August 22

 

Read Jeremiah 29

 

In Today's Reading:

 

Letter to captives in Babylon; Jews' deliverance foretold; full restoration of all things prophesied

 

A full end (Jeremiah 30:11) of the powerful kingdoms of Assyria and Babylon did take place. These two powerful world empires were destroyed just as the Lord foretold through Jeremiah. Jeremiah also prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the small kingdom of Judah. But, then he said: Thus says the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be built upon her own heap (ruin) (30:18).

 

The Lord also revealed to Jeremiah that, at a still-future time, He would make a New Covenant with His people: I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people (31:33). During their Babylonian captivity, through His prophet Jeremiah, the Lord taught the people to seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray to the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall you have peace (29:7). This means they were to pray for, and be a blessing to, their captors; and the Israelites, in turn, would be blessed by God. Thus, the Lord reminds us of the self-destructive results of hatred, of holding grudges, or of seeking revenge when we are mistreated or faced with opposition. God's ways are the opposite of the ways of the world. Jesus taught the same principle when He said: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44)

 

Pity the person who, even though physically free, remains shackled with dissatisfaction about his circumstances and is longing for a time when he can be free and enjoy living. Perhaps he is waiting until he has a promotion, a better home, or retirement. But he is always waiting for release from his present situation. An even more serious example of discontentment is the person who has been offended and has quit worshiping the Savior or attending church. Often such people are engulfed in bitter resentment and make themselves prisoners of their own miserable attitudes (see Hebrews 13:5-6).

 

The Apostle Peter was led to write: Gird up the loins of your mind . . . As obedient children, not fashioning (conforming) yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as He who has called you is holy, so be . . . holy in all manner of conversation (behavior); Because it is written, Be you holy: for I am holy (I Peter 1:13-16).

 

Christ Revealed:

 

As the One who forgives sin (Jeremiah 31:34). Jesus . . . said . . . which is easier, to say, Your sins be forgiven you; or to say, Arise, and walk? But (in order) that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins, (then said He to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house (Matthew 9:4-6; compare John 8:10-11).

 

Word Studies:

 

29:11 an expected end = a hopeful future; 29:23 have committed villany = have done disgraceful things; 30:21 engaged = pledged; 31:14 satiate = fully satisfy; 31:21 high heaps = road signs (pointing back to Israel).

 

Prayer Needs:

 

Pray for Staff: Karen Hawkins · Government Officials: Rep. Bud Cramer (AL) and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (MI) · Country: Libya (5 million) in North Africa · Major languages: Arabic and Italian · No form of Christian witness to Libyans is permitted · 98% Muslim; 2% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Draw near to God in prayer with a clean and pure heart (James 4:8).

 

Optional Reading: 1 John 4

 

Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Thessalonians 2:11