Jeremiah: No Easy Read

Read 211.) Jeremiah 13:1 thru 15:9. Chapter 13 begins with a simple illustration of what Judah and Jerusalem had become to the Lord their God; useless. It moves on to explain what He was going to do to them, and it would not be gentle, but merciless! Verse 19 explicitly states what is about to befall them; exile. It will be the fulfillment of the 5th Prophecy concerning Israel, given to Moses 800 years before.

Chapter 14 continues this. As we saw in 3:3, 5:24+25, and 12:4, so, again here; Judah is enduring a severe drought. It came from the Lord. It was to be a sign to them of their need to repent before God, so that He could forgive and send the rains. But, even though it was killing them, they were not returning to the Lord their God! We have more of Jeremiah’s own words in verses 7 thru 9. And, again, Jeremiah is told: Do NOT pray for your people. Amazing! Then, get this: Judah had false prophets proclaiming to them smooth words of peace and comfort; deceiving the people! Then, even more amazingly, see how verse 17 is God commanding Jeremiah to say what follows, yet, the words most certainly read as if they were Jeremiah’s, unto the end of the chapter. And, it certainly, also, reads much like a prayer for His people! Especially the last 2 verses. What could this mean? The Lord is giving to Judah, thru His prophet, Jeremiah, the very words of repentance that He longed to hear come sincerely from their own lips!!!

Chapter 15, verses 1 thru 9, are even more amazing! Though He gives them the very words of prayer, that they might pray unto Him; He goes on to further say, that even if the two godliest men to date in our story, Moses and Samuel, were to pray unto Him for this people, He would not hear and answer them! What is left? What could possibly be done? It’s obvious, isn’t it? Only if the very people, themselves, were to genuinely humble themselves, and repent unto the Lord; would He be willing to forgive and relent of that which He has said that He would do unto them, with sword, starvation, plague and captivity. No one else’s intercessory prayer for them would prevail! Much of this is said be due to what wicked King Manasseh had done in the days of his reign, which had come to an end about 20 years before. He had been the worst king Judah had ever had! Read again II Kings 20 as a reminder. Do not be deceived. Though God loves people, He does not overlook their many sins against Him. He requires, and most strongly insists upon, repentance, and an amending of one’s ways, if they’re ever going to expect to be forgiven of Him and received of Him into His kingdom. Where are you at? It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

Posted in Bible, God, God's promises, Israel, judgment, Old Testament, prayer, Prophecy, Religion, repentance, Scripture, Spirituality, wisdom, word of god | Leave a comment

Jeremiah Told NOT to Pray for His People!

Read 210.) Jeremiah 10:1 thru 12:17. Reading Jeremiah is rather different from nearly all the other prophets. First, because we find instances where Jeremiah inserts his own words, and not just those words he receives from the Lord; and we will point those out. Second, because of the very urgency of his particular ministry. The fulfillment of The 5th Prophecy concerning Israel is about to fall upon them. It’s not 20 years away now! They are going into exile. The plea of God thru His prophet unto His people is more urgent now, than it ever was before; because their time is fast running out, and only they can change the course of their own destiny. They only needed, but, to turn back to their God in true repentance, and He would most graciously have received them back unto Himself!

Chapter 10 opens with God contrasting between Himself and the idols of the nations. With verse 6, thru 10, Jeremiah responds to the Lord in his own words. In verses 11 thru 16, God depicts Himself as the Creator, as He is said to be in most of the books of the Bible. What is, did not come into existence on its own. That is foolishness! Israel is told they will go into exile; and Jeremiah closes with a prayer for himself and his people. Chapter 11 tells of what Israel’s sin has meant. They have broken their covenant that they had made with God. It opens by briefly reviewing God’s Promises and Prophecies concerning Israel to this point. Verse 4 speaks of Israel’s many descendants as their forefathers, which was the 1st Promise and Prophecy, as does verse 7. In verse 4, we also read of their captivity and deliverance from Egypt, which was the 2nd Promise and Prophecy, as does verse 7. Verse 5 goes to the 3rd Promise and Prophecy, when God would give Israel their land. But, with verse 8, we go to that 4th Prophecy of Israel’s unfaithfulness, and the breaking of their covenant with the Lord. It is so bad, Jeremiah is commanded to not even pray any further for his people! That must be bad!!! The chapter closes, beginning with verse 18, of a plot against Jeremiah’s life by some of his fellow countrymen!

