October 10, 2021

Jeremiah 14:11–16:15

Again Jeremiah is commanded by God not to pray for the people to be delivered – for Divine discipline would be their only hope NOT to be destroyed. 

The “prophets” of Jeremiah’s day were speaking words of peace and deliverance, but they were not prophets of God.

Jeremiah 14:14 (NKJV) “And the LORD said to me, ‘The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.’”

Because the prophets said Jerusalem would NOT experience famine and the sword, God sentenced these prophets to famine and the sword – first hand. This brought tears to Jeremiah’s eyes (Jeremiah 14:17) it also brought him to his knees, he couldn’t help but pray one last time (Jeremiah 14:19-22).

In Jeremiah 15 God reveals the fact that even if Moses or Samuel interceded, it was too late for Jerusalem. They had completely forsaken the LORD, especially under the reign of King Manasseh, and they would therefore be judged, God was DONE relenting:

Jeremiah 15:6 (NKJV) “‘You have forsaken Me,’ says the LORD, ‘You have gone backward. Therefore I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am weary of relenting!’”

In Jeremiah 15:10-21 it gets a bit more personal. Jeremiah was blameless and yet found himself in the middle of strife and contention, he was hated by the people.

The Lord promised to protect Jeremiah, even to the point that one day his enemies would ask him to pray for them (Jeremiah 15:11). I can’t even begin to imagine the pain Jeremiah experienced, but that didn’t give him the right to sink and settle down in his own pity party. God actually had to call Jeremiah back to his senses, in order to continue to be used in ministry (Jeremiah 15:19-21).

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “God rebuked Jeremiah for his doubt and self-pity. Jeremiah needed to repent if he hoped to serve God. To be God’s spokesman he had to utter worthy, not worthless, words. He was to remain steadfast before God so the people would turn to Him; in no case was he to turn to them. If someone was to move, it was to be the people, not Jeremiah!”

In chapter 16 the Lord forbids Jeremiah to get married and have any children, for the children of this generation would die gruesome deaths. For a Jew not to be buried would be the ultimate disgrace, but Jerusalem would be covered with corpses that would be consumed by the beasts and the deaths would be so widespread, that there would be no one with any time to mourn.

Imagine the Lord taking His lovingkindness and mercy away (Jeremiah 16:5). The joy would cease and the mourning would be unceasing. If they asked why, we read these words:

Jeremiah 16:10–12 (NKJV) “And it shall be, when you show this people all these words, and they say to you, ‘Why has the LORD pronounced all this great disaster against us? Or what is our iniquity? Or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?’ 11 then you shall say to them, ‘Because your fathers have forsaken Me,’ says the LORD; ‘they have walked after other gods and have served them and worshiped them, and have forsaken Me and not kept My law. 12 And you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart, so that no one listens to Me.’”

These words describe the days we’re living in today! The politicians, the judges, the leaders, the citizens of our nation, even the members of the church are doing what’s right in their own sight, they’re walking according to the dictates of the their own evil hearts.

Isn’t it interesting however, in closing this section of Jeremiah, all about God’s wrath, that He remembers mercy? (Habakkuk 3:2) God so graciously promises to bring the Jews back to the land from all over the world where they had been scattered. Amazing Grace for sure.

1 Thessalonians 2:9–3:13

In Thessalonica Paul and his team worked to support themselves financially, laboring and toiling day and night. Their behavior was devout, just, and even blameless as they exhorted, comforted, and charged them all as a father does his children, that they would walk worthy of God who had called them.

The Thessalonians had received the Word the way we’re supposed to, it’s not the word of men, it’s the Word of God! This led them to believe in all the promises of the Bible, that the suffering was not in vain, that it was a spiritual battle they were experiencing, and that God would punish their persecutors if they didn’t repent. One day God would execute perfect justice. In the meantime the Thessalonians were willing to suffer from their countrymen, just as the Jewish Christians did in Israel and Jerusalem.

Paul explains to the Thessalonians that although they weren’t with them physically, they were with them spiritually. They wanted to be there – but the enemy opposed and hindered him. Did you know that Satan can do that? He can hinder, but only if God allows him, which gives us even more reason to pray.

Paul had that heart that every true minister of Christ possesses, his JOY, his crown of rejoicing one day, will be to see the people he loved and reached out to – there…home in heaven!

As we begin 1 Thessalonians 3 can you picture the great Paul the Apostle pacing back-and-forth, wondering, maybe even worrying about the Thessalonians. How would they do under the pressure of persecution?

While in Athens Paul sent Timothy back to Thessalonica (and probably Silas) to check on them…how were they doing? To encourage them, to strengthen them concerning the faith, double-checking to make sure they knew that trials and tribulations go hand-in-hand when we walk with the Lord (John 16:33; Acts 14:22).

Paul’s heart was heavy, so when Timothy and Silas brought the good news that not only had the Thessalonians kept the faith, but they’d grown in love, that they had nothing but good memories of Paul and wanted to see him again…Paul was comforted and he even grew bolder in Corinth (Acts 18:5).

