Monthly Archives: August 2013

August 31

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 40:7-16, Jeremiah 41:1-18, Jeremiah 42:1-22, Jeremiah 43:1-13, Jeremiah 44:1-30.

Highlights: Today’s reading involves events in Jerusalem after the fall of the city. Gedaliah had been appointed governor by Nebuchadnezzar. He is assassinated and a group of fearful Jews are determined to flee to Egypt. They ask Jeremiah’s advice but do not listen. Jeremiah prophecies that if they flee to Egypt they will die in Egypt.

Isn’t it sad and tragic that 900 years after God set His people free from the Egyptian bondage, this group, that seems to have learned nothing, return to Egypt thinking there they will find happiness and protection?

How might Christians today be guilty of an even worse, sad, and tragic decision? Consider Galatians 4:9, 5:1, and 2 Peter 2:20-22.

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August 30

Today’s Text: Lamentations 3, 4, 5

Highlights: Jeremiah (presumed to be the author) continues to expressing his grief over the fallen city.  4:6 says that what happened to Jerusalem was worse than what happened to Sodom.  4:9 says those “killed by the sword are better off than those who die of famine; racked with hunger, they waste away for lack of food from the field”. The 3 chapters go back and forth between the topics of horror at the destruction, acknowledgement of sin and God’s righteousness, and begging God for restoration.

It is amazing that this passage that describes the darkest moment in the history of Judah also contains one of the most beautiful and promising statements about God’s mercy (3:22). Look closely at that verse and the verses surrounding it (21-41). What impresses you about God’s mercy and his goodness even when He disciplines his people?

 

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August 29

Today’s Reading: Lamentations 1, 2

Highlights: Yesterday we read about the fall of Jerusalem. Jeremiah chose to stay in Judah, near the city. Today and tomorrow we read about the sorrow he felt as he saw the destruction. In chapters 1 and 2 the prophet mourns over what was once God’s beautiful city – now destroy and her people in captivity, dead, or suffering. “My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city” (2:11).

One idea chapters 1 and 2 is that Jeremiah acknowledges that this has happened because of the nation’s sin and that God is just in judging.   “The LORD has brought her grief because of her many sins” (1:5), “Jerusalem has sinned greatly” (1:8).

Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there is a time to mourn. What circumstances in our lives might prompt us to mourn like what we see in the book of Lamentations?  What does Jesus promise to those who mourn in a godly way (Matt.5:4)?

 

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August 28 – The Fall of Jerusalem

Today’s Texts:  2 Kings 25:2-4, Jeremiah 39:2-18, Jeremiah 52:9-30;  2 Chron.36:17-21, 2 Kings 25:22, Jeremiah 40:1-6

Highlights: The sad day comes. The city is out of food and the wall of Jerusalem is broken through. Zedekiah and his army flee but are captured and taken to Babylon.  Zedekiah witnesses the execution of his sons and then his own eyes are put out. Nebuchadnezzar has Jerusalem destroyed, carries more into captivity, and leaves behind a few of the poorest of the people. Gedaliah is appointed governor.  Jeremiah is rescued from prison  and treated well by Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah chooses to remain in Jerusalem.

Zedekiah will indeed live as Jeremiah promised him (Jeremiah 34:3) but its tough to imagine a more horrible fate than he experienced this day. He might have preferred death.  What regrets do you think he had? What do you learn from his experience?

 

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August 27

Text: Jeremiah 37:3-21, Jeremiah 38:1-28

Highlights: Back to Jerusalem and the story of Jeremiah.  The Babylonians are temporarily distracted by the Egyptians causing some to think they will not destroy Jerusalem after all.  Jeremiah is falsely accused of deserting the city and is beaten and thrown into prison. Later he is accused of treason and thrown into a muddy cistern.  Zedekiah continues to call Jeremiah asking for “a word from the Lord”, but doesn’t have the courage or faith to do what he says.

According to 38:17, even at this late hour, if Zedekiah had surrendered, Jeremiah says his family would live and the city would not be burned. What does that teach about God and our need to repent?

Note: For those who would like some insight into the life of Jeremiah I would recommend the movie, “Jeremiah The Prophet”.  The latter part of the movie really does a good job portraying Jeremiah’s relationship with Zedekiah when the Babylonians come on Jerusalem.  You can find the full movie on YouTube.

