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Jeremiah—The Message and Messenger—Part 2—Chapters 17 – 21

For Jeremiah chapters 1-16 click here:

https://vallee7.wordpress.com/category/jeremiah-chapters-1-16/

Chapters 17 -20 below:

Jeremiah Chapter 17

Ugliest Partridge in the world, © Val J. Lee

Ugliest Partridge in the world, © Val J. Lee

The effects of unrepentant sin has a domino effect that simply does not vanish.

The Jews of Jeremiah’s day were not repentant and repercussions lurked everywhere! Any dreamful thought of changing to follow God, and thus receive the blessings of obedience, was a mere mirage in their desert life of deadly drought.

Verse 1 informs us, Judah’s sin was engraved in their hearts, not a surface recognition, but deep embedding. God had recorded their sin with a writing pen of iron, with the “point of a diamond” on their soiled hearts.

An iron pen or stylus with a diamond tip was implemented for writing on clay tablets in this day. This was just one method of data recording. The technique used to document the book of Jeremiah involved the usage of a reed pen applied to a papyrus roll. Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch, likely used an ink made of a soot mixture. Sturdy leather tablets also served scribes.

The pen Jeremiah mentions is a metaphor to describe how God was convicting their hearts. You can almost feel this diamond stylus digging deeply into the sensitive tissue of the body.

Verse 2 digs extensively into the heart of things by addressing their sacrificed children, offered to the Asherim idols. These precious young ones were burned in massacre-type worship to their false goddesses. Asherim was a their mother goddess or their “queen of heaven.”

We might ask, now how could anyone burn their children in the name of religion? To answer this, one must understand that worshipping idols places people in bondage, a state in which they can no longer distinguish between good and evil. They live in a world of make-believe. Their conscience speaks the active words of murder. Their lying mind says, appease the evil spirits of death to achieve blessings of desire. Though, we know, they are literally sacrificing their little ones to demons. In reality, it is satan telling them to murder. He is the voice of every idol; and the voice of every distorted belief system. He is the one who incites religious bondage that often justifies all sin, including murder. It is his voice behind the saying, “No one has the right to judge you.” He misuses the Scripture to incite licentiousness (no rules). This mentality is condemned throughout the Bible, including in Jeremiah. Jude is another book that exposes the wickedness of people who justify sin in the name of licentiousness. Jesus Christ exposed the evil of sinful compromise in five of the churches addressed in Revelation. They were condemned for not judging sin in the church.

In today’s world, babies are still massacred, arms and legs torn away from the torso for easy removal. A Sopher clamp is the instrument made for this procedure. It is surgical, sharp teeth pliers. It clamps onto a baby’s leg, arm, or head. The abortionist twists a body part with his Sopher until it tears away from the torso. The parts of the precious baby are then placed on a table to see if the entire body corpse lays there in pieces. It is not good to leave a body part behind. Of course, I say this facetiously.

Some babies are stabbed in the head so a sucking device can be inserted. This removes their brains, shrinking the head for easy withdraw.

Young children, in the womb, are also burned to death with saline solution.

One abortion doctor in Texas was known to rip off the heads of babies, with his bare hands, who were born alive.

All this performed in the name of the sexual gods of the new age. This all is part of sensual bondage.

I ask you, if abortion is so wonderful, then why is not explained and shown by the media?

Praise God all sins can be forgiven in Christ Jesus.

Verse 4 reminds the people of Israel that all they possess, befalls from the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Everything we possess is provided by God’s benevolent hand. God gave the land of Israel to the Jews out of His love for them. Since God granted them the power to drive out Israel’s former inhabitants from the land, the Jews did not have to build houses or clear the land for agricultural purposes.

This later generation harbors ingratitude for God’s blessings of land ownership, and now the people are going to lose everything. Giving worshipful thanks to God continually, maintains a grateful heart that receives multiple blessings from the Almighty, including a place to live and food on the table.

When God originally brought the Hebrews to Israel, He allowed them to remove the pagan people. The Canaanites, who were driven from the Promised Land, never gave thanks to the living and true God for all their blessings. And now the Jews are not worshipping God rightly and now they too will be removed from their Holy Land.

The end of verse 4, reminds us how much God hates sin, as His anger “will burn forever.”

Sin is never to be taken lightly; Christ had to die for every filthy sin. When we engage in wrongdoing, it is like slapping our holy God in the face. If we glory in sin, in its actual practice, we are angering the God of righteousness.

Chapter 17 holds two key verses that are quoted often. One is verse 5, “Thus says the LORD, cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord.” This is significantly powerful as this is the downfall of many believers who listen to, and follow wicked mankind and what he artfully produces for deception sake and this includes what is supposedly new. Men want what is new. They run to this and that and say, “This is new,” yet, in a few months, it is not new and something else is new. Silly man has no common sense or righteous wisdom. In the Bible, in Ecclesiastics 1:10, man is ridiculed for getting excited if he notices something that is new when it is not. In America, something very old, like a song, will be re-sung by the latest group of craze, and every young person will think it is new; however, the song is very old. If you tell kids a song they love was a song sung decades ago, they cannot comprehend it. They are offended by such a revelation. They were sure it was new.

The same musical love themes and feelings, may have a new band, a new wild beat, but the basic messages have been told throughout the centuries—Boy meets girl or girl meets boy.

Common sense and wisdom only arise from what is tremendously ancient—the Bible. It provides purifying messages that renew the heart every day.

Our trust must be held in the old Bible, in the LORD God alone, who has always been, who is our complete truth, and who never fails. Our frontal reasoning skills need to be operating continually so we never forsake or compromise truth.

Please remember, frail, contemporary men can never satisfy our needs for immutable truth. I want my eyes turned upon Christ and Him alone, only He is the spotless, holy standard! Failure is men’s destiny apart from Jesus Christ.

Various verses in the Bible warn us concerning men, including Galatians 1:10. Here, we read that it is sinful to please men! And if we are trying to please men, we cannot be loving servants of Christ.

John 2:23-25 informs us of the wisdom Jesus Christ exercised as God. In these verses, people were believing in Him; yet, He would not entrust Himself to anyone for “He knew all men” and “what was in man.” Peter thought Christ could surely trust in him, being he was always faithful in ministry; but Christ, after His arrest, revealed to Peter his folly of denial.

John 12:42-43 addresses the two-faced ways of believers. The Christians referenced here, refused to tell others of their faith. The priority that controlled them was man-pleasing. Therefore, they wouldn’t acknowledge Christ openly. They could not stomach rejection, being cowardly. God reveals, “They loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.” This is true of contemporary believers who feel they must be doing what the world does to gain its approval and acceptance. These types of people would never lay their lives down for the Savior who hates all sin and compromise. However, Christ declares, if we deny Him, He will deny us.

Recently, a famous man rescued a trapped family from a burning truck—the parents and their two children. The family refuses to call the man who rescued them, “a hero.” Originally they were willing! However, they received death threats from the black community that made their whole beings tremble. This led to their complete silence regarding the matter.

Their rescuer is unjustly hated by flash mobs of the black community for protecting his neighborhood from black thieves.

Even churches compromise to please the men who love this wicked world, attempting to get them to walk in church doors, even though the church is to be a fellowship of the body of believers.

Many pastors prepare for a church service, pondering, how can it gratify the unsaved and lukewarm believer? This, rather than, is it all according to Scripture?

Every action of a pastor should be pleasing before holy God, who is calling His church to worship.

It can be a blasphemous thing to have unbelievers singing His praises, taking communion, etc. These people are of the evil one and we have nothing in common with them—2 Corinthians chapter 6—until they truly repent. They have no concept of what they are doing, and it cannot be pleasing before God, whom they are separated from because of their sin.

Yes, people certainly can visit a church to learn how to be saved, but the church service itself is to feed believers for continual growth, not cater to those, who, in no way, shape or form represent the body of Christians. Pastors should not try to involve them in the worship aspect.

I am not advocating pastors should not speak the saving Gospel message at the close of the service. They should! However, there must be some lines drawn. We are not to be one with the world or our community. Remember John didn’t want anyone entering into the house church who did not abide in the teachings of Christ—2 John 9-10.

Community is the “buzz” word in fellowships today. Yet, we are not of this world or our community in a true, spiritual sense. We are called to come out from them. We can never believe we are one with those who do not know Christ; those who speak with worldly terminology, and the world listens to them; 1 John 4:5.

Yes, we do desire to draw them to the Savior and that is part of going out into the world with the Gospel.

And when we reach out to the unsaved, we do not place ourselves above them, as we are simply and humbly saved by grace. Howbeit, God has drawn a deep line of separation that is ignored today.

Verse 6 continues to explain the consequences of trusting in man, acknowledging there is no productive aspect in life when one does. No special blessings arise from the LORD God, only inward emptiness and disillusionment in striving after that which holds no eternal value. Desert waste is all that awaits such a one. God knows if we are striving after the things of this temporary world, He will have to withdraw the blessings of discernment in accordance.

I could write of men’s selfish, pipe-dreams forever; but the point is, trying to achieve in this world by listening to and trusting in sinful man’s godless strategies, never brings everlasting rewards. It simply buries one in a wasteland of despair.

Psalm 118:6-9, serves to enlighten our hearts in respect to, not pleasing and trusting in man. It warns of the futility of placing our confidence in man, rather than God.

Verses 7 and 8, back in Jeremiah, present the simplistic key to all fulfillment—trust God and all blessings will flow.

By obeying and resting in God, a man or woman may not come to gain much materially, but spiritually, all is gained—a life of fulfillment—a life overflowing with the wholesome waters of God. Verse 8 promises, they will resemble a tree planted by the waters, that spreads forth its roots to garner the liquid nourishment. Deadly drought never reaches it. Its leaves remain jade, glistening in dayspring’s illumination. Its glorious display is its ever-bearing, tasteful fruit of holy righteousness.

Those who live wisely, feed upon the Tree of Life—Jesus Christ.

Verses 7 and 8 reiterates Psalm 1, verses 2 and 3.

Verse 9, is the second key verse in this chapter of Jeremiah. This has been quoted forever in time, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick (or wicked); who can understand it!” Christ taught us the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak—Matthew 26:41. The flesh represents the heart of man that desires all that is evil. This wicked heart is deceptive and will cover-up or justify, hiding the truth … no holy motive exists.

It’s amazing how we, as believers, can justify ourselves when we choose not to obey God’s Word. It all stems from that deceptive heart that desires fleshly gratification.

I have been a believer for a great many years and I suppose I have heard nearly all sins justified by so-called believers, including murder and pedophilia. I have just stood literally in shock by what some, so-called Christians, have stated who attend Bible believing churches. Two of them should have suffered the death penalty or prison.

I personally know my heart is very ill, as God continually shows new areas that I need to make more Christ-like. Nothing in God’s Word is to be rushed over; it is to be prayed over. Praying, “Change me,” in this area or that is a continual plea of mine, as I read through the Scriptures or become convicted by the Holy Spirit throughout the day. I can’t wait to shed this body of sin!

