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Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Now at that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard, which was at the house of the king of Judah (v. 2, NASB)

The Danger of the Royal Treatment

Jeremiah has found himself the target of royal displeasure. He is not the first character within the Bible to experience such treatment. Elijah was forced to take off and flee the wrath of Jezebel and Ahab in 1 Kings 19:3-8. It sounds awfully similar to John the Baptist in his dealings with Herod that led to his own imprisonment (Mark 1:14). It gives a whole new meaning to the term the “royal treatment.”

It was Jeremiah’s prophecy that had King Zedekiah on the defensive. God had broken down the bleak future of Zedekiah and his mother at the hands of the Chaldean invaders with an eventual death in Babylon. According to the words of the Lord, prophesied by Jeremiah, Zedekiah and his mother would die before the 70 years of captivity ended. They would never see the everlasting covenant with God’s redeemed people from Babylonian captivity.

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Jeremiah’s Prayer (in a Word Cloud)

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God’s Response to Jeremiah

31 “Indeed this city has been to Me a provocation of My anger and My wrath since the day that they built it, even to this day, so that it should be removed from My sight, 32 because of all the evil of the sons of Israel and the sons of Judah which they have done to provoke Me to anger—they, their kings, their leaders, their priests, their prophets, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

jeremiah 32:31-32 (NASB)

The Lord offers His justification for allowing the invaders from the North to lay siege against the corrupt city of Jerusalem and all of its inhabitants. His explanation described their disobedience and disregard for Him and their covenant.

They have turned their back to Me and not their face; though I taught them, teaching again and again, they would not listen to accept discipline. – Jeremiah 32:33 (NASB)

Everyone is responding to the first siege by the Chaldeans differently, especially as God reveals more of His plan.
IsraelJudahJeremiah
Chaldeans attacked the city of Jerusalem, sieging it & setting on fireZedekiah imprisoned the prophet Jeremiah based on his prophecyBuying land from Hanamel & buried the deed
Indeed, this city has been to Me a provocation of My anger and My wrath since the day that they built it. . . (v.31). . .Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it (v.4, NKJV)People will buy fields for money, sign and seal deeds, and call in witnesses in the land (v. 44)
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God’s way of dealing with them was to allow the abomination to be abolished by its invaders (v. 4, 31). There was no absolution for such act as defiling the the “house which is called by My name” in the Lord’s eyes. He would rather reserve an “everlasting covenant” for the remnant that would return to the land, another generation of the people sent into captivity. This being revealed in God’s response to Jeremiah’s prayer linked directly to the prophet’s directive to purchase the plot of land in Anathoth from his relative by the “right of redemption,” for in the future they will buy and sell land just as they had done before (v. 44).

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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.

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

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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.”

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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.

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In case you missed last week’s livestream: watch it here!!

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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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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/

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You have rejected me, declare the Lord; you keep going backward

So I have stretched out my hand against you and destroy you-

I am weary of relenting

Jeremiah 15:6 (ESV)

Four Destroyers Identified by the Lord

The Lord is set to unleash His wrath. He has declared to destroy those in rebellion. In the prior chapter, He brought up how He would consume His people with the sword, famine and pestilence. God is filled with plenty of anger regarding His people and He has plenty to say about their coming doom. In verse 3, God points out that there will be four kinds of destroyers: the sword, dogs, birds, and beasts. He lays out how each will destroy in its own way. It seems like each and every thing that God decides to use has its own purpose in His plan.

God Uses Whatever to Get Our Attention

God is no stranger to using a variety of measures to grab someone’s attention. Can you recall the ten plagues bak in Egypt? After all of that, Pharaoh still sought to take out Moses and the children of Israelites near the Red Sea. That was a whole different type of lesson learned there.

God will use whatever He needs to use in order to get our attention. In this case, it appears that much of this is a reminder to Israel and Judah for their wandering into idolatry, bowing before other gods and walking away from God by refusing to repent.

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Is God done yet? Take a wild guess. We’re scheduled to do each chapter in Jeremiah. That’s 52 chapters. We are only in chapter 15. I can only imagine what else has to say to His people. And there are plenty of weeks ahead of us to let us know that we will see more challenges.

Tune in for the Live @ Lunch Bible chat on Wednesdays at 11 AM PST. . . Follow the playlist: Bible Study & Beyond

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O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us,
Do it for Your name’s sake;
For our backslidings are many,
We have sinned against You.

Jeremiah 14:7 (NKJV)

The Reason for the Desolation

God’s people had gone astray and refused to turn back to God in repentance. It sounds simple, but it gotten real sticky for a while. God explains it when he points how these people “have loved to wander” and “not restrained their feet” (v. 10, NKJV). In other words, God’s got good reasoning for not supporting or supplying this people. The desolation leads to a newfound devastation that creates desperation.

The Desperate Request for Help

The request in verse 7 is as close as the wayward nation gets to saying that they have stirred up the anger of God. It is the closest thing that we see to an outright admission of their own iniquities and how they trespassed and transgressed against God. Yet, they only seek a rescue. They offer no repentance for their sins, just acknowledgement.

The Response to Desperate Cries for Help

“. . . Do not pray for the welfare for this people.” [Jeremiah 14:11(ESV)]. God just comes out and says it without any hesitation. This seems to echo what God shared in chapter 11 about not praying for these same people.

In fact, this is only the follow-up to God sharing that it is time to remember their sins and punish them accordingly for these sins.

When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence. (Jeremiah 14:12, NKJV).

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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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For the shepherds have become dull-hearted,

And have not sought the Lord

Jeremiah 10:21 (NKJV)

I want to circle back to Jeremiah 3:15 and help someone understand the complexity of what God says there in comparison to what we see here. Look at this week’s Bible study outline and see how it fits in, too. When we were in chapter 3 of Jeremiah, much of our attention was placed on the whoredom of Israel and Judah. However, it is in that same chapter where God promises to provided shepherds “according to My own heart.” But what is this that we’re seeing here where God is calling His own shepherds “senseless?”

God points out the lack of responsibility among the shepherds of God’s people. He even says: “The shepherds are senseless.” God shows that the shepherds lack of leadership left Him with no choice but to remove these shepherds and recover His sheep as in Jeremiah 31:10.

But He said that He would provide us shepherds, right?

When comparing Jeremiah 10:21 and Jeremiah 3:15, the problem that emerges comes in the form of contextual confusion. Keep in mind that Jeremiah 3:15 is a providential promise of God to Israel based on the conditional repentance of the “faithless children” in verse 14. Think in terms of prophecy. He says it in chapter 3, but that does not mean that He will fulfill that prophetic promise immediately. Failing to connect the dots right here will have you left with your mental wheels spinning out of control trying to figure out why God failed His flock. Like I said, think in terms of prophecy rather than immediate actions by God. Jeremiah 3:15 is an eventuality, while Jeremiah 10:21 is the status of the conditions as they stand at that moment. That’s the difference. That’s where we see the prophecy in comparison to the revelation of the current circumstances.

We’ll cover more about this on Wednesday at 11 AM as we dig into chapter 10.

You will find plenty of debate on the topic of shepherding God’s flock. Some will deem that it is the whole counsel of God or nothing at all except a compromised message. Countless interpretations use the contents in various contexts and plenty of communication has left numerous congregations in confusion. In essence, consider the role of the shepherd. Modern day Christians tend to mix and match many of the roles in the Old and New Testaments. We need to end the confusion and work with some sense of clarity on these concepts in order to clearly hear and accept God’s message through His Word with confidence.

I pray that you grasp the fact that we can mistakenly mislead others with our own misinterpretations.

#JeremiahJourney

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