playing with fire

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playing with fire

Jeremiah 32:26-35 (JDV)

Jeremiah 32:26 The word of Yahveh came to Jeremiah, and this is what he said:
Jeremiah 32:27 “Notice, I am Yahveh, the God of all flesh. Is there a matter too difficult for me?
Jeremiah 32:28 Therefore, this is what Yahveh says: I am about to hand this city over to the Chaldeans, to Babylon’s king Nebuchadnezzar, and he will capture it.
Jeremiah 32:29 The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city will come and set this city on fire. They will burn it, including the houses where incense has been burned to Baal on their rooftops and where drink offerings have been poured out to other gods, provoking me to anger.
Jeremiah 32:30 From their youth, the Israelites and Judeans have done nothing but what is evil in my sight! They have done nothing but anger me by the work of their hands” – this is what Yahveh declares –
Jeremiah 32:31 “because this city has caused my wrath and fury from the day it was built until now. I will therefore remove it from my presence
Jeremiah 32:32 because of all the evil the Israelites and Judeans have done to anger me – they, their kings, their officials, their priests, and their prophets, the men of Judah, and the residents of Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 32:33 They have turned their backs to me and not their faces. Though I taught them time and time again, they do not listen and receive discipline.
Jeremiah 32:34 They have placed their abhorrent things in the house that bears my name and have defiled it.
Jeremiah 32:35 They have built the high places of Baal in Ben Hinnom Valley to sacrifice their sons and daughters in the fire to Molech – something I had not commanded them. I had never entertained the thought that they do this detestable act causing Judah to fail so!

playing with fire

It started with something small — something as innocuous as a little incense burning from the rooftops. They said, “We’ll show our neighbors that we can be just as religious as they are. We’ll invest in a little cultural relations.” But before long, a little incense was not enough. Some of the people of Judah wanted to be hardcore. So, they built the high places of Baal in Ben Hinnom Valley to sacrifice their sons and daughters in the fire to Molech. After all, if it brought good fortune to the Canaanites, we want that too.

They were literally playing with fire.

When God finally said, “Enough is enough” it was not the Chaldeans he was angry at. They didn’t know any better. It was his own children that would be the first to experience his wrath. Nothing angers a parent more than blatant disobedience from one’s own children — displayed for all the neighbors to see.

This passage — all of the prophets really — warn people of the covenant that God has to punish rebellion in his own children, and he will address that issue first. We have no time to play around with pagan ungodliness, because our Father is watching.

Lord, we confess to trying to be too much like our unbelieving neighbors.

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a prayer with prophetic insight

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a prayer with prophetic insight

Jeremiah 32:16-25 (JDV)

Jeremiah 32:16 “After I had given the purchase document to Baruch, son of Neriah, I prayed to Yahveh:
Jeremiah 32:17 Oh, Lord Yahveh! You yourself made the sky and land by your great power and with your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for you!
Jeremiah 32:18 You show covenant faithfulness to thousands but lay the fathers’ violation on their sons’ laps after them, great and mighty God whose name is Yahveh of Armies,
Jeremiah 32:19 the one great in counsel and powerful in action. Your eyes are on all the ways of the children of men in order to reward each person according to his ways and as the result of his actions.
Jeremiah 32:20 You performed signs and wonders in the land of Egypt and still do today, both in Israel and among all humanity. You made a name for yourself, as is the case today.
Jeremiah 32:21 You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, and with great terror.
Jeremiah 32:22 You gave them this land you swore to give to their fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.
Jeremiah 32:23 They entered and possessed it, but they did not obey you or live according to your instructions. They failed to perform all you commanded them to do, and so you have brought all this disaster on them.
Jeremiah 32:24 Notice! Siege ramps have come against the city to capture it, and the city, as a result of the sword, famine, and plague, has been handed over to the Chaldeans who are fighting against it. What you have spoken has happened. Notice, you can see it!
Jeremiah 32:25 Yet you, Lord Yahveh, have said to me, ‘Purchase the field and call in witnesses’ – even though the city has been handed over to the Chaldeans!”

a prayer with prophetic insight

Here’s an example of a prayer with prophetic insight. Jeremiah rehearses the great deeds of God in the past, and gives him credit even for the present calamity his people are facing, because he sees it as judgment for their rebellion. Then Jeremiah turns personal, and recounts what God has personally told him about the purchase of the land. He sees that as a sign that there will be a future after the calamity in the present.

