Category Archives: Jeremiah

In “This” Day

Citing:
— Amos 9:11-12 “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom (Mount Esau) and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this.
— Jeremiah 12:15 And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land.
— Isaiah 43:7…everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
— Jeremiah 14:9 Why should you be like a man confused, like a mighty warrior who cannot save? Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not leave us.”
— Daniel 9:19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name..

Rebuild and restore are common themes in the New Testament.  Throughout the Bible that is a common theme.  For a couple of days this week I’m at the ocean with my daughter and son-in-law and as God so often does He’s made a connection I can see with my own eyes to these passages.  Two hurricanes battered this area last fall and as a result of that, the work of rebuilding and restoring what was lost is obvious.  The rebuilding is the cosmetic fix but the restoration of what was lost is the ultimate goal.  

Acts quotes Amos saying the Lord has said the “remnant of mankind” will include Gentiles He’s called by His name.  What is “after this”?  Why does Amos refer to “a remnant of Edom?  Why do they want that remnant back?   What does that word “back” really mean? Why is Acts referencing Amos to explain Gentiles who are called by the Lord’s name?  Now Lord read me your truth from the Old Testament written to confirm it’s connection to the New Testament.  

I learned two “new” ancient Greek words studying for today. “Ethne” was a name used to refer to Gentiles or nations and “Laos” referred to the “people of God” the name the Jews called themselves.  Amos has chosen to use Laos to refer to Gentiles including them as “people of God.”  Gentiles who hadn’t become Jews but had remained Gentiles and been called by God’s name way back then in the Old Testament.√  After this?  After the “remnant of mankind,” Jews and Gentiles alike have been shaken and sifted to removed their sin, then “I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it.  Then they will seek the Lord.√   Edom [Mount Esau]  a kingdom thought to be founded by the angry, wronged brother of Jacob.  Esau will be restored to complete the restoration of the Kingdon of God.√   And now we come to that word “back.”  The word that says it all. God had never had any other plan but for His Kingdom to a) be rebuilt and b) be restored to the perfection He’d created in those first days of Genesis.   And finally we have our name the Lord Himself has given us, Christians, followers of Jesus Christ and Daniels plea to make our own — “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name” — who makes these things known from of old” in “this” day.

Week 2: Acts 15:16-17


 

Citing:
(AO) = Amos 9:11-12 and Jeremiah 12:15
(AQ) = Isaiah 43:7, Jeremiah 14:9, & Daniel 9:19 ESV

Amos 9:11-12 “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom (Mount Esau) and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this.
Jeremiah 12:15 And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land.
Isaiah 43:7 …everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
Jeremiah 14:9
Why should you be like a man confused, like a mighty warrior who cannot save? Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not leave us.”
Daniel 9:19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.

This kind of study and reading is still unfamiliar, time consuming and more confusing than I imagined it would be. Amos added a surprise detail with a footnote of it’s own for Edom [Mount Esau.]  Esau is thought to have founded the kingdom of Edom.  This is the same Esau who sold his birthright swearing an unbreakable oath to satisfy a temporary need.  Esau will be restored! The Lord’s compassion has reached into a sketchy past and restored a lost heritage. It’s the picture of humanity isn’t it?   Those citations were sidebar details I would have missed without believing they could become contemporary accents that confirm the purpose God has always had in mind; to be in the midst of; to hear, forgive, pay attention and act on behalf of those who are called by His name and created for His glory.

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent these last few days floundering my way through what seems like countless rabbit trails to get to the point where I could write that one paragraph.  I can tell you when I put that period after that phrase “His glory” in that last sentence I felt like I’d just come up for air.  It’s the comfort of a recorded and cited Biblical history that includes people like me in His story today.

Week 1: Choice

citing Isaiah 56:7
…these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
and Jeremiah 7:11
Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord.