Chapter 12 opens with a complaint by Jeremiah unto the Lord. Did you know that the Lord will hear your complaints? Tell them to Him! And, God answered Jeremiah! He tells him, “Jeremiah, are you are becoming discouraged already? You’ve only just gotten started! There’s much more to have to speak and to endure yet….” Jeremiah is told that even his own family is against him! If chapter 11 held the first 4 Promises and Prophecies; with this chapter, we find the 5th and the 6th. Verse 7 goes to the 5th Prophecy of Israel; that they will be given over to her enemies into exile. But, then the chapter closes on this note of hope, not previously seen. Thru Jeremiah, God reveals, with verse 15, that He will restore Israel back into her land, which will be the fulfillment of the 6th Promise and Prophecy concerning Israel. It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

Posted in Bible, God, God's promises, Israel, judgment, Old Testament, prayer, Prophecy, Religion, repentance, Scripture, Spirituality, wisdom, word of god | Leave a comment

Hear the Word of the Lord, You Sinners!

Read 208.) Jeremiah 5:14 thru 6:30, and 209.) 7:1 thru 9:26. We take up where Jeremiah was prophesying by the Spirit of the Lord, and saying that He could not find so much as one righteous soul in all Jerusalem. They were professing faith, being religious, and even invoking the Lord’s name, said 5:5; but it was all false, and made them to be even worse than their Israelite brothers, who had already been taken away into exile about 100 years before.

Continuing in chapter 5, it is dark. It will not go well with them. Not 20 years from the time Jeremiah starts, Babylon will come and commence to fulfill all that God is telling them here. Yet, once again, as before, verse 18 holds out that same glimmer of hope, that He will not destroy them completely. Why would He do this? Never forget His goal of Kingdom in the very end of the Bible. And, never forget, too, His promise of Messiah, to come, ultimately through the line of David. Each king of Judah, whether good or bad, has been a part of that line. And, for all intents and purposes, it would seem that none are consciously aware of that, and what it will mean to the world one day. As 3:3 spoke of God having brought a drought, just as He had told Moses that He would, if the people would disobey and become unfaithful, so we read if this again in 5:24+25. This was a sign, a call to repentance, but they would not heed that call. Beginning with verse 26, He goes to their social injustice.

Chapter 6 then plays out what will happen to them. All this will be literally fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, beginning in 605 BC, and completed with Jerusalem’s utter destruction in 586 BC. To commence in about 20 years, and be completed by 40 more years. All this could be averted, if only they would do as verse 26 said, and sincerely repent before the Lord! Chapter 7 opens with Jeremiah preaching at the very entrance to God’s temple to his people. They are breaking the 8th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 2nd and 1st Commandments, says verse 9. The penalty? Exile, fulfillment of the 5th Prophecy, says verse 15! As God told Jeremiah, they will not listen to him. This chapter closes with what will befall them, when Babylon returns in 586. Chapter 8 continues in this same vein. It is… a Jeremiad, a going on and on about Judah’s sin, and terrible judgment to come; and a fruitless ministry, in which none heed and repent! 8:18 thru 9:2 are Jeremiah’s own words. Verse 20 expresses his great dismay, and chapter 9 opens with his own great desire that his people would have turned and could have been spared. With 9:20, as with 7:15 before, He tells them that they are bound for exile, just as He had told Moses in Deuteronomy chapters 28, 29, 30, 31 and 32, almost 700 years before! Chapter 9, verse 24, really gets to the nub of the matter. It’s about understanding and knowing the Lord! He longs for a relationship with us, and He grants us access to Him, by means of sincere repentance and true faith. It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

Posted in Bible, God, God's promises, Israel, judgment, Old Testament, Prophecy, Religion, repentance, Scripture, Spirituality, wisdom, word of god | Leave a comment

What is a Jeremiad?

Read 207.) Jeremiah 3:6 thru 5:13. Jeremiah will be hard to read at times. He will be commanded by God to pronounce His harshest judgments upon the remaining Israelites of Judah. The 10-tribe kingdom of Israel is gone. Assyria took them away in 722. Only Judah and Benjamin are left, and it will not be long before, they too, are removed. God would spare them, if only they would heed the words of His prophet Jeremiah, and turn toward the Lord, their God, in repentance. His lengthy diatribes against his people, within the very capital city of Jerusalem have come to be known as Jeremiads, for their harsh rhetoric; like we read here, but with only a little comfort within.

Chapter 3, beginning with verse 5, Jeremiah starts in on Judah, for being worse than Israel had been, but, we do have this one passage of incredible hope, with verses 14 thru 18. This is clearly a Millennial passage, and the word clues are all throughout it. See them? “In those days,” “all nations,” and “No longer….” Words of finality, and words of all inclusiveness, along with mention of the day, or those days, in almost every instance speak to either the Tribulation, or the Millennium. What is described in the passage, as being either good or ill, tells us which period it is! After verse 18, a Jeremiad continues. Verses 22 to the end describe what God was looking for from them… true repentance! This idea of Judah repenting, and returning unto the Lord continues with the first 4 verses of chapter 4. Would they?

