Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Aug 16, Jer 14-17

Today's readings are Jer 14-17.

Jeremiah hears of the complete devastation of Judah in Jer 14. Confessing his people's unworthiness, he appeals to God for the sake of His reputation and asks they be redeemed for God's own namesake (Jer 14:7-9). God refuses (Jer 14:10-16)!

Jeremiah is persistent, crying out to God for the redemption of His children (Jer 14:17-22).

In Jer 15, God more graphically describes the fate of Judah. But, by the end of the chapter, God offers a way of averting the suffering and destruction. It is in the people of Judah repenting of their ways and turning back toward God. 

This has been the purpose of the dialogue. Whereas at first, it seems God is going back on His word to preserve and protect a remnant of His people, this is not the case. He is actually taking the time to say something about Himself, "There is a severe consequence for sin." We've heard this before, but in this case, God lays the consequences out in detail. They are devastating! As the severity of sin is graphically portrayed, though, we find that heartfelt repentance will spare His children the consequences of their own sin. 

This is actually a hint of things to come. Jeremiah is a mediator between God and His people. As God continues to reveal Himself and the details of His plan for the ultimate redemption of His children, we will eventually learn that the way of heartfelt repentance and redemption is through the ultimate mediator, His only Son, Jesus Christ. 

God gives Jeremiah symbolic charges in Jer 16:1-11. They are designed to demonstrate the separation that has occurred between God and the people of Judah. Yet, God will be gracious to them (Jer 16:12-21), and they will be restored. His judgment and His grace, both firmly established, are designed to teach something about who God is and how He functions,

Jeremiah 16:21 “Therefore, behold, I will make them know, this once I will make them know my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the Lord.” 

The dialogue between Jeremiah and God continues in Jer 17. This time it focuses on where man places his trust. Those who trust in men are cursed. Those who trust in God are blessed. The lesson being taught is to trust in God, not worldly power or influence as both the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom have done by allying themselves with pagan nations. 

As believers, we can make the same mistake by placing our trust in our jobs, our friends, our 401Ks, etc., anything other than God. One of the recurring themes in Jeremiah is the contrast between concern over the immediate circumstances and concern over eternal circumstances. Scriptures caution us not to trade immediate comfort or security for those that are eternal.

One of the ways to exhibit trust in God is in keeping the Sabbath as a holy day of rest and reflection upon God and His goodness (Jer 17:19-27). This would be particularly difficult as Jerusalem prepares for war. They must be diligent but must not sacrifice their honoring of God to protect themselves. This should cause us to consider whether there is any area in our lives that we place above honoring God. 

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