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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.

Watch this week’s Live @ Lunch Bible Study Wednesday at 11 AM

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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Tune in and join the conversation Live @ Lunch Bible Study
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As It is Written

“As it is written” is a phrase that appears in the Bible on 68 occurrences that appear in 33 different translations of the Bible, including KJV, ASV, MKJV, NASB, and HCSB. Matthew chapter 4 uses a different variation of the phrase in the NASB, for instance, but Jesus responds to the tempter repeatedly with a reference to what is written (vv. 4, 7, 10).

What we discover in Jeremiah chapter 36 is the importance of the written record. With all of the denial of what Jeremiah and other prophets were saying to God’s people, the written record would withstand the test of time and provide evidence of what was said over time.

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Many days mark the starting point of something new. Yet, today marks the start of multiple new beginnings.

  • 2021 30-Day Prayer Challenge
  • Shawna Cook of Brown Girl Bible Study releases pre-orders of her new book
  • Jeremiah Journey Week 35 continues with Live @ Lunch Bible Study

2021 30-Day Prayer Challenge

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer

Romans 12:12 (ESV)

As we embark on this prayer challenge to pray more day by day, we must keep the latter portion of this verse in mind.

“. . . be constant in prayer.”

Let us stay constant in prayer and consistent in our prayer life. Let this challenge serve as a means for you to learn more about prayer and your own prayer life as well as deepening your relationship with God through prayer. Join the challenge today!

Orders Being Taken for Brown Girl Bible Study

View the broadcast recording

My recent guest on Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce was Shawna Cook of Brown Girl Bible Study and she shared about her upcoming book which is a journal through the New Testament epistle of Philippians. Visit Brown Girl Bible Study to learn how to order your copy today.

The Jeremiah Journey Continues with Live @ Lunch Bible Study

We’ve been doing it chapter by chapter week by week. The plan is to continue doing it: chapter by chapter, week by week throughout 2021. It’s all 52 chapters of the Book of Jeremiah for all 52 weeks of the calendar year. It’s all about the weeping prophet and how he carried God’s message to God’s people despite their resistance and refusal to hear him openly. It’s all about getting a better understanding of what God’s Word says and what God’s Word has for you to learn and live out today.

Join us today!!
Word cloud of chapter 35

It all happens every Wednesday at 11 AM PST on our YouTube channel. Be sure to check it out today and visit our Bible Study & Beyond playlist to view past livestream episodes.

This week we look at chapter 35 and the rewards of obeying God’s commands. The chapter includes the Rechabites and their commitment to the commands of their forefather Jonadab. God uses this group of individuals and their collective dedication the commands of Jonadab to demonstrate a vital lesson to both Israel and Judah. Look further for more information on chapter 35 online beyond my own blog posts if that helps your Bible study and understanding of the text. There are other blogs with insights into the descendants of Jonadab and their obedience.

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"Prayer changes things, prayer changes things; if you believe, you shall receive, prayer changes things. . . " - Lyrics of "Prayer Changes Things" popularized by voices like Mahalia Jackson and the Georgia Mass Choir.

Prayer Changes Things

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

I have heard it said throughout the years. I’ve heard it during testimony periods upon testimony periods in church. I have heard the choir sing it with conviction from the choir loft time and time again. Plenty of other bloggers and other online content creators have shared it in one way or another in the blogosphere, noting how much prayer can impact things powerfully. Some even question if this idea of prayer changing things is even so. It’s nothing new to me in my spiritual journey.

But as I prepare for the 30-Day Prayer Challenge coming up this September, I can’t help but reflect on the notion that prayer changes things.

“Change requires action.”

John C. Maxwell

Beyond simply expecting something to happen because you have prayed over it or on it, laying it out before the Lord, I wonder what comes along with that for you. For me, it usually paves the way for a changed outlook on my part. I am a firm believer that even if prayer doesn’t change the outcome, it will most definitely change the outlook of the one praying if it is sincere and genuine supplication and petition to God Almighty. That’s what I expect out of prayer at the bare minimum: a new way of looking at the situation that sent me to my knees in the first place.

Ask yourself: What actions do I need to add to my prayer life?

Do you need to pray more for others than yourself?

Do you need to begin to get comfortable praying with others?

Do you need to find a way to listen to God more than you speak?

