom and the Davidic Covenant

David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. – 2 Samuel 5:4 (NIV)

By comparison, David’s earthly kingdom and his eternal kingdom are different levels.

  • David’s earthly kingdom is limited (40 years)
  • David is promised that his descendant will hold the everlasting throne forever (Matt. 1:1-6, 16; Luke 3:31-34)
  • “Son of David” stems from the royal origin of Jesus and His earthly lineage found in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke with the term “son” meaning descendant or offspring

Confirmation from Jeremiah’s Contemporaries

But afterward the people will return and devote themselves to the LORD their God and to David’s descendant, their king. In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the LORD and of his goodness. – Hosea 3:5 (NLT)

24 My servant David will be king over them, and there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow My ordinances and keep and observe My statutes. 25 They will live in the land that I gave to My servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They will live there forever with their children and grandchildren, and My servant David will be their prince forever. – Ezekiel 37:24-25 (NIV)

Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is righteous and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. – Zechariah 9:9 (NASB)

Along with Isaiah, these prophets were contemporaries of Jeremiah, sharing God’s message with His people in different regions around the same time and confirming each other’s prophecies. Other contemporary biblical texts share about the covenant extending forever. Both jeremiah 32:40 and Ezekiel 37:26 speak of an “everlasting covenant” between God and His people initiated with David’s descendant as their king. Some biblical translations even call Him “their prince.”

Continue to Study on David and the Son of David

You shall be My people, And I will be your God

Jeremiah 30:22 (NASB)

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Hear the depth of devotion is those words. See the deep connection shared between them. Hold tightly to the promises of God to do more than just deliver His people out of captivity.

God desires a relationship with His people based on a covenant.

There’s so much more that comes before that 22nd verse. We see it throughout chapter 30. God’s promise of a new covenant includes a picture of a renewed relationship between God and those sent into captivity in Babylon after 70 years. He promises them that they will be His people and they will have Him as their God.

Much like the children of Israel coming out of captivity in Egypt, the end game of God’s plan for them at this point is a new relationship with the people based on the promises of God. I find that Giselle of Seek the Truth gives a thorough explanation for us all to ponder in comparison.

Much like many of us coming back and recovering from the effects of addiction or other trauma and drama in our lives, these folks stood in need of something to hold onto as they endured their punishment under the judgment of God. They needed a light at the end of the tunnel and that light was the promise of God as to what would be their new relationship when the captivity was all done and over.

God’s promise of this new relationship under a new covenant comes at a peculiar place within the contents of this chapter. The chapter is filled with God’s assurances to these captives in Babylon, but it also contains some insight into the judgment and punishment to be endured these captives as well as the future outlook for those who have held them captive.

God’s Assured Promises to the Captives in Babylon

*Rescued from captivity (v.3, 8)
*Returned to the land of forefathers (v.10)
*Restored among the nations of the world (v. 17)
*Renewed in a new covenant with God (v. 22)

The Messianic Message Within the Chapter

But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king. . .

– Jeremiah 30:9 (NKJV)

“David their king” is not the reincarnation of King David the son of Jesse. This refers to the Lord Jesus as a “Son of David.” This is related to the promise of the Messiah being of the lineage of David with an everlasting kingdom.

Interestingly, the notion of this passage referencing King David literally falls short based on the chronological timeline sequence of the Scriptures. Also, the personal profile of King David leaves a lot to be desired especially when we look at chapter 30’s contents on judgment and punishment. In fact, one blogger gives an insightful comparison of King David and R. Kelly for you to read at your leisure. None of us are without blemish but that doesn’t excuse David’s wrongdoings. It merely gives us more biblical evidence that the reference isn’t literally translated as him.

Don’t Miss a Single Session: View More on Our Channel & Playlist

Every Live @ Lunch Bible Study livestream is listed and available on our Bible Study & Beyond Playlist of our YouTube Channel

Don’t feeling like missing the livestream of our Bible study sessions is a major letdown. We add our livestreams to our YouTube channel and its Bible Study & Beyond Playlist weekly. Just go to the YouTube channel and search for #JeremiahJourney videos. Or, you can simply go directly to the Bible Study & Beyond Playlist.