Verse 10, should cause us to walk in all uprightness; God is right here, always searching our heart and mind for our motives in all actions. He gives each of us according to our ways or actions. We all reap what we sow in one way or another. If we sit before some production that represents the world and its ways, we reap the thoughts that tag along after we depart. They return to our mind’s dwelling file, where inserted … difficult to remove.

A young radio pastor explained how he had attended a movie in another town so no one would spot him. He was told the flick was good, but upon leaving, realized his mistake in watching it! It was not edifying and pure. He was bothered and convicted for a week or two following.

As a teen and young person, I listened to rock music, and once and while a tune will come to my mind and I have to check it, cancel it out, and then insert a lovely hymn, prayer, or Bible section to dwell on.

A friend was recently telling me how she’ll start humming something and stop herself suddenly, realizing that it is an old rock song that she does not want running through her mind.

The Partridge

We see the Partridge referred to in verse 11.

It is used as an illustration to teach us reality; God uses a great deal of His creation designing to install wisdom into mankind throughout His Holy Bible.

I shot the header photo, of this lesson, of the ugliest Partridge in the world, in Maui, Hawaii. After photographing it, I couldn’t figure the thing out. I emailed bird experts and received no answer. I emailed someone in Hawaii, but they were identity-clueless. However, they were most gracious and kind and held a desire to assist.

Not until I saw the flanks of a beautiful Partridge did I define the species (I hope). I do not know what happened to this species that was stationed around the Haleakia volcano area of Maui. (Photo below)

focused Haleakala low

Maui, Hawaii Volcano area, Haleakala, © Val J. Lee

I don’t believe these birds survived an eruption.

This bird may be molting (exchanging feathers—old for new), but still, it is the ugliest molter I have ever witnessed. It is definitely of the Galliformes or fowl family that includes the Partridge.

Now, there is another bird of the poultry family called a Guin and it too is ugly, though not quite as hideous as the bird in the photo. It is slightly similar. It is a hybrid of a chicken and guinea fowl.

The Partridge family consists of many different species, all masterly crafted by our Creator.

The Partridge is native to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. A few of these Old World birds were introduced to America in the 1920s to delight hunters with their tasty meat. Currently, they are hunted for food provision in various states.

God is gracious to create fowl meat and eggs for men’s tummies. The Partridge eggs can be consumed like chicken eggs. They are smaller than chicken eggs and supply a milder flavor.

The Partridge is a ground bird that rarely flies. When it does, it mostly navigates in low, flyer mode. Its cousin, the Chicken, owns a slower, throttle, soar speed, compared to many birds. Chickens are not talented in the realm of distant flight. They can fly into trees and roost there. It is simply about flapping the wings and moving about, lift off is not too exciting, just 4 to 10 feet into the air. With the Partridge, it can navigate perfectly straight, and exhort soaring abilities when the need arises. It flies like a non-poultry bird.

Partridges are able to walk with ease on tree and bush branches.

The main cry of this ave is a clear whistle.

These cute birds mate for life, being monogamous by God’s design. The female prepares a nest composed of grasses on the ground or on a low surface. They are noted for their large grass nests.

Mom hen lays ten to eighteen eggs. The father may assist in the incubation and hatching process. The hatched young will follow their parents until mature.

• • • • • •

God informs us in verse 11 of the Partridge’s desire. Most likely this references the Sand or Stone Partridge of Israel that lays five to seven eggs. Fantastic Sand Partridge video by Lironziv:

The LORD has imparted in the Partridge family, a shady heart! The hunted Partridge will hatch the eggs of other bird species. The female will snatch eggs; this according to ornithology facts of observance. And this what God is referring to in this verse.

Birding info quote: “The many eggs that Partridges are commonly found hatching do not all belong to the Partridges. The animal normally lays between six and twelve eggs. There has been evidence indicating that the bird can be an intrusive bird in that it steals other bird eggs.”

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Now some birds will willingly place their eggs in bird nests (hosts’ nests) for other moms to raise. The female Cuckoo Bird is known to place her eggs in other nests. She would never think to be domestic and build her own nest. She will eat the eggs of other birds and then place her egg substitutes in the nests of tender-hearted mother birds (who know how to count), ensuring they will be receiving pampering care. If she were to place some of her eggs in a Partridge nest, that always lays out a welcome mat for other eggs, they would be gleefully hatched by the Partridge. But these foreign young will abandon the Partridge as soon as possible to be with its own wild kind. This, of course, would break the heart of Mom Partridge who will steal eggs and welcomes intruder eggs, only to be disappointed.
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This all appears bizarre! And this is what God is getting at, the oddity or foolishness of the thing—birds stealing eggs from fellow fowl and reaping the consequence of a broken heart when reality strikes …. the orphans not wanting anything to do with their adoptive parents after they have nurtured them. God has created animals to dwell with their own kind.

Bird hearts do break. I observed a mother duck morn deeply when her young chick was eaten by a predator. She swam around crying, as if she was going to go insane with grief. A Canada Goose, with a tender heart, tried to befriend her and swam beside her in an attempt to comfort.

God explains in the book of Job that He manufactures some animals to simply make us laugh. Others, He creates to teach our minds wisdom, as with the greedy Partridge. Greed never pays. God makes sure there are hefty consequences to such actions.

Aves that leave their young, by means of easy disposal in other nests, can teach human mothers how not to treat their sweet infants. Placing children in daycare centers for easy disposal—to avoid having to grab the time to train them in the righteous way they should mature—is unkind and insensitive. If properly disciplined, including spankings for misbehavior and rebellion, children rightly bless the home with their presence.

A few human parents, who hold no love for their young, will abandon them altogether. They want to do their own thing without any kids tagging along. This was a case for several children who were permanently dropped off at a local children’s home because the parents wanted to travel to an exotic place.

I knew a mother who permanently abandoned her beautiful, two young daughters so she could have fun on the town.

Verse 11, testifies to the fact, God will not bless the greedy heart of man that obtains riches without working to gain them. He does not bless unjust gain or lazy gain.

I can think of certain ones who divorce, believing they can achieve riches by finding a more desirable mate who walks around with a big wad of money in their pocket.

Their heart is black as coal. They do not care if they have a faithful mate when their heart turns to greed, vain imaginings and action. Right after filing for divorce, the sly plotter will rob the home. Of course, they do this when their unsuspecting spouse is gone for a period of time, knowing they can take what they want, everything being in both names.

I knew two women who suffered such an offense. They were left with little, being nothing could be done; legalities shut the door on them.

Of course, the mate who robs, has hired a heartless lawyer who implements the dishonest ways of the legal system to swindle most everything in the divorce process.

The scheme continues as the vile, divorcing conspirator attempts to find a rich, well-to-do substitute. However, I have never seen this succeed. Their wickedly laid strategies eventually produce a desert waste, as stated in verse 6.

Years ago my husband, Al, when a correctional administrative lieutenant at a prison, was dealing with an inmate offender, a con man, who was infamous for being a polygamist, accumulating rich women as wives and then stealing much of what they possessed. His strange obsession incited him to court those women who were recently widowed, hurting, and well-to-do. He would lay the tenderest, comforting lines on them to apprehend. Maneuvering his various wives eventually upset the cart in more ways than one. Who could balance such a thing for long in conniving stealth? One by one a wife would discover another wife.

This incarcerated polygamist would write tender letters to unsuspecting widows to snag money from them while in prison. Being behind bars for polygamy didn’t deter him one bit!

He deceived one lady using the inmate phone, to get her money.

Al explained to her his indictment, but it was still a laborious task for him to get it through her head. She had bought all the swindling lines, had fallen in love with him, and would not believe the truth. She would not cooperate, though she was being financially swindled by a prisoner.

This con was eventually released from prison and he returned to quick cash scheming through polygamy plotting, thinking the second time would spin the wheel of success. Well, I don’t mean to surprise you, but he did get caught again, this time being wanted in several states.

Though lasting success always eluded him, the dough prospect kept him running to the next widow. God often intervenes in the legal process so unjust fortunes sink into desert sands.
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The lottery promise also leads to desert waste. Many gamble away the money needed to sustain a family in hopes of snaring the 12 million dollar jackpot of fast and easy money. They are sure the next ticket will lead to bars of gold.

Of course, there are a few winners, though the vast majority never secure a dime.

One of the few lottery winners did move to a neighborhood adjacent to ours, where a dream home was built. To the person’s misfortune, everything was lost, due to poor planning and just spending—spending.

The Lottery victimizes countless people from all sectors of society. Though of course, they are not without sin! These deceived ones lust after green bucks and its all about satisfying their avarice hands. Some people go beyond the lottery, placing themselves in bondage to slot machines and racing.

Lottery and Gambling Facts:

(Edited and condensed from an article addressing gambling, by George Caylor.)

If you take all the members of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines, there are six times that many young people addicted to gambling!

Where video poker is legal, players are losing their pension money, their homes, and their savings. In every town where gambling becomes legal, pawn-shops abound, crime increases, suicide is usual, and neighborhoods go down the tubes.

If you win the lottery, what besides money do you win?

Let me tell you of a personal experience. Three years ago, my Philadelphia client Steve came into my office and told me—six months ago, his brother Bob won a State Lottery for $5 million!”

“Well, it’s not $5 million in cash, but an annual income of about $180,000 per year after taxes. And Bob doesn’t have anything to invest.”

“How does he not have anything left?!”

“Let me tell you the whole story. Before Bob won the lottery, he was healthy, ran marathons, had a wonderful wife, three sweet boys and a good job. Everything’s changed.”

“After the win, Bob became such a jerk at work that they fired him. He made new friends who were cocaine users. He stopped running marathons. He became such a jerk at home, that his wife left him and took the boys with her.

And if Bob leaves his house, there are hoodlums driving up and down his street ready to break Bob’s legs. He hasn’t been paying his gambling bills, and the annual lottery annuity doesn’t cover them.”

Last February Steve was back in my office. My first question was “Has Bob recovered?”

Steve looked down: “I was Bob’s executor after he shot himself Christmas day.”

Final game tally – Bob lost his life. Before he “won the game,” Bob had everything a man could want, he had won life’s many blessings. The effects of winning that lottery cost him everything a man can lose.

After that episode, I did some research on lottery winners and discovered that Bob was no exception to the rule.

Most are stone-broke within three years, many are dead. It’s as if the lottery check comes with a contract that states, “I hereby relinquish all.”

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Of course, examples of this truth, exposed by God, could go on and on. The point is, trying to achieve in this world by listening to sinful man and trusting in him, never builds everlasting rewards. Becoming rich and successful outside of God’s plan of placing Christ and others first, can be deadly.

• • • • • •

Praise is set forth in verse 13, returning to Jeremiah, worship offered to God, the only hope for Israel. This holy, uplifted acclaim to God is undefiled and perfect in truth. Second John emphasizes that we only walk in the truths of the Bible, and reject all other teachings, and all teachers who would teach contrariwise. We learn in this little book that if we abide in the doctrines of Christ, that we have both the Father and the Son.

The Scriptures proclaim, truth is everything. God’s Word of wisdom is always “real time,” it is for every moment in every person’s life.

There are grave consequences set on men who teach anything or write anything contrary.

Jeremiah only wrote what was correct in the eye of the LORD God, as did all Bible authors.

