Jeremiah is once again commanded by God to teach visually and audibly. God instructs him to get a clay jar or vase and gather some of the leaders in the land in order to communicate a message regarding the impending catastrophe that is coming to Jerusalem. The Babylonians would level the land, the earthen flask was to be broken in their presence, and it would symbolize Jerusalem.
Warren Wiersbe, “…if the vessel becomes hardened, it cannot be made again. All God can do is break it, and that is what He did when Babylon captured Judah. The nation was beyond repair. The Valley of the Son of Hinnom was a site for pagan worship, but Josiah turned it into a garbage dump (2 Kings 23:10). In the Greek it is Gehenna, the New Testament word for “hell.” Tophet (Jeremiah 19:12–13) means “burning.” Jeremiah gave a new name to the place: “the Valley of Slaughter” (Jeremiah 19:6).”
The people had completely forsaken the Lord, they were guilty of idolatry, of shedding the blood of the innocent, of burning their children – how could God not judge?
They would “see” it.
Jeremiah 19:10–12 (NKJV) “Then you shall break the flask in the sight of the men who go with you, 11 and say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Even so I will break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel, which cannot be made whole again; and they shall bury them in Tophet till there is no place to bury. 12 Thus I will do to this place,’ says the LORD, ‘and to its inhabitants, and make this city like Tophet.’”
In Jeremiah chapter 20 we’re introduced to Pashur who is the chief governor in the house of the LORD. He struck Jeremiah and put him in the stocks because he despised Jeremiah’s message…and yet this message was from the LORD! How tragic it was then, and it is today, that there are innumerable “spiritual leaders,” who do not hold to God’s Word! They hate those of us who call sin, “sin” and those of us who bring a message of God’s impending judgment.
Jeremiah gave Pashur a different name. Pashur means “liberation,” but Jeremiah changed it to “Magor-Missabib” which means, “fear or terror on every side.” This would be his sentence. He’d be surrounded by fear and then see those fears come to pass as he would be carried away to Babylon – there he would die. Apparently Pashur had prophesied lies, he was one of those who said, “Everything is going to be okay, there’s nothing to worry about, God’s nice, and in His love would never judge us, don’t listen to this doomsday prophet, Jeremiah.” How wrong Pashur was!
In Jeremiah 20:7-18 the prophet prays a heavy prayer. It wasn’t an easy life, sharing a message that made him a mockery. The persecution was so severe that Jeremiah was determined to quit, to stop preaching, but he couldn’t stop, we read the passion of the prophet:
Jeremiah 20:9 (NKJV) “Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.’ But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.”
It’s hard to fathom the thought, the pain that would lead a pastor or prophet to not even mention God’s name anymore…but that’s where Jeremiah was. Thankfully the message burned within him so that he could not keep silent, but that didn’t take away the struggle he had. He knew the Lord was with him and would deliver him (Jeremiah 20:11, 13), but he still prayed for God to grant him justice from his persecutors, and he still sank into deep depressions at times, wishing he had never been born (Jeremiah 20:15-18).
The events of Jeremiah 21 took place sometime between 588 and 586 B.C. The Babylonians were surrounding the city of Jerusalem and King Zedekiah sent Pashur and Zephaniah to Jeremiah so that he might inquire of the LORD as to what would happen. More than likely they were hoping to turn the tide…but it was too late. Perhaps they thought of King Hezekiah and his messengers who were sent to Isaiah, back when God wiped out the Assyrians who surrounded Jerusalem. Were they now turning to God? It was far too late, and superficial at best. Jeremiah pronounced a judgment upon Jerusalem in which God Himself would fight against them. Their only hope was to surrender to Babylon.
Jeremiah 21:8–10 (NKJV) “Now you shall say to this people, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. 9 He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out and defects to the Chaldeans who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be as a prize to him. 10 For I have set My face against this city for adversity and not for good,’ says the LORD. ‘It shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.’”
Tragically the Jews never surrendered to God OR the Babylonians and they paid the price.
Today God continues to call people out of the judgment to come. He sets before us life and death, it’s our choice. If we repent of our sins and receive Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of our life we will be saved, we will live. If we refuse God’s loving provision of salvation, the judgment is severe and inevitable – eternal death (Revelation 20:11-15).
What choice have you made?
1 Thessalonians 5:4-28
When Jesus comes and raptures His church the world will be taken by complete surprise. Jesus likened it to the days of Noah, when people were living life as usual, until the very day the flood came. Believers, however, shouldn’t be surprised. We should be ready, waiting and watching for His coming; we should be sober and awake (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8).
There are some who mistakenly believe the church will go through the Great Tribulation Period but God has not appointed us to wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:5:9). The Great Tribulation is a time of God’s wrath (Revelation 6:16-17), so I believe the church will not be here. With all that’s going on in the world today, with so many signs to see, I believe the rapture can take place any day now. We must always be living in light of the Lord’s eminent return.
Paul closes the letter with a series of exhortations, beginning with an urging of the body to esteem, recognize and love our spiritual leaders. Pray for them, they work hard and have a heavy responsibility.
What a variety of things to consider – how Christians are called to warn, comfort, and uphold the brethren. We’re called to be patient, to pursue good; to rejoice, pray and be grateful ALWAYS…this is God’s will for us.
What a beautiful balance we see in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21. Don’t quench the Spirit, let Him move and speak, and yet at the same time, test everything by the Word. We need to be Biblically balanced. A church with the Spirit and no Word, will lie. A church with the Word and no Spirit will die. But a church with Spirit and the Word will glorify…God every time.
We are to avoid any form or appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
Paul closes the letter in a prayer for the church and a revelation of the trichotomy of man (we are body, soul, and spirit – 1 Thessalonians 5:23). He also wisely and humbly asks for prayer. I’ll do the same.
I’ll pray for you, would you pray for me? I really do need it.
This Psalm is an indictment of the unjust judges in the land.
That the Bible refers to them as gods does not mean they are actually divine in nature, it’s intended to bring an awareness to all judges of the immense power they have been delegated, and the way it affects the lives of others.
God was right there “standing” among them, He witnessed the injustice, He was aware of the partiality. They did not deliver the poor, the fatherless, and the afflicted from the wicked.
They had these positions and were even called (in that context) “gods” and children of God, but the warning is – they would die before God, and fall before God.
Something to consider is that one day God will judge all judges. This is the prayer of Asaph, not just for Israel, but for the entire world.
Psalm 82:8 (NKJV) “Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all nations.”
Proverbs 25:9-10 (NKJV) “Debate your case with your neighbor, and do not disclose the secret to another; 10 Lest he who hears it expose your shame, and your reputation be ruined.”
The NET Notes give us an explanation of v. 9, “The concern is that in arguing with one person a secret about another might be divulged, perhaps deliberately in an attempt to clear oneself. The point then is about damaging a friendship by involving the friend without necessity or warrant in someone else’s quarrel.”
We are to “debate,” argue, discuss our disagreements in an honorable fashion. The flesh is so fallen, that sometimes we bring other people into conversations that have no connection. Be careful, the word might spread that you can’t keep a secret and that becomes your reputation.
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.