Join us this Wednesday at 11 AM PST for Live @ Lunch Bible Study
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Now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who is prophesying to you?

Jeremiah 29:27 (ESV)

Playing a Role Out of Position

Reading the rebuke of Shemaiah from the Lord sounds like a laundry list of misgivings and mistaken moves on Shemaiah’s part. When God has to go on a roll to run down all of your transgressions, He is not just having a tie to vent. Believe in all honesty that He is setting up things to take you down and set you straight.

What do we know about Shemaiah?

Shemaiah the Nehelamite, a false prophet who went with the captives to Babylon and who opposed Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:24, 31-32). Shemaiah means “God heard” in Hebrew. Nehelamite, according to topical Bible research, means “dweller of Nehela.” However, “no such place-name is found in the Old Testament.”

He sounds like a self-appointed prophet among the Babylonian captives who took offense to the letters sent by Jeremiah. His words call for such a madman to be restrained and confined “in the stocks and neck irons,” according to verse 26. He challenges Zephaniah to answer why he has not rebuked and handled Jeremiah as of yet, especially after he said for the Babylonian captives to settle in and make the most of their time in captivity since it would last 70 years.

Not only was this man out of position, but he was totally taking on a man called by God to share His message, not a madman with a message of his own.

Leave It to God to Handle False Prophets

We’ve seen God do it before. We should not be surprised to see God do it again. He uses His servants the prophets to deliver His message to the people, while He handles false prophets with swift justice. He did so with Hananiah, the prophet dying within the same year of his false prophecy in the previous chapter.

Did you really think Shemaiah was going to get away with such an outlandish move as putting Jeremiah on blast like he was the false prophet?

Not one bit.

God sets things straight by making it plain. “Behold, I will punish Shemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants. He shall not have anyone living among this people, and he shall not see the good that I will do to my people, declares the Lord, for he has spoken rebellion against the Lord” (v. 32, ESV). Despite what the false prophet believes and says, he is dealt with by God in a way that shuts down his own message.

The best part of it all comes at the tail end of the verse and chapter where God says “for he has spoken rebellion against the Lord.” It is what it is. It is God having to rectify what some fool says another one believes without even comparing it with what God has said already. It is pure foolishness passed around and taken in like bad medicine. People are warned that they reap what they sow. Such is the case with Shemaiah. You think somebody needs to be corrected? Okay, let’s let God handle that and see who gets handled for pushing falsehood and rebellion among God’s people.

Jeremiah 29 is the foundation for this week’s livestream Wednesday at 11 AM PST

Let the lesson of Shemaiah help you learn more about how God deals with falsehood. He does not spend a lot of time on it. He does not offer many words for it. He speaks on it and against, and then it is handled by Him. In fact the Lord has warned us about these false prophets. I think most of us who know the Lord can live with that rather than trying to figure out what God is doing to make things right.

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The Takeaway: God’s Messengers Deliver God’s Message, Not Their Own

Chapter 28 gives the indication that false prophets get what they deserve for getting people to follow their lies. Misleading the flock of God makes things troublesome for both the false prophets and those who are fooled into following them. Hananiah the son of Azzur of Gibeon found out the hard way that his two-year captivity prophecy led to him be chastised and cursed to die within the same year of his pronounced prophecy.

And Jeremiah the prophet said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah, the LORD has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie. Therefore, thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will remove you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have uttered rebellion against the LORD.”

Jeremiah 28:15-16 (ESV)

The fatality of false prophecy is devastating for more than the false prophet. In chapter 29, we see how God confirms his exile of the captives to Babylon for 70 years. However, He also points out that the people had resisted and rejected the messages of His servants the prophets again and again. He points out how much horror would be endured by the people of God who remained in the land, saying: “because they have not listened to My words,’ declares the Lord, ‘which I sent to them again and again by My servants the prophets; but you did not listen,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:19, NASB). His judgement, as God discloses it to His people through His prophets, is fueled with an anger that is kindled by His people’s rebellion and disobedience. As Pastor Powell pointed out during this week’s livestream: “God does not have to tolerate falsehood.” He has His own way of dealing with such things as in the case of Hananiah and what we will see about Shemaiah in chapter 29.

