Isaiah prophesied until the reign of Manasseh. History tells us that Isaiah was sawn in half by this wicked king (Hebrews 11:37). After Manasseh, came Amon, and Amon was succeeded by King Josiah, this begins the time-frame of the ministry of Jeremiah, in the “thirteenth year of his reign” (Jeremiah 1:2). Jeremiah would go on to prophecy through all the other kings of Judah (Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah). Jeremiah prophesied the judgment of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians – and he would live to see it all. The time-frame is 626 B.C. and beyond the captivity which culminated in 586 B.C.
Jeremiah is often called the weeping prophet. There would be much to weep about over the years. Some say he didn’t have a single convert. If that’s the case it must have been an excruciatingly painful ministry. But clearly Jeremiah was called by God, even before the foundations of the earth – God had ordained him a prophet to the nations.
Jeremiah was young when he was called, and lacked that confidence, but God put the words in his mouth, and gave him divine authority as His ambassador.
Jeremiah had visions of a branch of an almond tree and a boiling pot facing the north. God would speak visually, to and through the prophet. The new branch symbolized that a new fresh work of judgment from God was on its way, and the boiling pot from the north – represented the Babylonians.
God’s people had left their first love.
Jeremiah 1:16 (NKJV) “I will utter My judgments against them concerning all their wickedness, because they have forsaken Me, burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.”
Jeremiah was commanded to speak with boldness – not fear. Even though he would be hated by kings, princes, priests, and the people of the land (they would resist his every word) God promised to protect him, they would not prevail against him.
In Jeremiah chapter 2 we have the many reasons the LORD was forced to judge His people.
In their early stages the nation was tender and true, there was love in their betrothal (Jeremiah 2:2). But that didn’t last long. When God blessed them with the land they quickly forgot who it was that had freed them from Egypt and sustained them in the wilderness. Something we’ll see frequently in this book is that the priests and leaders did not truly know the Lord (Jeremiah 2:8).
Jeremiah mentions the idolatry the nation was guilty of. He even reveals that they had as many gods as they had cities (Jeremiah 2:28). The nation that was so intimate with the one true and living God, had gradually “changed” – something unheard of!
Jeremiah 2:11 (NKJV) “Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their glory for what does not profit.”
Jeremiah 2:13 (NKJV) “For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
In doing so they brought judgment upon themselves (Jeremiah 2:17).
I hope and pray that as we read through the book of Jeremiah, we’ll truly search our souls. Let’s be honest…are there any idols in my heart? Is there anything or anyone I’m putting before God? Have we left our first love? Some may even be backslidden (Jeremiah 2:19). God’s grace is amazing but He doesn’t mess around…I hope we hear that loud and clear.
Jeremiah 2:19 (NKJV) “‘Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the LORD your God, and the fear of Me is not in you,’ says the Lord GOD of hosts.”
Isn’t it beautiful to read the terms of endearment that Paul has for the Philippians? “Beloved, longed-for brethren, joy and crown.” This church was truly a blessing to him.
But they weren’t a perfect church (there aren’t any out there). Paul specifically asks a couple of the sisters to work out their differences, he asks Euodia and Syntyche “to be of the same mind” (Philippians 2:5). He even asks one of the Philippians he refers to as a “true companion” to help these women out, who had labored with him in the Gospel. Paul mentions other fellow-workers whose names have been written in the Book of Life.
As Paul begins to close the book he does so with a series of exhortations.
Rejoice in the Lord – ALWAYS!
Be so consistently gentle that your gentleness is known to all men – Jesus is coming!
We can conquer any worry or anxiousness through thorough prayer. If we pray obediently, the peace of God becomes the power of God to guard our hearts and minds.
Not only must we pray obediently, we must also THINK obediently. In a book that mentions the mind nine times, again, Paul emphasizes the fact that we must fill our minds (meditate) on those things which are noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. We are to meditate on those things which are praiseworthy. Remember, “You are what you eat!” We need to “eat” healthy in order to be healthy Christians. What a blessing it is to spend time taking in God’s Word and the good things He has done in so many lives; reflecting on the beautiful things He has made. Let’s not neglect the power of Godly meditation!
Paul closes the letter by thanking the Philippians for the financial gift they had sent his way. It brought him joy that they cared for him (Philippians 4:10), but Paul was radically different than the false teachers who were fleecing the flock. Paul had learned to be content with whatever he had; if the donations were rolling in, it didn’t become his god. If he had little, and had to go hungry, no worries, that meant it was time to fast. He still served the Lord, and the ministry went forward. It’s here where Paul makes that wonderful declaration:
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
What a great lesson to learn, to be content wherever we are; to learn to live within our means. The rich man is not the one with lots of money, because he almost always wants more – the rich man is simply the content man.
1 Timothy 6:6 (NKJV) “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Philippians 4:19 gives us another wonderful promise – God will always provide for our needs (but not our greeds). Thank God we’ve been given Jesus! The book of Philippians presents Jesus in such a humble, joyful, and practical way…and He promises to always be with us!
Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV) “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
Judgment is coming, we just don’t know when. God will choose the “proper time.” (Psalm 75:2)
The Psalmist may have the entire earth in mind (Psalm 75:3), but he also addresses individuals who will be brought down in God’s timing. We’ve seen it throughout the ages, how God humbles the mighty and exposes the unrepentant. He lifts up one, and He brings down another, for He really is a just Judge.
Psalm 75:6–7 (NKJV) “For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. 7 But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.”
The Psalmist knew he’d be okay, his faith in God was genuine. But he also knew the day of judgment for the wicked was inevitable…there’s something about knowing that one day justice will be served that settles our souls.
Warren Wiersbe, “The proud rulers of the nations think they are secure, but the God who set them up can also pull them down (1 Samuel 2:7–8; Daniel 4:25). The wicked think they are getting away with their evil deeds, but one day they must drink the wine of God’s wrath. Meanwhile, God’s children continue to sing His praises because they are sure God knows what He is doing. The world needs our witness, and worship is the greatest witness of all. The next time you are disturbed by the evil in the world, pause and praise the Lord.”
Proverbs 24:17–20 (NKJV) “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him. 19 Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the wicked; 20 For there will be no prospect for the evil man; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.”
In our fallen nature we can get some pretty ugly feelings inside of us. How would it make me feel if my enemy stumbled and fell? Would I be glad about it? Would I rejoice in my heart? Most of us would be inclined in that direction, but here we see the Word of God once again, sets us straight, to be more like Him, going against the grain of who we are.
We shouldn’t rejoice at their failure, we should mourn over it.
Proverbs 24:19-20 is all explained in Psalm 73. We might be envious of the “life” of some of these successful businessmen or celebrities, or worry over evildoers, but there’s no need for either of those things. Consider the eternal future of the evil man, they will spend eternity apart from God and all that’s good, forever in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15)
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.