Category Archives: 24 – Jeremiah

Becoming an Ebed-Melech


Daily Bible Reading – Jeremiah 37-39; Psalm 79; 2 John

Today’s Key Passage – Jeremiah 38:1-13

 

In today’s key passage, we find another of the lesser-known heroes of the Bible.  The prophet Jeremiah was very unpopular in his day, and our story begins with him being thrown into a cistern by some of the king’s officials. (Vs. 6)  Jeremiah was stuck in the mud at the bottom of the cistern, and would surely die without intervention.  Ebed-Melech, whose name literally translates to “servant of the king”, was an official in the royal palace.  When he heard what happened to Jeremiah, he faced a dilemma.  Because of his faith in God, He realized that the murder plot was wrong and wanted to come to Jeremiah’s aid, but speaking out in Jeremiah’s defense could have been dangerous and could have caused him to face his own persecution.  Fortunately for Jeremiah, Ebed-Melech’s fear of God was greater than his fear of people, so without hesitation he went to the king of Judah to plead Jeremiah’s case. (Vss. 8-9)  With the king’s blessing, Ebed-Melech took thirty of the kings men and saved Jeremiah from his certain death. (Vss. 11-13)

The dilemma faced by Ebed-Melech is one that is still common today.  For example, when we see someone treated badly, we can choose to go along with the crowd or we can choose to stand up for them with love.  Anytime we see an injustice in this world, we will likely face the decision between the fear of man and the fear of God.  As followers of Christ, the fear of God must always win this battle in our hearts and in our minds.  We can all become an “Ebed-Melech” for others, helping them in their times of need.  When we do, we can demonstrate God’s amazing love for us by loving other people, and we can truly be a servant to the King of Kings.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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The Fixed Laws of Heaven and Earth


Daily Bible Reading – Jeremiah 33, 34; Psalm 74; 1 John 5

Today’s Key Passage – Jeremiah 33:19-26

 

Most things in life are fairly unpredictable.  We never know what opportunities or challenges we might face tomorrow, or where we will be in five years.  There are, however, certain things that we can count on to be predictable.  For example, we know that on this day in 2111, the sun will rise at 6:56 am and set at 8:04 pm here in Texas.  In addition, we know that the next total solar eclipse will occur on November 13, 2012, and that Halley’s Comet will be seen again on July 28, 2061.  We are able to predict all of these things because there are a fixed set of laws that govern the movement of everything in the universe.

In today’s key passage, God uses these fixed laws of Heaven and earth to illustrate the certainty of His promises to His covenant people.  He says, “If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Vss. 25-26)  Just as we can trust in the movement of the heavens, we can trust in the promises of God.  We can trust Him when He says He hears our prayers (1 John 5:14-15), He will provide for us (Matthew 6:31-32), and that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8)  Most importantly, we can trust Him when He says we can have eternal life. (John 3:16)  Just as God’s laws have governed the universe since creation, His promises for each of us are sure and everlasting.  Trust in Him, and know that He is unchanging and infallible.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Against All Odds


Daily Bible Reading – Jeremiah 31, 32; 1 John 4

Today’s Key Passage – Jeremiah 32:1-27

 

The odds of winning the main lottery jackpot in Texas are roughly 25 million to one.  Despite this fact, millions of people spend their hard-earned money each week on tickets.  It is not that people do not know the odds.  In fact, they are readily available on the Internet and are even printed on the back of each ticket.  When people choose to play the lottery, it is because they are betting against all of the odds that they might win.