Join the 30-Day Prayer Challenge

If any of these are part of what you desire to do within your prayer life, I invite you and implore you to join us this September in the 30-Day Prayer Challenge. Simply add your email via the sign-up form and receive the FREE September 2021 30-Day Prayer Challenge Calendar. In addition, you will receive weekly emails encouraging and equipping you for a stronger prayer life.

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Check out last week’s livestream now.

Week 33 Recap

What we learned from this chapter:

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” – Jeremiah 33:3 (NASB)

We missed Pastor Powell on this last livestream, but we hope to have him back in our midst come next week.

The topics from Week #33 were:

  • Jeremiah is still in prison, imprisoned by King Zedekiah and God’s word came to him a second time (v. 2)
  • God is fighting against Israel and Judah through the Chaldeans (v. 5)
  • God outlines His plans for Judah and Jerusalem (vv. 6-17)
  • God backs up His promises with Himself and His ability as surety (vv. 19-26)
  • We also covered surety as guarantee or co-signer for another’s debt and the LORD vs Lord debate.

Make sure to download the Show Notes from Week #33

Download the FREE Bible Discussion Guide for Week 34.

Week 34: God’s Covenant Calls for Debt Relief

God Introduced the Concept as He Made His Covenant

1 At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. 2 This is the manner of remission: Every creditor shall cancel what he has loaned to his neighbor. He is not to collect anything from his neighbor or brother, because the LORD’s time of release has been proclaimed. 3 You may collect something from a foreigner, but you must forgive whatever your brother owes you. – Deuteronomy 15:1-3

4 There will be no poor among you, however, because the LORD will surely bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, 5 if only you obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commandments I am giving you today. 6 When the LORD your God blesses you as He has promised, you will lend to many nations but borrow from none; you will rule over many nations but be ruled by none. – Deuteronomy 15:4-6

In most cases, this sector of the Scriptures is called the Law. Within the Law, Deuteronomy 15 offers us what is referred to as the “year of release.” This was not just a law about the limitations of bondage and enslavement. It is not just part of God’s covenant with Israel. It is an expectation that God’s people obey and observe it as part of their commitment to God.

. . . but you must forgive whatever your brother owes you. (v. 5)

Look at what the Bible says about the seventh year beyond Deuteronomy 15 (Exodus 23:10-13Leviticus 25:1-7). Use the resources from Bible Study Help to assist you with viewing the Bible online and using Bible study tools, even which sites stand out as our top 5 favorite Bible study sites online.

God Revisits the Concept in the Hopes of Renewing His Covenant

Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘I made a covenant with your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, saying, At the end of seven years each of you shall set free his Hebrew brother who has been sold to you and has served you six years, you shall send him out free from you; but your forefathers did not obey Me or incline their ear to Me.

Jeremiah 34:13-14 (NASB)

God’s spoken word to Jeremiah is a reminder of what He had already established in His covenant with your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage (v. 13). He points out how it was not obeyed by the children of Israel in the past.

Therefore thus says the LORD, ‘You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming release each man to his brother and each man to his neighbor. Behold, I am proclaiming a release to you,’ declares the LORD, ‘to the sword, to the pestilence and to the famine; and I will make you a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth. I will give the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not fulfilled the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between its parts

Jeremiah 34:17-18 (NASB)

God says openly how He plans to deal with those who have not fulfilled the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between its parts. He doesn’t paint a pretty picture of what will transpire. He makes it plain who He is talking about, too. He points out in verse 19: the officials of Judah, the officials of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf (ESV). He speaks plainly about what He aims to do in verses 20-21.

And I will give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives. Their dead bodies shall be food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth. And Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives, into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon which has withdrawn from you.

Jeremiah 34: 20-21 (ESV)

God’s dealings with the king and the officials are not simply in defense of the debtors. God’s dealing with their disobedience and dishonor of the covenant just like their forefathers. He shows that He will exercise His power with anger and fury in order to prove true to His own word, His covenant with His people.

God’s covenant called for debt relief and since it was not handled appropriately, God’s got an answer for that.

Friday Freebie: 30-Day Prayer Challenge Calendar Download

Are you prayerful?

You know it’s a compound word [“prayer” + “full”] which translates as “full of prayer.” It means expressive in prayer; given to prayer; devout.

Let me ask it another way.

Are you in continuous communion,connection, and communication with God?

