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Bible Pathways 08/22/2002

August 22

Read Jeremiah 29 -- 31

In Today's Reading:

Letter to captives in Babylon; Jews' deliverance and full restoration foretold.

Verse for Today:

I make a full end of all (the) nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished (30:11).

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.

A full end (Jeremiah 30:11) 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 captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city (Jerusalem) shall be builded (30:18).

During their Babylonian captivity, Jeremiah taught the people to seek the peace (welfare) of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto 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.

The corruption of our human nature would cause us to give way to the self-destruction of hate, holding a grudge, seeking revenge, or of self-pity when we think we have been mistreated or persecuted. However, our Lord taught us to love your enemies . . . pray for them 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 feels he has been offended and, therefore, has quit attending his Church and is looking for a more perfect one. Often such a person is engulfed in bitter resentment or frustration. Through all of this, he has made himself a prisoner of his attitude and 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 that I will make with the House of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and 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).

Christ Revealed:

As the OneWho forgives sin (Jeremiah 31:34). But (in order) that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins (remit from the penalty), He then said to the paralyzed man, Get up! Pick up your bed and go to your own house (Matthew 9:6; 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:

Government Officials: Rep. Bud Cramer (AL) and Rep. Ken Lucas (KY) · Pray for the President · Country: Singapore (4 million) in Southeast Asia · Major languages: Chinese and Malay · Religious freedom · 54% Chinese religions; 17% Muslim; 5% Protestant; 4% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to reveal His will and fill you with His Spirit (Ephesians 5:17-18).

Optional Reading: 1 John 4

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:4

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