Chapter 4, now at verse 5. From here, the judgment is pronounced. In hindsight, we understand the whole picture being painted. It is Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar will be coming, and he will do them great harm. Knowing that, see the picture being painted, and know it is approaching Babylon, which God will use, as His chastening rod on the back of His people. Verse 27 leaves a glimmer of hope, and Nebuchadnezzar will leave a tiny remnant of people behind, from among the very poorest and least skilled. These few will be spared and left. We’ll learn more of this later.

Chapter 5 further paints the scene as even bleaker than might have been first thought, as God says He cannot find one righteous person in all Jerusalem. They have all become utterly corrupt as pagans. Verse 10, like verse 27 of chapter 4, gives this same glimmer of hope, the words are, “but… not… completely.” We will take this up again next time, beginning at 5:14, but keep in mind that not only is Jeremiah saying all this to the people who are left, in the one hope that they might turn back to the Lord, and be spared, but he will go on to see the utter fruitlessness of his ministry, and live through the very destructions that he prophesied. This will be the cause of his second written work, Lamentations. There’s special meaning there… when we get to it. It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

Posted in Bible, God, Israel, judgment, millennium, Old Testament, Prophecy, Religion, repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Spirituality, wisdom, word of god | Leave a comment

Jeremiah: Prophet Called of God

Read 206.) Jeremiah 1:1 thru 3:5. Josiah rose to Judah’s throne about 640 BC. We just read Zephaniah, prophet to Judah about 630 BC. We now come to Israel’s second Major Writing Prophet, Jeremiah, who served the Lord to remnant Israel from about 627 BC, until 585 BC, some 40 years. Chapter 1 opens with our time clues, as he ministered from Josiah’s 13th year into Zedekiah’s 11th and final year. With this chapter, he tells us of his calling by God. Jeremiah is a youth and tries to beg off, much as Moses did, but the Lord would have none of it, and Jeremiah must say and do as God directs him; and promises to be with him to protect him. As we shall learn, he will be greatly in need of it!

Chapter 2 is Jeremiah’s first diatribe against his people right in Jerusalem, under Josiah’s rule. Beginning with verse 5, the Lord recounts thru Jeremiah some of the very promises and prophesies that comprise the outline of the Old Testament historical record. Verse 5, and many others afterward, speak to this current period of Israel’s unfaithfulness, which began at Judges 2:10. This is the 4th prophecy being fulfilled, as was first told to Moses in Deuteronomy 31:16. Verse 6 recalls their time of enslavement and deliverance. This had been told Abraham at the end of Genesis 15, and was fulfilled from Exodus 1:8 thru Joshua 5:12; and was the 2nd prophecy fulfilled. Verse 7 then relates to the time phase of Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land, from Joshua 5:13 thru Judges 2:9. That was specifically the fulfillment of the 3rd of the promises and prophecies God gave unto the Patriarchs concerning Israel. Beginning in verse 7, to the chapter’s end, Jeremiah, by God’s Spirit, inveighs against Judah for her unfaithfulness, because in just 20 years more time, if she will not repent, God is going to finally commence to fill-full His prophecy to evict the remnant of Israel in Judah out of the Promised Land. Having 37 verses, chapter 2 is a rather lengthy indictment of Judah by Jeremiah about 627 BC.

With the first 5 verses of chapter 3, we learn that God had brought upon Judah that very thing He had said that He would, all the way back in their own Bible, with Deuteronomy 28:22, and many other places afterward; drought. This will be the first of many scathing rebukes Jeremiah will be ordered to proclaim to Judah. Though God tells them that He is disappointed and angry with His people, in the back of it all is His great love for them, and desire that they would turn to Him to be saved. But, they would not, and He must carry out all that he said that He would do to them for their complete and utter unfaithfulness to Him; like that of a wayward wife, who deserted her husband, to become a prostitute. But, this won’t be the end of God’s story; by no means! It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

Posted in Bible, God, God's promises, Israel, judgment, Love, Old Testament, Prophecy, Religion, Scripture, Spirituality, wisdom, word of god | Leave a comment

Who in Heck was Zephaniah?

Read 205.) Zephaniah 1:1 thru 3:20. Okay, before I start, let me say, in my 44 1/2 years since my conversion unto Christ, I don’t believe that I have ever once heard a message or lesson from out of Zephaniah, the 8th of the Minor Writing Prophets. Have you? So, who was Zephaniah, and what did he write? From the first verse, we can identify his time as during the reign of King Josiah, whom we just learned had come to Judah’s throne. His reign was from 640 to 609 BC. So, it’s safe to say that Zephaniah prophesied for the Lord right around 630 BC. Of keen interest to us will be that though he writes to Judah of their sin and impending judgment, the real principal themes of his book are clearly more of the Tribulation and Millennium yet to come! The word clues that this is so are everywhere! I think I see 1:2 thru 2:5 as the Tribulation. That entire passage no doubt has a reference to the soon coming of Babylon against Judah, which takes place in about 25 more years, but clearly this is talking of that time, when all the world unites, to take out Israel, and affect the ‘Final Solution’ against them in the End Times.

