Saturday, August 28, 2010

God set Iraq up: God pulled Iraq down!


Iraq was in the Bible long before America was even heard of.

In this passage, Jeremiah predicts that Iraq will be set up, and the leader will be doing the bidding of God Almighty.

Then Jeremiah predicts that God would bring Iraq down.
And it was so...

Jeremiah 27

1 This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord early in the reign of Zedekiah[c] son of Josiah, king of Judah.

2 This is what the Lord said to me: “Make a yoke, and fasten it on your neck with leather thongs. 3 Then send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through their ambassadors who have come to see King Zedekiah in Jerusalem. 4 Give them this message for their masters: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: 5 With my great strength and powerful arm I made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose. 6 Now I will give your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control. 7 All the nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until his time is up. Then many nations and great kings will conquer and rule over Babylon. 8 So you must submit to Babylon’s king and serve him; put your neck under Babylon’s yoke! I will punish any nation that refuses to be his slave, says the Lord. I will send war, famine, and disease upon that nation until Babylon has conquered it.

9 “‘Do not listen to your false prophets, fortune-tellers, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers who say, “The king of Babylon will not conquer you.” 10 They are all liars, and their lies will lead to your being driven out of your land. I will drive you out and send you far away to die. 11 But the people of any nation that submits to the king of Babylon will be allowed to stay in their own country to farm the land as usual. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”

12 Then I repeated this same message to King Zedekiah of Judah. “If you want to live, submit to the yoke of the king of Babylon and his people. 13 Why do you insist on dying—you and your people? Why should you choose war, famine, and disease, which the Lord will bring against every nation that refuses to submit to Babylon’s king? 14 Do not listen to the false prophets who keep telling you, ‘The king of Babylon will not conquer you.’ They are liars. 15 This is what the Lord says: ‘I have not sent these prophets! They are telling you lies in my name, so I will drive you from this land. You will all die—you and all these prophets, too.’”

16 Then I spoke to the priests and the people and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not listen to your prophets who claim that soon the gold articles taken from my Temple will be returned from Babylon. It is all a lie! 17 Do not listen to them. Surrender to the king of Babylon, and you will live. Why should this whole city be destroyed? 18 If they really are prophets and speak the Lord’s messages, let them pray to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Let them pray that the articles remaining in the Lord’s Temple and in the king’s palace and in the palaces of Jerusalem will not be carried away to Babylon!’

19 “For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken about the pillars in front of the Temple, the great bronze basin called the Sea, the water carts, and all the other ceremonial articles. 20 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon left them here when he exiled Jehoiachin[d] son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon, along with all the other nobles of Judah and Jerusalem. 21 Yes, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about the precious things still in the Temple and in the palace of Judah’s king: 22 ‘They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for them,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again.’”

Friday, August 27, 2010

Jeremiah complains

Can we pray honestly to God?

Or do we have to sugar coat things? Try to keep from offending Him?

Well, Jeremiah was pretty frank in this passage. He was arrested, beaten and humiliated for preaching the messages he was given. Afterwards he was released, but he complained bitterly to God.

Jeremiah 20
Jeremiah and Pashhur


1 Now Pashhur son of Immer, the priest in charge of the Temple of the Lord, heard what Jeremiah was prophesying. 2 So he arrested Jeremiah the prophet and had him whipped and put in stocks at the Benjamin Gate of the Lord’s Temple.

3 The next day, when Pashhur finally released him, Jeremiah said, “Pashhur, the Lord has changed your name. From now on you are to be called ‘The Man Who Lives in Terror.’[a] 4 For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will send terror upon you and all your friends, and you will watch as they are slaughtered by the swords of the enemy. I will hand the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will take them captive to Babylon or run them through with the sword. 5 And I will let your enemies plunder Jerusalem. All the famed treasures of the city—the precious jewels and gold and silver of your kings—will be carried off to Babylon. 6 As for you, Pashhur, you and all your household will go as captives to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you prophesied that everything would be all right.’”

Jeremiah’s Complaint

7 O Lord, you misled me,
and I allowed myself to be misled.
You are stronger than I am,
and you overpowered me.
Now I am mocked every day;
everyone laughs at me.
8 When I speak, the words burst out.
“Violence and destruction!” I shout.
So these messages from the Lord
have made me a household joke.
9 But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord
or speak in his name,
his word burns in my heart like a fire.
It’s like a fire in my bones!
I am worn out trying to hold it in!
I can’t do it!
10 I have heard the many rumors about me.
They call me “The Man Who Lives in Terror.”
They threaten, “If you say anything, we will report it.”
Even my old friends are watching me,
waiting for a fatal slip.
“He will trap himself,” they say,
“and then we will get our revenge on him.”

11 But the Lord stands beside me like a great warrior.
Before him my persecutors will stumble.
They cannot defeat me.
They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated.
Their dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
you test those who are righteous,
and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets.
Let me see your vengeance against them,
for I have committed my cause to you.
13 Sing to the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
For though I was poor and needy,
he rescued me from my oppressors.

14 Yet I curse the day I was born!
May no one celebrate the day of my birth.
15 I curse the messenger who told my father,
“Good news—you have a son!”
16 Let him be destroyed like the cities of old
that the Lord overthrew without mercy.
Terrify him all day long with battle shouts,
17 because he did not kill me at birth.
Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb,
that her body had been my grave!
18 Why was I ever born?
My entire life has been filled
with trouble, sorrow, and shame.