We also note in verse 13, that the names of those who forsake God, will be “written down.”

Revelation 20:11-13 reveals the lasting truth of this—a day is looming when the books will be open and everyone judged according to their deeds.

Matthew 12:36-37 severely warns that every careless word that people speak, they shall give accounting for in the Day of Judgment.

We, as believers, will have our works tested by the fire of God; 1 Corinthians 3:12f. It will be a test of motive and action, not according to a popularity chart.

Turning back to Jeremiah, God’s curse is pronounced for disobedience, for forsaking the LORD, “The Fountain of Living Waters.” When men act according to what is right in their own eyes, they forsake “The Fountain of Living Waters.”

We know Jesus Christ is the living water, who arrived in the flesh of man, John 1:14, disclosing the relevancy of this verse. Christ came and made completely real the attributes of God that were recorded in the Old Testament. In John chapter 4, Christ told the woman at the well, that He was the living water and He is the water of eternal life. In John 7:37-38, we further note, Christ is the living water who truly satisfies spiritual thirst. (See also Revelation 7:17 that reassures true believers that Christ, who leads us to living fountains, will wipe away the tears from our eyes in heaven.)

We are wholly privileged to be living in New Testament times; whereby, we more fully understand these attributes that have been displayed before us in the person of Christ.

Moving into verse 14, we read of God’s healing attribute. Christ came to earth and healed many and is still doing so today. Jeremiah recognized only true healing could come from God, and that being spiritual healing as well. It is a blessed thing to pray for prospering health for fellow, true believers, as we note in 3 John verse 2.

We are assured in this Jeremiah verse, that God is Savior! Jeremiah sought him as Savior requesting, “Save me and I will be saved.”

Christ died on the tree of crucifixion to save man from his sin. He also saved Jeremiah from the sins he committed on the earth. We know no one lived a sinless life and Jeremiah cries out for God’s redemption in this book.

Persecution is what we witness in verse 15. The wicked Jews ask Jeremiah sarcastically, “Where is the Word of the LORD? Let us see it now!” This is a prevision to what Christ endured from sinful men when He came to the earth. Men wanted Christ to display many miracles to prove He was God. He presented countless miracles, but wicked men still would not believe and demanded more. The hearts of the Jews held the same hardness as the Jews in Jeremiah’s day.

It is despairing that these Jews, whom Jeremiah loves and wants to preserve, hate him so. They are daring him with, if the calamity is to come to pass, as you say, then bring it on!

Tenderness counteracted this cruel, sarcastic verbiage. Jeremiah replied with, he didn’t look forward to this day of judgment, knowing his heart was full of concern. It was full of concern for them.

We can see this attitude displayed today with those who stand on the Bible and want to warn others to live pure lifestyles to assure blessings. Pure Christians do not want people entering into promiscuous relationships that may produce the deadly disease of AIDS. And they do not want people suffering with other sexual diseases so they encourage abstinence till marriage.

Suicide is prominent among those who engage in the lifestyle of death and those who become bound in other types of promiscuity.

The facts: “Each year, one out of every three gay, lesbian or bisexual students in the San Francisco Unified School District reportedly, attempts suicide. For transgender students, that number jumps to nearly one in two.”

Promiscuous sex leads to suicide among our young: “Sexually active girls are nearly three times more likely to attempt suicide than girls who are pure.”

“Sexually active teenage boys are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than boys who are pure.”

Why not warn against following the crowd in sinful activity that produces guilt, bondage, depression, diseases, and death? This is part of loving one another.

Why should this exposure cause people to be persecuted? It is because today’s culture is all about death and destruction, not loving one another as oneself.

People who stand for purity and oppose homosexuality in the military are being persecuted and are being asked to resign in the name of homophobia and intolerance. They are cruelly being told they cannot stand with the natural family and purity until marriage. Our presidential administration sees the Biblical stand as illegal and worthy of just punishment.

In London, not long ago, a pastor was arrested who was warning, in a caring manner, of the earthly and eternal consequences of the lifestyle of death so repentance might take place unto salvation for those who listened. The hate that was cast upon him led to him being arrested by the bobbies.

At various times, we need to be reassured that the LORD is upholding our hands … our being; Isaiah 41:13. Continually reaching heavenward can maintain our alertness to His presence felt in every peril of persecution.

We carry with us the privilege of being able to cry out our hearts to God at anytime. We can request God to encourage us with His steadfast and everlasting love. We can intercede for His guidance and strength when our pain is immense. The Bible commands that we pray without ceasing. We can continually talk to the LORD about our hurts, temptations and disappointments in unceasing fellowship. He is able to restore us and grant us peace and deliverance. He never grows tired of restoring our souls.

Jeremiah needed God’s assurances for standing on holy righteousness, while warning the people of their sin. He stood alone, therefore he perpetually needed God’s love and strength placed upon him. He required renewal admist rejection and sarcasm.

Jeremiah moves toward faith restoration in this prayerful setting of desperation and terror. He must be reassured that God is by His side. Jeremiah speaks to the LORD, as to a nearby friend.

In the first line of verse 16, Jeremiah reminds God, in his time of despairing, that he has been a shepherd to these people. He has been their spiritual instructor who has taught them the ways of God.

(Godly men can represent God as His teaching shepherds, as did Jeremiah in times of old. If you turn to John 21:15-17, you will note that Jesus is exhorting Peter to be a shepherd to God’s followers. He is to instruct, love and nurture believers in the ways and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Shepherds, also called pastors or elders, are those who watch over the believing flock or church without being dictatorial; 1 Peter 5:2-3. This can involve a multitude of responsibilities which are explained in Timothy, Titus, Ephesians chapter 4, etc.)

Continuing further in verse 16, Jeremiah informs God of his obedience and dedication in this time of dread. He almost seems to be on the verge of panic in verse 17. His enemies are encompassed about. How many of us have been here? I certainly have.

With a positive, inserted note, we are reassured that God is Jeremiah’s refuge. God is his “hope in the day of evil.” The LORD God is a refuge to all believers who dwell in the fire of persecution. In America, we do not feel the persecution as those in other countries who have to depend upon Christ to shelter them every minute.

It has been reported that the unregistered churches of China surpass the Bible churches in America. There are possibly over 100 million born again believers in this Chinese land of little freedom, who are all regarded as criminals for loving the LORD Jesus Christ.

Christians in many nations are imprisoned or murdered for their faith; this is especially true in Muslim lands where beheading Christians is commonplace.

In verse 18, Jeremiah calls for the Jews’ destruction. He is not feeling love for his enemies here, but wants their evil intentions extinguished by the hand of God and soon. He wants righteousness to triumph over evil. He also acknowledges, all vengeance belongs to the Lord.

• • • • • •

Continuing on course, we begin a new section in verse 19. Jeremiah is again called to open-air evangelism. This bold preacher is to stand in the public gate proclaiming God’s Words. Jeremiah was to go where these unredeemed ones gathered, just as present day evangelists are to present the Gospel where the unsaved dwell. Jeremiah is to speak in the public gates of Jerusalem where people went about their business.

We read here that this is no “tickle your ears” type message. All The exhortations spoken through Jeremiah actually flow from the mouth of God, who plays no fun games with His Jewish creation.

This is another heavy-duty sermon, sin exposure. An exhortation that calls out to the Hebrews to abandon their greed.

God commands that they cast their business aside on the Sabbath, and simply worship Him with no desire for lucrative profit. God is addressing everyone, from the lowly in status to the kings of Judah.

Turning this today-ward, we witness the church desiring to appease the selfish, self-centered community that surrounds us. The church believes it must make everyone feel they are still attached to the local mall when in church. Therefore, fellowships now sell things, including food and drink, to please the materialistic man who loves to spend money at every turn.

Some churches even have small coffee restaurants. One church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has a regular restaurant.

Various churches engage in raffles, selling crafts, church stocks … you just name it … simply to please and gratify the flesh that craves shopping and never wants to stop. Leaders attempt to make it look spiritual, stating it is for the financial profit of the church.

The only example of giving that is true to the Word, is believers placing money in an offertory and not being coerced into it through having an item of desire flashed before them in church to entice them to remove some cash from their pocketbook.

In the days of the temple, the Jews also placed money in a box, as viewed with the poor widow who gave all she had. She gave more than the richest of men, because she gave from her heart that held a true love for God.

Years ago, most all businesses were closed on Sunday in respect to the day of worship. I am old enough to remember. Now, anything goes in our churches and society. Though we are grateful for those businesses that display the closed sign in the window.

The disrespect we view today for worship, must make our Savior weep.

Turning back to Jeremiah, viewing verses 25-26, God makes a promise, informing the Jews that if they repent from selling on the Sabbath, then He will bless the city of Jerusalem forever. He states kings and princes will come riding on horses and chariots through the gates of the city. Further, offerings and sacrifices will be brought to the House of the LORD from areas outside of Jerusalem.

Now, we know, this great day of obedience did not come to pass. The southern kingdom refused to repent. Obedience will surface one day; God will mightily bless Jerusalem for obedience. It will transpire in a most glorious way, during the millennial reign of Christ.

Turning to Nehemiah 13:15-18, will assist in understanding God’s heart. In this passage, God is exposing, through Nehemiah, that the Jews, who have returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, have returned to their ancestral, sinful ways. They are engaging in the fleshly desire for wealth and prestige, and are buying and selling on the Sabbath to accomplish this. They want money exchanged every day of the year to please their piggish eyes. They cannot even set aside one day a week for Almighty God who provides all their necessities.

This is a history lesson of condemnation. Nehemiah is sharply preaching to the Jewish people—having descended from the Jews who lived in Jeremiah’s day. Nehemiah is discoursing on pre-captivity activities, referencing the sins that leveled Jerusalem, because there was no desire to put aside the ways of the world to worship the LORD.

Now, these returned ones are again engaging in the same dealings that landed their grandparents in exodus. Nehemiah exposes the calamity that befell their ancestors through the Babylon invasion for a present day warning.

Jesus physically revealed His anger with the Jews in the same vein centuries later. They were once again engaging in business, in and around the temple. They were carrying merchandise through it—Mark 11:16. Jesus used force to vent His dissatisfaction with the people.

God’s anger is unleashed in verse 27, in Jeremiah, letting it be known a fire will be kindled in the gates, in all Jerusalem, and it will not be quenched if the buying and selling on the Sabbath continues.

When we arrive at chapter 52, we will view the fulfillment of these verses, when Jerusalem, including the temple, are razed.

What might God be thinking when observing the wayward ways of His children in our era? He must surely be angered at the lack of respect for holiness in the church realm, including the handling of money.

Though everyone suffers the consequences of all disrespect for houses of worship, many are blind to the belittling and casting aside of unadulterated worship. Contemporary-ism father’s the modern methodology of new perspectives of new attitudes of tolerance. And now neo-orthodoxy is riding in on the coattails of these new perspectives, which simply humanizes Christianity into “anything goes.” It refuses to take Scripture literally.