Lord, there is nothing that has happened to us, or is happening, that we did not deserve as a people. We ask your forgiveness and choose to trust in you for restoration and blessing.

 

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the future in a jar

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the future in a jar

Jeremiah 32:1-15 (JDV)

Jeremiah 32:1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from Yahveh in the tenth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.
Jeremiah 32:2 At that time, the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was imprisoned in the guard’s courtyard in the palace of the king of Judah.
Jeremiah 32:3 King Zedekiah of Judah had imprisoned him, saying, “Why are you prophesying as you do? You say, ‘This is what Yahveh says: Look, I am about to hand this city over to Babylon’s king, and he will capture it.
Jeremiah 32:4 King Zedekiah of Judah will not escape from the Chaldeans; indeed, he will certainly be handed over to Babylon’s king. They will speak face to face and meet eye to eye.
Jeremiah 32:5 He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will stay until I attend to him – this is what Yahveh declares. For you will fight the Chaldeans, but you will not succeed.'”
Jeremiah 32:6 Jeremiah replied, “The word of Yahveh came to me:
Jeremiah 32:7 Watch! Hanamel, the son of your uncle Shallum, is coming to you to say, ‘Buy my field in Anathoth for yourself, because you own the right of redemption to buy it.’
Jeremiah 32:8 “Then, as Yahveh had said, my cousin Hanamel came to the courtyard and urged me, ‘Please buy my field in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, because you own the right of inheritance and redemption. Buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of Yahveh.
Jeremiah 32:9 So I bought the field in Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, and I weighed out the silver to him – seventeen shekels of silver.
Jeremiah 32:10 I recorded it on a scroll, sealed it, called in witnesses, and weighed out the silver on the scales.
Jeremiah 32:11 I took the purchase agreement – the sealed copy with its terms and conditions and the open copy – Jeremiah 32:12 and gave the purchase document to Baruch son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah. I did this in the sight of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the purchase document, and all the Judeans sitting in the guard’s courtyard.
Jeremiah 32:13 “I charged Baruch in their sight,
Jeremiah 32:14 ‘This is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Take these scrolls – this purchase document with the sealed copy and this open copy – and put them in an earthen storage jar so they will last many days.
Jeremiah 32:15 You see, this is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’

the future in a jar

I believed that God called me to ministry, but my first pastorate could only be categorized as a disaster. For a time, I had to get out of the ministry to retool and wait on God’s timing.

If Jeremiah ever doubted that God would make good his promise to restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, all he had to do was look at the jar containing the deeds to the land he purchased. It was a visible symbol of the goodness and faithfulness of God in the time of his wrath. Bad things will happen in this life, and sometimes the LORD will not stop them, because he is the one who caused them for his own purposes. During those times, we need to remember our future, a bright future in which the LORD will restore the fortunes of his people.

In the midst of destruction and despair, the LORD calls on his people to believe in a future of restoration, peace, joy, prosperity, healing, forgiveness, cleansing, and righteousness. That takes faith: to look at loss and apparent rejection and still trust the very God who has allowed the loss.

God is sovereign. He is free to act in judgment even though his ultimate desire is our freedom and healing. He wants us to know peace permanently, but he might have to bring pain and anxiety in order to purify us right now.

We need the faith to trust in God’s promises, even as we see examples of his judgment all around us.

(This devotional was first published June 23, 2020 in Maranatha Advent Christian Devotional).

 

 

 

 

 



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restored land, restored relationship

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restored land, restored relationship

Jeremiah 31:15-40 (JDV)