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August 26

Today’s Text: Ezekiel 26, 27, 28

Highlights: God’s judgments on the nations continues. Chapter 26 and 27 concern the fall of Tyre. Chapter 28 concerns the King of Tyre and the nation of Sidon (Tyre’s neighbor conquered at the same time). Ezekiel 28:24 says “‘No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers and sharp thorns. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.” Chapter 28 closes with a promise of the regathering of the people of Israel to the land and a time of peace they will enjoy.
These visions were given the same year Jerusalem fell. God is using Babylon to punish all the nations including Judah. Eventually Babylon will also be punished. Even though Jerusalem is about to be destroyed, how are God’s people far better off that all of these other nations that are being destroyed? What does this teach us about the blessing of being a child of God and being disciplined by our  loving heavenly Father?

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August 25

Today’s Reading:  Ezekiel 25:1-17, 29:1-16, 30:1-26, 31:1-18

Highlights: In 2 days we return to Jerusalem and will read about its destruction. Today and tomorrow the reading focuses on God’s judgment of  the neighboring nations of Israel. The topic of Ezekiel 25-32 is God’s judgment on  Ammon, Moab, the Philistines, Tyre, Sidon, and Egypt.  These were written about the same time as the fall of Jerusalem.  God is using Babylon to punish these as well as Judah. “I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh will fall limp. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he brandishes it against Egypt” (30:25).  In chapter 31 Egypt is warned to remember how beautiful, powerful Assyria fell – a warning that they also will not escape.

Look closely at 29:1-7. What are some of the reasons God is judging Egypt? What about the Ammorites in 25:3-6?

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August 24

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-8, 33:14-26, 31:27-40

Highlights: Like yesterday, today’s reading is filled with hope. God will bring back His people from captivity and there will be a time of peace and prosperity. Some of this is fulfilled in the return from Babylon, but it also looks ahead for fulfillment in the coming of Jesus.  It speaks of a new, righteous king and the name by which He will be called is THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. 31:34 speaks of the forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 10:16-19 quotes this passage and says it is fulfilled in Jesus death on the cross.

“I will be their God and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). This is a frequent statement in both the Old and New Testaments  describing the relationship God longs to have with mankind. What are some of the obligations and blessings implied in this statement? How should we live to be sure it is true of us today?

 

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August 23

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 33:10-13, 30:1-24, 31:1-26

Highlights: Some of the readings lately have been filled with doom and condemnation (Ezekiel 23 – the ugliest chapter in the Bible?). Today’s reading is one of hope, promises of restoration and joy. “In the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted….. there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD, saying, “Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good; his love endures forever” (33:10-11). Today’s reading concludes with Jeremiah awakening (from a dream?) and he says “my sleep was sweet” (31:26).

Recently the prophet Ezekiel said Judah was a prostitute and we now see God describing the nation as the “virgin of Israel” (31:4, 21). One might wonder if He is talking about the same people? What do 31:3, 20 and other verses in this section say that can help us understand God’s feelings toward His people? What other factors might be involved?

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August 22

Today’s Text: Jeremiah 21:1-14, Jeremiah 22:1-9, Jeremiah 34:1-7, Jeremiah 32:1-44, Jeremiah 33:1-9

Highlights: Today we go back to Jeremiah who is prophesying in Jerusalem. King Zedekiah is very unstable. When the Babylonians surround the city he turns to Jeremiah for guidance. When he doesn’t like Jeremiah’s answer (Judah will fall to Babylon) he leaves him in prison. Part of Jeremiah’s prophesy is that though the city will fall, Zedekiah himself will not be put to death. There  are also several promises that after the captivity a remnant will return to Jerusalem and be blessed by God. As a witness to the firmness of this promise Jeremiah is told to invest in Judah’s real estate… it appears to be worthless now, but will someday be inhabited and valuable again.

Chapter 33 speaks of the return from captivity and resettlement of a righteous people in Judah.  It says the nations on earth will “hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it” (9).

Do we tend to be more in awed because of the good things God does or the severe judgments of God? Name one good thing God has done for us that should cause us to stand in awe of Him.

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