What a great pastoral statement we see there in 1 Thessalonians 3:8

1 Thessalonians 3:8 (NKJV) “For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.”

I can honestly say that that IS our hearts as pastors. When we see new believers blossom into “true-blue” blood-bought “bonafide” Christians, it keeps us going. Paul was grateful to God and prayed night and day that God would somehow use his life to help the believers in any way.

So Paul prayed; 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 is a beautiful prayer, that God would make a way for Paul to visit them again – for their love to grow more and more – and that God would establish their hearts so that when Jesus came for them, they would truly be ready for His return.

When I read this chapter I can’t help but think of the many people I’ve had the privilege and honor to meet over the years – on mission’s trips, or after altar calls; they might come forward after a church service for prayer and I wonder how they’re doing? What a blessing when you get that report – they’re doing well and still walking strong with the Lord.

I remember back around 1999 I was part of an outreach that took a good amount of time, effort, and money. At the end of the event when I extended the invitation for salvation, only one person came forward. My flesh wondered if it had all been futile – was all this toil, time and trouble in vain? But as I write these words, over two decades later I still see this person, from time to time, who loves the Lord and has been on mission’s trips all around the world – and then just last year she went on staff at a local Calvary Chapel!

What joy for me to see God’s wonderful work in the lives of His people! I’m sure you feel the same way.

Psalm 80:1-19

This is another one of the Psalms of exile. The nation is being disciplined and the prayer rises as a cry for God’s intervention. The Psalmist gives  a simple summary of the way the Lord had redeemed Israel out of Egypt and planted her in the glorious land, but now, she had become the laughing stock of the world.

The Psalmist prays three times for God’s restoration, for God’s favorable expression, for God’s salvation (Psalm 80:3, 7, 19).

Psalm 80:3 (NKJV) “Restore us, O God; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!”

It’s getting hard Lord – it’s been a long time Lord, and have been many, many tears.

Psalm 80:4–5 (NKJV) “O LORD God of hosts, how long will You be angry against the prayer of Your people? 5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in great measure.”

The Psalmist identifies Israel as a vine (Psalm 80:8). We see similar comparisons in Isaiah 5, Matthew 20 and elsewhere in the Scriptures. God expected fruit, but there was none; so the day came when He disciplined His people. The church is also compared to a vine (John 15). Am I bearing fruit?

The Psalmist prayed for the men in a general sense:

Psalm 80:17 (NKJV) “Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself.”

Some say this is reference to Benjamin (son of my right hand) and Israel, but we would all benefit from God’s hand upon us.

Not matter what you’re going through, I encourage you to keep praying friend, don’t lose heart. Not just for survival, but full-on revival Lord. That’s our prayer.

Psalm 80:18b (NKJV) “Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.”

Proverbs 25:1-5

Proverbs 25:1-2 (NKJV) “These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied: 2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”

Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us that the secret things belong to the LORD. God doesn’t tell us everything, we can’t handle it, we wouldn’t know what to do with it. The truth is, if Joseph knew what was going on, early on, it may have ruined his life…so God covered it, concealed it from Him.

Something else God covers, is our sin. I’m not saying He doesn’t expose some of it sometimes, but where would we be if everyone knew everything about us?

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter. God knows it all, but in His glorious grace He doesn’t reveal it all, that’s one of the things that makes Him great.

But man, on the other hand, finds his glory in discovering things. Whether it be a king who needs to conduct some sort of investigation in order to find out what’s really going on, or a scientist looking under a microscope, a student through a telescope, it’s the glory of man to uncover things.

God hides His plans, our sins, and many hidden treasures; and man does what he can, when it’s right, to discover them.

Proverbs 25:3 (NKJV) “As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable.”

Proverbs 25:3 (NLT) No one can comprehend the height of heaven, the depth of the earth, or all that goes on in the king’s mind.”

NET Notes, “The proverb is affirming a simple fact: The king’s plans and decisions are beyond the comprehension of the common people. While the king would make many things clear to the people, there are other things that are “above their heads” or “too deep for them.” They are unsearchable because of his superior wisdom, his caprice, or his need for secrecy. Inscrutability is sometimes necessary to keep a firm grip on power.”

It kind of goes hand-in-hand with the previous passage.

“As there is,” says Bishop Hall, “a foolish wisdom, so there is a wise ignorance. I would fain know all that I need, and all that I may. I leave God’s secrets to himself. It is happy for me that God makes me of his court, though not of his council. O Lord, let me be blessed with the knowledge of what You have revealed. Let me content myself to adore Your divine wisdom in what You have not revealed.”

Proverbs 25:4 (NKJV) “Take away the dross from silver, and it will go to the silversmith for jewelry. 5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.”

It’s been said, “An evil harbored is even more unsettling than an evil exposed.” – Derek Kidner

It’s true nationally, it’s true of a company, it’s true even in ministry, that it’s wise to weed out the wicked…then these different entities will find stability.

When Solomon was empowered by his father David, he was counseled to weed out the wicked from before his presence (1 Kings 2). Then his throne was established.

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.

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