I can imagine that’s got your mental wheels spinning as you question yourself about your prayer life, but here’s something to address that. Get involved in the 2021 30-Day Prayer Challenge as we tackle the act of prayer throughout the month of September. If nothing else, you will definitely be able to say by the end of September this year that you learned more about your own prayer life and what God’s Word says about prayer. As E.M. Bounds famously said: “Prayer is humbling work.”

Take the 2021 30-Day Prayer Challenge this September. Simply subscribe here and receive the FREE September 2021 30-Day Prayer Challenge Calendar. Sign up for our new weekly e-newsletter as part of the 30-Day Prayer Challenge for September. Don’t forget: you’ve got to subscribe here to get the FREE 30-Day Prayer Challenge Calendar.

Join us Wednesday at 11 AM PST

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Snapshot of Week 32 Livestream

Join the conversation!!

This week we looked at chapter 32 and Jerusalem Under Siege. We had a deep discussion on the “right of redemption” from Leviticus as exercised by Jeremiah to buy the field in Anathoth from Hamanell as well as Jeremiah’s prayer and God’s answer to him about the future of Israel and Judah. Be sure to download the show notes as a help to catch up on this episode and access resources mentioned during the livestream.

God: The Ultimate Promise Keeper

If I had to depend on somebody coming through with a promise, I am going to go with God.

People are ultimately and oftentimes fallible.

If I am going to stand on anything in my faith, it’s going to be on the promises of God.

People can stand up in church and pledge to give all they have to the building fund or they can sign up to volunteer to pass out food at the next food distribution, but let’s face reality. Sometimes the check never arrives for the building fund. Some folks sign up but don’t show up when it comes to service. That’s just how it goes with people sometimes.

I love when Isaiah says in Isaiah 2:22: “Stop trusting the power of humans. They are all going to die, so how can they help?” (CEV). That is true to life food for thought.

God’s Promise to David

We covered this already, but I have to go back and hare it again, so that you can see two things:

  1. God’s Word offers confirmation upon confirmation of its contents being in synch across time periods.
  2. God backs up His own promises Himself

God promised David that one from His lineage would serve on the throne of an everlasting kingdom. This is known as the Davidic Covenant. In Jeremiah, God refers to an “everlasting covenant” multiple times. These both are in conjunction, working together for the fulfilment of God’s promise to David His servant and to His people Judah and Israel.

Many will refer to Psalm 110 and 2 Samuel 7 as the root of the Davidic Covenant. God offers a branch of righteousness through the son of Jesse. Jesus questioned the Pharisees about it and its reference to the Son of David in Matthew chapter 22. But no matter how much time has transpired, God has not forgotten His promise to David. And we so in this chapter as God points out His promises about Judah and Israel.

For thus says the Lord: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel

jeremiah 33:17 (NKJV)

God’s His Own Surety

God’s final words in chapter 33 are an example of Him not backing down on any of His promises:

I will never abandon the descendants of Jacob or David, my servant, or change the plan that David’s descendants will rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them. (v. 26, NLT)

If you look in this week’s Bible Discussion Study Guide, you find the word surety. That’s a word used in the King James Version. We don’t use it much nowadays However, we’re familiar with the concept. We would call it co-signing for someone in case they were unable to pay their debts. The Bible offers a strict warning against this in Proverbs 22:26, telling people not to act as “sureties for debts.”

God is able to serve as His own surety simply based upon His limitless power and ability. You can’t get that from man. He can’t give you that type of guarantee or assurance. Only God can offer to come through time and time again throughout the test of time.

Don’t ask anyone else. Check His track record. Look throughout the Bible and see it over and over again.

Don’t take anyone else’s word for it. Wasn’t He there for you? Didn’t He come through for you? When you didn’t have another soul to turn to, didn’t He do it for you?

Join us for another lively discussion on God’ Word, especially as we look at God backing up His promises in Jeremiah chapter 33.

Live at 11 AM PST Wednesday

Back Again with the Friday Freebie

Parallel Bible available on Amazon

The Bible can be viewed in multiple translations at the same time. You don’t have juggle with a stack of different versions of the Bible to conduct adequate and serious Bible study. In print, some publishers have developed a parallel Bible. These tend to be bulky and limited in their selection of translations as well as pricey. In many cases, it can be a cumbersome book to work with.

So what do I suggest?

View the Bible in multiple translations simultaneously online. Sites like Biblegateway.com or Bible.com, even Studylight.org and others offer an option for viewing the Bible in side-by-side parallel format. Watch this FREE video mini tutorial and see how easy it is to access the Bible in multiple translations online.