Its sneaky promoters use the most sacred language to deceive, but they mean the opposite of their words. If you listen with discernment for an extended period, you understand they truly do not take Scriptural disobedience seriously or its preordained, eternal consequences. They take Christianity and turn it into a confusing mess leading many to hell’s fire. Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer are a couple of the fathers of this diabolical heresy. These are the same types of heresies that were neo-orthodox in Jeremiah’s day. There is nothing new in the way of liberal theology or compromise. The word “compromise,” of course, is too simplified and too pointed for the theological elite who must dress it up with impressive language of theology that leads to the writing of endless books and articles to justify everything in two-faced wordiness.

What is our out? The straight and narrow path that never changes. Yes, the heritage of the Scriptures that never falters. This is the heritage passed down to us by God for our blessed good.

In His truths,
Val Lee

Jeremiah Chapter 18

Pottery © Val J. Lee

© Val J. Lee

 
May we be vessels fit for the LORD’s use! 

This chapter begins with God telling Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house and there He would announce His Words to him. In verse 2, Jeremiah heeds the command and travels to a potter’s house to watch the artisan spin and work his hands over the wet, formable clay. Jeremiah closely observes the steps of the thrower’s creation.

Unfortunately, the forming piece on the wheel becomes unpliable and spoiled (like Israel). In spite of this, the potter simply refashions the vessel on the wheel; one with green strength (pottery term meaning durable) and formed to the satisfaction of the potter; verse 4. And, no doubt, to the delight of Jeremiah.

Isaiah 64:8 declares, “But now, oh LORD, you are our Father, we are the clay, and thou the potter; and we are the work of your hands.”

It is quite the education to observe crafty people produce clay works before your eyes.

Our son, Joshua, has a potter’s wheel and I have often witnessed the clay spoiled and cast away—becoming completely unusable. He has formed many unique and splendid vessels; yet, they are usually fashioned after some disappointments with mushy clay that did not always yield to his will.

God uses this visual illustration to reveal He is the ultimate potter of Israel; the nation is in His forming hands, just as we are. He, being the ultimate molder, is free to destroy the clay or dust which He composed. And God is kindly mindful that we are but dust; 103:14. He rules over all the human clay of the earth, and His ultimate purposes will always be performed over the will of rebellious clay.

Yes, the human pot can plead his or her case, but the ultimate decision concerning the vessel, is determined by God; no other.

Romans chapter 9, more fully explains this; specifically verses 20-21. God manufactures vessels for honorable and dishonorable use and we have no right to question Him in these actions. Moreover, we have no right to ask of God, why He formed us the way He did. A person deformed is not to question, “Why is this?” We have no right to question Him about any of His creation. He did not choose to make everyone gorgeous, intelligent and wealthy. Thank goodness! How in the world could we learn to truly reveal love and charity if everyone was perfect in every way to behold?

Back in Jeremiah, verses 6-11, we read of the reigning supremacy of God. He has every right to do as He chooses with His people. Judah was being held and configured by the Creator of all. Within this text, strong, authoritative; yet loving language assails us … He will allow no mere men to argue with Him! Men can repent and be saved, but sinful men cannot attack the God of true justice. Due to the LORD’s overruling authority, He can destroy any nation at will and He will do so to Israel.

These verses appear to reiterate the truths found in Isaiah 40:12f, which explain how God establishes nations and rulers, and then destroys them at will.

Verse 8, in Jeremiah, addresses God being willing to withdraw evil if a wayward nation renounces its evil deeds. This is exactly what happened with Nineveh and this was a Gentile city. God is kind, availing graciousness to any who choose to repent. And He supplies opportunities, leaving men without excuses.

Included here is God’s desire to bless nations, but when they turn from Him; He recants on His good intentions. Of course, this occurs with individuals as well. God informed David, He held many blessings for him, but because he sinned with Bathsheba, they were withdrawn; 2 Samuel 12:8f.

In verse 11 of Jeremiah, God announces He “will frame evil against Israel” unless she repents and turns to “good.” Jeremiah is told to convey this message to the Jews. God is not sneaky or stealthy. He has nothing to hide. He has no shady agendas or secret messages. No one has to obtain to a certain level of maturity to find a certain truth in the Bible. It is all there, laid bare, for all to read and learn.

Some false cults claim you can achieve certain spiritual, enlightenment levels if you strive to meet their goals or demands; whereby, you can receive special messages from religious leaders. This is how they can enslave followers to do their bidding, even sexual compliance. This is the way of satan who is not about being forthright in all things. He is the deceiver and father of lies.

God exposes excuses in verse 12 for disobedience, knowing the people were languishing and saying, “It’s hopeless.” It’s like believers negatively stating today, “The Word of God is too hard to follow, who can do it? God knows we can’t obey everything.”

No one can incite such excuses before God and get away with it. God reveals the truth when He asserts they are acting according to the stubbornness of their evil hearts. When it comes to ignoring the Word of God, that is exactly what it is—STUBBORNNESS!

Today believers want to explain sin away with, “Oh they just need counseling.” Or, “Their parents were the same way; simply a family weakness.” On and on run the excuses of sinful, vile, and proud man.
God knows better and so do wise people who know their Bible, which teaches man is a sinner from birth.

Truth relays, all need to repent and be washed in Christ’s blood of righteousness. Christians adamantly must call sin … sin.

Personally, I know of no Christian counselors who call for humble repentance. Nor none who will take people through the Bible, and with it, explain how they must turn away from all that is contrary to it … including a stubborn heart that is bent to do whatever gets it high.

God will not let any “me” type person to get away with anything. He will always lay bear the fact they want to sin, they want the pleasure, they want to live out their vile dreams of performing every wicked thing, because “It is all about me.”

The “virgin of Israel” appears in verse 13. How startling that God will even use such a phrase at this point of Israeli backsliding. But this was what the potter designed Israel to be; to be set apart for God and Him alone. No distractions; no alluring idols of gold.

They were to be betrothed to God solely, to never wander to another.

True believers belong to Jesus Christ and Him alone. Divorcing Him or being unfaithful should never be planted in our minds; just as the word “divorce” should never enter the conservation of a married couple.

Our fellowship relationship is akin to marriage. When a couple vows faithfulness “till death do part,” and then one leaves to choose another or others, they are in sin.

This verse is a slap in the face to the pompous Jews, for they are told, even the heathen or godless peoples know what Israel is doing is wrong. Yes, the unsaved often know better, how believers should act than they know themselves. Many unsaved are turned off to God, because so-called Christians continually cast a bad light on themselves through godless actions.

So-called Christians with evil intentions will lie and say, conform to society so you can attract the unsaved. Act according to societal prerequisites. This is one of the biggest fibs of satan. God commands, do not touch what is unclean and do not love this world. Its ways are to be a despicable thing in our eyes.

We cannot go through the New Testament and that which applies to us from the Old, and respond with, I do not need to conform to this, it’s old fashioned. I will be made fun of if I obey, even in a church situation. If we think this, we must ask who then is our strength and power? Christians are not called to be cowards.

Poetic beauty is composed in verse 14, referring to Mount Lebanon in the North, a range bathed in God’s snow and once covered in cedars. Presently, Lebanon snow is used for skiing and snowboarding on its 42 slopes. Hiking is relished … climbers trudge through the snow and over rough terrain; whereby, they are rewarded with vistas, waterfalls, and the Mediterranean Sea.

God inquires, would one abandon this plush area of splendor; by which, spring, melted snow cascades down the plateaus to feed the valley fields? Well, leaving and abandoning God, who created the Lebanon Mountains, which harvests agricultural blessings, is foolish. He, the Creator of all that is good, is the same one who has bestowed countless blessings to the Jewish people. How blinded can one be?

Unveiling the pain God is experiencing is directed to us in verse 15, and expressed in these words, “For my people have forgotten me!” He has been cast aside like an old pair of sandals. We too hurt God’s heart through our selfish actions.

The following phrase reads, “They have stumbled from their ways, from the ancient paths, to walk in bypaths—NOT ON A STRAIGHT HIGHWAY.”

I don’t mind being thought of as an old-fashioned prude by fellow believers, because I want to stay on the ancient paths of an old-fashioned, prudish God. It is a path that actually is a highway, which never bends nor leads one to speak, “I’m confused.” No one who journeys on the old-fashioned paths of God can end up confused. It is the tried and true highway.

Now, it must be admitted, there are those who claim to travel the old fashioned road and look it; yet, they hide an inner, sinful life. This is because they have an outward form of godliness or appearance; and not a genuine heart containing holiness. (2 Timothy 3:5)

When a sinful lifestyle is exposed in those who appear externally righteous, it can turn people away from the true paths of Scripture, and a righteous, separated appearance. This eventuates to a path of liberalism, hating all that even resembles separation from this world. Yes, this is most sad. I have seen it, and no doubt you have too.

When David sinned, he caused people to mock God; and God condemned David’s lost witness, making him pay grievously; 2 Samuel 12:13-14.

Our eyes can only be on God who is all righteousness, and never men who have a fallen nature that deceives. If our eyes are placed on Christians, we will be disappointed. So-called famed Christians appear to be falling frequently into sin these days. One noticeable thing that often gives them away is a proud look; they noticeably glory in their notability.

I say it is better to be a nobody, where no limelight of fame bothers to glow. If you abide only in Scripture, you usually never have to worry about fighting the pride of the renowned. Paul the apostle wrote he was a nobody and he preferred it that way.

When we wonder from the King’s highway, we end up like the people referred to in Ephesians 4:14, who are tossed here and there by waves, carried by every wind of doctrine.

Back in Jeremiah, verse 16, we learn the nations that surround Israel are going to make fun of God’s people; they are going to hiss and shake their heads, because the Jews have abandoned their God. Their showy, outward, religious appearance will melt, displaying in full view, their hidden, ugly hearts.

“I will show them my back and not my face,” says God. What a sign of broken fellowship; verse 17. This is an easy mind picture—an indication of detachment, and moving away from a relationship.

Abraham Lincoln wisely explained, “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right, but part with him when he goes wrong.”

This represents the ways of God and the way we should live; not desiring to be corrupted by bad company, including those who don’t walk in the truth, nor do not promote chaste ways of living.

At times a believer will waver, resulting in us having to loosen our grip on their hand. Jesus had to let go of Judas’ hand when he raised his heel against Him—Psalm 41:9 and John 13:18. It is nice to know God holds the hands of true believers—Isaiah 41:13 and Psalm 73:23.

When people move from the truth, we know we cannot remain close to them. You no longer walk together as one in Christ. When Christians, even pastors, begin to state things contrary to the Word, it is a danger sign, and we must take note and say something. If they refuse to respond to truth, we must depart.

When you begin to hear things that are not in perfect synchronization with the Holy Scriptures, something must be done so you are protected. You do not want to become deceived as well. Lucifer would always like to take more than one.

Verse 18 makes it obvious that everyone hates Jeremiah for being such a wet blanket. He just won’t get into the swing of things. Fortunately, during these times, we have always witnessed Jeremiah run to the only One who holds the answers—this being the LORD God. Jeremiah uses God as his sounding board while in fear and trembling. God continually offered Himself to Jeremiah and He offers Himself to us. The LORD is always there for His children who are walking with Him and who require His assistance. He grants peace, hope and love in every troubling circumstance of life.

Through it all, Jeremiah is learning endurance—an invaluable attribute. He is acquiring it through the hostility poured upon him. Though, be warned, he hasn’t seen anything yet!

