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Bible Pathways - August 31, 2005

August 31


Read Lamentations 3


In Today's Reading:


God's mercy; punishment of Zion; the faithful grieve over their disaster and confess their sins


Few prophets have suffered so much public humiliation, rejection, and hostility as Jeremiah. For more than 40 years, he warned the Israelites to believe what Moses had written and to follow the Law or face the judgment of God for their sins. Eventually, because they did not repent, they experienced the inevitable destruction of their glorious Temple and Jerusalem, the City of God.


God does not permit suffering for the sake of punishment alone. Sometimes it is in order that God may be glorified in a life (see John 9:1-3). When it is because of sin in one's life, it has a twofold purpose. First, it serves as judgment upon sin. Second, it allows the offenders the opportunity to repent and commit their lives to Him. We can truly praise the Lord that He forgives us of all our sins when we truly repent and confess them to Him (see I John 1:9). Jeremiah the prophet assures us: It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies (3:32).


After the destruction of the Temple, there was a realization of the awfulness of sin and the consequences of disregarding God's Word. The Israelites had assumed that God's Covenant promise would continue while their own Covenant responsibility was being ignored. The prophet pleaded: Let us search (examine) and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD (3:40). Jeremiah called for a national confession of sin, heartfelt repentance, and obedience to God's Word.


The once-powerful kingdom of Judah was now subjected to every form of humiliation. Its people had to beg for bread from foreigners, pay for drinking water, and helplessly stand by and watch their children taken as slaves into heavy, forced labor. Adding to their horror, these heathen soldiers had ravished the women in Zion, and the maids (virgins) in the cities of Judah (5:11). Can we feel the heartbreak of the weeping prophet as he expresses his sorrow? The crown is fallen from our head: woe to us, that we have sinned! (5:16).


The righteous always suffer in the midst of a wicked nation; but, for Christians, suffering should open our eyes to the true value of life. We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us. . . . they verily (truly) for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure (judgment); but He (God) for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness (Hebrews 12:9-10).


Christ Revealed:


As the merciful Savior (Lamentations 3:22). Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life (Jude 1:21; see also Hebrews 3:17-18).


Word Studies:


3:5 builded against = besieged; 3:9 inclosed = blocked; 3:14 a derision = a laughingstock; 3:15 wormwood = bitterness; 3:29 putteth his mouth in the dust = speaks humbly; 4:10 sodden = boiled.


Prayer Needs:


Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Dr. & Mrs. John A. Hash · Government Official: Rep. Dave Weldon (FL) · Country: Mali (10 million) in West Africa · Major languages: French and Bambara · Religious freedom despite Muslim majority · 81% Muslim; 17% animism and spirit worship; 2% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Husbands, give honor to your wives, or else your prayers will be obstructed (I Peter 3:7).


Optional Reading: Revelation 5


Memory Verse for the Week: II Thessalonians 2:12

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