Tips, Tools & Techniques

This week we have included a bible study resource specifically designed for this chapter and Jeremiah 29:11. A Deeper Look at Jeremiah 29:11 gives you a simple strategy for Bible study with some tips on incorporating annotation in your Bible study time. Be sure to download your FREE copy of this Bible study resource to help with discovering more about a text than just the surface and superficial meaning of the words that appear in its contents.

Teaser: Where Do You Fit In God’s Plans? [Jeremiah Chapter 29]

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)

You have probably heard Jeremiah 29:11 time and time again roll off the tongues of sanctified and holy folks like its an outpouring of a treasured blessing. However, take a moment to join us in this study of Jeremiah chapter 29 and see if this is a message intended for you as part of God’s plan for you.

Much like many other passages in the Scriptures that are often plucked out and placed in a position that takes them out of context, Jeremiah 29:11 has been used as an “inspirational quote” to give hope and uplift souls for years. At the heart of Bible study is to understand the contents within its context. Take some time to get deeper into your practice of Bible study as we explain and examine some of the falsehood attached to Jeremiah 29:11 that many of God’s people have mistakenly imposed and juxtaposed using this biblical text out of context.

This ain’t Drake rhyming on God’s Plan that we’re talking about here. People can find themselves mistakenly taking the Bible out of context as they try to make each and every verse fit into God’s plan for their lives. God’s desire is that you come to know His Word on an intimate level and discern the things that are set apart for our learning.

Are you trying to identify with exiles from Judah in Babylonian captivity? Are you seeking to identify with folks who did not listen to God’s warnings and had to endure 70 years of captivity? If that is not you, then don’t allow yourself to be misled by what sounds good or sounds somewhat inspirational or uplifting. Understand that you have a different position and role in God’s eternal plan as a believer walking in faith and that, although it sounds good, that message in Jeremiah 29:11 is not directed to you or destined for you. Look at a post by a fellow blogger that gets into how Jeremiah 29:11 helped with need for clarity in a discussion with a friend on the matter. One of the best resources on this issue is a video by Allen Parr that most definitely have to check out for yourself.

This week’s Bible study discussion guide gives you some insight into grasping a better understanding of this familiar text. Take some time this weekend and get familiar with the study guide and see what else chapter 29 has available to us.

So a prophet who predicts peace must show he is right. Only when his predictions come true can we know that he is really from the Lord. (V. 9, NLT)

False Prophets Seek to Fool the People with Lies Again and Again

False prophets talk what they talk up until what they say is proven wrong, and then they either disappear in shame or they find a ready excuse as to why what they said did not transpire just yet. Jeremiah’s response to the prophet Hananiah is a clear example of subtle rebuke. He points out that many prophets existed long before both he and Hananiah became prophets. He explains in plain words that a prophet is proven from God when what he predicts comes true.

One of the best online discussions on false prophecy via Allen Parr

Read this week’s Bible study discussion guide and discover more about the false prophecy of Hananiah. See how Hananiah the Gibeonite proclaimed that God would break the yoke placed on the people of Judah by the king of Babylon within 2 years.

2 years?

But Jeremiah had prophesied that their enslavement would last 70 years. How in the world could Hananiah explain this conflict with his contemporary? Other prophets proclaimed the Lord’s message in other regions and these same prophets were further confirmation of what each other said. That wasn’t the case with Hananiah.

Just Who was Hananiah?

Dig deeper into the character of Hananiah and discover just who he was and what type of prophet he was during his times. See how he went to extreme antics such as breaking the wooden yoke from upon Jeremiah, so that the priests and the people looking on could see what he predicted God would do with the yoke of bondage and captivity said to come under Babylonian rule. He even spoke again after destroying Jeremiah’s yoke, speaking boldly before his audience.

However, God spoke to Jeremiah and directed him to go to Hananiah with this message: The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. (v. 15, NLT). He goes on to warn the false prophet that he shall die that same year due to his “uttered rebellion against the Lord” (v. 16, ESV).

In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died. (V. 17, ESV)

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Why We Won’t Get Fooled Again (or So We Think)

Jeremiah explained how to know that a prophet is genuinely sent by God in verse 9. The formula is fairly simple. In order to know if the prophet is truly sent by God, what he predicts has to come true. The truth cannot help but get revealed as part of God’s will and His large scale plan. If what a prophet has to say does not come true, then he is viewed as a false prophet.

So, what about the people who believe the lies of false prophets? Paul tried to explain it to his son in the ministry, Timothy, with these words: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but having itching ears, they shall heap to themselves teachers in accordance with their own lusts. Jude says this about them in verse 19: “It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit” (ESV). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned His audience: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

People will fall prey to the misleading messages of false prophets because it sounds good and the sermons make them feel good about themselves. Despite the messages lacking the spiritual and biblical substance to withstand any form of testing, people will accept the lies over the truth. People will follow the false prophet rather than the simple, faithful preacher who comes straight out and simply says: “Thus saith the Lord.”

Join us Wednesday at 11 AM PST for Live @ Lunch Bible Study and the Jeremiah Journey Week #28.

The spiritual warfare that we engage in forces us to fight attacks from all sides, especially those who Jude says have crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness. Our warfare will require us to defend the Good News and “contend for the faith” despite the people being swayed by the trickery of those with golden tongues of eloquence and painting pictures of celestial pipe dreams pouring out from heaven.

Will we ever rid ourselves of those who preach out of selfishness and gain? Will we ever get rid of those who proclaim a new gospel due to their egotistical exhortations that claim that God has bestowed a special message for you but only through them?

I cannot say whether we will or not see a day when this comes to the end, but I can say that we can continually build up our discernment. We can keep ourselves rooted and steeped in the Scriptures. We can test everything by the Scriptures and the Spirit. We can stay cautious in following any particular doctrine just like the Bereans when they heard Paul speak. We can gird ourselves with the full armor of God and trust in Him to handle the wayward wordsmiths who weave tales of false hope and empty promises.

I like what I am reading on WordPress from many bloggers out there, especially when we see help for those seeking to become a Christian. From topics like spiritual warfare to others like spiritual renewal, there is a world of writers and bloggers seeking to contend for the faith and help each us make more sense out of all that we face day by day.

But the Gospel is Preached

I believe that Paul had the right attitude in Philippians and its opening chapter of this letter from prison. In verses 15-18, Paul breaks down that there all sorts of folks preaching the Good News due to his own imprisonment. He spoke openly of how he accepted and rejoiced that the Gospel was preached despite some doing it for the wrong reasons. That was the cause for him to rejoice, even while he sat behind bars.

 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. – Philippians 1:18 (NIV)

Can we have a similar perspective?

Can we see things in a similar light?

Paul did not fight earnestly to stop folks from preaching the Good News for profit or selfish ambition. He pointed out that he was fine and okay with it all since Christ is preached.

We may know that the doctrine is faulty and based on some man-made additions to the sacred text that explains salvation as simple as believe in your heart and confess with your mouth (Romans 10:8-9). But we also know that God hasn’t called us all to play the role of Jeremiah. God hasn’t told us each to confront false prophets. If that is your ministry, may God be with you as you carry out from confrontation to confrontation. For all others, place your focus on where the Lord has led you by His Spirit and in His service, and make your work provide a lasting impact on the lives of others, especially those who have yet to come to know the Lord.

Do not listen to the false prophets who keep telling you, ‘The king of Babylon will not conquer you.’ They are liars. – Jeremiah 27:14 (NLT)

Then I spoke to the priests and the people and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not listen to your prophets who claim that soon the gold articles taken from my Temple will be returned from Babylon. It is all a lie!  – Jeremiah 27:16 (NLT)

False prophecy is not just a modern issue. The Bible breaks that down for us. It gives us an unabridged look at what God calls lies from liars, prophets whom God did not send with any such message at all.