What more perfects us in endurance but our trials? (James chapter 1) Jeremiah is being raised to higher ground; the foundation of perfection in persecution!

Does Jeremiah see this? I do not believe so.

The Jews were verbally making fun of Jeremiah with insolent tongues of despisement; in essence asking, what difference does it make if we slash him with our tongues? We will still have our priests, sages, and prophets who are on our side.

They could not recognize they were directing their useless guns of ridicule toward a man who would not reroute to please his fellow Jews and family.

Christ too was stricken with tongues, recounted in Matthew 27:39-44, while He suffered and bled on the tree of crucifixion. Those who despised His righteous teachings held the same revengeful loathing; they even wagged their heads at Him. They insulted the innocent One fiercely with cutting bites of verbal abuse. And we know every hour of every day He is still being cursed by men.

Christ was left alone to suffer for all mankind. Even His heavenly Father had to turn away when all our sins fell upon His holy Son. Christ was forsaken of men and by His heavenly Father that we might be saved.

Jeremiah was abandoned and mistreated by men; yet, God never deserted him; verse 19. His sins too would be paid for him later at Calvary. No one, including Jeremiah, had to suffer as Christ suffered, being totally abandoned, beaten and scarred beyond comprehension.

Jeremiah knows of the dirty, little plot set against him. The ruthless Jewish community has dug a pit for his soul; and it is awaiting his arrival. They have pre-laid the snares for his steps.

Jeremiah calls out for God to rescue him. He pleads for God’s protection by reminding God of his faithfulness in obedience.

As of yet, Jeremiah has not resisted to the place of shedding of blood; Hebrews 12:4. But he is still concerned about tomorrow, knowing religious authorities wait for him to claim his blood. Religious authorities also waited in conspiracy to claim Christ’s blood, eventually getting what they wanted, not knowing it was all part of God’s miraculous plan. But God never allowed murderous plans to completely pan out regarding Jeremiah. Of course, Jeremiah was not the Savior and God of the world!

Christ calls us to pick up our tree and follow Him, which literally means to walk a road that can lead to painful death. We are to be willing to do as He did for us. The stake of crucifixion meant demise, a death of torment. We should not be unwilling to die for our Lord and His truth.

In North Korea, in the 1950s, Pastor Kim and his 27 member congregation were asked to deny Christ or die. They refused. A commanding, communist officer ordered four children to be hung. When his subordinates put the nooses around their small necks, the believers were once again asked to deny Christ. They still would not! The believers told the children, “We will soon see you in heaven.” The children then departed to their heavenly home.

This officer, with no heart, furthered his murdering agenda, ordering a steamroller. He forced the Christians to lie on the ground in its path. As the engine revved, they were provided with one last chance to recant their faith in the Savior.

As the steamroller began to inch forward the Christians began to sing, “More love to Thee, Oh Christ … then shall my latest breath whisper Thy praise, This be my parting cry my heart shall raise; More love, O Christ, to Thee,” continuing until their bodies were crushed under the pressure of massive rollers.

Christ provides the strength and power for His solid children to stand for Him in the midst of persecution. God faithfully lifted Jeremiah from the jaws of fear to carry on the message of salvation. God promised to preserve Jeremiah from the beginning; however, the moment to moment hatred reality, caused Jeremiah to want this assurance reenforced as needed.

Jeremiah requests God’s vengeance to fall on the malice-filled Jews; verse 21. Jeremiah, personally, would never lift a hand against his enemies.

In verse 23, Jeremiah speaks of the omniscience (all-knowing ways) of God in an example prayer of faith, knowledge, and intimacy with God. When we know God, we can tell Him all that is in our hearts, including our fears. We can reverently beseech Him every moment in total honesty and reality. This includes with temptation, explaining to God plainly what it is, how it makes us weak, how it bothers our heart, and how we want it removed.

Jeremiah knows God sees all and knows all, including the heart and thoughts within evil plotting to snag the innocent. This revealing a glimmer of faith in Jeremiah, even as he speaks of the pit they dug and the snare they set. Without the LORD, he stood absolutely alone. There could not possibly be a police rescue on this day and in this age. And consider the fact, the corrupt religious government views him as a criminal worthy of pogrom. Here is a civilized land; yet, personal religious rights are void for Jeremiah.

In the next phrase, Jeremiah asks for God not to forgive these people. Jeremiah did not know his coming Messiah would ask forgiveness for those who orchestrated His execution. Jeremiah, as we know, is a type of Christ when it comes to a righteous man suffering for the holy ways of God.

There is coming a retribution cry, when believers in Christ will request justice regarding those who persecute them unto death. In Revelation 6:9-10, believers, who have given their lives for the Gospel, cry out for the blood of avenge in judgment for their lives being snuffed out by evil doers; those who hate the way of the Calvary. Much of Revelation deals with the fulfillment of their pleas.

And 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 reassures persecuted, New Testament believers, that fiery, vengeance will arrive on the unrepentant, evil people who persecute them.

In Him who strengthens us in all our trials,

Val Lee

PS Here is a clay pot creating video. (Please consider the fact, God works in far finer detail with each individual person.)

http://www.ehow.com/video_4944752_trimming-bottom-bowl-pottery-wheel.html?cp=1&wa%5Fvrid=dbf40834%2D6327%2D4593%2Dafa1%2D97f080dc2e18&wa%5Fvlsrc=continuous&pid=1

Jeremiah Chapter 19

The Blood of Baby Innocents

Chapter 19 points us again to a manufactured pot for more visual lessons from God. Though similar in illustration, this chapter holds its own flavor apart from the previous discourse meal of thought. It is a humiliating portrait for us who think we are something when we are nothing!

It is too easy of a task to imagine ourselves on an elevated plane. This uppity, inward fashion is a stolen identity. Our proper ID tagging categorizes us as simpletons or nobodies. If we walked the boardwalk of truth, our clay vessel beings would pour out our filthy arrogance and we would allow the LORD to pour in demure.

Paul wisely recognized himself as a nobody in 2 Corinthians 12:11: I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody.

1 Corinthians chapter 1 also expounds on the utter foolishness of self-elevation. Verses 26-29 reveal God has chosen the weak and despised, that no flesh should glory in God’s presence. No one can walk in elitism before Almighty God. Nor are men to worship and adore fellow little men. God looks at the heart, not appearance, talents, accomplishments, fame, etcetera.

Formed were we from raw clay! One day our bodies will return to dust, leaving us disabled to drag along anything we thought we accomplished in our flesh.

To place our hearts back in the remarkable disclosure of Jeremiah, we must be yielded like earthenware, formed by the design of its maker.

To enter the story in this chapter, we observe Jeremiah being instructed by his LORD, the Master of craftsmanship, to purchase a clay bottle; verse 1.

We read of Jeremiah witnessing the formation of clay in chapter 18, and in this 19th chapter, God instructs him to place money into the hand of the creator of clay vessels to buy a bottle … a purchase of illustration.

God further instructs Jeremiah to take witnesses—the elders of the people and senior priests and go to the valley of Ben-hinnom.

Why these people? They don’t love him nor like him. They view themselves as superior to this inferior, humble prophet.

Perhaps he is to take his enemies along in attempt to heal wounds and make friends so they all can experience a fun time together. We know this cannot be so. The fact is, this is going to be an education in truth and these rebellious, societal elites are not going to like it …They don’t like anything Jeremiah does or says.

This interesting assemblage of folk do follow Jeremiah to the valley of Ben-hinnon (meaning “son of one gracious”).

We note from verse 3, there were others who joined the elders and priests. Jeremiah is additionally addressing the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the king.

They are to traverse in array to the potsherd gate which opened to this valley. This was where worthless pottery pieces were discarded and forgotten. Many, no doubt, were once viewed as exquisite pieces with fired artwork.

(Here is a video showing a restoration of an Israeli clay pot from Iron Age:

At one time, Israel, was viewed as a valued piece of pottery, now she is to be discarded and forgotten. Though a shard remnant will be preserved and will eventually repent.

The city walls of Jerusalem had many gates and some were known by more than one name; this gate was also known as the dung gate, owning this was a refuse dump as well.

No historian seems to know exactly where this gate was located, outside of it being by the southern wall of Solomon’s temple.

If you turn to the maps at the back of your Bible, you may find a layout of the city of Jerusalem, if so, you can locate the various gateways to the various parts of the city. (An Internet image search of ancient Jerusalem can turn up, somewhat accurate illustrations too.)

These gates were supposedly double, metal passage ways. If you view a New Testament illustration of Herod’s temple, these gates will be different from the ancient city of Jerusalem, at the time of Solomon’s temple. However, you can still see the Hinnon or Ben-hinnon area referred to, in the southern portion of your map.

Hinnom was also the Potter’s Field, referred to in the New Testament, which was bought with Judas’ 30 pieces of silver for his cemetery plot; Matthew 27:3-7. This was where Judas hung himself, and later, it was referred to as the “Field of Blood” or Hakeldama or Aceldama—Acts 1:19.

It was in this valley where Jeremiah was to preach to these religious ones. Here, everyone hears the words of the LORD of hosts; there is no escape from the truth of terror. They came and now they have to listen to the announced calamity of deadly horror.

When all the bloody judgement comes to pass and someone hears of it, their ears “shall tingle.” The Hebrew meaning is clear, if you research this verse and word in Strong’s Concordance:

http://www.eliyah.com/lexicon.html

You understand, their ears will quiver in fear.

Catastrophes are always shocking but notably so when they are instigated by God Almighty through prophetic proclamation.

God, who implements His powerful angels (hosts) for judgement, will provide no downy pillows to catch the falling Jews. He will bring “evil” to this place and the Jewry has been stiffly warned.

The following verses deal with the pagan religious acceptance in the land that once was in submission to the LORD.

Our nation once was famed for being in submission to Christian morality to a large extent. She was also branded as a mission-minded country. She sent forth missionaries to reach those in nations who practiced pagan beliefs with the support of many Americans. Many citizens cared about their eternal destiny and present satanic bondage. American born again missionaries held all the answers for deliverance, hope and eternal life, resulting in many pagans turning to Jesus Christ of the Bible.

In verse 4, we view Jeremiah preaching the “forefathers” of the land did not condone paganism nor knew of these false gods and ways. We know America’s forefathers never allowed native heathenism in civilized society nor recognized such practices. Native Indian traditions were considered abhorrent to civilization, resulting in many missions being established to reach the indigenous.

New Age has been prominent in Idaho for over two decades, but it seems more visible with various stores encouraging the buying of charms, mystical attire, pagan home furnishings, etc.

This Jeremiah verse also refers to the land of Israel appearing alien. Our land appears more and more alien as strange religions and their customs become more observable.

Jeremiah has to address Judah’s open-border sins continually, this being due to her downfall which originated by bringing in false teachings from other nations. We observe the confused state they fell into with the immoral leniency brought to accommodate lifestyles of beliefs that were contrary to civilized, Scriptural codes.

We witness how America has plummeted and continues to fall as she engulfs herself with more and more immoral religious philosophies. History is repetitive! And America too will not escape her just comeuppance.

