Through the Bible Day by Day
Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon;
Jer_2:1-8; Jer_26:1-24; Jer_27:1-22; Jer_28:1-17; Jer_29:1-32; Jer_30:1-24; Jer_31:1-40; Jer_32:1-44
God regarded Israel as His bride, who had responded to His love, or as a vineyard and cornfield which were expected to yield their first fruits in response to the careful cultivation of the owner. Why had they failed to respond? For the answer let us question our own hearts. What marvels of perversity and disappointment we are! Who can understand or fathom the reason of our poor response to the yearning love of Christ! The heathen, in their punctilious devotion and lavish sacrifices at their idol-shrines, may well shame us. The root of the evil is disclosed in Jer_2:31. We like to be lords, to assume and hold the mastery of our lives. But God has been anything but a wilderness to us. He has given us ornaments, and we owe to His grace the garments of righteousness which He has put on us. In return we have forgotten Him days without number, Jer_2:32. Let us ask Him to call us back-nay more, to draw us by the chains of love.
Jer_5:1-6; Jer_19:1-15; Jer_20:1-18; Jer_21:1-14; Jer_22:1-30; Jer_23:1-40; Jer_24:1-10; Jer_25:1-38; Jer_26:1-24; Jer_27:1-22; Jer_28:1-17; Jer_29:1-32; Jer_30:1-24; Jer_31:1-40
Diogenes, the cynic, was discovered one day in Athens in broad daylight, lantern in hand, looking for something. When someone remonstrated with him, he said that he needed all the light possible to enable him to find an honest man. Something like that is in the prophet’s thought. God was prepared to spare Jerusalem on lower terms than even Sodom, and yet He was driven to destroy her. Both poor and rich had alike “broken the yoke and burst the bonds.” The description of the onset of the Chaldeans is very graphic. They settle down upon the land as a flock of locusts, but still the Chosen People refuse to connect their punishment with their sin. It never occurred to the Chosen People that the failure of the rain, the withering of their crops, and the assault of their foes, were all connected with their sin. There is nothing unusual in this obtuseness for as we read the history of our own times, men are equally inapt at connecting national disaster with national sin.
How good it would be if the national cry of today were that of Jer_5:24 : Let us now fear before the Lord our God! Notice the delightful metaphor of Jer_5:22. When God would stay the wild ocean wave a barrier of sand will suffice. The martyrs were as sand grains but wild persecutions were quenched by their heroic patience.
SHEPHERDS THAT MISLEAD GOD’S FLOCK
Jer_23:1-12; Jer_23:1-40; Jer_24:1-10; Jer_25:1-38; Jer_26:1-24; Jer_27:1-22; Jer_28:1-17; Jer_29:1-32; Jer_30:1-24; Jer_31:1-40; Jer_32:1-44
It is God’s purpose to care for His people through shepherds (pastors) who are responsible to Him. Jesus our Lord is the Branch into which we may be grafted. He is our King who saves us and clothes us with His own spotless righteousness. God finds us in Him, Php_3:9. Because He reigns, we are saved and dwell in safety. When we are brought into contact with false shepherds, whether the failure be in doctrine or example, let us ask for the broken heart of Jer_23:9.
God is everywhere present; as the latter paragraph indicates, He is near at hand to overhear the blasphemy of those who deride religion, and to be a very present help in time of trouble. If He fills heaven and earth, can He not fill thy heart? If His Word is like fire, let it cleanse thee! If it is as a hammer, let it pulverize thy pride! Let those of us who essay to teach and preach, not steal our words from our neighbors, or utter our own, but receive them from the source of all truth.