Jeremiah 31:15 This is what Yahveh says: A voice was heard in Ramah, a lament with bitter weeping – Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children because they are no more.
Jeremiah 31:16 This is what Yahveh says: Keep your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, because the reward for your work will come – this is what Yahveh declares – and your children will return from the enemy’s land.
Jeremiah 31:17 There is hope for your future – this is what Yahveh declares – and your children will return to their own territory.
Jeremiah 31:18 I have surely heard Ephraim complaining, “You disciplined me, and I have been disciplined like an untrained calf. Take me back, so that I can return, because you, Yahveh, are my God.
Jeremiah 31:19 After my return, I felt regret; After I was instructed, I struck my thigh in grief. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.”
Jeremiah 31:20 Isn’t Ephraim a precious son to me, a delightful child? Whenever I speak against him, I certainly still think about him. Therefore, my gut yearns for him; I will truly have compassion on him. this is what Yahveh declares.
Jeremiah 31:21 Set up road markers for yourself; establish signposts! Keep the highway in mind, the way you have traveled. Return, Virgin Israel! Return to these cities of yours.
Jeremiah 31:22 How long will you turn here and there, faithless daughter? You see, Yahveh creates something new in the land – a female will shelter a man.
Jeremiah 31:23 This is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: “When I restore their fortunes, they will once again speak this word in the land of Judah and in its cities: ‘May Yahveh bless you, righteous settlement, holy mountain.’
Jeremiah 31:24 Judah and all its cities will live in it together – also farmers and those who move with the flocks –
Jeremiah 31:25 because I satisfy the thirsty person and feed all those who are weak.”
Jeremiah 31:26 At this I awoke and looked around. My sleep had been most pleasant to me.
Jeremiah 31:27 “Look, the days are coming” – this is what Yahveh declares – “when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of people and the seed of animals.
Jeremiah 31:28 Just as I watched over them to uproot and to break them up, to demolish and to destroy, and to cause disaster, so will I watch over them to build and to plant them” – this is what Yahveh declares.
Jeremiah 31:29 “In those days, it will never again be said, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
Jeremiah 31:30 Rather, each will die for his own violation. Anyone who eats sour grapes – his own teeth will be set on edge.
Jeremiah 31:31 “Look, the days are coming” – this is what Yahveh declares – “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
Jeremiah 31:32 This one will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt – my covenant that they broke even though I am their master” – Yahveh’s declaration.
Jeremiah 31:33 “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days” – Yahveh ‘s declaration. “I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Jeremiah 31:34 No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know Yahveh,’ because they will all know me, from the least to the greatest of them” – this is what Yahveh declares. “You see, I will forgive their violation and never again remember their failure.
Jeremiah 31:35 “This is what Yahveh says: The one who gives the sun for light by day, the fixed order of moon and stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea and makes its waves roar – Yahveh of Armies is his name:
Jeremiah 31:36 If this fixed order departs from before me – this is what Yahveh declares – only then will Israel’s descendants cease to be a nation before me forever.
Jeremiah 31:37 “This is what Yahveh says: Only if the skies above can be measured and the foundations of the land below explored, will I reject all of Israel’s descendants because of all they have done – this is what Yahveh declares.
Jeremiah 31:38 “Look, the days are coming” – Yahveh’s declaration – “when the city from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate will be rebuilt for Yahveh.
Jeremiah 31:39 A measuring line will once again stretch out straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn toward Goah.
Jeremiah 31:40 The whole valley – the corpses, the ashes, and all the fields as far as the Kidron Valley to the corner of the Horse Gate to the east – will be holy to Yahveh. It will not be uprooted or demolished again permanently.”

restored land, restored relationship

The restoration Jeremiah sees for Israel’s future is more than just a political entity, and return to the land. It is participation in a new covenant, which features forgiveness of sins. It is also permanent. What the LORD plucked up, he will replant, and make it as permanent as the fixed order of the moon and stars at night. The God of justice who brought about their exile has a plan for their restoration.

LORD, restore us to a right relationship with you. Make us a city fit for your indwelling.


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restored by his permanent love

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restored by his permanent love

Jeremiah 31:1-14 (JDV)

