August 15

Read Jeremiah 4 -- 6

In Today's Reading:

God's call to Israel; Jeremiah's lamentations for Judah; spiritual and civil corruption; destruction of Judah

The prophet Jeremiah began his public ministry during the reign of King Josiah of Judah (Jeremiah 1:2). He exposed the worldly, compromising lifestyle of the Israelites when he called them a foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not. . . . But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart. . . . your sins have withholden good things from you (5:21,23,25). The reason for their lack of understanding was clear — they were rebellious against God in their hearts. Jeremiah lamented: the Word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it. . . . from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely (6:10-13; compare Luke 8:10). Josiah's grandfather Manasseh and his father Amon were wicked kings who led the people to forsake God and encouraged worship of false gods.

However, Josiah did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father (ancestor), and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left (II Kings 22:2). No doubt, Jeremiah was a great encouragement and influence on Josiah. In the 18th year of his reign, Josiah began repairing the Temple and restoring worship of the One True God (see II Chronicles 34:8). He then initiated a Passover feast unequaled in Israel's history from the days of the judges . . . nor in all the days of the kings (II Kings 23:22).

Following Josiah's death (see 23:30-32), his son, Jehoahaz ruled the nation and it reverted to the evil ways of his grandfather and great-grandfather Manasseh and Amon. With deep concern, we see a parallel between the false gods, immorality, and sins that led to the fall of Judah and in the growth of false religions, moral decline, and sexual deviation in America today.

A true Christian desires to worship only the Lord and especially enjoys doing so with other believers where there is reading and studying the Word of God. The Apostle Paul was lead by the Holy Spirit to warn us: The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry (II Timothy 4:3-5).

Christ Portrayed:

By Jeremiah, whom God commissioned to try the ways of His people (see Jeremiah 6:27). Jesus shall one day judge all mankind. In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. . . . Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is (Romans 2:16; I Corinthians 3:13).

Word Studies:

4:6 retire, stay not = go in haste, don't delay; 4:22 sottish = devoid of spiritual understanding; 5:10 battlements = branches; 5:13 wind = full of words, but speaking nothing from God; 5:30 wonderful = monstrous, shocking.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Bernice Rathbone · Pray for The Gideons International · the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Bonnie Wilhite · Government Officials: Rep. Judy Biggert (IL), Justice Stephen Breyer, Del. Eni Faleomavaega (American Samoa), Rep. Thomas Sawyer (OH), and Rep. Maxine Waters (CA) · Country: Netherlands (16 million) in northwestern Europe · Major language: Dutch · Religious freedom · 39% Roman Catholic; 29% Protestant; 2% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Pray that at all times you will find pleasure in what pleases the Lord (Philippians 2:13).

Optional Reading: I Peter 5

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 5:9