God the Potter can do what He wants with the Clay





We are familiar with the potter's wheel, and the process of making pottery out of clay.
For a while in our area there was a franchise called The Pottery Barn, where you could go and fashion something out of clay, color it, dry it and take it home as your own creation.

God uses the analogy to describe something else about the pottery process.

The potter can get discouraged with what is taking shape, smash it into a lump, and start all over again!

Jeremiah 18
The Potter and the Clay


1 "The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.

5 Then the Lord gave me this message: 6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. 7 If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, 8 but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. 9 And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom, 10 but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless it as I said I would.

11 “Therefore, Jeremiah, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right.’”

12 But the people replied, “Don’t waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires.”

13 So this is what the Lord says:

“Has anyone ever heard of such a thing,
even among the pagan nations?
My virgin daughter Israel
has done something terrible!
14 Does the snow ever disappear from the mountaintops of Lebanon?
Do the cold streams flowing from those distant mountains ever run dry?
15 But my people are not so reliable, for they have deserted me;
they burn incense to worthless idols.
They have stumbled off the ancient highways
and walk in muddy paths.
16 Therefore, their land will become desolate,
a monument to their stupidity.
All who pass by will be astonished
and will shake their heads in amazement.
17 I will scatter my people before their enemies
as the east wind scatters dust.
And in all their trouble I will turn my back on them
and refuse to notice their distress.”

Impending doom is coming.
Can't say God did not faithfully warn them!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

They are like trees planted along a riverbank


Here is a passage with a woe, wonder and woe.

Interesting "sandwich". I was tempted to just show the delightful little piece in the middle, but decided to include the whole sandwich.

The Woe

Jeremiah 17
Judah’s Sin and Punishment


1 “The sin of Judah
is inscribed with an iron chisel—
engraved with a diamond point on their stony hearts
and on the corners of their altars.
2 Even their children go to worship
at their pagan altars and Asherah poles,
beneath every green tree
and on every high hill.
3 So I will hand over my holy mountain—
along with all your wealth and treasures
and your pagan shrines—
as plunder to your enemies,
for sin runs rampant in your land.
4 The wonderful possession I have reserved for you
will slip from your hands.
I will tell your enemies to take you
as captives to a foreign land.
For my anger blazes like a fire
that will burn forever.”
5 "This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
who rely on human strength
and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
in an uninhabited salty land."

The Wonder.

7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit."

Woe again.

9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is?
10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts
and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
according to what their actions deserve.”

In the middle of all this bad news is this delightful promise:

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord...

The Coming Destruction

In America, we have never experienced this.
The overwhelming terror of a mighty military force overrunning the country.
Europe has experienced it many times over the centuries. The middle east, aasia, many parts of the world.

We did it recently to Iraq.

God is predicting that "shock and awe" kind of destruction for His people in Jeremiahs day.

It happened, just as He said it would...

The Coming Destruction

17 "Pack your bags and prepare to leave;
the siege is about to begin.
18 For this is what the Lord says:
“Suddenly, I will fling out
all you who live in this land.
I will pour great troubles upon you,
and at last you will feel my anger.”

19 My wound is severe,
and my grief is great.
My sickness is incurable,
but I must bear it.
20 My home is gone,
and no one is left to help me rebuild it.
My children have been taken away,
and I will never see them again.
21 The shepherds of my people have lost their senses.
They no longer seek wisdom from the Lord.
Therefore, they fail completely,
and their flocks are scattered.
22 Listen! Hear the terrifying roar of great armies
as they roll down from the north.
The towns of Judah will be destroyed
and become a haunt for jackals."

God is in control.

Even when it seems He is not.

God is in control...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

God is God. Everything else mere wood...

Jeremiah is presenting the contrast between God - God almighty, and everything else that consumes our affection and attention...

We are no less idolaters than theses people were. Our idols are wood (houses) steel (cars) cloth (clothes) and vanity.

God is God.


6 "Lord, there is no one like you!
For you are great, and your name is full of power.
7 Who would not fear you, O King of nations?
That title belongs to you alone!
Among all the wise people of the earth
and in all the kingdoms of the world,
there is no one like you.

8 People who worship idols are stupid and foolish.
The things they worship are made of wood!
9 They bring beaten sheets of silver from Tarshish
and gold from Uphaz,
and they give these materials to skillful craftsmen
who make their idols.
Then they dress these gods in royal blue and purple robes
made by expert tailors.
10 But the Lord is the only true God.
He is the living God and the everlasting King!
The whole earth trembles at his anger.
The nations cannot stand up to his wrath.

11 Say this to those who worship other gods: “Your so-called gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth and from under the heavens.”[a]

12 But God made the earth by his power,
and he preserves it by his wisdom.
With his own understanding
he stretched out the heavens.
13 When he speaks in the thunder,
the heavens roar with rain.
He causes the clouds to rise over the earth.
He sends the lightning with the rain
and releases the wind from his storehouses.
14 The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge!
The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make,
for their carefully shaped works are a fraud.
These idols have no breath or power.
15 Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies!
On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed.
16 But the God of Israel[b] is no idol!
He is the Creator of everything that exists,
including Israel, his own special possession.
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ouch!


Ouch!

This is not a message you want to hear from God!

16 “Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. 17 Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods! 19 Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the Lord. “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.”

20 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.”

21 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves! 22 When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. 23 This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’

24 “But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. 25 From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out. 26 But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors.

27 “Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. 28 Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the Lord their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips. 29 Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the Lord has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’"

How does the New Testament put it?

Galatians 6:7 (Today's New International Version)
7 "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. People reap what they sow."

So this is not a message I would want to give.

This is not a message I would want to receive!

Ouch!!!