August 14, 2007
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Following Scripture Verses
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- The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
- Stand in the gate of the LORD'S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.
- Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
- Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.
- For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;
- If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:
- Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
- Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.
- Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;
- And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?
- Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.
- But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.
- And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;
- Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.
- And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.
- Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.
- Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
- The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.
- Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?
- Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.
- Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.
- For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:
- But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.
- But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
- Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:
- Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.
- Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee.
- But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.
- Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.
- For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.
- And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.
- Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.
- And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.
- Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.
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- At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves:
- And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth.
- And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the LORD of hosts.
- Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return?
- Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.
- I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle.
- Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.
- How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain.
- The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?
- Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.
- For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
- Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.
- I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.
- Why do we sit still? assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the LORD our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD.
- We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble!
- The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein.
- For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD.
- When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me.
- Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?
- The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.
- For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.
- Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?
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- Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
- Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.
- And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD.
- Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.
- And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity.
- Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD.
- Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people?
- Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.
- Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
- For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none can pass through them; neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone.
- And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.
- Who is the wise man, that may understand this? and who is he to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth and is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through?
- And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein;
- But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them:
- Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.
- I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them.
- Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for cunning women, that they may come:
- And let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters.
- For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we spoiled! we are greatly confounded, because we have forsaken the land, because our dwellings have cast us out.
- Yet hear the word of the LORD, O ye women, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth, and teach your daughters wailing, and every one her neighbour lamentation.
- For death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without, and the young men from the streets.
- Speak, Thus saith the LORD, Even the carcases of men shall fall as dung upon the open field, and as the handful after the harvestman, and none shall gather them.
- Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
- But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
- Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised;
- Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.
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Thought for the day:
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I find Jeremiah 8:19-22 to be a fascinating portion of Scripture. There Jeremiah writes,
"Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?"
The Jews are crying out to God because of the oppression that they are receiving from a foreign nation. They are in very difficult times, and it seems that there is none to help them. Jeremiah writes that he is hurt and astonished by their condition. The reason for this is found in the the series of questions that he asks.
"Is not the Lord in Zion? Is not her king in her?"
The answer to these questions must be a resounding "Yes!" Yet there has been no salvation for the people.
"Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?"
Again the answer must come back "Yes". God is still on the throne. He is still the king of His people, and the universe as a whole. There is a solution to the sins and situations of the people, and the Great Physician has everything that the people can and will ever need. Thus comes the final question:
"Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?"
People always seem to want to blame God for their problems. They want to think that everything is God's fault, that His methods do not work, and that His love is somehow suspect. Yet this passage makes it clear that the problem is not with God. He is still in charge. He still indwells the believer through the Holy Spirit. The local church is still the body of Christ and the house of God. He is still the answer to all life's problems, and He has given us His Word to serve as a balm for our souls. Thus, if there are problems, it isn't His fault, just like it wasn't His fault that Judah suffered as it did. The real source of their pain was found in the fact that they "provoked me to anger with their graven images and with strange vanities". The problem is the rebellion of the people, not the indifference of the Lord.
I believe that Christians today can be guilty of these sins as well. We may not set up shrines in our living rooms, but we place other people and things ahead of Jesus Christ in our daily lives. Some find family to be more important, while others choose jobs or entertainment. Whatever it may be that receives time and energy from us at the expense of our relationship to God becomes an idol to us, and will bring about the chastening hand of God. In addition, some believers waste huge amounts of time, energy and money on things that have questionable spiritual value. Jeremiah speaks of "strange vanities". These are empty, wasteful things that are part of the world, but should be foreign to the child of God. As Christians pursue these, they move farther away form the Lord, and place themselves under His judgment.
What is the solution? It is not that God needs to get closer, or that His balm needs to be made more available. It is that the Christian needs to repent of His sin and return to God. The salve of the Scriptures is there. The King is there. The Physician is there. The Lord is in Zion. Salvation is available today; men must only chose to receive it.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery