Today’s post starts with a scene of devastation, a scene of pain and suffering, a scene that needs a source of hope. Where are you at today? What are you in need of? Where does your help come from? Where does your hope come from? When will you get a break? Where can you find something to believe in? Jesus is where you need to turn! Jesus is in whom to put your trust! Put your trust in God! It’s through Jesus we are saved! It’s through Jesus we are redeemed! We are saved by grace through faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! Where are you turning for truth? Turn to God’s Word! Find a place, a gathering of people who believe what God says and in His Word! We weren’t meant to do this thing alone! That’s why God mentions “one another” so many times! Turn to God! He is the source of LOVE and GRACE! He is the one who made a way when we couldn’t find a way! God is Love! It’s so important that when we realize that we did walk away that we turn back to God and ask Him for forgiveness! Forgiveness is the key to true freedom!
The Terrible Drought
1The Lord said to me concerning the drought, 2“Judah is in mourning; its cities are dying, its people lie on the ground in sorrow, and Jerusalem cries out for help. 3The rich people send their servants for water; they go to the cisterns, but find no water; they come back with their jars empty. Discouraged and confused, they hide their faces. 4Because there is no rain and the ground is dried up, the farmers are sick at heart; they hide their faces. 5In the field the mother deer abandons her newborn fawn because there is no grass. 6The wild donkeys stand on the hilltops and pant for breath like jackals; their eyesight fails them because they have no food.
7My people cry out to me, ‘Even though our sins accuse us, help us, Lord, as you have promised. We have turned away from you many times; we have sinned against you. 8You are Israel’s only hope; you are the one who saves us from disaster. Why are you like a stranger in our land, like a traveler who stays for only one night?
9Why are you like someone taken by surprise, like a soldier powerless to help? Surely, Lord, you are with us! We are your people; do not abandon us.’”
10The Lord says about these people, “They love to run away from me, and they will not control themselves. So I am not pleased with them. I will remember the wrongs they have done and punish them because of their sins.”
11The Lord said to me, “Do not ask me to help these people. 12Even if they fast, I will not listen to their cry for help; and even if they offer me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not be pleased with them. Instead, I will kill them in war and by starvation and disease.”
13Then I said, “Sovereign Lord, you know that the prophets are telling the people that there will be no war or starvation, because you have promised, they say, that there will be only peace in our land.”
14But the Lord replied, “The prophets are telling lies in my name; I did not send them, nor did I give them any orders or speak one word to them. The visions they talk about have not come from me; their predictions are worthless things that they have imagined. 15I, the Lord, tell you what I am going to do to those prophets whom I did not send but who speak in my name and say war and starvation will not strike this land—I will kill them in war and by starvation. 16The people to whom they have said these things will be killed in the same way. Their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, and there will be no one to bury them. This will happen to all of them—including their wives, their sons, and their daughters. I will make them pay for their wickedness.”
17The Lord commanded me to tell the people about my sorrow and to say: “May my eyes flow with tears day and night, may I never stop weeping, for my people are deeply wounded and are badly hurt. 18When I go out in the fields, I see the bodies of men killed in war; when I go into the towns, I see people starving to death. Prophets and priests carry on their work, but they don’t know what they are doing.”
The People Plead with the Lord
19Lord, have you completely rejected Judah? Do you hate the people of Zion? Why have you hurt us so badly that we cannot be healed? We looked for peace, but nothing good happened; we hoped for healing, but terror came instead. 20We have sinned against you, Lord; we confess our own sins and the sins of our ancestors. 21Remember your promises and do not despise us; do not bring disgrace on Jerusalem, the place of your glorious throne. Do not break the covenant you made with us. 22None of the idols of the nations can send rain; the sky by itself cannot make showers fall. We have put our hope in you, O Lord our God, because you are the one who does these things.
–from Jeremiah 14
Do you have an intercessor who will plead your case to God? Do you have someone who will get in the middle, stand in the gap, and argue your case? Do you have a way to make things right? If not on your own, you will need an intercessor! Do you realize that there is a cost for what we have done wrong? Do you realize the cost is high? Jesus made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! He came and gave His life so that you and me could be reconciled back to God! He didn’t go about it causally, but very painfully so that it would be once for all! He gave His life on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice, making a way to reconcile us back to God the Father! Would you rather have to deal with a just punishment for what you have done? What if there is a way for another alternative? Jesus is the key! Jesus is the answer, once and for all!