People desiring sexual play with a religious twist has been the motive behind many religious formations, including those religions which allow many wives and lovers.

Sexual play was behind the religion of Aaron, Moses’ brother, when he constructed the golden calf; whereby, the people arose and played.

A friend and I were speaking of the religions which have arrived from foreign lands. The Hare Krishna or Hindu religion has been present in America for decades and made its visible appearance in Idaho several years ago. How sad to hear people say “good Karma” instead of “God bless you.”

Hinduism and Hare Krishna are segments of Buddhism. Krishna and Buddhism “identifies … with Hindu Vedic philosophy.” All three originating in India. Of course, Yoga, of Hinduism with its 33 million gods, is offered in most work out studios.

Hare Krishna’s child molestation reputation has made this cult a concerning element in society.

“In 2000, a Texas lawyer filed a $400 million lawsuit alleging widespread sexual, emotional and physical abuse of more than 40 Krishna kids at the Dallas ashram, at the Krishna temple in West Virginia, and at other schools, called gurukulas, around the country.”

Muslims have also become visible in Idaho, our local, within the last decade, and their child molestation practices are not a secret.

The wicked, vile way of abusing children, seems to engulf many demonic religious sects, including Mormonism, which has also been an ongoing news item.

None of these religions promote Christian morality in any serious way, just the opposite—most everything goes; yet, they are sanctioned in the US in the name of ecumenicalism (the acceptance of all religions).

False sects are filled with confused people who need to be presented with the truths of Jesus Christ. God consistently saves people from all false beliefs. America has become a mission field in itself with all the paganism afoot.

Returning to the Jeremiah text, we see the most horrific item addressed in this chapter, that of baby burning, verses 4-5.

This was an intricate part to their sensual worship and lifestyle. We can rightly inquire, why is it babies are the ones sacrificed for sexual pleasure, then and now?

When promiscuous sex comes to have predominance in peoples’ lives, babies and children become pons of disposal and abuse. They are also neglected for lovers, and thus exposed to every indecency. It is totally grievous to see the youngest of children dancing in a sexy manner.

Verse 5 states these infants were being burnt to Baal. Molech was another god babies were offered to through live cremation. We know in America, unborn children are burned to death—one of the barbaric methods of abortion.

Christians cannot help but reveal righteous anger knowing the Democratic Party’s top two agendas are the promotion of infanticide and sexual deviancy of every kind.

On November 19, 2014, Terry Bean, age 66, a famed homosexual, homosexual activist, and a good friend of President Obama was arrested. There are a bundle of photos of our president and Bean together, including one with Obama, Michelle and Bean’s 25 year old male lover.

Bean is the founder of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which is one of the world’s largest, wealthiest and most powerful anti-Christian, pro-homosexual organizations. Bean has been huge contributor to the gay-promoting Democratic Party, contributing significant amounts to Obama’s campaigns. He resides in Oregon.

Bean and his young, male lover were arrested and charged with felonies involving the sodomizing of a 15-year-old boy. Police report they have evidence of other possible victims, aware Bean had been filming his sex acts with his young victims.

In the past, Bean defended Portland’s male mayor who had an underage male lover.

The democrats and liberal media do not care about this youth. This boy is their object of hate for exposing the fact their homosexual, activist hero, sodomized him. Liberals are on the prowl to prevent all the facts from being reported regarding this vile crime, deserving of legal execution.

This Wikipedia article sings the gay praises of Bean throughout and does not mention the fact he is accused of molesting a boy till the end of the article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Bean

Also a video of rapturous praise by a human rights group was posted on YouTube, regarding Terry Bean following his arrest.

It appears obvious, democrats believe gays have the right to rape whomever they desire, deserving to have all evidence suppressed or overlooked.

In addition, it needs to be noted, our president has expressed no desire to address, discipline and prosecute Pentagon employees, 17,000, for downloading child porn on their computers.

We know lawlessness will increase in the last days … all to our heartbreak.

Everyone needs the LORD and Christ died for all men.

******

Returning to Jeremiah, God’s righteousness is declared at the end of verse 5; He never would have thought of such a wicked thing. It never would have entered His mind to burn innocent babies. God declared “this place” was filled with the “blood of innocents; verse 4.”

How God’s heart wept and Jeremiah’s and so should ours over sins that never would have entered the mind of a holy, innocent, pure and undefiled God.

How many perverse things do men perform in the name of freedom and choice; actions which never would have entered our LORD’s mind? Probably most!

God’s ways and thoughts soar righteously higher than self-gratifying, vile men. This truth should humble our hearts to grief and repentance as we view our sinful selves.

As we move to verse 6, we read of Topheth, which is another designation for the area of Ben-hinnom. Topheth means “place of fire,” and here the cries of babies rang out, as they were burned in idol sacrifice in this valley. Ben means “tall mountain” or hill, and of course, idols were worshipped on the tall hills to lift them high in demonic worship. “Hinnom” means lamentation. God and His godly ones bore much sorrow knowing these little babies and young children were being burned to death to satan.

God declares, this valley will become known as the “Valley of Slaughter;” this will be the place where many Jews will be massacred for their mutinous ways when Babylon invades.

Scrolling down to verse 9, we enter another grotesque reality. They, these Hebrews, are going to eat the flesh of their sons and daughters. Hunger will be the controlling factor when famine invades the land. We covered this in a previous lesson … certainly not something to dwell on for a length of time.

In verse 10, Jeremiah is told by God that he is to break the potter’s vessel.

It is explained, the pot sherds cannot be put together again; therefore, these remains must be buried in Topheth or Ben-hinnom. These people are beyond repair like the fragmented bottle; consequently, they too will be broken in this valley and entombed.

It will come about, this will be the only place available for burial. It is only just that this became the place of entombment for Judas too, who betrayed God the Son.

We should not forget, Jeremiah is one who spoke of Judas in prophecy concerning the potter’s field and is recorded in Matthew 27:6-9. Possibly, at some point in these two chapters, though, not scribed.

Matthew passage: Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: The chief priests took the thirty pieces of silver and would not put the money in the treasury because it was unlawful, because it was the price of blood.They took counsel and bought the potter’s field to bury strangers in. Therefore the field is called the “field of blood” to this day.

This certainly was a true statement; twice did this plot of land bear the name “field of blood.”

As we enter a new section, we note Jeremiah is preaching again; moving from Hinnom to the court of the temple or “LORD’s house;” verse 14.

Several court areas were within the Temple of Solomon. If you turn to the Jerusalem city map in the back of your Bible again, you will note the various courts that were part of the temple, including the court for women, another for men and a court for gentiles.

Jeremiah was possibly in the inner court area by the altar of sacrifice or somewhere in the great court area, which wound around the entire temple; also known as the Royal Porch or Solomon’s Porch.

It is the never-ending story or so it seems, observing Jeremiah preaching; continually covering Judah’s sinful acts.

Verse 15 establishes the root of their abominable deeds in this message … their “stiffened necks” won’t relax and submit to God’s Words. This message cannot save them because they won’t respond.

Their hearts were hard as rock. They were ecumenical to the core, possessing no desire to come out from the world’s religions and be separate.

Jerusalem’s citizens were forever willing to support their liberal government, composed of religious leaders who would justify any religious movement and take part. Of course, we are to respect our government leaders; yet, we must never approve of any of their anti-biblical agendas. Christ never approved of the religious leaders deadly, whitewashed agendas of His day.

Sometimes pastors or evangelists will preach in an area to unsaved people and no one steps forward in repentance, all because the people have stiffened their necks to the presented truths. They are blinded to hell’s fire consequences of saying “No.”

When we take hard or stiff stances contrary to God’s Word, we shut our ears to the Holy Spirit; making ourselves to be little gods. We are gods unto ourselves … according to what we believe or think, or by what other men believe or think. You know— whatever gives us pleasant dreams on a memory foam bed of denial.

In closing, I pray for you and me to learn to possess moldable hearts of wet, formable clay.

Love, Val Lee

Postscripts:

Interesting article showing a clay pot artifact, holding the name of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, father of the prophet Jahaziel, who prophesied to King Jehoshaphat before he departed for war. (2 Chronicles 20:14)

http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/24063/Default.aspx?topic=article_title

And video of potter with verses:

http://vimeo.com/96325442

 

Jeremiah Chapter 20

Jeremiah Assaulted

Yes, we have now reached chapter 20 of this expedient book. Every verse in every chapter of Jeremiah, God wrote to grant us discernment in every age and to protect us from the evil reintroduced in every age. God wrote everything in the Bible because He cherishes us. Yes, He loves us. May we cherish and love Him with all our hearts, minds and strength through godly obedience.

The public responding to the chapter 19 annihilation prediction is what we witness entering chapter 20. The people were not happy with the message of doom and gloom proclaimed by Jeremiah. They certainly did not like him naming their sins one by one. How dare he do such a thing! They were the world’s religious ones; faithful to the temple and the law. A few sins on the side certainly shouldn’t bother God that much, including pride of position.

Pashhur, the priest, is ready to do Jeremiah in. Pashhur (name means “freedom”) has had it to the top of his head with all the convicting rhetoric of Jeremiah; especially heard in Jeremiah’s last preaching session. He most likely was one of the senior priests asked to accompany Jeremiah in 19:1, when Jeremiah broke the vessel of clay—a visual lesson of what will occur with the land of Judah for all its sins, including infanticide.

Pashhur, the clever one, or so he thought, maintained authority as the chief officer or governor over the house of God or Jerusalem temple. He was also a son of Immer, an exceedingly prominent priest, as Ezra later recorded in his book, in chapter 2. He fathered 1,052 priestly descendants.

Pashhur handled his anger with Jeremiah with brutal force in legal authority. He had Jeremiah beaten. Jeremiah had suffered for his faith before but never assaulted. He most likely did not know his future Savior would be beaten too by religious leaders for convicting preaching.

In America, we are witnessing a desire to legislate laws so hateful restraints can be placed upon Christians for holding to the Bible in moral ethics. Even threatening with imprisonment.

Following this humiliating beating, Jeremiah was placed in criminating wooden stocks or restraints; probably differing little from colonial days of public punishment. He was treated like a common criminal when he was a chosen prophet of God. This man endured much agony and disgrace for his LORD.

Jeremiah was placed in these stocks where there was much activity and traffic, being confined near the Benjamin Gate, leading to the temple. This passage sat on the north side of the temple entrance; thus, so named, being a road going and coming from the main territory of Benjamin. (If you own a study Bible, you can turn to your Bible maps, usually in the back of Bibles, to the one showing the divided territory of the land of Israel according to tribes, or you can search on the internet for this map. There are maps revealing the ancient areas in detail, accessible for every study of Scripture if you search the web. Here is one site with divided land:

http://www.biblestudy.org/maps/division-of-promised-land-to-twelve-tribes-israel.html

You will notice Jerusalem lay in the southern border of this tribal area.

Bethlehem, where Christ was born, was just south of Jerusalem in the Judah tribal land area. Remember, the land of Israel was divided 12 ways for the 12 tribes after they entered the territory under Joshua.)

