Jeremiah 29 -- 31
The true prophets of God repeatedly warned the Israelites that, because of idol worship and their disregard for the Word of God, they would be scattered throughout the world; and yet they would always remain a distinct people. God also declared that He would destroy their much more powerful conquerors, saying: I will make a full end of all the nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a full end of you: But I will correct you in measure, and will not leave you altogether unpunished (Jeremiah 30:11).
A full end of the mighty kingdoms of Assyria and Babylon did take place. Amazing as it may seem, nothing remains today of these two powerful kingdoms except a few ruins to remind us of what the prophets foretold. In striking contrast, Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the small Kingdom of Judah with a promise that, after 70 years, God will bring again the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city (Jerusalem) shall be built (30:18).
During their Babylonian captivity, Jeremiah taught the people to seek the peace (welfare) of the city wherever I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray to the Lord for it (29:7). This means they were to pray for, and be a blessing to, their captors; and the Israelites, in turn, would be blessed.
We are reminded of the sinfulness and self-destruction of hate, of holding a grudge, or of seeking revenge when we have been mistreated or are faced with opposition. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, our Lord Jesus taught us: Love your enemies . . . pray for those who . . . persecute you (Matthew 5:44).
Pity the person who, even though free, is always dissatisfied with his circumstances and is "waiting" for a time when he can really enjoy living. Perhaps he is "waiting" until he gets another promotion, recovers from an illness, has a better home, or retires; but he is always "waiting" for release from his present situation. Even more serious is the person who has been offended and therefore has quit attending church, waiting for a more perfect one. Often, he is engulfed in bitter resentment or frustration. Through all of this, he has made himself a prisoner.
The Covenant given on Mount Sinai was an external Law written on Tablets of Stone. It expressed the holiness and righteousness of God: The Law is Holy, and the Commandment is Holy, and just, and good (Romans 7:12). But we are unholy and sinful by nature (Ephesians 2:3). The Lord revealed to Jeremiah that, at a future time, there would be a new Covenant: This shall be the Covenant which I will make with the House of Israel; After those days, says the Lord, I will put My Law within them, and I will write it in their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). That Covenant will be internal, written on softly-beating hearts.
The natural man, regardless of how good, is in need of a new spiritual nature. Jesus told a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews . . . Except a man be born again (from above), he cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:1,3).
Before His departure from earth, Jesus told His disciples in Jerusalem to wait for the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4). This became a reality on the Day of Pentecost. . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. . . . There were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews . . . out of every nation (2:1,4-5). In obedience to the Great Commission given to the disciples by Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20), Peter . . . said unto them. . . . Whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:14,21).
As the One who forgives sin (Jeremiah 31:34). But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins (and remit the penalty), He then said to the paralyzed man, Get up! Pick up your bed and go to your own house (Matt. 9:6; compare John 8:10-11).
29:11 an expected end means a hopeful future; 29:17 vile means rotten; evil means bad; 29:23 have committed villany means have done disgraceful things; 30:21 engaged means pledged; 31:4 tabrets means tambourines; 31:14 satiate means fully satisfy; 31:21 high heaps means road signs (pointing back to Israel).
Government Official: Rep. Bud Cramer (AL) · Pray for Youth With A Mission and Stanley Christy · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in memory of Carolynn Ruth Reece · Country: Bangladesh (117 million) in southern Asia · Major languages: Bangla and English · Present religious freedom may become limited · 87% Muslim; 12% Hindu; .2% Roman Catholic; .2% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Praise and thank the Lord that He can do exceedingly more than we ask or even think (Ephesians 3:20).
I John 4
Memory Verse for the Week:
II Thessalonians 2:11