Doom for the People of Judah
1Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel were standing here pleading with me, I would not show these people any mercy. Make them go away; make them get out of my sight. 2When they ask you where they should go, tell them that I have said: Some are doomed to die by disease—that’s where they will go! Others are doomed to die in war—that’s where they will go! Some are doomed to die of starvation—that’s where they will go! Others are doomed to be taken away as prisoners—that’s where they will go!
3I, the Lord, have decided that four terrible things will happen to them: they will be killed in war; their bodies will be dragged off by dogs; birds will eat them, and wild animals will devour what is left over. 4I will make all the people of the world horrified at them because of what Hezekiah’s son Manasseh did in Jerusalem when he was king of Judah.”
5The Lord says, “Who will pity you, people of Jerusalem, and who will grieve over you? Who will stop long enough to ask how you are? 6You people have rejected me; you have turned your backs on me. So I reached out and crushed you because I was tired of controlling my anger. 7In every town in the land I threw you to the wind like straw. I destroyed you, my people, I killed your children because you did not stop your evil ways. 8There are more widows in your land than grains of sand by the sea. I killed your young men in their prime and made their mothers suffer. I suddenly struck them with anguish and terror. 9The mother who lost her seven children has fainted, gasping for breath. Her daylight has turned to darkness; she is disgraced and sick at heart. I will let your enemies kill those of you who are still alive. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
Jeremiah Complains to the Lord
10What an unhappy man I am! Why did my mother bring me into the world? I have to quarrel and argue with everyone in the land. I have not lent any money or borrowed any; yet everyone curses me. 11Lord, may all their curses come true if I have not served you well, if I have not pleaded with you on behalf of my enemies when they were in trouble and distress. ( 12No one can break iron, especially the iron from the north that is mixed with bronze.)
13The Lord said to me, “I will send enemies to carry away the wealth and treasures of my people, in order to punish them for the sins they have committed throughout the land. 14I will make them serve their enemies in a land they know nothing about, because my anger is like fire, and it will burn forever.”
15Then I said, “Lord, you understand. Remember me and help me. Let me have revenge on those who persecute me. Do not be so patient with them that they succeed in killing me. Remember that it is for your sake that I am insulted. 16You spoke to me, and I listened to every word. I belong to you, Lord God Almighty, and so your words filled my heart with joy and happiness. 17I did not spend my time with other people, laughing and having a good time. In obedience to your orders I stayed by myself and was filled with anger. 18Why do I keep on suffering? Why are my wounds incurable? Why won’t they heal? Do you intend to disappoint me like a stream that goes dry in the summer?”
19To this the Lord replied, “If you return, I will take you back, and you will be my servant again. If instead of talking nonsense you proclaim a worthwhile message, you will be my prophet again. The people will come back to you, and you will not need to go to them. 20I will make you like a solid bronze wall as far as they are concerned. They will fight against you, but they will not defeat you. I will be with you to protect you and keep you safe. 21I will rescue you from the power of wicked and violent people. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
–from Jeremiah 15
God’s plan is for redemption! It’s to give us a hope and future! Will we allow it or will we cause the journey to be more difficult than it has to be? Let’s check out what happened in the past and see if we can try to learn from it and move forward into the future!
The Lord’s Will for Jeremiah’s Life
1Again the Lord spoke to me and said, 2“Do not marry or have children in a place like this. 3I will tell you what is going to happen to the children who are born here and to their parents. 4They will die of terrible diseases, and no one will mourn for them or bury them. Their bodies will lie like piles of manure on the ground. They will be killed in war or die of starvation, and their bodies will be food for the birds and the wild animals.
5“You must not enter a house where there is mourning. Do not grieve for anyone. I will no longer bless my people with peace or show them love and mercy. 6The rich and the poor will die in this land, but no one will bury them or mourn for them. Not one of you will gash yourself or shave your head to show your grief. 7No one will eat or drink with anyone to offer comfort when a loved one dies. No one will show sympathy, not even for someone who has lost a father or mother.