Returning to our passage, we are made elated by the fact, Jeremiah was released the following day from this humiliation of stocks; verse 3. God had promised, back in chapter 1, He would deliver Jeremiah, and thus He did. The LORD also explained, the Jews would fight against Jeremiah, but they would not prevail; 1:19. God, who freed Jeremiah, bequeathed him with a message for wicked Pashhur, informing him, Pashhur’s name would be changed to “Magor-missabib” meaning “terror on every side.” Jeremiah told Pashhur, terror will fill him when he sees his friends killed by the sword and others transported to Babylon, which was Pashhur’s destiny as well. He would also die there. He was a false prophet and God designated him as such. He did not solely hold to the Word of God. A true prophet would never allow any worldly and empty philosophy to enter his thought life to govern his actions; he would only rest on the Bible’s content.

God continued to speak through Jeremiah in a powerful way to Pashhur, the man with the French sounding name, in verses 4-6. We easily wonder why Jeremiah ended up in the depths of depression, verse 7, after being significantly used of God Almighty in bold preaching. I can assume Jeremiah was hurting and in pain from the beating. He is left to wonder why God allowed such persecution to come his way.

When I was injured in a car accident, I questioned why God allowed it, seeing I always expected Him to protect me from that kind of harm. Christ simply reassured me through His peace and comfort, it was for a reason. I definitely became more sensitive to those who were hurting. Today, I can offer thanks through understanding His sovereignty and the fact we live in a fallen world where we naturally feel the effects of circumstances of living on the earth filled with countless harmful obstacles. We can be grateful everyday we are not injured in some way. Though, we also present thanks in all things, all situations negative or positive which meet us and sometimes head-on.

Also in verse 7, Jeremiah speaks of being “a laughingstock all day long.” I am sure being in stocks made him a laughingstock. Yes, a bit of a pun. Seriously, Jeremiah being sat before the multitudes of people who passed through the Benjamin Gate was no fun. Pun and fun … perhaps I’m not being serious enough. I must get moving, remaining on task …They, no doubt, sadly hurled every verbal abuse possible. It was a relief to them to view this one in such a state who consistently convicted them of their disobedience to God’s Word.

John 15:18-19 tells New Testament believers, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of this world, the world would love its own, but because you are not of this world, but I chose you out of this world, because of this the world hates you.” Jeremiah was not of this world in any way shape or form nor did he like it. He was hated by the world because he spoke the words of Christ.

Christ composed the Old Testament, being verified in John 1:1. Jesus Christ came to earth to make God and His truths come to life before men, and to present new righteous challenges. Christ being of the Godhead spoke through Jeremiah which caused these religious people to hate him. The descendants of these religious Jews possessed the same mindset of hate as Christ declared. They abhorred Christ’s earthly walk and spoke in the same manner of the Savior as their ancestors did of Jeremiah. Sinful attitudes don’t change from generation to generation, knowing all are born with a flesh that does not desire the course of God.

Jeremiah speaks his heart when he asserts, everyone mocks him. They possibly satirically imitated him, poking fun of his preaching. We all know how people mimic others to make them appear dumb and stupid.

They certainly would have criticized him if he was unattractive in some way. They wanted him not to appear socially acceptable so no one would heed his words. They wanted people to perceive, he did not blend into cultural normalcy. His preaching in public against sin made him different from everyone else and this was to be viewed as strange.

This is mainly done from a sinful, arrogant attitude. People love, making themselves out to be above others.

These transgressors wanted to prove Jeremiah didn’t implement common sense and wise actions. These Jews, no doubt, stressed, men should not preach against sin. This was not proper in socially acceptable religious arenas. The people of God were not to be reprimanded.

Mankind, in general, enjoys putting down all who appear to be different from the crowd. Many believers don’t desire to evangelize, because in so doing, they will look different from general society … odd balls. They don’t want people pointing fingers at them and laughing. Most so-called Christians desire not to pay the price of being viewed as fanatics for Jesus Christ. They want to be proper in all cultural ways. They don’t want to be Jeremiahs.

May we all be socially unacceptable fanatics for our LORD as Jeremiah was!

On June 18th, 2004, Jiang Zongxiu of China was beaten to death and much of her hair torn out by those of the Public Security Bureau. She decided to be socially unacceptable in the market place and distribute Bibles and Gospel literature. She wasn’t afraid of being odd or different for her Almighty LORD! Unfortunately, others felt her efforts must permanently cease. Satan desires Christians not pass out Biblical truths of salvation’s plan. He wants them all arrested and murdered like Jiang!

Satan desires to place evangelistic negativism in the hearts of born again believers. He manipulates, implementing differing disguises to discourage the putting forth of God’s Word. He wants men and women cast into the lake of fire, never hearing of the hope found in Christ Jesus.

Such believers as Jiang were blasted in the November 2004 Christianity Today magazine, this liberal, so-called Christian publication, made it clear, it stands with the apostate Three-Self Patriotic Movement or government churches in China. The magazine printed a favorable article on the government church, stating home churches break the law and if people are arrested, imprisoned and tortured, it is because they deserve it.

Franklin Graham who is an ecumenical liberal, has made this same stand regarding Christianity in China. He stands with the atheist, Christian-hating, Three Self Movement church—self-governance, self-support and self-propagation. He does not believe in evangelism outside of communist controls. He views this as unbiblical. He certainly ignores the New Testament heroes and martyrs, including the apostles, who evangelized illegally and many sacrificed their lives for being criminals without a crime. Jeremiah also evangelized illegally.

The government churches view public evangelism as irresponsible and harmful. Preaching about the resurrection and the second coming of Jesus is forbidden. Stating atheist, communist heroes went to hell is disallowed. Christian teaching in opposition to abortion (baby murder) is illegal.

It is also important to know, no Bibles can be circulated in public. Government officials, military personnel, teachers and students cannot be Christians. They have to be atheists of the People’s Republic of China.

The Christianity Today article additionally put down those who say the “world is evil, full of sin and unrighteousness.”

Another article in this magazine was written on the Mystique Church that “rediscovers Christianity from an Eastern religion.” The heretics behind the article view the “Bible as a human product.” Such teachings are closely aligned with New Perspective, which this magazine has endorsed in the past. If Jeremiah was alive today, he would preach with all his might against such false teachings. The Mystique teachings were presented in an affirmative manner in the magazine.

This publication included a positive article on Planned Parenthood even though their agendas are divergent to Holy Scriptures. PP is all about murdering innocent children and bringing children into sexual bondage for filthy lucre sake.

Jeremiah would never fit with Christianity Today. Thank goodness! He didn’t fit into modern Judaism and he wouldn’t fit into contemporary Christianity.

Jeremiah, even though he does not enjoy the persecution which arises with standing alone in public places proclaiming truth, he cannot stop. He admits in verse 9, if he says he will no longer speak in God’s name, then his heart “becomes like a burning fire,” shut up in his bones and he becomes weary of holding it in and he cannot endure it.

Yes, this man was fully filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to preach truth where no other man dared to follow in his steps.

Jeremiah speaks of his pain in verse 10, further explaining the adversity of persecution, knowing fellow Jews whisper about his strange behavior.

Terror lies on every side; the apostate population wants to snuff out the messenger. All want his downfall.

What makes this verse ring in our ears is the sadness in Jeremiah. He exposes, his trusted friends are watching for his downfall. How it must have pained him to acknowledge, none of this friends truly loved the LORD.

William Tyndale, who translated the first English Bible, previous to the KJV, was turned over to England’s authorities by his close friend. This resulted in him being strangled and then burned.

It is grievous and dispiriting to contemplate the amount of lukewarm believers desiring to see strong, on-fire Christians come to their downfall or desire to see them compromise, to see them become as them—retched. The undedicated scoff at on-fire believers, because they won’t waver from righteousness to delight in the world’s fun. The lukewarm are so lost in compromise, it afflicts them to know these dedicated ones actually exist.

Praise God, Jeremiah renews his faith in verse 11, now referring to God as his “dread champion.” One might picture the heavy-weight champion of the world standing next to Jeremiah acting as his body-guard. Of course, no one or nothing can compare to the universal omnipotence of God who could destroy the world in less than a second and recreate it in an instant.

Jeremiah knew the LORD Almighty ruled by his side even while he was walking in dissipating faith.

Jeremiah records, his persecutors will stumble and not prevail. We observe more faith displayed in this man, even following his body being dreadfully beaten by sinful, merciless men. No doubt, he is worn and tired from this spiritual battle; fortunately, his strength comes from God Almighty—the omnipotent One. The LORD is our strength, shield and help.

It is always inspiring to read of Christian prisoners in foreign lands and how the LORD comes to them in their depressed and beaten state and lifts them heavenward.

I recently read the Gospel in Bonds. The true story of Georgi Vins, published by Lighthouse Trails. Georgi suffered in many Russian prisons for refusing to deny Christ and declining to be silent when pastoring. His father, a Russian missionary pastor, was murdered in prison by the Soviets.

Miraculous is the appropriate word to describe the ways God preserved Georgi from various plots to snuff out his life. At one point in prison life, Georgi was deliberately placed in a cell holding only murderers. The Soviet officials were sure he had now met his demise. They did not know God could maneuver beyond the plotted circumstances for His glory and He did.

The convicted murderers were quite intimidating and cruel at first, until they gained the insight to discern, this cell assignment was wholly plotted for the killing of an innocent man.

The deadly murderers had never heard the Gospel before and were hungry for forgiveness and hope; this Georgi brought to them in the form of Jesus Christ.

The interested inmates insisted Georgi show them his all-so-tiny hidden Gospel of Mark, he had mentioned … to take it out of hiding from his bag. Georgi had been able, by God’s grace, to keep it concealed from the guards during his incarceration.

After presenting the Word to the worst of the worst, Georgi knelt down and prayed in thanksgiving for sparing his life in this cell; then went fast to sleep in encompassing weariness and fatigue. He awoke to The Gospel of Mark being read by one of the prisoners the next day. The murderers had many questions awaiting him. They demanded to know if they could be forgiven by Jesus Christ for all their deadly sins. Some of the prisoners stopped smoking and cursing and started praying. The Soviet guards were amazed at the respect these prisoners held for Georgi and how he left this cell without a mark on him. He shared the cell with these inmates for about a week. When it was time for him to leave, the murderers insisted he leave the Gospel with them—they in desperate need of it. They also requested his continual prayers for them. Georgi held no doubts that some of them were saved during this tenure.

Turning our eyes back on Jeremiah, we know he believes in justice, observing this previously and again displayed in these verses 11-13. He had also referred to God’s vengeance, not his, in chapter 11, verse 20.

We come in contact with worship and praise in song in verse 13. Jeremiah praises the LORD God in melody, declaring He has delivered the soul of this needy or poor one, from the “hand of evildoers.” He rejoices in his faith in God who hates all sinfulness and injustice.

What transformation emerges in verse 14. Obviously, a few days or maybe weeks or months reside between verses 13 and 14. We read Jeremiah is downcast once again, desiring he had never been born!

