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Posts Tagged ‘captivity’

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

Covenants Come in Different Varieties

Covenants are designed to serve as binding agreements between two parties. In modern times, we might think of a contract with a signature by each party involved as a legally-binding agreement for business such as a commercial property lease or a purchase order with a supplier. Covenants in the Bible meant something different and deeper. Christians today need to understand the covenant relationship in order to truly grasp the atonement of sin through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross.

Old Testament passages tell us that covenants are established on two different levels:

  • Man-Man: 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.”
  • God-Man: “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.” (Bridgeway Bible Dictionary)

The New Covenant Offers Something Different

Look further in our Bible study discussion guide for this week to see more details about covenants in the Old Testament. Look at Jeremiah 31:31-34 for a better understanding of what God’s new covenant offered in comparison to the covenant broken by His people in the past.

Previous Covenants Broken by God’s People

not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them, declares the Lord – Jeremiah 31:32 (NASB)

Keep in mind that God’s people have a history of breaking covenants with God. It’s beyond simply being disobedient when you totally disregard it. Look at 1 Samuel 8:7-8 when the people demanded a king instead of Samuel’s sons who served as judges over Israel. They had been disobeying God and meddling with other gods since leaving Egypt.

https://youtu.be/avurasl9Ag0

Something New and Different with God

For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord: “I will put My law within them and write it on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. – Jeremiah 31:33 (NASB)

The new covenant was to be a new start for Judah and Israel with God.

Think about how that sounds and how that is supposed to work.

A group of people who just served 70 years in captivity in a foreign land full of godless folks will come back to their homeland and return to a restored relationship with their God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Their past behavior alone disqualified them. Despite whatever bad habits they might have picked up from their captors, they would just jump at the chance to be the chosen people again and serve God Almighty? It sounds like a stretch, but here’s how God planned to accomplish it.

They will not teach again, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their wrongdoing, and their sin I will no longer remember.

jeremiah 31:34 (NASB)

The relationship would become a more personalized relationship, according to God. It will go beyond the surface. It would be deeper than something superficial. God would be known by His people and they would know that He has forgiven them of their prior sins against them with the penalty having been paid with their captivity in Babylon.

If nothing else, it sounds a like a good start to reboot their relationship and see how long it takes these chosen people to drift away to other gods again.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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