8“Do not enter a house where people are feasting. Do not sit down with them to eat and drink. 9Listen to what I, the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, have to say. I will silence the sounds of joy and gladness and the happy sounds of wedding feasts. The people here will live to see this happen.
10“When you tell them all this, they will ask you why I have decided to punish them so harshly. They will ask what crime they are guilty of and what sin they have committed against the Lord their God. 11Then tell them that the Lord has said, ‘Your ancestors turned away from me and worshiped and served other gods. They abandoned me and did not obey my teachings. 12But you have done even worse than your ancestors. All of you are stubborn and evil, and you do not obey me. 13So then, I will throw you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have ever known. And there you will serve other gods day and night, and I will show you no mercy.’”
The Return from Exile
14The Lord says, “The time is coming when people will no longer swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 15Instead, they will swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of a northern land and out of all the other countries where I had scattered them. I will bring them back to their own country, to the land that I gave their ancestors. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
The Coming Punishment
16The Lord says, “I am sending for many fishermen to come and catch these people. Then I will send for many hunters to hunt them down on every mountain and hill and in the caves among the rocks. 17I see everything they do. Nothing is hidden from me; their sins do not escape my sight. 18I will make them pay double for their sin and wickedness, because they have defiled my land with idols that are as lifeless as corpses, and have filled it with their false gods.”
Jeremiah’s Prayer of Confidence in the Lord
19Lord, you are the one who protects me and gives me strength; you help me in times of trouble. Nations will come to you from the ends of the earth and say, “Our ancestors had nothing but false gods, nothing but useless idols. 20Can people make their own gods? No, if they did, those would not really be gods.”
21“So then,” says the Lord, “once and for all I will make the nations know my power and my might; they will know that I am the Lord.”
–from Jeremiah 16
The Sin and Punishment of Judah
1The Lord says, “People of Judah, your sin is written with an iron pen; it is engraved on your hearts with a diamond point and carved on the corners of your altars. 2Your people worship at the altars and the symbols that have been set up for the goddess Asherah by every green tree and on the hilltops 3and on the mountains in the open country. I will have your enemies take away your wealth and your treasures because of all the sins you have committed throughout your land. 4You will have to give up the land I gave you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land you know nothing about, because my anger is like a fire, and it will burn forever.”
5The Lord says, “I will condemn those who turn away from me and put their trust in human beings, in the strength of mortals. 6He is like a bush in the desert, which grows in the dry wasteland, on salty ground where nothing else grows. Nothing good ever happens to him. 7“But I will bless the person who puts his trust in me. 8He is like a tree growing near a stream and sending out roots to the water. It is not afraid when hot weather comes, because its leaves stay green; it has no worries when there is no rain; it keeps on bearing fruit. 9“Who can understand the human heart? There is nothing else so deceitful; it is too sick to be healed. 10I, the Lord, search the minds and test the hearts of people. I treat each of them according to the way they live, according to what they do.” 11The person who gets money dishonestly is like a bird that hatches eggs it didn’t lay. In the prime of life he will lose his riches, and in the end he is nothing but a fool. 12Our Temple is like a glorious throne, standing on a high mountain from the beginning. 13Lord, you are Israel’s hope; all who abandon you will be put to shame. They will disappear like names written in the dust, because they have abandoned you, the Lord, the spring of fresh water.
Jeremiah Asks the Lord for Help
14Lord, heal me and I will be completely well; rescue me and I will be perfectly safe. You are the one I praise! 15The people say to me, “Where are those threats the Lord made against us? Let him carry them out now!” 16But, Lord, I never urged you to bring disaster on them; I did not wish a time of trouble for them. Lord, you know this; you know what I have said. 17Do not be a terror to me; you are my place of safety when trouble comes. 18Bring disgrace on those who persecute me, but spare me, Lord. Fill them with terror, but do not terrify me. Bring disaster on them and break them to pieces.
