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Bible Pathways - Aug. 21, 2009

August 21

Read Jeremiah 26

Highlights In Today's Reading:

Sinners resist the Word and try to execute the messenger (26:1-15). Only five more kings (27:3). The priests and the people are all warned: Thus saith the Lord (27:16). Check out the "yoke." Sin's "yoke" is heavy and leads to death (chap. 28) while God's "yoke" is light and leads to abundant life (Matt. 11:28-30).

Godly King Josiah was dead and his second son Jehoiakim was appointed king of Judah by Pharaoh (II Kin. 23:29-34). Unlike his father, Jehoiakim was hostile toward the prophets of God. To emphasize how critical the situation was, the incident with Urijah is brought into today's reading (although it occurred at a different time) to show the seriousness of Jeremiah's day in court and how the Lord protected him. Urijah had also prophesied faithfully against the city. But, when Jehoiakim the king . . . heard his words, the king . . . slew him with the sword (Jer. 26:21,23). To avoid the same reaction, Jeremiah received a message from the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord's House, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord's House, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word (26:2).

Jeremiah's message of the soon-coming destruction of the Temple must have been shocking since it was in striking contrast to that of the popular "false prophets" such as Pashur (20:6), who promised peace and a soon return of the exiles from Babylon. When Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak (26:8), he was arrested and his accusers demanded the death penalty for blasphemy (Lev. 24:16) and for false prophecy (Deut. 18:20).

The elders listened to the evidence and then came the unexpected testimony of Ahikam, who was prominent during Josiah's reign when the Book was discovered in the House of the Lord (II Kin. 22:12-14) that read: Great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this Book (22:13).

Ahikam now courageously stood in defense of Jeremiah against the religious leaders and the king (Jer. 26:24). He reminded them that Micah had prophesied during the reign of Hezekiah and said essentially the same thing Jeremiah had said: Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him (Micah) at all to death? (26:19). He reasoned that since no charge of blasphemy was made then, neither should Jeremiah be charged now. The precedent had been set.

Like Jeremiah, all Christians are called to share the Word of God regardless of consequences. Ye shall be witnesses unto Me . . . unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Thought for Today:

Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people His doings (Ps. 9:11).

Christ Portrayed:

By Jeremiah, who was falsely accused by the priests and the false prophets (Jer. 26:8-9). Our Lord was also threatened and falsely accused by the religious rulers of His day. The elders . . . and the chief priests and the scribes. . . . began to accuse Him, saying, We found this Fellow perverting (misleading) the nation, and forbidding to give tribute (tax) to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a King (Luke 22:66 — 23:2; also John 8:48,59).

Word Study:

26:14 meet = right; 27:19 the sea = the bronze laver at which the priests cleansed their hands and feet before entering the Temple; residue = remainder.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Linda Kennon • Staff: Dan Murton • Government Official: Sen. John Tester (MT) • Country: Azerbaijan (7.7 million) southern Transcaucasia between Europe and Asia • Major languages: Azeri and Russian • Religious freedom • 65% Shi'a Muslim; 30% Sunni Muslim; 2% Russian Orthodox; 2% Armenian Apostolic; 1% Jewish • Prayer Suggestion: Pray aloud with your voice — God hears (Ps. 3:4).

Optional Reading: 1 John 3

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 10

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