Read Jeremiah 23
Highlights In Today's Reading:
All you children of God: What a precious opportunity and responsibility to teach the Word of God (chap. 23)! Christ, the Righteous Branch (23:5-8).
Jerusalem and the Temple would soon be destroyed. Those who still lived there had lost their loved ones through either death or slavery to the Babylonians (7:16; 11:14; 14:11). However, for them and their loved ones in Babylon, as well as we Christians, sufferings and disappointments can be used of God to intensify our desire for a closer relationship with the Lord that He might effectively use us to provide spiritual Truth from the Word of God. Regardless of how hopeless your situation might seem, you are never alone. The Lord loves you and desires to use you to bless others who are lonely. You can visit residents in homes for the elderly, or others who live alone. They desperately need the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble (II Cor. 1:3-4).
As the Judean kingdom disintegrated under the advances of the Babylonians, Jeremiah's torture in prison didn't turn to self-pity. But his message turned to comfort for the faithful few whom the Lord likened to a basket of figs. For I will set Mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land (Jer. 24:6). There were three fig harvests — June, August, and November — and the first figs, in June, were considered a great delicacy (Is. 28:4; Hos. 9:10; Mic. 7:1). Thus the Lord was sending these chosen figs into captivity to protect them from the crushing destruction coming on the "bad figs."
The Lord proclaimed hope for a future kingdom when the Israelites would be regathered from all the ends of the earth (Jer. 30:3). This word of encouragement to the faithful few was given when the armies of Babylon were besieging Jerusalem, just days before its fall: Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a Righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper (23:5). In those days shall Judah be saved . . . and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness (33:16).
When we receive Christ as our Savior, we receive His righteous nature. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. . . . For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Rom. 8:1-2,13).
Thought for Today:
Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help (Ps. 146:5).
As THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jer. 23:5-6). Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (I Cor. 1:30; also II Cor. 5:21).
23:10 adulterers = forsakers of God for the false gods; because of swearing = because of the curse of God upon it; 23:32 lightness = vain boasting; 25:34 fall like a pleasant vessel = break like a valuable vessel; 25:38 covert = hiding place.
Pray for Arabic International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by M. Ora Anderson • Staff: Mike Moore • Government Officials: Rep. Katherine Castor (FL), Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (TX) and Rep. Ron Paul (TX) • Country: Austria (8.1 million) in central Europe • Major language: German • Religious freedom • 78% Catholic; 6% Protestant; 3% Other Christian; 2% Muslim; .1% Jewish; 1.9% Other • Prayer Suggestion: The Lord is a shield for you in times of trouble (Ps. 3:1-3).
Optional Reading: 1 John 2
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 10:32