Jeremiah 31:1 “At that time” – this is what Yahveh declares – “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.”
Jeremiah 31:2 This is what Yahveh says: The people who survived the sword found favor in the open country. When Israel came to his rest,
Jeremiah 31:3 Yahveh appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with a permanent love; therefore, I have continued to extend covenant faithfulness to you.
Jeremiah 31:4 Again I will build you so that you will be rebuilt, Virgin Israel. You will furnish yourself with tambourines again and go out in joyful dancing.
Jeremiah 31:5 You will plant vineyards again on the mountains of Samaria; the planters will plant and will enjoy the fruit.
Jeremiah 31:6 You see, there will be a day when watchmen will call out in the hill country of Ephraim, “Come, let’s go up to Zion, to Yahveh our God!”
Jeremiah 31:7 Because this is what Yahveh says: Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations! Proclaim, praise, and say, “Lord, save your people, the remainder of Israel!”
Jeremiah 31:8 Watch! I am going to bring them from the northern land. I will gather them from remote regions of the land – the blind and the lame will be with them, along with those who are pregnant and those about to give birth. They will return here as a great collection!
Jeremiah 31:9 They will come weeping, but I will bring them back with consolation. I will lead them to wadis filled with water, by a smooth way where they will not stumble, for I am Israel’s Father, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
Jeremiah 31:10 Nations, hear the word of Yahveh, and tell it among the far off coasts and islands! Say, “The one who scattered Israel will gather him. He will watch over him as a shepherd guards his flock,
Jeremiah 31:11 because Yahveh has ransomed Jacob and redeemed him from the power of one stronger than he.”
Jeremiah 31:12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will be radiant with joy because of Yahveh ‘s goodness, because of the grain, the new wine, the fresh oil, and because of the young of the flocks and herds. Their life will be like an irrigated garden, and they will no longer grow weak from hunger.
Jeremiah 31:13 Then the young women will celebrate with dancing, while young and old men rejoice together. I will turn their mourning into joy, give them consolation, and bring celebration out of grief.
Jeremiah 31:14 I will refresh the priests with an abundance, and my people will be satisfied with my goodness. this is what Yahveh declares.

restored by his permanent love

This first part of chapter 31 predicts a joyful return to the land, and bases this promise on the permanent love of God for his people. It sets the stage for the second part of the chapter which predicts that the people will respond by becoming part of an eternal covenant — a new covenant. Stay tuned!

Thank you Lord, for the blessing of your permanent love, which restored a nation to its land, and to a new relationship with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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write on a scroll

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write on a scroll

Jeremiah 30:1-24 (JDV)

Jeremiah 30:1 This is the word said that came to Jeremiah from Yahveh.
Jeremiah 30:2 “This is what Yahveh, the God of Israel, says: Write on a scroll for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you,
Jeremiah 30:3 because notice, the days are coming” – this is what Yahveh declares – “when I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel and Judah,” says Yahveh. “I will restore them to the land I gave to their fathers and they will possess it.”
Jeremiah 30:4 These are the words Yahveh spoke to Israel and Judah.
Jeremiah 30:5 This is what Yahveh says: We have heard a cry of terror, of dread – there is no peace.
Jeremiah 30:6 Ask and see whether a male can give birth. Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor and every face turned pale?
Jeremiah 30:7 How greatly tragic that day will be! There will be no other like it! It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be rescued out of it.
Jeremiah 30:8 On that day – this is what Yahveh of Armies declares – I will break his yoke from your neck and tear off your chains, and strangers will never again enslave him.
Jeremiah 30:9 They will serve Yahveh their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.
Jeremiah 30:10 As for you, my servant Jacob, do not be afraid – this is what Yahveh declares – and do not be discouraged, Israel, because without fail I will save you out of a distant place, your descendants, from the land of their captivity! Jacob will return and have calm and quiet with no one to frighten him.
Jeremiah 30:11 You see, I will be with you – this is what Yahveh declares – to save you! I will bring destruction on all the nations where I have scattered you; however, I will not bring destruction on you. I will discipline you justly, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
Jeremiah 30:12 You see, this is what Yahveh says: Your injury is incurable; your wound most severe.
Jeremiah 30:13 You have no defender for your case. There is no remedy for your sores, and no healing for you.
Jeremiah 30:14 All your lovers have forgotten you; they no longer look for you, because I have struck you as an enemy would, with the discipline of someone cruel, because of your enormous violation and your innumerable failures.
Jeremiah 30:15 Why do you cry out about your injury? Your pain has no cure! I have done these things to you because of your enormous violation and your innumerable failures.
Jeremiah 30:16 Nevertheless, all who devoured you will be devoured, and all your oppressors – all of them – will go off into exile. Those who plunder you will be plundered, and all who raid you will be raided.
Jeremiah 30:17 But I will bring you health and will heal you of your wounds – this is what Yahveh declares – because they call you Banished, Zion whom no one cares about.
Jeremiah 30:18 This is what Yahveh says: I will certainly restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents and show compassion on his dwellings. Every city will be rebuilt on its mound; every palace will stand on its proper site.
Jeremiah 30:19 Thanksgiving will come out of them, a sound of rejoicing. I will multiply them, and they will not decrease; I will honor them, and they will not be insignificant.
Jeremiah 30:20 His children will be as in past days; his congregation will be established in my presence. I will punish all his oppressors.
Jeremiah 30:21 Jacob’s leader will be one of them; his ruler will issue from him. I will invite him to me, and he will approach me, because who would otherwise risk his life to approach me? this is what Yahveh declares.
Jeremiah 30:22 You will be my people, and I will be your God.
Jeremiah 30:23 Look, a storm from Yahveh! Wrath has gone out, a churning storm. It will whirl around the heads of the wicked.
Jeremiah 30:24 Yahveh ‘s burning anger will not turn back until he has completely fulfilled the purposes of his heart. In time to come you will understand it.

