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Posts Tagged ‘Judah’

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Turn up for that check and yeah I get it out the streets

Hustle like I’m starving going hard, I gotta eat

Kevin Gates, “Out of the Mud”

Someone is going to question why reference rapper Kevin Gates when speaking about Jeremiah. I’ve got an answer for that. Kevin Gates might be viewed as outspoken and challenging. That’s just like Jeremiah.

Download this week’s Bible study guide and see what I mean.

Why Would They Both be Considered Outspoken?

Gate spews raps of realism from the streets through his underground channels of distribution whether through album or mixtape, a realistic perspective that many try to downplay and keep hidden. He keeps it real, even when he speaks openly about society and stereotypes via YouTube interviews.

That’s what Jeremiah did. He spoke truth to power and was considered outspoken. He spoke the words of God and was looked upon as a problem by the court of princes in Judah (Jeremiah 38: 1-4). He was tossed in a cistern filled with mud that some deem as a “dungeon,” according to Jeremiah 38:6.

Why Would They Both be Considered Challenging?

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Kevin Gates isn’t the atypical rap image. Yes, “Out of the Mud” and other songs like “Really Really” speak of hustling and violent ways of life. But Gates is a different type of rap persona than most seeking to portray an image for their brand. He spoke openly an interview with Mike Tyson about being molested as a child and his violent upbringing.

Truthfully, if we look at it honestly, Kevin Gates is the product of his upbringing and a reflection of society leaving its children in harm’s way. That’s not what the labels tend to portray as a gangsta image to boost sales. That’s challenging for some to fathom. That’s challenging for some to understand and accept. That’s just too real for some folks.

In Jeremiah’s case, things got so bad to the point where he saw that others viewed him as challenging. He previously questioned King Zedekiah what wrong he had committed against him or others for his imprisonment (Jeremiah 37:18). Even in this chapter, Jeremiah questions if his life is in danger by answering the king of Judah according to the words of God in verse 15.

This chapter has some other discoveries, too. Jeremiah gets help from an odd place in the person of Ebed-Melech (Ebed-Melek), an Ethiopian eunuch whose name means “Servant of the King.” The eunuch sought out the king on Jeremiah’s nehalf and eventually got Jeremiah out of the muddy cistern and into more acceptable surroundings in the courtyard of the prison but still imprisoned.

That’s what comes to mind when you know you’ve developed a reputation for being challenging in the eyes of the powerful. And this chapter of Jeremiah openly depicts Jeremiah’s plight for being both outspoken and challenging in the eyes of others, especially those like King Zedekiah and the court of princes.

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When he was at the Benjamin Gate, a sentry there named Irijah the son of Shelemiah, son of Hananiah, seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are deserting to the Chaldeans.” - Jeremiah 37:13 (ESV)
Jeremiah was imprisoned falsely due to false accusations.

It was All Based on a Lie

Jeremiah was falsely imprisoned because he was falsely accused of “going over to the Chaldeans” (NASB). It was a lie. Jeremiah even said so in his protest of being seized at the time, according to verse 14. It was all based on a lie.

It didn’t matter.

But Irijah would not listen to him and seized Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. And the officials were enraged at Jeremiah, and they beat him and imprisoned him in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for it had been made a prison. – Jeremiah 37:15 (ESV)

False Accusations with Brutal Treatment and Cruel Confinement

Jeremiah is seized, beaten, and imprisoned due to the belief that he was an ally of the Chaldeans. He spent “many days” in captivity at the house of Jonathan the scribe. He was there under false accusations and found himself appealing to King Zedekiah to not return to confinement in that same location or potentially die.

Jeremiah also said to King Zedekiah, “What wrong have I done to you or your servants or this people, that you have put me in prison?

Jeremiah 37:18 (ESV)

No matter what Jeremiah had done. He had not lied about the inevitable invasion of Jerusalem and Judah. He had been forthright and straightforward with the words that God had shared with him. Even when summoned by the king of Judah during his imprisonment, Jeremiah still dropped the truth on the king that he would be handed over to the king of Babylon. He even appealed to the king of Judah for some relief from the confinement at Jonathan’s house.

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So King Zedekiah gave orders, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guard. And a loaf of bread was given him daily from the bakers’ street, until all the bread of the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.

Jeremiah 37:21 (ESV)

Help to Hold Fast

The lies can still hold us in captivity when we have not strayed from the Word of God nor the will of God. We can find ourselves subjected to all kinds of persecution due to our obedience, but we must endure and remain steadfast.

We learn that confinement at Jonathan’s was going to kill Jeremiah, so he made his appeal to the king of Judah. Jeremiah made his appeal in the hopes of the king making things easier for him.

But it wasn’t enough to get him free.

Yet, we watch on as he endures being wrongfully imprisoned and remaining steadfast to God’s direction and orders.

Download the Bible study guide for this week and explore more of what Jeremiah endured and experienced as the Babylonian invasion raged on in Jerusalem.

Look at Jeremiah. His story does not end here. This is not the end for Jeremiah. This is just another leg in the journey for the weeping prophet.

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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.

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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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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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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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. . . 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.

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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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