Jeremiah 52 - Friends in low places

An interesting friendship concludes the book of Jeremiah - one wicked man being kind to another.

Jeremiah 52:31-34 In the thirty-seventh year of King Jehoiachin's exile in Babylon, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne. He was kind to Jehoiachin and released him from prison on March 31 of that year. He spoke pleasantly to Jehoiachin and gave him preferential treatment over all the other exiled kings in Babylon. He supplied Jehoiachin with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine at the king's table for the rest of his life. The Babylonian king also gave him a regular allowance to cover his living expenses until the day of his death.

How did this friendship come about? Why would the king care anything about a foreign prisoner?

The answer to these questions is due to something that occurred in the life of Evil-merodach's father, King Nebuchadnezzar. I have to digress, the proper name for Evil-merodach is actually Amelu-Marduk, which means man from Marduk. Marduk was the name of a Bablylonian deity, and the name of a city in which their great temple stood. Some believe that this temple was built on the ruins of the Tower of Babel. So, back to his father.

Daniel 4:33 That very same hour the prophecy was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles' feathers and his nails were like birds' claws.

God humbled Nebuchadnezzar and turned him into an animal. This lasted about seven years during which time Amelu-Marduk reigned in his father's stead. According to Hebrew writers, upon having his sanity restored, Nebuchadnezzar learned that his son mismanaged his kingdom while mocking and rejoicing over his own humbled condition. To punish Amelu-Marduk, Nebuchadnezzar had him thrown in prison, the same prison Jehoichin was held in for thirty-seven years.

When Nebuchadnezzar died, Amelu-Marduk ascended to the throne again. Apparently he made friends with Jehoichin while in the prison because he showed him great favor once in power.

There are about thirty known clay contractual tablets from that time period that bear Amelu-Marduk's name. An interesting fact is that the very first tablet that we have, is dated one day prior to his freeing Jehoichin.

So why was this corrupt Hebrew king spared and showed favor?

It is because he is an ancestor of Jesus. Look at the following verse from Jesus' lineage.

Matthew 1:12 After the Babylonian exile: Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.

God truly knows the end from the begininning. He knows how to work out the details - well in advance.

Father, thank You for divine provision. May I full understand that You control it all. In Jesus' name, Amen.

I've got friends in High places. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 51 - Lawyer

I've been involved with some litigation recently. Our lawyer seems to do a decent enough job. However, I think that I'd much rather have God as my lawyer. Look what He plans to do to Babylon.

Jeremiah 51:36-37, 45, 62 The LORD says to Jerusalem, "I will be your lawyer to plead your case, and I will avenge you. I will dry up her river, her water supply, and Babylon will become a heap of rubble, haunted by jackals. It will be an object of horror and contempt, without a single person living there... Listen, my people, flee from Babylon. Save yourselves! Run from the LORD's fierce anger... Then say, 'LORD, you have said that you will destroy Babylon so that neither people nor animals will remain here. She will lie empty and abandoned forever.'

Perhaps that is why God tells us to turn the other cheek, pray for those that despitefully use us, and to leave vengeance to Him. He knows what He's doing.

I don't think I'd want even those that consider themselves my enemies to experience God's wrath on this scale.

Father, please have mercy on those that persecute me and my family. May they come to know You for who You truly are. May they experience Your kindness and love, Your forgiveness. In Jesus' name, Amen.

God's my lawyer. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 50 - Forgiveness

I love the following promise inserted into another litany of doom and gloom.

Jeremiah 50:20 "In those days," says the LORD, "no sin will be found in Israel or in Judah, for I will forgive the remnant I preserve."

God will indeed write His law in their hearts.

Father, thank You that Your Holy Spirit has come to enable Your law to live in us. Thank You that Jesus forgives us when we fail. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He forgives. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 49 - Compassion

Every now and then in this book I see glimpses of God's mercy. I've mentioned this in the past, but prophet Jonah actually complained that God is compassionate.

Jonah 4:2d ...I knew that you were a gracious and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love...

Below, in the midst of proclaiming death and destruction, is an example of that unfailing love.

Jeremiah 49:11 But I will preserve the orphans who remain among you. Your widows, too, will be able to depend on me for help.

God did not have to do that. However, He did. He did it to show us His character.

Thank You Father for Your mercy. Without it I'd be lost. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He is good and to be trusted. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 48 - The price of false gods

I read in the next few chapters how the God of Heaven planned to deal with the so called gods of the pagan lands around Israel.

Jeremiah 48:7 Because you have trusted in your wealth and skill, you will be taken captive. Your god Chemosh, with his priests and princes, will be exiled to distant lands!

Jeremiah 48:13 At last Moab will be ashamed of her idol Chemosh, as Israel was ashamed of her gold calf at Bethel.

Jeremiah 49:3 Cry out, O Heshbon, for the town of Ai is destroyed. Weep, O people of Rabbah! Put on your clothes of mourning. Weep and wail, hiding in the hedges, for your god Molech will be exiled along with his princes and priests.

