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Bible Pathways 08/17/04

August 17

Read Jeremiah 11 - 14

In Today's Reading:

Jeremiah's proclamation of God's Covenant; plot against Jeremiah; Jeremiah's complaint; ruined girdle (belt); filled bottles; famine

All Israelites were called to be holy and to serve the Lord, as He said to Moses: I am the LORD your God: you shall therefore sanctify (set apart to serve the Lord) yourselves, and you shall be holy (Leviticus 11:44). And, in return, God promised to provide for all their needs. Instead, the majority of the people had forsaken the Lord to worship idols. To illustrate their failure, the Lord directed Jeremiah to get . . . a linen girdle (sash-like belt), and put it upon your loins, and put it not in water (to wash it) (Jeremiah 13:1). Hebrew men wore tunics - long, loose, gown-like garments. To hold the tunic close to the body while working, they wore a sash-like belt around the waist called a "girdle." The girdle represented the close relationship of the Israelites to Jehovah (Yahweh).

Jeremiah reports that, eventually, the Word of the LORD came to me the second time, saying, Take the girdle . . . and . . . go to Euphrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock. So I went, and hid it by Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me. And it came to pass after many days, that the LORD said to me, Arise, go to Euphrates, and take the girdle from there, which I commanded you to hide there. Then I went to Euphrates, and dug, and took the girdle from the place where I had hidden it: and, behold, the girdle was marred (rotted, ruined), it was profitable for nothing (13:3-7) The girdle represented the spiritual condition of the Israelites. Then Jeremiah spoke: Thus says the LORD. After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah. . . .This evil people . . . refuse to hear My words . . . and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing (13:9-10).

Like the Israelites of old, some today are intent on satisfying self-interests with their talents, time, and tithes and reject their opportunities to use them in serving the Lord. Unfortunately, many will discover too late that they have forfeited their God-given opportunities.

Lest there be any fornicator, or profane (godless) person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat (food) sold his birthright. . . . See that you refuse not Him that speaks. For if they escaped not who refused Him that spoke on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaks from heaven (Hebrews 12:16,25).

Christ Revealed:

As the Hope of Israel, the Savior . . . in the midst of us (His people) (Jeremiah 14:8-9). Christ is not only the Hope of Israel, but of all mankind. Looking for that Blessed Hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us (through spiritual birth) again to a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Peter 1:3). Neither Jews nor Gentiles will have peace until they accept Christ, the King of Peace, as their Hope and Savior (Luke 21:24-28).

Word Studies:

11:15 wrought lewdness = done evil things; 11:23 visitation = judgment; 12:2 reins = heart; 13:22 skirts discovered . . . heels made bare = fine clothes torn off as you are driven into exile, barefoot (comp. Nahum 3:5).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for BP Staff: Jim Ryan · Government Officials: Sen. Norm Coleman (MN) and Rep. David Price (NC) · Country: Myanmar (formerly Burma) (48 million) in Southeast Asia · Major languages: Burmese and ethnic languages · Limited religious freedom · 87% Buddhist; 5% Protestant; 4% Muslim; 3% spirit worship, Hindu, and other Asian religions; 1% Roman Catholic

Prayer Suggestion: Pray for your Christian friends (Philemon 1:4)

Optional Reading: II Peter 2

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 5:9


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