Chapter 2, verses 6  and 7, are a Millennial reprieve and respite of sorts, before going right back into the Tribulation, with 2:8 thru 12. Because He names Moab and Ammon, we understand that He is speaking of modern-day Jordan, and Israel’s other surrounding Arabic Islamic neighbors. It is clear, however, that with 2:13, the prophet comes to his own time, and is referring directly to the destruction of ruling empire Assyria by rising Babylon, which took place in 612 BC. This continues to chapter’s end.

Chapter 3, then goes to Jerusalem in his day, and the reason for their soon judgment. This extends from verse 1, thru verse 7. But, verse 8 is a whole ‘nother matter, and so many clues are present, that this is also a Tribulation passage. See that? But, everything, after verse 8, is all, every word, an incredibly hope-filled promise of a glorious future to be filled-full in the time of the Millennial Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, after His Second Coming. Jesus will return! And, when He does so, all this will become reality. There is a truly glorious future that awaits remnant Israel, when her True King returns. But, Israel must first endure a time of terribly intense Tribulation, and we are about to learn a many great details of that… as we commence to read of the last prophet to Judah, before God swept them away by means of Babylon. This will be the Second Major Writing Prophet, Jeremiah. Next! It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

Posted in Bible, God, God's promises, Israel, Jesus Christ, judgment, millennium, Old Testament, Prophecy, Religion, Scripture, Spirituality, tribulation, wisdom, word of god | Leave a comment

God has NO Grandchildren!

Read 203.) Nahum 1:1 thru 3:19, and 204.) II Kings 21:17 thru 22:2 and II Chronicles 33:11 thru 34:7. With this reading, we come to the 7th Minor Writing Prophet Nahum. But, first, a brief word concerning Isaiah, of whom we just finished reading. It is believed that Isaiah was killed by King Mannasseh of Judah, and is the one referred to in Hebrews 11:37 as having been sawn in two. I’ve seen dates of 686 and 681 for this. As we read Nahum, Mannasseh is still king, and his 3 chapter book is dated at about 650 BC, shortly before Mannasseh’s end. As Jonah had been a prophet to Nineveh, principal city of Assyria some 125 years before, and it repented then; after Jonah, she reverted back to her old ways. This time, there would be no reprieve, and Nineveh was to be destroyed. And, it was, in 612 BC, by Babylon.

Chapter 1 is the Lord’s expression of His anger towards Nineveh. Verse 7 gives us a sweet second of reprieve. Where do you stand; as a foe, or as one who trusts in Him? There is no middle ground of neutrality. Chapter 2 then goes further to describe Nineveh’s impending doom. It will be complete and final. Chapter 3 concludes with a cry of woe against her, and with not a word of comfort or solace to be shared. Nineveh has sealed her doom!

Now, to the Kings and Chronicles parallel passages. We begin to move again in time. Mannasseh comes to the end of his life and reign, and his young son, Amon, assumes the throne at the age of 22. This is all right around the 740 BC. Amon is a wicked fellow, as his father had been, and he is assassinated two years into his reign, but note briefly here, that Josiah then comes to the throne at the age of 8. Amon died at 24. He was fathering children when he was 15? This Josiah is going to be an incredible breath of ‘fresh air.’ But, first, lets note Mannasseh’s end, as it was recorded in the Chronicles.

II Chronicles 33:11 thru 16 tells us of Mannasseh’s personal conversion experience. We read of precious few of those. It begins when the Lord brought pressure to bear upon Mannasseh in verse 11. Verse 12 tells us that he responded to the Lord’s pressure properly; he turned to the Lord in deep contrition and repentance. God forgave Mannasseh all his many wickednesses and affected a restoration of him to his throne, says verse 13. Then, with verses 14, 15 and 16, we see that his repentance and conversion were genuine. It was real, and it lasted. He went on to affect many reforms in Judah. However, it seemingly had no good influence upon his son, Amon, who came to the throne next, according to verse 22. How well this illustrates that truth I once heard that Billy Graham had spoken, that God has no grandchildren, only children. Have you had any true conversion experience like Manasseh had? This, too, is what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

Posted in Bible, God, Israel, Old Testament, Religion, repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Spirituality, wisdom, word of god | Leave a comment