Look at verses 14 & 16 of this chapter of Jeremiah. God is laying it out there. He is exposing them for what they are and what they are not. He calls them liars and He calls their prophecies lies. He warns the king, the priests and all other people to not listen to these “false prophets.”

So, why does God care? They have not been listening to Him or His messengers and servants, the prophets. Why go the extra mile and break down how these “false prophets” have led the people, even the priests, to the point where they are accepting false prophecy over God’s truth?

God’s PLan and Will Shed Light on Falsehood

Expect God’s Word to withstand every test imaginable. Then, in turn, expect any false teaching, prophecy or just straight lie to diminish once the truth has been revealed. The very substance of any falsehood is disintegrated by the power of the truth. As the truth comes forth and makes itself known, the false prophets hunker down and cower back for fear of the wrath of God for their outright lies.

That’s not exactly what you see today. The ones who seem to profess and peddle their wares of a somewhat sinless existence in a Utopian-type of earthly Christendom do not seem to get punished for their wayward words. Yet, we see some taken down a notch for the other things that their falsehood has allowed to play out in their lives. We see men and women stripped of their seat in the pulpit. We see them lose members left and right as scandal and corruption are revealed. We see their marriages slip into dark places as their professions of falsehood even take over their personal lives, including their vows. Sadly, it not simply a black eye for false prophets. It becomes a black eye for the faith in the eyes of the world.

We talk about this falsehood this week as we study Jeremiah chapter 27. Join us this Wednesday at 11 AM PST for Live @ Lunch Bible Study as we continue our study in the Book of Jeremiah on YouTube.

How Could God Allow Such a Thing?

Let’s not get lost with our holy hindsight here. What we saw play out with some pastors recently is merely cleansing of what needs to take place in all of our lives. That same cleansing humbles us from thinking too highly of ourselves and surpassing even the pride that Lucifer in trouble so long ago.

The deeply-buried secrets and lies that were exposed in the John Gray scandal disrupted so much good he has done in his ministry and with God’s Word. Yet, we all have read it and most probably have repeated it where it says: All have sinned and fallen short. . .

People see what occurred in the ministry of Hillsong and its exposed abuses of volunteers and mistreatment of women claiming to have been harassed by leadership. Yet, what we witness is the destruction of that ministry’s witness to the unchurched and unsaved due to its flaws. Like Sha’Carri Richardson recently tweeted: “I am human.” We all have our flaws and issues, sin buried deep within our members and even some oozing out of very flesh with the stench of evil and wickedness coming along with it.

God allows it to be present, to be seen and felt. He sheds light on it every now and then as a reminder of what our focus should be when we place our faith in anything besides Him and His glory. Shame on us in the ministry for not being more responsive to when a brother or sister falls due to losing their way. We should beat out the angels coming to rescue and providing them comfort to recover and regain their strength. We should be like a SEAL team making a clandestine rescue mission under the auspices of the Christian banner. If anything, we should hold to the truth while extending a hand of support and restoration for those misled by lies, even those that have passed across their own lips.

Heaven help us to be more forgiving as we forsake false prophecies and forgive false prophets.

But as for me, behold, I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you. Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.”

Jeremiah 26:14-15 (ESV)

Today’s ministers in the “free world” have it easy. Freedom speech combined with the right to assemble and freedom of religion make it real easy for today’s minister to stand boldly and proclaim the message of the Lord. Sadly, that is not the truth throughout the globe.

According to the World Watch List (WWL) of Open Doors:

  • 105 churches attacked, burned or vandalized each month
  • 11 Christians are killed everyday for their faith
  • 1 out of 21 Christians in South America experience high levels of persecution
  • 1 out of 6 Christians in Africa experience high levels of persecution
  • 1 out of 3 Christians in Asia experience high levels of persecution

We’ve got it easy and do not even understand the depths of persecution experienced by others for being of the same faith as us. According to Earthpages.org, we are experiencing a “global calamity” of 340 million Christians persecuted. Yes, much like Christian Mommas, I believe that we do need to pray for the persecuted believers across the globe. Yes, I believe many of us in the know need to do like Toby Mac and dc Talk sharing about the stories of the persecuted to inform others and raise awareness.

But I also believe it is boils down to the simple appreciation and actualization of our freedoms to go beyond simply preaching to make American believers feel okay with themselves.

Tune in Wednesday 11 AM PST

Rejoice and Be Glad!

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:12

They persecuted the prophets who were before you.

They persecuted the prophets.

The people of God rejected the message of God so much that they went so far as to kill the messenger.

They found that their best solution to their problems, among all of their options, was to kill the messenger.

They felt that things would be better off as long as that messenger was out of the picture and not sharing that message.

But Jesus tells us to embrace the rejection and roll with the resistance. He says: Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account (Matthew 5:11).

Blessed?

Then, He says for us to rejoice and be glad when they do such things and try to persecute us since they did the very same things to the prophets who came before us.

He doesn’t just want u to accept it. He wants us to embrace it and engage it in such a way that we wear it as a badge of honor. He wants us to understand that we are doing this for Christ and in the name of Christ, and all that is being done against us is on account of Jesus Himself.

So, rejoice and be glad!

Give Them My Entire Message- Every Single Word

“This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard in front of the Temple of the Lord and make an announcement to the people who have come there to worship from all over Judah. Give them my entire message; include every word. – Jeremiah 26:2 (ESV)

God’s spoken Word is to come across just as God intended for it to reach His people. The Lord’s instructions to Jeremiah were clear. There was no mistaking what God wanted said and who He wanted it said to nor why he wanted it said to them right there and at that time.

Perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways. Then I will change my mind about the disaster I am ready to pour out on them because of their sins. – Jeremiah 26:3 (NLT)

The Lord had hopes of their corrective actions, “turning from their evil ways”, leading to Him changing His mind about destroying them.

That’s our job as preachers and teachers of the Word. We got to go forward and give God’s entire message.

We don’t get to cut and paste the “good parts.” We don’t get to hide the parts where God’s anger and wrath are burning like a fierce, raging fire. We do not get to eliminate any part of the Bible that leaves us feeling convicted and ashamed, ready to break down and call on Him for mercy and forgiveness.

No, borther, we need those hard sayings of Jesus. No, sister, we need those harsh words of the Lord speaking from Mount Sinai. We need more than just the blessings of the Beatitudes. It needs to get uncomfortable when the Word is stirring up things in our spirits and souls rather than some feel good, just come as you are, and I’m okay you’re okay message.

We are called to preach an uncompromised message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to serve as ambassadors of Christ, ushering people from the doom of darkness to the awaiting light of hope and healing.

If we fail to preach it, we are doomed and deserve to be condemned for our negligence of our office and station in the ministry. If we are obedient, then we will proclaim His truth (not her truth or my truth) and we will experience things that the prophets experienced when they faced a hostile mob of God’s people. If we do so accordingly, we can face the ridicule, the harassment, the chastisement, and the harsh words of bitterness and rejection.

What is at stake is the loss of many of the faith, falling away due to our issues rather than doctrinal or theological issues. Read their testimonies and see why they left or never even gave Christ a shot due to what they saw His followers doing.

Join us Wednesday at 11 AM PST for a live discussion of the latest chapter of the Jeremiah Journey

70 Years of Captivity in Babylon

This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11, ESV)

Among those who accept a tradition (Jeremiah 29:10) that the exile lasted 70 years, some choose the dates 608 to 538, others 586 to about 516 (the year when the rebuilt Temple was dedicated in Jerusalem). The Babylonian Exile (586–538) marks an epochal dividing point in Old Testament history

Source; Britannica
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Putting controversy aside, what is not at debate is that the Lord allowed Israel and Judah to suffer and endure 70 years of captivity in Babylon. Jeremiah pointed out that it came about due to their lack of response to God’s message over the past 23 years.

