August 16, 2007
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- The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.
- Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.
- And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits, and found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads.
- Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads.
- Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook it, because there was no grass.
- And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because there was no grass.
- O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name's sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.
- O the hope of Israel, the saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night?
- Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save? yet thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not.
- Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.
- Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good.
- When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.
- Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.
- Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
- Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.
- And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.
- Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them; Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease: for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow.
- If I go forth into the field, then behold the slain with the sword! and if I enter into the city, then behold them that are sick with famine! yea, both the prophet and the priest go about into a land that they know not.
- Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? hath thy soul lothed Zion? why hast thou smitten us, and there is no healing for us? we looked for peace, and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!
- We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee.
- Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us.
- Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.
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- Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.
- And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.
- And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.
- And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem.
- For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem? or who shall bemoan thee? or who shall go aside to ask how thou doest?
- Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.
- And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people, since they return not from their ways.
- Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas: I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noonday: I have caused him to fall upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city.
- She that hath borne seven languisheth: she hath given up the ghost; her sun is gone down while it was yet day: she hath been ashamed and confounded: and the residue of them will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, saith the LORD.
- Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on usury; yet every one of them doth curse me.
- The LORD said, Verily it shall be well with thy remnant; verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction.
- Shall iron break the northern iron and the steel?
- Thy substance and thy treasures will I give to the spoil without price, and that for all thy sins, even in all thy borders.
- And I will make thee to pass with thine enemies into a land which thou knowest not: for a fire is kindled in mine anger, which shall burn upon you.
- O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke.
- Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
- I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation.
- Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?
- Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.
- And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
- And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.
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- The word of the LORD came also unto me, saying,
- Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.
- For thus saith the LORD concerning the sons and concerning the daughters that are born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in this land;
- They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.
- For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies.
- Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:
- Neither shall men tear themselves for them in mourning, to comfort them for the dead; neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother.
- Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink.
- For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.
- And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?
- Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law;
- And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me:
- Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour.
- Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
- But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
- Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.
- For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.
- And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things.
- O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.
- Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?
- Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The LORD.
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Thought for the day:
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I would like to draw your attention to two different sections of today's passage. The first is found in Jeremiah 14:7, which reads,
"O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name's sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee."
Jeremiah is speaking to the Lord about the judgement that He is promising to send upon His people. The prophet's perspective on this is quite unique. First of all, he does not clammer and beg for God's mercy. While the normal response of a man might be to plead his innocence or ignorance in hopes of getting a break, Jeremiah instead says,
"Do Thou it."
He knows that punishment is deserved, and he willingly accepts it on behalf of his people. I also find Jeremiah's view on why the discipline is deserved to be interesting. He says that, while the Jews have backslidden and sinned and deserve chastening to bring them into a proper relationship with God, the real motivation for punishment should be the respect and reverence for the name of Jehovah. Because God is holy and just, His "reputation" requires that He punish those who violate His Word. If the Lord were to ignore Judah's sin, or allow them to get away with it, He would be denying His own character, and thus would become hypocritical in the eyes of not only the Jews, but the other nations of the world as well. If He allowed transgressions to continue unpunished, then why would anyone fear the Lord or feel the need to obey Him? Thus, in order for God to receive the honor that He is due, sin must be dealt with. While the correction of erring children is a strong motivation for judgment, it is insignificant when compared to the importance of the testimony of God Himself.
A second passage of note is found in Jeremiah 17:5-10. There the prophet writes,
"Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings."
Man is condemned here for choosing to trust in his own talents and abilities, or those of other men, rather than trusting in the power of God. It is interesting that Jeremiah says that the person who trusts in himself has a heart that departs from the Lord. You can not have a heart for God and trust in yourself. A man who is consumed with the Lord will realize his own inadequacies and the Lord's superiority and will choose to let Him lead. The man who trusts himself is doomed to emptiness and barrenness in his Christian life, but the man who follows the Lord will be strengthened, comforted, and fruitful. Ultimately, it comes down to a man's heart condition. Those who trust in themselves find that their hearts are by nature sinful and wicked. In fact, a man is hard pressed to understand his own heart. Yet God knows my heart. He understands my motivations in every activity of life, and He will reward me according both to what I do and what I am. Other men will only see what I accomplish, but God sees why I accomplish it, and He will judge based upon that knowledge.
Have a heart for God. Realize Who He is as opposed to who you are, and trust Him completely. You'll never be sorry for making that decision.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery