Greetings in the beautiful Name of Jesus Christ, our heavenly Rest! One of the things that is good to do on days of rest is to spend time with God’s people studying God’s word and hearing a message from God through His word. God’s word is full of God. It is Spirit and life and brings light to our path and a lamp to our feet. (John 6:63) (Psalm 119:105) His word is eternal because Jesus Christ is the eternal Word made flesh. (John 1:14)
In our readings through Jeremiah last week, we often saw Jeremiah speaking the ‘word of the Lord’ to God’s people. After all, it was God’s word that had sent him in the first place! (Jeremiah 1:4-5) On one occasion, he stood outside the temple and spoke that word to those who were entering to worship. On other occasions, he would use an object lesson and then share God’s word with the people. The word of God was bringing light and God’s heart to the people who heard it, but they often rejected it and refused to listen. On one occasion they plotted Jeremiah’s murder! (Jeremiah 11:21)
In fact, Jeremiah got so tired of the rejection, plots of murder, and reproach, that he wanted to quit preaching the word of God. But as he tried to do that, he found that the word was like a fire in his bones! (Jeremiah 20:9) That fire is the power of God in the word to produce what God desires from His word! (Isaiah 55:10-11) God’s purposes are fulfilled with His word! No word of God is void of power! Jeremiah went on to state that the Lord was with him like a mighty warrior! (Jeremiah 20:11) He knew through the word of God that all his enemies would stumble and fall and be defeated. God would give him the victory! God’s word would produce results that assured victory!
Today, take fire into your bones by allowing God’s word to reside in your heart. God’s word brings faith to accomplish all that is written! It will move you forward in discouraging situations and overcome opposition! May you be baptized in a fresh way with the Holy Spirit and fire! In the fire of His love, Pastor John
Scripture reading for August 8th: Jeremiah 16-20
“Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.” Jeremiah 18:5-6
One of the most interesting object lessons I have seen is that of a potter working on his clay while talking about God’s work on us. Watching as the clay was formed gave me a new appreciation of God’s forming me– and a realization that sometimes I failed to cooperate. The clay has to be moistened and worked to make it pliable. It has to be placed on the wheel and spun while the potter applies pressure. He applies his fingers on the outside surface and then thrusts them inside to form the vessel. Sometimes the clay is flawed or needs to be completely reworked and the potter must smash it back down and start over again.
God sent Jeremiah down to the potter’s house and had him watch the potter working on his wheel. As the potter was working, his pot was flawed, and he formed it into another pot, as it suited him. (Jeremiah 18:1-2) God then spoke to Jeremiah about his people being like the clay in the hand of the potter. God was in charge of the clay and the shaping of the vessel that was formed! If the flaws that were in the clay were not eliminated by repentance, then the potter would have to reshape the pot! It was as simple as that!
The result of Jeremiah preaching this message to the people was that they plotted against him. They attacked him with their tongues and then ignored him. (Jeremiah 18:18) Jeremiah cries out to the Lord for help against his attackers. They had viewed his message as evil when God and he had meant it for good! (Jeremiah 18:19-20) They plotted to kill the prophet and do away with him. Jeremiah was angry and asked God to not forgive them! (Jeremiah 18:23)
In response to all of this, God gave Jeremiah another object lesson. He was to go and buy a pot from the potter and take it to the valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. Ben Hinnom was the city garbage dump where there were fires burning all the time. It is a picture of hell. There Jeremiah was to tell the people about all the ways that they had resisted the hand of their Potter and angered Him. Then he was to smash the pot as an example of what would happen to them if they failed to respond. (Jeremiah 19:1-10)
It doesn’t pay to argue with the Potter, God! He is in charge and can do with our vessel as He pleases. If we are responsive to Him, His desire is to make a beautiful vessel of honor for His house. If not, we will be smashed down and reformed. In the end, a useless vessel ends up in the valley of Ben Hinnom broken beyond further usefulness.
Scripture reading for August 7th: Jeremiah 11-15
Object lessons employ the principle that a ‘picture is worth a thousand words’. God has always given object lessons through His prophets. Some of these are pretty graphic. In today’s reading God instructs Jeremiah to go and buy a linen belt and put it around his waist. This belt was a type of underwear that Jeremiah would wear close to his body in the most intimate place. He was to wear it for a period of time but not wash it in water. (Jeremiah 13:1) Can you just imagine body sweat and the dust of the daily walk on the roads of that day causing the white linen underwear to soil?