write on a scroll

Most of the words we have heard from Jeremiah so far have been condemnation, and he continues to proclaim that Jacob will go through a time of trouble for his sins. But now the Lord commands Jeremiah to write something on a scroll. This is something for future generations to read. This is something that is designed to outlast the present suffering. And that something is a promise of rescue. There will come a day when all the nations which God is using to punish Israel will be punished themselves. But the Israelites will experience healing and restoration to the land.

God’s word does contain promises which we can rely on. These promises apply to everyone in Christ. They speak of an eternal life beginning with a resurrection — and never coming to an end.

Lord, thank you for your word of promise, which outlasts times of pain and sorrow.

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delegating dirty work

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delegating dirty work

Jeremiah 29:24-32 (JDV)

Jeremiah 29:24 Speak to Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and this is what you are to say,

Jeremiah 29:25 “This is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: You have sent out letters in your own name to all the people of Jerusalem, to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, and to all the priests, saying,

Jeremiah 29:26 ‘Yahveh has appointed you priest in place of the priest Jehoiada to be the chief officer in the temple of Yahveh, responsible for every crazy who acts like a prophet. You must confine him in the stocks and an iron collar.

Jeremiah 29:27 So now, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who has been acting like a prophet among you?

Jeremiah 29:28 You see, he has sent word to us in Babylon, claiming, “The exile will be long. Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat their produce.” ‘”

Jeremiah 29:29 The priest Zephaniah read this letter in the hearing of the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 29:30 Then the word of Yahveh came to Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 29:31 “Send a message to all the exiles, saying, ‘This is what Yahveh says concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite. Because Shemaiah prophesied to you, though I did not send him, and made you trust a lie,

Jeremiah 29:32 this is what Yahveh says: I am about to punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants. There will not be even one of his descendants living among these people, nor will any ever see the good that I will bring to my people – this is what Yahveh declares – because he has spoken rebellion against Yahveh.'”

delegating dirty work

Shemaiah hated Jeremiah, and wanted him stopped, but he didn’t want to do the dirty work himself. He wrote a letter to the priests asking them to take care of Jeremiah because he was a crazy.

One of the priests – Zephaniah – read the letter to Jeremiah. The result was that God punished Shemaiah with death, and no descendants. It is a serious thing to try to stifle God’s voice, and you cannot hide from your responsibility by getting someone else to do your dirty work.

Lord, we want to support your voice in this generation.

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a promise in context

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a promise in context

Jeremiah 29:1-23 (JDV)

Jeremiah 29:1 These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining exiled elders, the priests, the prophets, and all the people Nebuchadnezzar had deported from Jerusalem to Babylon.

Jeremiah 29:2 This was after King Jeconiah, the queen mother, the court officials, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal-smiths had gone out of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 29:3 He sent the letter with Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The letter said:

Jeremiah 29:4 This is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon:

Jeremiah 29:5 “Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their produce.

Jeremiah 29:6 Find wives for yourselves, and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease.

Jeremiah 29:7 Pursue the well-being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to Yahveh on its behalf, because when it is well, you will will be well.”

Jeremiah 29:8 You see, this is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Don’t let your prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you, and don’t listen to the dreams you elicit from them,

Jeremiah 29:9 because they are prophesying falsely to you in my name. I have not sent them.” this is what Yahveh declares.

Jeremiah 29:10 You see, this is what Yahveh says: “When seventy years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm my promise concerning you to restore you to this place.

Jeremiah 29:11 You see, I know the plans I have for you” – this is what Yahveh declares – “plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:12 You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:14 I will be found by you” – this is what Yahveh declares – “and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you” – this is what Yahveh declares. “I will restore you to the place from which I deported you.”

Jeremiah 29:15 You have said, “Yahveh has raised up prophets for us in Babylon!”