This is my first attempt at using a new study idea based on a book — Old Made New[a].  It’s a how-to book with a different premise;  to let the New Testament read the Old Testament to me thru its citations.  I’m going to use the Scripture references in the book for my post each Wednesday and pay attention to those citations.  What is it about them that mattered to Jesus and may change my mind about what I read?  Here we go…Week 1.

The Book of Jeremiah was written between 630 and 580 B.C. and Isaiah was written sometime during the ministry of Isaiah (approximately 740–701 B.C.).  I can’t be the only one who’s forgotten the antiquity timeline is a countdown.  So…Isaiah wrote first, then Jeremiah.  Their  words show the progression of their choice to neglect those old words.  Luke is reminding his readers that Jesus saw their choice and grieved over the loss of God’s purpose for the purity of His house of prayer.

Jesus had paused to look over the city as he neared Jerusalem and was moved to tears over the “things that make for peace” that are no longer visible there.  They no longer had any claim to innocence.  The passage of time showed the result of neglect to those old Words. Jeremiah had to pass along God’s harsh observation about His house looking like a den of robbers. I  don’t know how to explain why Jesus chose such uncharacteristic behavior in the Temple.  Maybe it was anger, frustration, judgment and grief all combined at their willing acceptance of what had been lost.  Did they even notice the decline?

I’ve noticed something because of following those citations in this passage.  My emphasis changed as I read from wondering about Jesus’s unexplainable behavior to thinking about mine.  It’s a choice to pay attention to old Words like Isaiah’s promise of acceptance and Jeremiah’s warning about neglect.  It’s become a reality check about not neglecting old Words.  Romans 8:12 says we do have an “obligation.” Our obligation to the “house that is called by [God’s] name is not our innocence, Adam took care of that.  It’s our choice!  Jesus is calling us to choose purity and He’s given us a completely different how-to Book filled with everything that can make that a reality in our life.

[a] Old Made New

 

Think About These Things


What If…
— Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1:5

— You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

— We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

— God’s workmanship in me began long before a specific egg and sperm met one another

— God began to justify His choice in my mother’s womb before my first breath

— That first breath began my sanctification even before my first cognitive thought

— God has created me in the likeness of His perfection to insure I could be of value and succeed at what He’s prepared beforehand

— My whole imperfect and incomplete way of life is the inspired field of operation He’s chosen to accomplish His good works

— In him we live and move and have our being…for we are indeed his offspring  Acts 17:28

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.  Philippians 4:8

God Knows!

Jeremiah 29:10 For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. [NKJV]

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I’m still concentrating on Jeremiah 29: 10-12 and the Spurgeon sermon from 1887.  I found a meaningful difference in the New King James Version’s translation of a phrase from verse 10: “I will perform my good word toward you.”  The Bible is more than history, wisdom and recorded answers to allow us to learn how to live according to the expectations of God.  It’s His good Word written to reveal His intent to intervene and perform it in the life of His leading characters [you and I] as we navigate through the emotional and unexpected circumstances of life.  We are a performance oriented culture, well-trained over most of our years to figure things out but today our unexpected circumstance is a deadly virus.   Coronavirus is now daily confronting our ability to figure out what we do know and what we don’t know. 

God knows!  That is the one thing Spurgeon has reminded me over and over as I’ve read his sermon. “When Moses came out of Egypt, he had no plan as to the march of Israel. He knew that he had to lead the children of Israel to the promised land, but that was all. He probably hoped to take them by the shortest cut to Palestine at once…Brother, you do not know what is to be done, but the Lord knows for you. O, body of Christ, let your head think for you! O, servant of Christ, let your Master think for you. “I know,” says God “the thoughts that I think toward you.” AND “I will visit you and perform My good Word toward you…”

∞ Look back and thank God…Look forward and trust God ∞

Still in Babylon

Jeremiah 29:10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. [NIV]