The next thing God instructed Jeremiah to do was to take the underwear and hide it in a crevice of a rock. After many days he was to go and retrieve it. (Jeremiah 13:3-6) There were no surprises; the linen belt was ruined and completely useless. What was this object lesson meant to teach God’s people?
God said that His people were like the white linen underwear. He wanted to keep them close to Him in intimacy and as a special treasure. They refused to listen and instead were filled with stubborn pride and rebellion. The went after other gods and worshiped them and became useless, just like the linen undergarment. They were supposed to be God’s people for ‘renown, praise and honor’, but fell far short of their calling. (Jeremiah 13:11)
God’s Word contains another statement similar to this in the New Testament book of 1st Peter. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praise of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1st Peter 2:9-10) Another version uses the term “peculiar people”. This term speaks of a special treasure–pocket change that God can use for His special purposes. We belong to God and must choose to stay close to Him. Intimacy requires purity! He won’t wear “dirty underwear”!
Scripture reading for August 6th: Jeremiah 7-10
Jeremiah is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. His call and ministry are unique. He is told to go and preach to his people and told up front that they will not listen! (Jeremiah 7:27) He is told on several occasions not to pray for his people because their sins have removed them from God’s grace, but he weeps rivers of tears for them anyway! (Jeremiah 7:16) (Jeremiah 9:22-23) He ministers for just over 40 years and is mistreated and threatened by his own people and their leaders. His preaching is straight and he uses some interesting object lessons to try to get the people’s attention! In today’s reading, he is told by God to go right to the gate of the temple of the Lord and preach to the people as they arrive for worship and sacrifice.
“Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty, The God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, and in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever. But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.” Jeremiah 7:2-7
These people were going through the motions of religion and were deceived! Jeremiah’s words struck to the heart of the matter without beating around the bush. We can use our religious activities to justify our own selfish lifestyles. God is not interested in religious activities unless they come from a heart that is humble, repentant and willing to listen to Him. Their trust was in their attendance at the temple. God called for a change in ways and actions that affected their daily relationships and walk with God. He cares about orphans and widows. He cares about the alien and the poor. His heart is broken when innocent blood is shed and people deal unjustly with one another. He hates adultery and lying because it is not loving and He is love. God wants His people to reflect His heart of love.
God is watching over His word and His people’s response to His word! He sees hypocrisy and desires repentance and faith. Jesus Christ went into the temple of the Lord and saw the same things with the money changers and traders. He quoted from Jeremiah: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a ‘den of robbers’.” (Mark 11:17) (Jeremiah 7:11) He then cleansed the temple! We need more preaching at the church door!
Scripture reading for August 5th: Jeremiah 1-6
When does life really begin? This debate has been going on in our nation for a number of years. Some say life begins at conception while others say it begins when the fetus is able to maintain life on it’s own outside of the womb. Others say that at birth life begins. What does God’s word indicate about this question?
“The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5) This scripture and others in the Bible indicate that God knows each person before they are formed in the womb! Ephesians 1:4 states that God chose us to be in Christ before the creation of the world! God knows everything before anything visible was even created! What amazing insight into each of our lives! We are more significant than we might think to God and He has a plan for each of us!
Jeremiah was set apart by God for a specific mission before he was ever born into this world. Jeremiah was appointed by God to be a prophet. Prophets listen to God and then speak His thoughts and word to people. God doesn’t do anything by way of judgment without warning people by the prophets. (Amos 3:6-7) When God spoke to Jeremiah he was only a child–we are not sure of his age. God told him not to worry about his youth and inexperience, but to speak the word of God.
God promised to be with him and deliver him. I don’t know about you, but if God told me that he would deliver me, I would be asking God what I would be involved in that called for deliverance! When any prophet spoke the word of God, it always brought some kind of response. God used that word to uproot and tear down or to build up and plant. (Jeremiah 1:7-9) These activities bring conflict that sometimes cause the need for God’s deliverance!
God gave Jeremiah a vision of an almond tree and asked him what he saw. The almond tree was the first tree to bloom in the spring in Israel and it was watched by all the people as a sign that spring was coming. God spoke to Jeremiah through that vision that God Himself would watch over His word to bring it to pass. (Jeremiah 1:12-12)
Jeremiah is one of my favorite prophets! I believe that as we read through this book God will speak to us about our time and day! Listen closely for God speaking to you and confirming His call. Let Him show you how He has watched over His word and is still watching over it to bring it to pass. It will revolutionize your faith and daily walk.