Monday, September 26, 2011

Search The Scriptures -- Jeremiah

Study 27 – Jeremiah 39 – 41

1.      Jeremiah told Ebed-Melech that in spite of the coming destruction of Jerusalem, Ebed-Melech would be kept safe. This promise was made because in pleading for the release of Jeremiah from the pit, Ebed-Melech was demonstrating his trust in the Lord.  Ebed-Melech put action to his faith and went out on a limb to secure the release of Jeremiah. That action led to his protection in the most difficult of circumstances. The Lord always honors steps of faith on the part of His children.

2.      The heathen army officer’s comments make clear that the warnings of Jeremiah were not muffled or garbled, but had been sounded clearly enough for non-believers to understand the message. God is calling for such a clear message today. As in the days of Jeremiah, the unbelievers hear the message more clearly than many claiming to be a part of the people of God. There is a respect for conviction and truth even among non-believers, but there is no respect for hypocrisy.

3.      Gedaliah was trying a little too hard to be ‘diverse.’ In his attempts at diversity in this newly forming kingdom he failed to realize that not everyone had the same dreams. His naivety led to his death and ultimately the death of many others. In our quest for openness and acceptance we must walk the fine line between not labeling everyone an enemy while also understanding that not everyone will accept our friendship, no matter how genuine we are in extending the offer.

Study 28 – Jeremiah 42 and 43

1.      God told the people that they were to continue to live like refugees in their own land under the direct subjection of their Babylonian occupiers. They were told that if they did not give into their fears that they would prosper and that if they instead chose to seek refuge in Egypt that they would be destroyed. They chose Egypt much in the same ways that many that had crossed the Red Sea wanted to go back to Egypt rather than continue to journey through the wilderness with God as their only guide. Jeremiah prophesied that a return to Egypt would mean certain destruction.

2.      In the case of seeking the counsel of Jeremiah, and in the case of seeking a Word from the Lord today, people often times go to God with an agenda and with a promise to obey Him only if they received the message that they truly want to hear. No one wants to be told that they are just going to have to stay put and endure hardship for several years. Everybody is seeking a quick fix and will quickly move on down the road when not given the answer that they want.

3.      Jeremiah did not let his circumstances dictate his faith! What a tremendous lesson for us all. Faith is more about ‘enduring’ than about ‘receiving’; it is more concerned with ‘sacrifice’ than with ‘reward.’ Jeremiah had learned this secret whereas the stubborn people of Israel and Judah had a long way to go.

Study 29 – Jeremiah 44 and 45

1.      Jeremiah’s message never changed. “Stop the idolatry!” “Serve the Living God!” “Stop trusting the nations and start trusting the Almighty God.!” His message never changed and the response of the people never changed. The message of Jeremiah continued to fall on deaf ears. The people preferred the God’s of occupying nations and the countries in which they lived in exile to the God that brought them out of Egypt in the first place.

2.      We make a big mistake when we base the blessing of God on what is currently or recently happening in our lives. God is not on our timetable! We must be careful to judge spirituality and the blessing of God based on one’s faithfulness to God’s Word and not based upon the material blessings that they enjoy.

3.      The message is basically this:
"Stop complaining about things not turning out well for you.
Don't you realize that the very nation that I brought out of Egypt and built up in this land has been destroyed. If I can lose a nation, surely you can handle going through some stuff.”

Study 30 – Jeremiah 46 and 47

1.      The Lord uses whatever means necessary to achieve His perfect will. He would, of course, prefer to use His chosen people, but when those people become obstinate and refuse to be an instrument in His hand; He will chose another to accomplish His purpose.

2.      Egypt is described as a ‘beautiful heifer,’ ‘a dense forest,’ and likened to a bountiful field. All of these images of power are tormented by the smallest of enemies. The heifer is chased by the fly, the forest is felled by an ax, and the field is devoured by the locust. Egypt is described as extremely powerful and very well prepared, yet even the most powerful and most well prepared can be defeated by the smallest enemies when they are determined and exploit the weaknesses of the powerful.

Study 31 – Jeremiah 48

1.      Verses 1 – 10:  “Put salt on Moab, for she will be laid waste; her towns will become
desolate, with no one to live in them.”  -- Jeremiah 48:9 (Key verse)

Verses 11-20:  Moab has had it easy up to this point. Unlike other nations she has not been challenged – now the challenge will come. The ease and the finery of Moab will be undone.

Verses 21:-27: Moab will become an object of ridicule

Verses 28 – 39:  The pride and arrogance of Moab will change from shouts of joy while treading out wine to shouts of agony. The party is over for Moab.

Verses 40 – 47:  There is no escape – “Whoever flees from the terror will fall into a pit, whoever climbs out of the pit will be caught in a snare; for I will bring upon Moab the year of her punishment.”

2.  Moab has not went through any trials. Moab had not been tested. The nation is described as wine left on its dregs, not poured from one jar to another. When we are not tested we become stagnant and are like wine that is covered with a skim of dregs that have floated to the top. It is the testing of our faith that purifies us and makes us useful in the hands of the Lord. We should not run from trial, but instead we should realize that it is in the time of trial that we are made fit for the service of the Lord. We are said to have ‘spoiled’ our children if we give them everything that they want. We cannot be left to our own devices, we must be tested. It is the testing of our faith that keeps us from becoming spoiled brats that are not fit for service in His kingdom.

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