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Bible Pathways 08/15/2002

August 15

Read Jeremiah 4 -- 6

In Today's Reading:

Prophecy of judgment concerning Jerusalem and Judah; appeal to repent; spiritual and civil corruption; certainty of God's judgment foretold.

Verses for Today:

Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not. . . . But . . . hath a revolting and a rebellious heart (5:21,23).

The prophet Jeremiah began his public ministry in about the 13th year of the reign of King Josiah of Judah (Jeremiah 1:2). Jeremiah exposed the worldly lifestyle of the Israelites when he said: The Word of the Lord is [to] them a reproach; they have no delight in It (6:10; compare Luke 8:10). Josiah's grandfather Manasseh and his father Amon were worldly-minded kings who had led the people to forsake God and who had encouraged the "broad-minded" to participate in worship of false gods. Furthermore, Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the (heathen) nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel (2 Kings 21:9).

However, Amon's son Josiah did . . . right in the sight of the Lord (22: 2). No doubt Jeremiah was a great encouragement to Josiah. In the 18th year of his reign, Josiah began repairing the Temple and restoring worship of the One True God (2 Chronicles 34:8). He then initiated a Passover unequaled in Israel's history (2 Kings 23:22).

Following the death of Josiah (23:30-32), the nation reverted to the evil ways of Manasseh and Amon.

Many prophets were afraid to speak out against the sins that were popular with the people. Others had given way to greed and covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one [dealt] falsely (Jeremiah 6:13).

It is easy to deceive others with the outward appearance of doing something very good when actually we are being motivated by thoughts of pride, envy, greed, jealousy, and a host of other evils.

What could be more "spiritual" than the desire to help people? What could be more commendable than working night and day "for the Lord?" The desire to serve the Lord is certainly good; but, in the eyes of God, it is all-important that our motives be right. As for the person who knows all the answers, has all the solutions, has all the revelations, and implies that his listeners come only to him for guidance, it's possible that the driving force behind his "spiritual accomplishments" is pride -- a desire to be popular or successful.

Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:13-15).

Christ Portrayed:

By Jeremiah, whom God commissioned to try the ways of His people (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; 1 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:

Government Officials: Rep. Judy Biggert (IL), Justice Stephen Breyer, Del. Eni Faleomavaega (American Samoa), Rep. Thomas Sawyer (OH), and Rep. Maxine Waters (CA) · Pray for the President · Country: San Marino (25,000) inside north-central Italy · Major language: Italian · Religious freedom · 95% Roman Catholic; 5% atheist · Prayer Suggestion: Realize that the will of God is often different from our own desires (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).

Optional Reading: 1 Peter 5

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 5:9

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