Read 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 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. Nothing remains today of these two powerful kingdoms except a few ruins to remind us that what the prophets had foretold was fulfilled. 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 taught us to love your enemies . . . pray for those who . . . persecute you (Matthew 5:44).
Pity the person who, even though physically free, remains dissatisfied with his circumstances and is "waiting" for a time when he can enjoy living. Perhaps he is "waiting" until he has a promotion or a better home, or for retirement. 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 and is looking for a more perfect one. Often he is engulfed in bitter resentment or frustration. Through all of this, he has made himself a prisoner of circumstances.
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 (our fallen) 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).
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).
Christ Revealed: 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).
Word Studies: 29:11 an expected end means a hopeful future; 29:23 have committed villany means have done disgraceful things; 30:21 engaged means pledged; 31:14 satiate means fully satisfy; 31:21 high heaps means road signs (pointing back to Israel).
Government Officials: Rep. Bud Cramer (AL) and Rep. Ken Lucas (KY) · Pray for God's Unlimited Prayerline and Gloria Winfree · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in honor of Carolyn Ruth Reece · Country: Togo (5 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and several African languages · Limited religious freedom · 41% belief in false gods and voodoo; 32% Roman Catholic; 19% Muslim; 8% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Read the Word of God to build up your faith so that you can pray and ask in faith (Romans 10:17).
Optional Reading: I John 4
Memory Verse for the Week: John 5:24