Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 2012 … Lessons from the Prophet

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 226 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Jeremiah 26-29 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 26: 1; 17-19; :[NIV] … 1 Early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came from the Lord: … [Jeremiah prophesies death to all who retain their sinAfter this, Jeremiah’s life was threatened because of his prophesies from God] … 17 Some of the elders of the land stepped forward and said to the entire assembly of people, 18 "Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, 'This is what the Lord Almighty says: "'Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.' 19 "Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the Lord and seek his favor? And did not the Lord relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!"
Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 27: 1-2; 6-7; 21-22 :[NIV] … 1 Early in the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 This is what the Lord said to me: "Make a yoke out of straps and crossbars and put it on your neck. … 6 Now I will give all your countries into the hands of my servant Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him. 7 All nations will serve him and his son and his grandson until the time for his land comes; then many nations and great kings will subjugate him. … 21 [God continues to prophesy Jerusalem’s demise at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar] … yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says about the things that are left in the house of the Lord and in the palace of the king of Judah and in Jerusalem: 22 'They will be taken to Babylon and there they will remain until the day I come for them,' declares the Lord. 'Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.'" 
Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 28: 15-17 :[NIV] … 15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, "Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies. 16 Therefore this is what the Lord says: 'I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you are going to die, because you have preached rebellion against the Lord.'" 17 In the seventh month of that same year, Hananiah the prophet died.  
Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 29: 1; 4-9; 11-14 :[NIV] … 1 This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. … 4 [Jeremiah’s Spirit-inspired letter to the captives in Babylon] … This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." 8 Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them," declares the Lord. … 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile." 

My Journal for Today: If you’ve been reading along with me or studying Scripture from the Chronological reading plan we’ve been using this year, wouldn’t you agree that there are many Spirit-led lessons in character and truth which we can glean from Old Testament characters, like Jeremiah, and the words God gave us through them? And in today’s four chapters from Jeremiah’s journal, there were some definite life lessons I picked up … maybe they might help you as well.

Lesson # 1 - From Chapter 26 - My wife, a very wise woman, often says, “Everything is a fight!” Jeremiah certainly would have said, … “Amen, Sister!” … to my wife’s proverb on life. He really had it tough because the words of truth – FROM GOD HIMSELF – did not sit well with the rulers, religious leaders, and the people in Jeremiah’s day; and many of them wanted to eradicate Jeremiah and all he preached. = = = Today, those who speak the truth from pulpits, churches, ministries, and mission work are confronting many of the same issues which Jeremiah faced. But, in spite of dire threats and danger to his life, Jeremiah persevered; and so must we in spite of those who’d like to eradicate the very concept of God or the teachings of His Scripture from our culture!

Lesson # 2 - From Chapter 27 - God is God; and we are not! … Quite often we wonder “WHY” when things don’t go the way we’d like for them to go. A lot of people wonder why God would allow wicked, pagan, non-Christian rulers to be led into power in various countries (quite possibly including our own). Nebuchadnezzar was such a despotic ruler; and God called him “His servant” (see bold/underlined above). = = = We always must remember, GOD ALWAYS HAS A PLAN; and many times we just don’t see the WHY of God’s plan; but we need to anchor our faith the Rock of the One Who’ll always see His children through the times they’re experiencing [remember Isaiah 55: 8-9 and Romans 8: 28].

Lesson # 3 - From Chapter 28 - Beware of false prophets! … Jeremiah encountered such a one in Hananiah, who was feeding the people sugar-coated untruths, … what they wanted to hear … to soothe their disquieted souls and to empower them to live life more effectively in their own power. Remind you of any of the false teachers or cultist in history or today? Maybe Joseph Smith or Oprah Winfrey or Benny Hinn or Joel Osteen or ____________ (you fill in the blank – there are many). = = = When the Apostle Paul was on his God-led missionary journeys, he encountered a group of believers who really knew how to handle the teachings of false-teachers. This believers, the Bereans, [see Acts 17: 10-15], when they heard Paul’s preaching, immediately and thoroughly went to God’s word (likely the Pentateuch) to see if Paul’s word matched up with the truths of God’s word. And that is a lesson we all should take to heart, especially in a day when we hear so many Pied-Piper messages which DO NOT square or plumb with the word of God.

And … Lesson #4 – From Chapter 29 - Go with the flow – seeking and waiting on God! … Jeremiah wrote a very telling letter to the remnant of believers in Babylon who had been taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. He basically told them to be patient, to seek their God by living in exile, waiting on God’s deliverance. And God, through Jeremiah’s epistle, declared one of the most often quoted passages in the Old Testament - Jeremiah 19: 11 and following. = = = I’ll leave it to you to grab onto the hopeful message in Jeremiah’s letter, which quite often can apply to any of us who feel that we’re captive to our spiritual enemies.

Good lessons to learn and apply in our lives !!!

My Prayer Today: … Thank You, Lord, for teaching my life from Your truth. Amen

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