Bible Pathways - Aug. 22, 2009
Read Jeremiah 29
Highlights In Today's Reading:
As when He led the Israelites, God knows exactly where He is taking us and we're not to fear about the path He has chosen for us but boldly proclaim His Word (29:10-13). God turns sadness into joy (31:13). A new Covenant is promised (31:27-40).
Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, the captivity of its people, and their return to Jerusalem after 70 years (25:9-12; 29:10). The prophets had repeatedly warned that the Jews would be scattered throughout the world, although they would not be totally destroyed, but would remain a distinct people. On the other hand, God also declared that He would destroy their conquerors: Though I make a full end of all 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).
This remarkable prophecy has been fulfilled. A full end of the mighty world kingdoms of Babylon and Assyria did take place. Nothing remains except a few ruins that confirm their past grandeur. The small Jewish nation was also defeated and her people scattered throughout the world. However, just as the prophet foretold, when all hope was gone and the nations around them fiercely fought against them, this small remnant of Jews returned to Jerusalem and once again established the nation of Israel.
During their 70-year captivity, Jeremiah taught the people not to react to their enemies in sullen despondency, but to respond the way God ordained, saying: Seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives (29:7). This means that Christians today are to do as Jesus said: Love your enemies . . . and pray for them which . . . persecute you (Matt. 5:44) — and they, in turn, will be blessed.
This reveals it is wrong to hold a grudge or seek revenge for being mistreated. Instead of hating those who offend us, we should pray and seek the peace, the best interest of everyone.
The Covenant given on Mount Sinai was an external Law written on tablets of stone. It was perfect as the Apostle Paul revealed: The Law is holy . . . and good (Rom. 7:12). But we are sinful and by nature the children of wrath (Eph. 2:3) — unable to keep the Law until we receive a new spiritual nature, born of God (1:13; comp. John 3:3,5). We thus become partakers of the divine nature (II Pet. 1:4).
Thought for Today:
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children's children (Ps. 103:17).
As the One who forgives sin (Jer. 31:34). That ye may know that the Son of Man hath power (authority) on earth to forgive sins, (then saith He to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go (Matt. 9:6; compare John 8:10-11).
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).
Pray for Government Official: Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (MI) • Country: Bahamas (284,000) in the northern portion of the West Indies • Major languages: English and some Creole • Religious freedom • 72% Protestant; 26% Roman Catholic; 1% Afro-American spiritist • Prayer Suggestion: Offer up your prayer to God, your King, who will hearken to your prayer (Ps. 5:2).
Optional Reading: 1 John 4
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 10:32