The people of Judah were facing some difficult odds.  The prophet Jeremiah was in prison for speaking out against the sins of Judah, and the Babylonian armies had Jerusalem surrounded. (Vs. 2)  All signs were pointing to Judah’s predicted fall.  That is when the Lord spoke to Jeremiah and told him that one of his cousins was coming to ask him to buy a piece of land. (Vs. 7)  Although enemy soldiers already occupied the land in question, God told Jeremiah to make the purchase from his cousin.  Even though all of the facts at the time said the land was worthless, Jeremiah went against all of the odds and obeyed God.  He did not necessarily understand God’s request (Vs. 25), but he trusted God when He said, “houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land”. (Vs. 15)

There are many times in this life when the odds may seem to be stacked against us, and it is in these times when God asks us to step out in faith and trust in His promises.  In those times, our human minds might want to focus on the dismal facts at hand.  We can all choose, however, to go against the odds.  We can choose to bet on God to do the impossible as we remember his encouraging words to Jeremiah: “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Vs. 27)  Even when things seem desperate, God can always find a way.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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The Temporary Exile


Daily Bible Reading – Jeremiah 28-30; 1 John 3

Today’s Key Passage – Jeremiah 29:10-14

 

The people of Judah were in a bad place.  For years, they sinned against God and ignored the prophecies of their impending punishment.  Finally, the worst happened.  Their land was invaded and the people were sent off into exile to Babylon.  Ripped from their homes, they must have faced a tremendous amount of fear, worry, and doubt about their futures.   During these dark times, the people of Judah must have wondered whether God had forgotten them or forsaken them.  Fortunately, a word of hope came to them from the very same source they spent so long ignoring.  Through the prophet Jeremiah, God provided the exiles with a glimpse of what was to become of them.  He told them that for seventy years they would be in exile in Babylon, but that God would eventually call them back home. (Vs. 10)  God had a plan for His people, and His plan involved giving them a new beginning.  He was using their time in exile as a way of preparing the people to follow Him.  He was looking forward to a time when the people would call upon Him, and He would answer them. (Vs. 12)  He was looking forward to a time when the people would seek Him with all of their hearts. (Vs. 13)

We all face times when we feel like maybe God has forgotten about us.  We all face times when we wonder if He has forsaken us.  In the darkest of times, we can all start listening to the wrong voices in our heads that tell us lies and try to damage our faith.  In those times, though, we too can find a glimmer of hope knowing that God might be preparing us for a new beginning.  He might be preparing us for a time when we will seek Him with all of our hearts.  He might be preparing us for a time when He can finally use us in the way He most desires.  In your worst hours, embrace the promises of God.  Cling to His words as he says, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Vs. 11)  No matter how bad things might be, we can rest in the promise that our “exile” is only temporary.  We can rest in the promise that one day, we will all be called back home.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Burning the Scroll


Daily Bible Reading – Jeremiah 26, 35, 36; John 20

Today’s Key Passage – Jeremiah 36:1-26

 

In today’s key passage, we find an interesting story about Jehoiakim, king of Judah.  God asked Jeremiah to write His prophecy against Judah on a scroll (Vs. 2), and this scroll was taken to the temple and read aloud. (Vs. 10)  Eventually, the scroll was taken to Jehudi, who read it to King Jehoiakim. (Vs. 21)  As the scroll was read, every time Jehoiakim heard three or four columns of the prophecy that he did not like, he cut those sections out of the scroll and burned them, until eventually, God’s entire message was burned. (Vs. 23)  Though God was trying to get the people of Judah to repent, Jehoiakim did not want to listen to His message because He had no fear of the Lord. (Vs. 24)

I think most of us would agree that we would never think of literally burning the Bible.  Sadly, though, most of us figuratively burn God’s Word more often than we would like to admit.  God tells us to love our enemies, yet how often do we all think of them with something less than love in our hearts?  God tells us to spread the Gospel, yet how many times do we all neglect to share the life-changing message of salvation with someone because we do not feel like the time is right?  How many times do we all selectively “cut” parts out of the Bible that seem too hard for us to obey, and ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit for us to change?  See, every time we ignore any part of God’s Word or choose to live in disobedience, we are effectively “burning the scroll”.  We must never forget that ALL scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), even the parts that seem extremely difficult for us individually.  God does not want our partial compliance.  He is looking for total obedience to His Word, so we can live a life that is holy and worthy of His name.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

What Kind of Tree Would You Be?