Jeremiah 29:16 But this is what Yahveh says concerning the king sitting on David’s throne and concerning all the people living in this city – that is, concerning your brothers who did not go with you into exile.

Jeremiah 29:17 This is what Yahveh of Armies says: “I am about to send sword, famine, and plague against them, and I will make them like rotten figs that are inedible because they are so bad.

Jeremiah 29:18 I will pursue them with sword, famine, and plague. I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the land – a curse and a desolation, an object of scorn and a disgrace among all the nations where I have banished them.

Jeremiah 29:19 I will do this because they have not listened to my words” – this is what Yahveh declares – “the words that I sent to them with my servants the prophets time and time again. And you also have not listened.” this is what Yahveh declares.

Jeremiah 29:20 Hear the word of Yahveh, all you exiles I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon.

Jeremiah 29:21 This is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says about Ahab son of Kolaiah and concerning Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, the ones prophesying a lie to you in my name: “I am about to hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and he will kill them before your very eyes.

Jeremiah 29:22 Based on what happens to them, all the exiles of Judah who are in Babylon will create a curse that says, ‘May Yahveh make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire! ‘

Jeremiah 29:23 because they have committed an outrage in Israel by committing adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have spoken a lie in my name, which I did not command them. I am he who knows, and I am a witness.” this is what Yahveh declares.

a promise in context

Looking at the whole context of 29:11 helps us to avoid this foolish positivism that has gripped so much of popular Christianity. God’s plan for hope and a future for Judah required a seventy year wait before those promises began to be fulfilled. What is more – his plans included exile and death, sword, famine, and plague for some. The guilty seek to hide behind God’s promises, but his justice will expose them.

So, is it wrong to quote the promise? It is wrong to insist that you know more than you do about your future. If you are honestly seeking to follow God, you should be willing to wait until he blesses you, instead of insisting on claiming the promise for right now. It is better to admit you are walking in the valley of death’s shadow, as long as you also praise God for the comfort you have from his presence beside you.

Lord, we are yours. Do with us what you have planned. We trust you for a future, and we will leave the timing up to you.

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updating the promise

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updating the promise

Jeremiah 28:1-17 (JDV)

Jeremiah 28:1 It happened in that year, at the first of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur from Gibeon said to me in the temple of Yahveh in the presence of the priests and all the people,

Jeremiah 28:2 “This is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon.

Jeremiah 28:3 Within two years I will restore to this place all the articles of Yahveh’s temple that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took from here and transported to Babylon.

Jeremiah 28:4 And I will restore to this place Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon’ – this is what Yahveh declares – ‘for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.'”

Jeremiah 28:5 The prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the temple of Yahveh.

Jeremiah 28:6 The prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May Yahveh do that. May Yahveh make the words you have prophesied come true and may he restore the articles of Yahveh’s temple and all the exiles from Babylon to this place!

Jeremiah 28:7 Only listen to this message I am speaking in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people.

Jeremiah 28:8 The prophets who preceded you and me from long ago prophesied war, disaster, and plague against many lands and great kingdoms.

Jeremiah 28:9 As for the prophet who prophesies peace – only when the word of the prophet comes true will the prophet be recognized as one Yahveh has truly sent.”

Jeremiah 28:10 The prophet Hananiah then took the choker from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and broke it.

Jeremiah 28:11 In the presence of all the people Hananiah proclaimed, “This is what Yahveh says: ‘In this way, within two years I will break the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon from the neck of all the nations.'” The prophet Jeremiah then went on his way.

Jeremiah 28:12 After the prophet Hananiah had broken the choker from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, the word of Yahveh came to Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 28:13 “Go say to Hananiah, ‘This is what Yahveh says: You broke a wooden choker, but in its place you will make an iron choker.

Jeremiah 28:14 You see, this is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: I have put an iron yoke on the neck of all these nations that they might serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and they will serve him. I have even put the wild animals under him.'”

Jeremiah 28:15 The prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! Yahveh did not send you, but you have led these people to trust in a lie.

Jeremiah 28:16 Therefore, this is what Yahveh says: ‘I am about to send you off the face of the land. You will die this year because you have preached rebellion against Yahveh.'”

Jeremiah 28:17 And the prophet Hananiah died that year in the seventh month.

updating the promise

How Jeremiah wanted to believe that his people would have relief from their oppression. He wanted Hananiah’s prophecy to be true, but it was not. He wanted the yoke of slavery to be broken. But the time was not right. Hananiah had “updated” the promise so that the people could have hope for relief within two years. In other words – he lied. God held him responsible for that lie. He died in exile within the year.

