The so-called spiritual leaders had rejected the Word of the Lord, so what wisdom did they have? None. Therefore God’s judgment fell hard. They would lose their wives, their fields, and their lives, they would be consumed by the coming calamity. They were speaking a false and superficial peace, but they had no peace with God. The cavalry was coming, serpents were beings sent, they had sinned against the Lord.
It all comes down to one’s relationship with God doesn’t it?
Jeremiah 8:20 (NKJV) “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!”
Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, only wanted to get away and weep over the tragedy of his people.
Jeremiah 9:1 (NKJV) “Oh, that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!”
Jeremiah goes on to describe the horrible hearts of the people. The slander, the reasons for mistrust, the iniquity, the deceit, the way they spoke nicely in their “friends” presence, but wanted them dead in their hearts (Jeremiah 9:8). It was a people who did not know the Lord (Jeremiah 9:3).
Not only did Jeremiah weep, but I believe God wept (Jeremiah 9:10). His glorious city would be desolate (Jeremiah 9:11). So much of life simply comes down to whether or not we will obey God’s Word.
Jeremiah 9:13–16 (NKJV) “And the LORD said, ‘Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, 14 but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them,’ 15 therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. 16 I will scatter them also among the Gentiles, whom neither they nor their fathers have known. And I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them.’”
Jeremiah wept, God wept, and there would be others, “professional” mourning women would weep as well (Jeremiah 9:17-18) – with good reason. GOD’S people had been plundered, forsaken, and cast out, they were greatly ashamed…death had come through their windows, entered their palaces, killed their children, and their young men on the streets.
O the devastation of defiant disobedience! We must be a people who know God and obey Him, and let this be the passionate pursuit of our hearts.
Jeremiah 9:23–24 (NKJV) “Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the LORD.”
This has always been one of my favorite chapters in the Bible – because there’s so much here, and a wide range of topics to consider.
Paul begins by reminding me to seek those things which are above, things in the heavenly realm, things of the Kingdom of God – to seek my King, the Lord Jesus Christ. When I read those words in Colossians 3:2 to, “Set your mind on things above…” I can’t help but think of:
Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
Let’s set our minds on the Lord, let’s keep our minds focused, “stayed” right there – the result will be peace, power, and Spiritual productivity.
I’m to put to death the old Manny; sexual sins and covetousness are not to be any part of the practice of Christians. Paul mentions the fact that the day will come when such sins and sinners will experience the wrath of God (see also Colossians 3:25).
What a struggle it can be, (if we walk in our own strength) with the list of things mentioned in Colossians 3:8-9 – anger, wrath, malice (desire to do evil), filthy language, cussing, lies – that’s the old me – but the new me is the new nature given to me when I was born again. I’m to put on the new man and make sure that new man grows to be more and more like Jesus. In Colossians 3:11 Paul reminds me that there is no spiritual advantage given to us because of our nationality, or because of some ceremony (like circumcision). It doesn’t matter what our social or economic status is – it’s just all about Jesus!
As Christians, we are to put on a certain tenderness towards one another – after all, that’s how the Lord is with us. Once again, we see that it all comes down to love (v. 14 would be a great passage to commit to memory).
Colossians 3:14 (NKJV) “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”
If you’ve read the book of Ephesians you’ll notice that there are similarities between Colossians and Ephesians, as well as slight contrasts (keep in mind that these are both prison epistles written about the same time – AD 61-62).
Warren Wiersbe, “Colossians 3:16–4:1 parallels Ephesians 5:18–6:9, except that the emphasis here is on being filled with the Word of God.” In Ephesians 5:18 Paul commands us to be filled with the Spirit.
Some theologians will tell you that the book of Ephesians presents the church as the Body of Christ, while the book of Colossians presents Christ as the Head of the Church (Colossians 1:18; 2:10, 19).
Colossians 3:17 is another great verse to memorize – what a great goal to have, that whatever we do – whether in word or deed, to do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.
In reviewing the history of Israel – it just breaks our hearts. In spite of all that God had done for them, in spite of all the love He showered upon them, they still sinned recklessly, they refused to believe or remember God’s wondrous works (Psalm 78:32).
Psalms 78:33 (NKJV) “Therefore their days He consumed in futility, and their years in fear.”
What a terrible epitaph!
God disciplined the people, even to the point of death, it was then that they sought Him, in spurts of earnestness, but they didn’t last very long. The Lord knew their unfaithful hearts, He knew they would wander, but He had compassion upon them and forgave their iniquity. He remembered that they were but flesh (Psalm 78:39).
Have you ever been there? Maybe with a child? Maybe even with your spouse? You’ve tried everything you can to bring them to a proper place in life; you’ve been nice, you’ve been forgiving, gracious and patient; you’ve tried tough love, even heavy discipline, but it doesn’t work? Nothing seems to work. We read repeatedly about this pattern of foolishness:
Psalms 78:40-41 (NKJV) “How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert! Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.”
The Lord wanted to do so much more and bless His people beyond their wildest imagination, but they limited the LORD God Almighty! They refused to remember all that God had done in saving them from Egypt.
When I read the people limiting the Lord I think of Jesus’ ministry in His hometown of Nazareth:
Mark 6:5–6a (NKJV) “Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He marveled because of their unbelief.”
May we learn, may I learn from their tragic mistake. May I always remember the way God saved me and so graciously sustained me…all my life. May I bless Him and obey Him by opening my eyes to this wonderful land I’ve “landed” in as His children; may we all.
Proverbs 24:27 (NKJV) “Prepare your outside work, make it fit for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house.”
These words of wisdom instruct us to establish that financial income prior to commencing the building of one’s house. “Develop your business before building your house.”
John MacArthur said, “First secure by diligent work and planning, a good living in your fields; then build. In other words, provide a financial base so that all the necessities and contingencies are secured, then move from the tents (which were acceptable) to a house (which is desirable).”
Jesus gave us a similar principle of provision in:
Luke 14:28–30 (NKJV) “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
I believe this deals primarily with that physical structure called a house…although there are some who take this to teach that financial security is necessary before starting a family (a home).
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.