Daily Bible Reading – Jeremiah 16,17; Psalm 96; John 16

Today’s Key Passage – Jeremiah 17:5-8

 

Years ago, I was interviewing for a new job when the interviewer asked me perhaps the most clichéd question in the history of employment – “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?”  To this day, I have never really known how to answer this question.  I have always been a pragmatic person, so a question like this has always seemed silly to me.  I could have said I would be an oak – strong and dependable, or a pine – flexible and resilient.  I could have said I would be an evergreen – full of life every single day.  To be honest, none of these answers would have really meant much to me.  Fortunately, today I found a much better answer to this question in God’s Word.

In today’s key passage, God is speaking through the prophet Jeremiah about the difference between putting our trust in men versus putting our trust in God.  He says that some people put their trust in men and depend on their own strength as they turn away from God. (Vs. 5)  These people are like a barren bush living in the desert. (Vs. 6)  In contrast, some people put their trust firmly in God.  These people are like a tree planted next to a stream, whose leaves are always green and who never has to worry about a drought because it will always bear fruit. (Vs.  8)

As we walk through our lives, we have a choice to make every day.  Which kind of tree will we be?  Will we put our trust in men and settle for a life barren and devoid of God’s blessings, or will we put our faith and trust in God and bear fruit for Him daily?  The next time I am asked this question in an interview, I will know exactly how to answer.  I want to be a tree planted by a stream.  I want to put my whole trust in God.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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The Linen Belt


Daily Bible Reading – Jeremiah 13-15; John 15

Today’s Key Passage – Jeremiah 13:1-11

 

In today’s key passage, we find a very interesting illustration.  God tells Jeremiah to buy a new linen belt and wear it around his waist. (Vs. 1)  At that time, a linen belt was an intimate piece of clothing, comparable to the underwear of today.  After Jeremiah wore the belt, God directed him to take it off and hide it in some rocks near a river. (Vs. 4)  After many days, God told Jeremiah to return to Perath and retrieve the belt. (Vs. 6)  After sitting in the elements, the belt that was once perfect and clean was ruined and completely useless. (Vs. 7)

The belt was symbolic of the people of Judah.  They were once a people who were close to God, just as the belt was once close to Jeremiah.  Over time, though, the people of Judah allowed pride to come into their hearts, and this pride was as damaging to the people of Judah as the elements were to the belt.  Eventually, that pride ruined them and rendered them completely useless to God.

This perfect picture of backsliding is as relevant today as it was for the Israelites.  When we are first saved, we all begin a close personal relationship with God.  If we are not careful, though, we can allow the “elements” to damage that relationship.  We can start to feel pride about our salvation or about our good works, and pretty soon, we end up ruined and completely useless.  Do not allow anything to come between you and God, because with Him, we are clean and new, but without Him, we are just a dirty belt.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Ignoring the Scarecrows


Daily Bible Reading – Jeremiah 10-12; John 14

Today’s Key Passage – Jeremiah 10:1-5

 

When a farmer is having trouble with birds eating his crops, he erects a scarecrow or two in his field.  When the birds see the scarecrow, more often than not they are so afraid that it might be a real person they do not bother landing in the field or eating the crops.  The interesting thing is that scarecrows alone have no power.  A scarecrow in a field cannot actually hurt a bird, but the birds do not realize this and are afraid anyway.  If the birds were smart, they would come to understand that a scarecrow is not something to fear, because a scarecrow is really just an advertisement that there must be a good crop of food.

Most of the things that we fear most in life are like scarecrows.  We worry that we might lose our jobs, that we might be diagnosed with a terminal illness, or that something bad might happen to someone we care about.  These “what if’s” cause us to live our lives with fear.  In today’s key passage, God, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, is warning the people of Judah about some of the irrational fears they had.  He says, “Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.” (Vs. 5)  See, when we see a scarecrow popping up in our lives, we have to make a choice.  We can hide and be afraid based on the chance that the scarecrow might be real, or we can realize that the scarecrow has no power.  Sometimes the scarecrows in our lives are really an advertisement for God’s blessings.  When we are afraid to step out in faith and do something great for God, that scarecrow should tell us that we might be afraid because a “good crop” of God’s blessings is ahead.  Instead of living your life in fear of the “what if’s”, remember the words of Jesus when He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)  This peace that Jesus gives us allows us to walk without fear.  This peace allows us to ignore the scarecrows.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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The Reluctant Servant