God would eventually break the yoke, but it did the people no good to proclaim to them that now was the time. Likewise, we do the people of God no service, and we do not honor the LORD when we insist on preaching nothing but the positive and encouraging. The whole word of God includes the fact that he judges sin, even in his own house.

LORD, we trust you, and we will wait for your deliverance. We will resist the temptation to add to what you have promised.

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wearing the choker

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wearing the choker

Jeremiah 27:1-22 (JDV)

Jeremiah 27:1 At the first part of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from Yahveh:

Jeremiah 27:2 This is what Yahveh said to me: “Make chains and chokers for yourself and put them on your neck.

Jeremiah 27:3 Send word to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the Ammonites, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon through messengers who are coming to King Zedekiah of Judah in Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 27:4 Command them to go to their masters, saying, ‘This is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Tell this to your masters:

Jeremiah 27:5 “By my great strength and outstretched arm, I made the land, and the people, and animals on the face of the land. I give it to anyone I please.

Jeremiah 27:6 So now I have placed all these lands under the hand of my servant Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. I have even given him the wild animals to serve him.

Jeremiah 27:7 All nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until the time for his own land comes, and then many nations and great kings will enslave him.

Jeremiah 27:8 ” ‘ “As for the nation or kingdom that does not serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and does not place its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation I will punish by sword, famine, and plague – this is what Yahveh declares – until by him I have destroyed it.

Jeremiah 27:9 So you should not listen to your prophets, diviners, dreamers, fortune-tellers, or sorcerers who say to you, ‘Don’t serve the king of Babylon! ‘

Jeremiah 27:10 They are prophesying a lie to you so that you will be removed from your land. I will banish you, and you will perish.

Jeremiah 27:11 But as for the nation that will put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will leave it in its own land, and that nation will cultivate it and reside in it. this is what Yahveh declares.” ‘”

Jeremiah 27:12 I spoke to King Zedekiah of Judah in the same way: “Put your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, serve him and his people, and live!

Jeremiah 27:13 Why should you and your people die by the sword, famine, and plague as Yahveh has threatened against any nation that does not serve the king of Babylon?

Jeremiah 27:14 Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are telling you, ‘Don’t serve the king of Babylon,’ for they are prophesying a lie to you.

Jeremiah 27:15 ‘I have not sent them’– this is what Yahveh declares – ‘and they are prophesying falsely in my name; therefore, I will banish you, and you will be destroyed – you and the prophets who are prophesying to you.'”

Jeremiah 27:16 Then I spoke to the priests and all these people, saying, “This is what Yahveh says: ‘Do not listen to the words of your prophets. They are prophesying to you, claiming, “Notice, very soon now the articles of Yahveh’s temple will be brought back from Babylon.” They are prophesying a lie to you.

Jeremiah 27:17 Do not listen to them. Serve the king of Babylon and live! Why should this city become a ruin?

Jeremiah 27:18 If they are indeed prophets and if the word of Yahveh is with them, let them intercede with Yahveh of Armies not to let the articles that remain in Yahveh’s temple, in the palace of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem go to Babylon.’

Jeremiah 27:19 You see, this is what Yahveh of Armies says about the pillars, the basin, the water carts, and the rest of the articles that still remain in this city,

Jeremiah 27:20 those King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon did not take when he deported Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, from Jerusalem to Babylon along with all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 27:21 Yes, this is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says about the articles that remain in the temple of Yahveh, in the palace of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem:

Jeremiah 27:22 ‘They will be taken to Babylon and will remain there until I attend to them again.’ this is what Yahveh declares. ‘Then I will bring them up and restore them to this place.'”

wearing the choker

Serving the king of Babylon did not sound like the thing to do for someone committed to God and his covenant. It sounded like the opposite of the right thing. But God had a plan for history that required all the nations to bow the knee to this foreign king. After a while, it would be Babylon’s time to be ruled by someone else. But, for now, Jeremiah told all the nations to wear the choker, because it was God’s will.

There are a number of things that we have to do now that are not in line with God’s eternity. But we do them now, and we wait for better times to come, when we will not have to do them.

Lord, give us wisdom to tolerate those things in life we cannot change, as well as the courage to change the things you want us to.

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