On Observing the Sabbath
19The Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, go and announce my message at the People’s Gate, through which the kings of Judah enter and leave the city; then go to all the other gates of Jerusalem. 20Tell the kings and all the people of Judah and everyone who lives in Jerusalem and enters these gates, to listen to what I say. 21Tell them that if they love their lives, they must not carry any load on the Sabbath; they must not carry anything in through the gates of Jerusalem 22or carry anything out of their houses on the Sabbath. They must not work on the Sabbath; they must observe it as a sacred day, as I commanded their ancestors. 23Their ancestors did not listen to me or pay any attention. Instead, they became stubborn; they would not obey me or learn from me.
24“Tell these people that they must obey all my commands. They must not carry any load in through the gates of this city on the Sabbath. They must observe the Sabbath as a sacred day and must not do any work at all. 25Then their kings and princes will enter the gates of Jerusalem and have the same royal power that David had. Together with the people of Judah and of Jerusalem, they will ride in chariots and on horses, and the city of Jerusalem will always be filled with people. 26People will come from the towns of Judah and from the villages around Jerusalem; they will come from the territory of Benjamin, from the foothills, from the mountains, and from southern Judah. They will bring to my Temple burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, as well as thank offerings. 27But they must obey me and observe the Sabbath as a sacred day. They must not carry any load through the gates of Jerusalem on that day, for if they do, I will set the gates of Jerusalem on fire. Fire will burn down the palaces of Jerusalem, and no one will be able to put it out.”
–from Jeremiah 17
We are but clay in the potter’s hands. Let’s become vessels He can use to carry His message! Let’s become vessels that are clean on the inside because of the grace and love of God and through the incredible sacrifice of Jesus! Don’t reject God! Receive His grace and mercy and love! And be transformed through an incredible relationship with Jesus!
Jeremiah at the Potter’s House
1The Lord said to me, 2“Go down to the potter’s house, where I will give you my message.” 3So I went there and saw the potter working at his wheel. 4Whenever a piece of pottery turned out imperfect, he would take the clay and make it into something else. 5Then the Lord said to me, 6“Don’t I have the right to do with you people of Israel what the potter did with the clay? You are in my hands just like clay in the potter’s hands. 7If at any time I say that I am going to uproot, break down, or destroy any nation or kingdom, 8but then that nation turns from its evil, I will not do what I said I would. 9On the other hand, if I say that I am going to plant or build up any nation or kingdom, 10but then that nation disobeys me and does evil, I will not do what I said I would. 11Now then, tell the people of Judah and of Jerusalem that I am making plans against them and getting ready to punish them. Tell them to stop living sinful lives—to change their ways and the things they are doing. 12They will answer, ‘No, why should we? We will all be just as stubborn and evil as we want to be.’”
The People Reject the Lord
13The Lord says, “Ask every nation if such a thing has ever happened before. The people of Israel have done a terrible thing! 14Are Lebanon’s rocky heights ever without snow? Do its cool mountain streams ever run dry? 15Yet my people have forgotten me; they burn incense to idols. They have stumbled in the way they should go; they no longer follow the old ways; they walk on unmarked paths. 16They have made this land a thing of horror, to be despised forever. All who pass by will be shocked at what they see; they will shake their heads in amazement. 17I will scatter my people before their enemies, like dust blown by the east wind. I will turn my back on them; I will not help them when the disaster comes.”
A Plot against Jeremiah
18Then the people said, “Let’s do something about Jeremiah! There will always be priests to instruct us, the wise to give us counsel, and prophets to proclaim God’s message. Let’s bring charges against him and stop listening to what he says.” 19So I prayed, “Lord, hear what I am saying and listen to what my enemies are saying about me. 20Is evil the payment for good? Yet they have dug a pit for me to fall in. Remember how I came to you and spoke on their behalf, so that you would not deal with them in anger. 21But now, Lord, let their children starve to death; let them be killed in war. Let the women lose their husbands and children; let the men die of disease and the young men be killed in battle. 22Send a mob to plunder their homes without warning; make them cry out in terror. They have dug a pit for me to fall in and have set traps to catch me. 23But, Lord, you know all their plots to kill me. Do not forgive their evil or pardon their sin. Throw them down in defeat and deal with them while you are angry.”
–from Jeremiah 18