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As for you, Jeremiah, don’t pray for these people or cry out for them or ask anything for them. I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.

jeremiah 11:14 (NCV)
Last week’s Bible study livestream

Dealing with the Doom

Last week had us trying to figure out how the shepherds were asleep at the wheel when they were assigned to teach and uphold the Law of God in the land and among the people. Yet, this week as we enter chapter 11, we see God laying out His case against Israel. As he states His case, He is careful to point out that Israel’s doom is of its own doing.

What is my beloved doing in my temple
as she, with many others, works out her evil schemes?
Can consecrated meat avert your punishment?
When you engage in your wickedness,
then you rejoice.

-Jeremiah 11:15 (NIV)

God has charges against their forefathers who were brought out of Egypt and given the land as promised by the Lord. He has charges against their wicked ways and their refusal to uphold to the agreements within their covenant. His charge against this generation of Israel is simply put: “They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words” (v. 10, NIV). In a plain and simple look at things, God has not been pleased with many of His chosen people for quite a long time. And, as the hour draws nigh, He surely is not holding back on how He plans to deal with them for the breaking of the covenant with Him.

Do Not Pray for Them

“As for you, Jeremiah, don’t pray for these people or cry out for them or ask anything for them. I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble” (v. 14, NCV). How else could it be put at this point? I don’t see much of an alternative. God simply says for Jeremiah to not waste his tears or his prayerful pleas, even not to “ask anything for them.” It is of no use according to God.

In fact, God goes on to point out to Jeremiah that the people even have a plot against him (verses 18-19). They want to kill him, so that the people will not remember him or his words of prophetic warning. In that case, when it all comes crashing down, no one will recall the words of the weeping prophet. They believe that eliminating him could allow them to erase his words and warnings of God’s wrath from the memories of the people. Their idea is that if they can cause him to disappear, the sting of God’s wrath might not burn as bad.

Revisit Jeremiah Chapter 1

Such foolish thinking seems to be the pathway of irrational justification when facing one’s own guilt and shame. Since these same people refused to to return to God and accept His terms, a conspiracy arose among some with a plot regarding Jeremiah as God’s messenger and “cut him off from the land of the living.” In other words, “Let’s kill him so people will forget him.” And, if they forget him, they most probably will forget his message.

But this takes a different turn as God makes Jeremiah aware of this plot against him. When Jeremiah is calling for God to reap judgment against them, we must recall what God has already said in chapter 1 as a warning to Jeremiah as he took on the assignment. In verse 8, He told Jeremiah to not fear them and to not be afraid of their faces. Jeremiah 1:19 is where God assured Jeremiah that the people would fight against him but not overcome him because the Lord would deliver him. It is assurance such as these verses that fuel Jeremiah’s reliance on the Lord as he hears God deal with the people of Anathoth “who plan to kill Jeremiah.” It is God’s deliverance balanced with His testing of hearts and minds that allows jeremiah to understand that God’s words ring true as He vows that not even a remnant of them shall remain.

Be Sure to Tune in This Week

Check out this week’s FREE Bible study outline. Be sure to review last week’s video from the livestream. And tune in Wednesday at 11 AM PST with your comments and questions for this week’s Live @ Lunch Bible Study.

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