Some people might prefer to hold the Word in their hands might still want to explore the various parallel Bibles available in print. Here’s a link to a page with multiple parallel Bibles available on Amazon.

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I stated it plainly: I own some and have been gifted some Nike gear but I am not supporting a winged Greek goddess of victory

It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t scripted. It was just a little insight I was sharing based upon our discussion on what is a covenant.

I wasn’t trying to step on any toes. I wasn’t trying to offend anyone. My intention was to inform. I’m not judging anyone. I’m not condemning them either.

I am just not going to support a winged Greek goddess bearing a swoosh with my hard-earned money or the money that a local church might share with me as a guest minister in the pulpit, even the faithful believers who support my ministry with occasional free will gifts.

I just cannot do it with Nike.

What’s that about?

When I Discovered Who Nike Really Is

I was attending community college in San Diego in the late 90s and spending a lot of time at the library with my nose in all sorts of books and publications. One of my main research topics was world religions. While browsing through a book on world belief systems for empowerment, confidence and motivation, I discovered who Nike really is.

Nike: Greek Winged Goddess of Victory

  • Greek mythological goddess, child of one of the Titans
  • Symbols: wings, golden sandals, wreath
  • Known as: “the Winged Goddess”
  • Famous stone statue depicting Nike erected in ancient city of Ephesus

What God Says about Other Gods

You shall have no other gods before Me.

exodus 20:3 (NKJV)

Let me break this verse down in its context. it will make plenty of sense to you when you consider that this verse follows God introducing Himself: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

  • the Lord your God: He asserted Himself as their God, not as the God of their fathers as before with the burning bush to Moses on Mount Horeb and through Moses and Aaron in Egypt
  • who brought you out of the land of Egypt: He reminds them of His marvelous miracle at the Red Sea that allowed them to escape to freedom but also wiped out the mightiest army on the face of the earth at the time
  • out of the house of bondage: He is sure to stress that their outcries for relief from the burden of bondage that seemed to go unheard and unattended were taken care of in the deliverance that he provided them

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me

Exodus 20:5 (ESV)

God’s a jealous God. That says enough right there if we just stop where it says: “a jealous God.” Based upon this warning alone, it would seem only just to not try and play games with God in this regard.

for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God

Exodus 34:14 (NKJV)

The connection to covenants comes in Exodus 34 as God makes a covenant with the children of Israel prior to driving out the inhabitants of the Promised Land. That’s where it is right there. That’s how it fits. God, “whose name is Jealous,” wants you all to Himself and that covenant makes it binding. No other gods have any place in that equation.

Determined Not to Entangle Myself with Anything Like That

Man, I was floored. I think I had tennis for P.E. coming up and I had Nike all over me, including shoes, socks, shorts, and maybe even the shirt. I felt some kind of way about it, even tried to rationalize it. That was all up until I read a little deeper and understood a little bit more about Nike’s influence in historic cities like Ephesus, a city I was familiar with from reading and studying the Bible. Finally, I just made a decision after some consideration, prayer, and quiet time.

I just couldn’t just do it with Nike anymore.

Watch the discussion on other gods as I share about Nike in last week’s livestream

Sporting But Not Supporting

Like I said before, I might own some Nike items leftover from Father’s Day and birthday gifts, even stuff from the 90s when I didn’t know any better. I think it all might amount to 4 or 5 pairs of socks, a sweatsuit, a pair of sweatpants, and maybe 2 pairs of Nike shorts. No Nike shoes. No Jordans either.

You might catch me working out or playing basketball in the Nike shorts. Occasionally, you’ll see me in the sweatsuit or sweatpants. And those socks tend to make their rounds when I wear my steel-toe boots because of their thickness (You know those socks they get you for father’s Day like an afterthought while they’re shopping in Kohl’s or JC Penney.) At worst, you’ll spot me on the Nike Run app but once Strava or Garmin, even Samsung Health, get it together a little better then I am game to switch over whether I lose followers in the community or not.


Tune in this week and watch Live @ Lunch Bible Study as we continue with the Jeremiah Journey. We study the Book of Jeremiah week by week, chapter by chapter for 2021 every Wednesday at 11 AM PST.

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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.

http://Live at 11 AM PST Wednesdays

Jeremiah’s Prayer (in a Word Cloud)

Download this week’s FREE Bible Study Guide

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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