Daily Bible Reading – Jeremiah 1, 2; John 10

Today’s Key Passage – Jeremiah 1:4-19

 

In the Bible, we find numerous stories of reluctant servants.  Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we see countless examples of people who are afraid, for one reason or another, to step out in faith for God.  Moses did not feel he was good enough to lead his people. (Exodus 3:11)  The Israelites did not feel they were strong enough to face the “giants” living in the Promised Land. (Numbers 13:31)  Today we find another example in the story of Jeremiah.

During the reign of King Josiah, God spoke to Jeremiah and told him that he was to be a prophet to the nations (Vs. 5), but Jeremiah responded by saying, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” (Vs. 6)  Jeremiah was lacking in self-confidence.  He did not feel that he was adequate enough, and his fears and his doubts about himself were threatening to keep him from stepping out in faith for God.  Of course, God was not going to let Jeremiah’s fears keep him from fulfilling His plan.  He rebuked Jeremiah for thinking he was “only a child” (Vs. 7), and said, “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.” (Vs.  8)  Then, God reached out his hand and touched Jeremiah’s mouth, saying, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.” (Vs. 9)  See, God understood Jeremiah’s fears.  He knew that Jeremiah was reluctant not because he did not want to serve, but because he did not think he was good enough to serve.  Knowing this, God eased Jeremiah’s fears by promising to be with him and by giving him the power to do what God was asking him to do.

I think we find so many stories in the Bible of reluctant servants because God knows His creation so well.  He knows that most of us are going to be fearful when He shows us His plans for us.  He knows that most of us are going to feel like we are not good enough, strong enough, or knowledgeable enough to step out in faith and serve Him.  That is why in each of these stories, He shows us that the promises He made to the people in the Bible are the same promises He makes to us today.  He promises that He will be with us and will rescue us, and then He gives us the power we need to fulfill His vision for our lives.  Do not let your doubts about yourself stop you from doing what God is calling you to do.  Focus on His promises and His power, and allow Him to guide you as you step out in faith.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Seeking God’s Will


Daily Bible Reading – Jeremiah 42-44; Psalm 48; Revelation 13

Today’s Key Passage – Jeremiah 42:1-43:7

 

The Babylonians had conquered the kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem was destroyed.  Many of the inhabitants had been taken into exile, and very few remained in the land.  Those that remained came to Jeremiah and wanted him to ask God what He wanted them to do next. (Vss. 1-2)  They wanted to seek God’s will, and they promised to obey God and do whatever He told them to do. (Vs. 6)  Jeremiah prayed to God and sought His will as requested, and ten days later, he had God’s answer. (Vs. 7)  Jeremiah told the people that God wanted them to stay where they were. (Vs. 10)  God did not want the people to go to Egypt to try to escape the Babylonians, and promised to protect them only if they chose not to go. (Vss. 11-17)  Of course, God already knew that the people would not listen to Him.  He knew that they were a rebellious people who had already planned to go to Egypt and merely wanted God to go along with their plan. (Vss. 18-22)  As expected, the people disobeyed God and forgot their promise to do whatever He told them to do, and they went to Egypt despite God’s warnings. (Vss. 43:4-7)

As followers of Christ, we all want to know what God’s will is for our lives.  We pray to Him seeking His will, and we promise to obey Him and do whatever He tells us to do next.  However, seeking God’s will is not enough…we have to be willing to follow through.  How often does God tell us His will, but it seems too big for us?  How often do we convince ourselves that we must not have heard from God because His instructions seemed too difficult?  How often do we hear God’s words but rationalize that it must have been someone else’s voice because if we obeyed we might be uncomfortable?  My prayer for each of us today is that we gain the wisdom to discern God’s voice, and the courage to act on His will.  I pray that His will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

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