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The exile continues.  The comfort of Jeremiah 29:11 is meant to remind us of the Lords vision for our future.  That’s a treasure but in the re-reading of those familiar words over and over while continuing to ponder the sermon from Spurgeon an eye-opening expansion of my own vision has happened and this is a priceless gift.  There’s more to that beautiful promise of verse 11.  I am so thankful we have the enduring Word, work and wisdom of God given through Jesus, the Holy Spirit AND the writings of His people that can open our eyes in the midst of this contemporary pandemic. There IS a Jeremiah 29:10 and a 29:12 too.  “I will come to you and fulfill my good promise…you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

In Gods wisdom His vision covers the past, present and the future.  That is the priceless part we need to cling to as God uses Jeremiah to inform our vision to match His own.  “As to our present pain and grief, God saw not these things exclusively, but He saw the future joy and usefulness which will come of them. He regards not only the tearing up of the soil with the plow, but the clothing of that soil with the golden harvest.” [Spurgeon]. 

∞ Look back and thank God…Look forward and trust God ∞

Plans

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

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I found the sermon on Jeremiah 29 by C.H. Spurgeon last week [http://www.spurgeongems.org/sermon/chs1965.pdf]. I feel like I stumbled onto something very special.  It was delivered in 1887 but it’s wisdom has stood the test of time.  It’s long and I keep rereading it because it has more ideas than I can absorb in one reading.  “These people in captivity were likely to fear that their God had forgotten them; hence the Lord repeats His words in this place, and speaks of thoughts and thinking three times.”  Plans, plans, plans.

Plans are the tricky part for humans because we trust what we know and we just don’t know it all. So here we are in this time of Coronavirus faced with the conflict of who’s plans to believe and what actions to take.  Consider this second truth from Spurgeon “Unbelief misinterprets the ways of God; hasty judgment jumps at wrong conclusions about them, but the Lord knows His own thoughts.  We are doubtful where we ought to be sure, and we are sure where we have no ground for certainty, thus we are always in the wrong.”  

Pay attention today to the plans for dealing with Coronavirus, take every action based on their limited wisdom and act in an abundance of caution on the knowledge of men you don’t know AND then put your trust and hope in the plans of the God you do…”plans to give you hope and a future.”

Self-Isolation

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare [peace] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

>§§§>

“I don’t know.”  That’s probably the most consistent thought in many of our minds these days.  We must act on the advice of experts but we are dealing with unknown risk levels.  No matter how much information we consume about mitigating the danger of our exposure to Corona virus it’s not enough to ease our minds completely when the time comes for one of those essential trips out of the safety of the exile of self-isolation.  Jeremiah reminds us God has a plan and Corona virus is not the only danger of our exile.

“A people in such a position as the Jews in Babylon were in danger in two ways: either to be buoyed up with false hopes, and so to fall into foolish expectations; or, to fall into despair, and have no hope at all, and so become a sullen and degraded people, who would be unfit for restoration, and unable to play the part which God ordained for them in the history of mankind.” (Spurgeon 1887).

God knows the plan even if I haven’t a clue what it is.  Exile from the familiarity of daily life has given me a new awareness I need to be equipped to play the part God has set for my restoration.  He’s given me expert advice about the one part of my future and hope I am in charge of.  I can do this one thing to be prepared even in the exile of self-isolation!   “…Call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” 

ESV Speaking for Itself

Isaiah 29:16
You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

Isaiah 45:9
“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?

Isaiah 64:8
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Job 10:8-12
Your hands fashioned and made me, and now you have destroyed me altogether. Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust?

Jeremiah 18:2-6
“Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

Romans 9:20-22
But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?

2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

2 Timothy 2:20
Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable.

Plans for the Future

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

This is one of the loveliest of all Scriptures. The Lord clearly states his plans are “to give you hope and a future.” Those plans are in place to preserve and restore his relationship with his creation.

Our bottom line is only a mustard seed away from believing what God has declared to be true. Remember the story about the mustard seed? The smallest of all “seeds” of faith  in him is all it takes.  “Call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” That’s the plan!