C2C August 14-20

August 14 — Reap Blessings — Jer. 16-18.  God’s description of the natural heart of mankind is this: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (17:9).  That was the collective heart condition of Judah during Jeremiah’s life.  They were deceived by no longer recognizing their sin.  They asked why God “pronounced all this great evil against us?  What is our iniquity?” (16:10).  Part of their deception was the influence of their parents: “you have done worse than your fathers” (16:11).  God called them to repent through multiple warnings and promises.  Four times in 18:7-10 the conditional “if” is used.  If they continued to follow their own way, disaster would follow, but if they turned to the Lord, they would be blessed.  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD” (17:7).  Paul reminded the Galatians and us, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).

August 15 — Time Warp — Jer. 19-22.  As can be seen from the chart given to you earlier, some of the chapters of Jeremiah are out of place chronologically.  Today’s chapters 20-22 jump ahead to the time of the fall of Judah to Babylon in 586 BC.  The last king of Judah, Zedekiah (reigned 597-586 BC), is mentioned in 21:1 and his predecessor, the short-reigning King Jehoiachin, is confusingly called Coniah in 22:24 and Jeconiah in 24:1.  We also see in today’s reading, a mix of literature types that characterizes this book.  There is autobiographical prose in ch. 19, Jeremiah’s personal poetry in most of ch. 20, God’s message to the king in both prose and poetry in ch. 21, and messages for the former kings Jehoahaz (640-609 BC; called Shallum in 22:11), and Jehoiakim (609-598 BC), who is mentioned in 22:16.  There, does that clear things up for you?!

August 16 — Oracle Burden — Jer. 23-25.  If the Bible translation you are reading uses the word “burden” throughout 23:33-38, you probably got confused.  As the ESV Study Bible points out, the Hebrew word massa’ can be translated as either “oracle” or “burden” depending on the context.  It is used eight times in these six verses.  In my opinion, only the second time it is used (v. 33) should it be translated “burden.”  In all the other places, it should be “oracle” or “message.”  So, verse 33 might read: “When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the oracle (massa’) of the LORD?’ you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden (massa’), and I will cast you off, declares the LORD.’”  The Hebrew audience understood it perfectly.  I know this information will probably not fill you with spiritual energy for the day but it might answer some questions you had while reading.

August 17 — Disobedient Faith — Jer. 26-28.  King Jehoiakim and his false prophets believed that God’s favor rested on Jerusalem and that the threat of Babylon would soon be lifted.  But their faith was not accompanied by obedience.  The prophecy God brought to them 23 years before Jerusalem’s final destruction by Babylon urged that “everyone turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds” (26:3).  The people’s response to Jeremiah because of his message was, “You shall die!” (26:8).  They believed something but they were not willing to obey God.  Having faith without obedience leads to disaster; faith with obedience brings blessing.  When the prophet Micah came to King Hezekiah (26:18) at least 78 years earlier with a similar message, that king humbled himself and turned to God with obedience.  But Jehoiakim did not learn from Hezekiah’s earlier example and killed Uriah, the prophet God sent to him (26:23).

August 18 — Peaceful Hope — Jer. 29-30.  The 10,000 people (2 Kgs. 24:14) taken into exile in 597 BC with King Jeconiah (29:1-2) by Nebuchadnezzar was the second wave of three.  The first wave was in 605 BC when Daniel was exiled, and the final one was in 586 BC when the temple was destroyed.  Because of the short reigns of some of Judah’s last kings, the chronology can become confusing.  Attached is a family tree of the last eight kings that should be very helpful in keeping them straight.  Print it out and keep it in the back of your Bible.  Jeremiah wrote a letter to those already in exile in Babylon in which he encouraged them to “seek the welfare of the city” of their captivity because “in its welfare you will find your welfare” (29:7).  The Hebrew word for “welfare” there is shalom, which is used again in the promise of 29:11, that “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  God has the same plans for us today, for peace and a hopeful future.  Live in that appreciation and anticipation today!

August 19 — New Covenant — Jer. 31-32.  This is the only place in the OT where the term “new covenant” is used (31:31).  It is called “an everlasting covenant” in 32:40.  It is a covenant addressed to all the Jews (“the house of Israel and the house of Judah”— 31:31).  It involves an internal change (“I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me”—32:40) but it also involves an outward physical change where the city of Jerusalem “shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever” (31:40).  That is obviously something still in the future, probably during the Millennium.  God is not finished with Israel’s Jews yet.  Thankfully, we Christians are enjoying a “new covenant” with the Spirit of God dwelling in our hearts but there are more good things yet to come with the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2) and eternity with God in heaven.  What a plan!  What a future!

August 20 — Willing Obedience — Jer. 33-35.  We encounter today an example of the inconsistent chronological order in Jeremiah.  Chapters 33 and 34 are at the time of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah near the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586 B.C.  Then, chapter 35 jumps as many as 23 years back in time to King Jehoiakim to talk about the Rechabites.  Perhaps Jeremiah’s purpose was to show Judah the sinful reason for the anticipated fall of their nation.  Judah willfully and repeatedly refused to obey the God of creation, while the Rechabites had faithfully obeyed a command of their human ancestor, Jonadab, to not drink wine and to live only in tents.  Why is it that many people find it easier to obey man than to obey God?  Jesus said, “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30).  God’s commands are not unreasonable and yet His rewards are tremendous!

Published by abibleread

This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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