He speaks of his father who was a priest, Hilkiah. Remember, we looked at Hilkiah and his assisting with revival during the time of Josiah—2 Kings chapter 22. We now read, here in Jeremiah 20:15, of a servant who brought news to Hilkiah, Jeremiah’s father, of Jeremiah’s birth, causing him to rejoice. Reliving this by going back in time, we can visualize how excited this godly father was to learn he had produced an up and coming priest to assume his place someday. Of course, God had a different calling, that of prophet. No doubt, either way, Hilkiah would have rejoiced. He was made “very happy!” Obviously the family relived this felicitous scene before Jeremiah in later years.

In verses 15-17, Jeremiah reveals a messenger brought the news to his father of his birth and wishes this servant evil for not murdering him while still in the womb. Jeremiah is obviously in the extremes of depression. Does God care? Undoubtedly! He deems the downcast in gracious concern, so disclosed in 2 Corinthians 7:6—God comforts the depressed. I can’t even begin to count how many times the LORD has lifted me off the sticky web of despair.

Jeremiah, in verse 18, wants to know why he came forth from the womb to look at trouble and sorrow. These verses remind me of Ecclesiastes 4:1-4. If you study these verses, you find King Solomon congratulates the dead more than the living, uttering it is better if one never existed at all. He also makes his most famous of statements in verse 4— “all is vanity and striving after the wind.”

We now must leave Jeremiah down in the dumps, but things will pick up again as he returns in his Savior’s strength in chapter 21.

 

Jeremiah Chapter 21

Christ’s Love Overcomes

 

 

 © Val J. Lee

© Val J. Lee

This chapter is not placed in sequential order.  Why this occurred, I do not know but this is where God has allowed it to be placed. We have jumped way ahead of what has been so far recorded in history.

In verse 1, we are dealing with King Zedekiah, the youngest son of righteous King Josiah. Josiah was totally dedicated to his LORD God, which incited Jeremiah to chant a lament for him in 2 Chronicles 35:25. Unfortunately, none of Josiah’s sons followed in his footsteps.  Why?  We do not know—Scripture leaves us clueless. Three of Josiah’s sons reigned over Judah. 1 Chronicles 3:15 lists Josiah’s sons though not in order.  His oldest son, Johanan, may or may not have been godly, but he probably died, knowing the crown was never placed upon his head.

In most cases, not all, the diadem adorned the eldest heir.  The firstborn who opened the womb was considered property of the LORD. Numbers 3:13, Exodus 13:2, and Leviticus 27:26 refer to this, which also included animals for sacrifice. God also required the first of all the produce in offering of thanksgiving. The first fruits are the most delectable of the season. Every bite of food is a gift from our God who provides for us abundantly. He deserves our all.

(Christ was the first child of Mary. He was born of God, was God and was our firstborn sacrifice. He was the firstborn of all creation— Colossians 1:15. He was heir to the Davidic throne through Joseph’s lineage as the firstborn.)

The firstborn child was the one who received the main family inheritance. If for some reason, the firstborn son was irresponsible or ungodly, another was chosen such as with Esau and Jacob.

Observing the firstborn in relationship to the nation of Israel, God did not always allow the oldest to rule. In the case of youthful David, the LORD verbally made His choice known, choosing the youngest to replace evil King Saul.  Samuel expected Eliab, the eldest, to be anointed as king; however, God spoke wise words to Samuel, informing him that man looks at the outward appearance, but God observes the heart.  Eliab and his brothers, excepting little David, had no heart for the LORD God.

Zedekiah was the last of Josiah’s sons to rule on the throne. We recognize he was the youngest by viewing the ages of Josiah’s sons who ruled as monarchs in 2 Kings, chapters 23 and 24. Jehoahaz was the son who reigned, following his father, Josiah. We will study him in Jeremiah chapter 22. The next son to reign was Jehoiakim who was the oldest of the three, and then Jehoiakim’s elder son, Jehoiachin. Both Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin are in the line of Christ.

Zedekiah was then appointed ruler by King Nebuchadnezzar, created as a puppet king, following the removal of Jehoiachin and the largest number of Jews from Judah. This the main captivity of three regarding Judah, the southern kingdom. Zedekiah was left to rule the remnant of Judah. Despite it all, he did not learn to fear King Nebuchadnezzar and later rebelled, resulting in Nebuchadnezzar ceasing his reign by force and removing him into captivity as well.

Yes, I acknowledge this is very confusing. And to add to your perplexity, I must remind you, only the kings of Judah were of David’s lineage leading to Christ.  The Northern Kingdom, Israel, had many kings and all but one evil, but they were not of the Davidic line. Remember, the Northern Kingdom was removed by captivity to the kingdom of Assyria, 136 years before Judah was extracted into captivity under King Jehoiachin.  Some people were left in the land, including Jeremiah and the new king—Zedekiah; but subsequently this remnant was removed too. Only a portion of impoverished Jews remained with Jeremiah. These poor Jews disobeyed God, not remaining in the land, and moved to Egypt, making Jeremiah accompany them.

Reading the first verse, we are viewing the distant future of Judah when King Zedekiah was reigning over a remnant of Jews. Remember I wrote, this chapter was placed way ahead of itself, out of chronological order. This is why you are probably terribly confused at this point or I’m just not being too clear.  This chapter transpires when King Zedekiah is in rebellion and warring against King Nebuchadnezzar who placed him on the throne to impose all his orders and desires.

We observe King Zedekiah sending priests to Jeremiah, Pashhur and Zephaniah, in the first verse. Theologians do not believe this is the same Pashhur that we read of in chapter 20.  Chapter 20 refers to a Pashhur who was of the son of Immer; however, if you turn to Ezra 2:37, you will see Immer had 1,052 sons. No, not all from the same wife! 😀

Obviously, Immer was the main patriarch of a large priestly clan. The previous chapter may have just stated Pashhur’s famous ancestor, observing many places in the Bible allude to a person’s legendary ancestor as father, and yet, not the direct papa. The Jews are often referred to being the sons of Abraham, Jacob, etc. This chapter may state his direct predecessor and the previous chapter his renowned ancestor. With all that said, he may or may not be the same person.

If he is the same person, he has much nerve to approach Jeremiah after beating him and putting him in stocks in the past. Here he approaches Jeremiah in a humble manner for guidance.

It is interesting how those who are not right with God can approach the ones they know are walking hand in hand with God, and request their intercedence for prayer requests. They also seek their wise direction when in dire straits. They will normally make fun of these godly people for being too heavenly minded for any earthly good until they are caught between a rock and a hard place. Then these people are the ones they approach, knowing their prayers are answered in powerful ways.  Jeremiah’s prayers were exceptionally powerful. The prayers of a righteous man availeth much! No wonder they made a beeline to Jeremiah in their desperate state of pending doom.

These two men, Pashhur and Zephaniah, are the religious representatives for King Zedekiah who wants Jeremiah to inquire of the LORD on his behalf.  The words of these men represent a humble appearance of worship directed to God Almighty.  Unfortunately, the facts reveal, the king, along with these men, certainly do not live in a true state of worship.  All these men are extremely wicked.  They are religious but not righteous; they are not near to the heart of God.

This is true of the apostate church today, which only displays a form of godliness. (2 Timothy 3:4-5) Sometimes godless church attendees can fool the saints with prayers and Scripture knowledge to their beguiling benefit and desire. These types of men did not fool Jeremiah or the LORD God, who knows all men’s hearts and minds.

God lets these men know this is His war!!  Though it certainly appears they are warring with the Chaldeans or Babylonians. God is the one who is battling against this evil nation with His “outstretched hand and a mighty arm, in anger, wrath and great indignation.” The Lord continues on with His strong words of total destruction of Jerusalem and of His chosen race. This prophesy proclaims the King Zedekiah’s looming doom as well; he will be led captive by King Nebuchadnezzar.

God does provide a way out in verses 8-9, declaring, if the people will flee from Jerusalem and give themselves over to the Babylonians, then they will live.

They never did take seriously these Words of God and surrender. Many people suffer because they never seek God’s way out—surrendering to His will and Word. Through self-deduction, they perceive it cannot be the best path or the most productive in the scheme of fleshly rewards.  And they are right! God will not fulfill their flesh to their ultimate fulfillment for now and all eternity. The mind-set on the flesh is death—Romans 8:6.

These senseless ones would rather do things according to what is right in their own eyes and pay the consequences.  So many people, including believers, do not desire to admit or accept the fact that God’s Word is for their lifestyle and circumstances. I know of a very sad situation with a group of pastors from a Bible church who are lying and deceiving, going against God’s Word, yet are refusing to admit their sin and repent. They are leading the congregation down the twisting trail of false doctrine so they can be open to new revelation and new interpretations from contemporary ecumenical theologians.

Blessings always arise from obedience; disobedience leads to tragedy. We are viewing the chapters of a sad saga in Jeremiah. The stage curtain is collapsing on these wayward Jews slowly but surely. It collapses on all who forsake the true path.

Verse 11 explains, God has set His face against Jerusalem for harm and not good. In Deuteronomy 10:12-13, the Jews were informed by God that they were to love Him and serve Him with all their heart and with all their soul. And keep His commandments and statutes, which results in their good.  God makes everything simple, man makes things hard and complicated by choosing to follow two masters—the world’s mandates and a holy God. Men and women attempt to fit God into their mess of scattered puzzle pieces and for some reason they just never piece together.

 © Val J. Lee

© Val J. Lee

Of course, we do know the Jews could not keep the whole law as they possessed a sinful nature, but they could have chosen to live righteously as Jeremiah did. They could have elected to follow his godly example and leadership.

Verses 11 and 12 speak God’s gracious words. He is a God of compassion, owning he offered these rebellious ones chance after chance to repent! He provides them simple instructions to follow.  They are to administer justice every morning by delivering the person who has been robbed by their oppressor. It is simple; God is not burdening them with a command too hard. Did they ever desire justice? No, of course not!  Most likely, too many dishonest people who loved to use others for their mendacious gain, lorded the high places of government.

It is interesting, these Hebrews know what Jeremiah states is true, knowing Babylon had already invaded Jerusalem with destructive force and took the people captive in exactness to Jeremiah’s predictions. But these leftovers still want to do their own thing; refusing to admit Jeremiah is a true prophet of God. They will not submit to his words, which pour from the mouth of God. Of course, we know today, people all about us pay the consequences for their actions in numerous ways; but refuse to turn from those ways and bow before God who inflicts penalties upon them.

Verses 13-14 deal with people living outside the city of Jerusalem and feel protected from the enemy. They believe the enemy is just interested in the destruction of the city and its dwellers. God makes it clear … those who live in the suburbs are going to be destroyed too—their sin is also great. He will punish them according to the results of their deeds.

I find this statement worthy of note, “according to the result of their deeds.”  When we choose sin there are always results and they are always negative and far-reaching.  A neighbor was taken away in handcuffs and I think about how this must be affecting his family and friends. I have witnessed to the children who live in this home and two have prayed to receive Christ. I hope their decisions were genuine. One child is a girl and she has admitted to having a problem with thievery, and though she is very young, she has harmful ideas about other things as well. Other children in our neighborhood cannot play with her because of her negative influence. I  have to keep interceding for this deceived family.

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Val Lee (My photos)

May 7, 2014 Posted by | Billy Graham, Jeremiah chapters 17-21 commentary, Lottery, Partridge Bird Information, Pottery | , , , , | Leave a comment