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), 2 which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem (vv. 1-2, ESV)

Ruling for 43 years, Nebuchadnezzar was the longest-reigning king of the Chaldean dynasty. According to Wikipedia, “By 601 BC, Judah’s king, Jehoiakim, had begun to openly challenge Babylonian authority, counting on that Egypt would lend support to his cause. . . Jehoiakim had died during Nebuchadnezzar’s siege and been replaced by his son, Jeconiah, who was captured and taken to Babylon, with his uncle Zedekiah installed in his place as king of Judah.”

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Daniel on Jeremiah’s 70- Year Prophecy

In the Bible this prophecy is also covered in Jeremiah 25 & 29 (Jeremiah 25:1-11; 29:1-10) and the Book of Daniel. The captivity came about due to the people’s failure to keep their covenant with God and not worship other gods. In other words, one transgression caused other transgressions: turning to other gods caused them to break their covenant and transgress further against God. Their refusal to repent and return to God only further fueled God’s “fierce anger” to burn against them.

Daniel wrote: “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus … I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:1-2). (Source: Lifehopeandtruth)

Although there might be debate over the exact years of captivity, some biblical sources provide support and explanation for the discrepancy. The following passage gives some insight into how the years were calculated.

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states the following: “Note that it is important to keep these stages of the Captivity in mind when computing the seventy years of exile announced by Jeremiah 29:10; the interval between the first deportation in 605 B.C., in which Daniel himself was involved, and 536 B.C., when the first returnees under Zerubbabel once more set up an altar in Jerusalem, amounted to seventy years. Likewise, the interval between the destruction of the first temple by Nebuzaradan in 586 and the completion of the second temple by Zerubbabel in 516 was about seventy years” (comments on Daniel 1:1-2).

https://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/understanding-the-book-of-daniel/daniel-9/

. . . behold, two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the Lord. One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten – Jeremiah 24:1-2 (ESV)

Fruit has a prominent place in the Bible. For New Testament believers, fruit is the byproduct of our good works in the name of the Lord. His desire is that we produce “much fruit.” Also, fruit is considered one’s offspring, the fruit of your loins. It represents your own legacy. It also represents the potential abundance of the harvest as well as the hard work and toil of the vineyard.

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Ripe or Rotten Fruit

In chapter 24, we see that two baskets of figs have been placed at the temple. One basket has ripe fruit, while the other has rotten fruit. Each has its own basket. If it had said that the figs were all in the same basket, I could imagine the results at the end of the day. We’d expect a basket full of rotting fruit, spoiled by the closeness of the rotten fruit to the ripe fruit. Essentially, the rotten fruit would eventually ruin the ripe fruit.

Oddly, the two separate baskets make it so that the rotten figs do not interact with the good figs. The rotten figs do not have the opportunity to ruin the good figs. The bad ones do not have a chance to turn the good ones bad like them.

God has plans for both the good and bad figs. He points out how the good figs will be watched over and cared for, even brought back to Judah after exile to Babylon. Oddly enough, that is not the fate of Jehoiachin the king of Judah according to chapter 22.

Discover the Big Idea

That seems sort of odd. Good figs get sent into exile, and bad figs remain in place.

The bad figs actually do not get exiled. They remain in place and in Jerusalem and even in Egypt. In fact, when it comes to King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials, they actually remain in power.

 9 I will make them a horror[a] to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a reproach, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. 10 And I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they shall be utterly destroyed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers. - Jeremiah 24:9-10 (ESV)

We are not called to reason or rationalize why or even how God does what He does. We are called to accept it as right and just as part of who He is and His character or persona (for lack of a better term). We are called to believe it in faith and embrace it as part of God’s will while accepting it as part of the way He works.

Some focus on breaking down God to the simplest part and live with that. Others find it necessary to get into the deep constructs of what makes God tick and why along with adding how it happens, too. Many take a more studious approach and search the Scriptures to discover who God is and accept Him as He is found in the context of the Bible.

Get comfortable with God doing things His way. Get beyond your past hang-ups about what God does that mystifies you and leaves you dumbfounded. Get to a place where you can come to accept God as the true and living God who rules over all.

Go to the discussion guide for this week and see what God has in store for the good figs.

Tune in on Wednesday at 11 AM PST to discover and discuss more about this chapter of Jeremiah.