Jeremiah 50:2 This is what the LORD says: "Tell the whole world, and keep nothing back! Raise a signal flag so everyone will know that Babylon will fall! Her images and idols will be shattered. Her gods Bel and Marduk will be utterly disgraced.

Jeremiah 50:38 It will even strike her water supply, causing it to dry up. And why? Because the whole land is filled with idols, and the people are madly in love with them.

Jeremiah 51:44 And I will punish Bel, the god of Babylon, and pull from his mouth what he has taken. The nations will no longer come and worship him. The wall of Babylon has fallen.

What a lovely parade of ignorance.

Father, please give me wisdom. May I worship only You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He alone is God. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 47 - Ashkelon

I always find references to Ashkelon particularly interesting because my father's twin sister lives there. However, in actuality it is not the same city. The modern city of Ashkelon is a short distance away from the ancient seaport city ruin of the same name.

A couple of fascinating facts about the ancient city is that it boasted walls that were about 150 feet thick and the oldest arched city gate in the world. The gate was about eight feet wide and over twenty feet tall.

The city was one of the "five cities" of the Philistines (Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza) and is the oldest and largest seaport in the area, with a population numbering upwards of 15,000 people.

So given that context, think about the following statement by the prophet.

Jeremiah 47:5-7 The city of Gaza will be demolished; Ashkelon will lie in ruins. You remnant of the Mediterranean plain, how long will you lament and mourn?

"Now, O sword of the LORD, when will you be at rest again? Go back into your sheath; rest and be still! But how can it be still when the LORD has sent it on an errand? For the city of Ashkelon and the people living along the sea must be destroyed."

That is a lot of destruction! The human toll and the economic impact of the city's destruction must have been tremendous. It truly is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.

Father, thank You for willingly making peace with me. Thank You that You sought me out. May I live life as Your willing ally. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Peace, Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 46 - Tough Love

Amidst the proclamation of coming destruction and doom for Israelite rebels and arrogant foreign nations, there is a passage that stood out to me.

Jeremiah 46:28 Fear not, Jacob, my servant," says the LORD, "for I am with you. I will destroy the nations to which I have exiled you, but I will not destroy you. But I must discipline you; I cannot let you go unpunished."

Obviously "Jacob" will suffer as a result of his host nation's destruction. The pain will be part of his discipline. However, the reason he is being disciplined in the first place is because he is God's beloved child.

Proverbs 3:11-12 My child, don't ignore it when the LORD disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when he corrects you. For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

There is a companion verse in the New Testament that goes into further detail.

Hebrews 12:7-11 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever?

For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God's discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

I doubt if the Israelites were cheerfully submitting to their discipline, nor did any of us when our father's did it, but the result produced renewed respect and a desire for it to not happen again. Pain is a good teacher.

Also, note in Hebrews that God disciplines "all of his children".

Father, may I submit to Your discipline. May I emerge on the other side living right. But even more desirable is that I don't need the discipline in the first place. Please guide my words and steps. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He disciplines His own. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 45 - Seeking

The last verse of this short chapter spoke to me. Baruch is overwhelmed and doesn't know where to turn or what to do. The Lord responds...

Jeremiah 45:5 Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don't do it! But don't be discouraged. I will bring great disaster upon all these people, but I will protect you wherever you go. I, the LORD, have spoken!

What I got out of it was that I should not seek great things for myself. That is God's job. My job is to rest in His care knowing that He will care for me wherever I go.

Father, may I seek only that which You have for me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Seek God. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 44 - Queen of Heaven

I found the following passage interesting. It reminded me of another religious group of our day.

Jeremiah 44:16-17 "We will not listen to your messages from the LORD! We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and sacrifice to her just as much as we like—just as we and our ancestors did before us, and as our kings and princes have always done...

What group do you know that lights candles, burns incense, and seems to worship the Queen of Heaven? What group does not have scriptural basis for this but does have traditions of their ancestors?

It sounds to me as though the Lord does not appreciate that type of behavior.

Father, may our worship of You be in accordance with Your word - not the traditions of men. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Worship God - only. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 43 - Pride goes before...

The Bible clearly tells us that pride is a sure way to destruction. It is a shame that Azariah and his band of moron men didn't bother to read the writings of Solomon.

Jeremiah 43:2-3 Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the other proud men said to Jeremiah, "You lie! The LORD our God hasn't forbidden us to go to Egypt! 3Baruch son of Neriah has convinced you to say this, so we will stay here and be killed by the Babylonians or be carried off into exile."

One chapter earlier they'd promised to do whatever Jeremiah told them to do. Now they refuse - big mistake. Destruction and death were the future of those that disobeyed the Lord.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.

Father, may I have wisdom to follow whatever You want me to do. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Be humble. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 42 - Prorogue

Afraid for their lives; certain that the might of the Babylonian empire would soon exact vengeance upon them; the remnant of Israel and Judah finally did a wise thing, they asked God's prophet for instruction. Should they flee to Egypt as planned?

Jeremiah 42:1-3 Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, approached Jeremiah the prophet. They said, "Please pray to the LORD your God for us. As you know, we are only a tiny remnant compared to what we were before. Beg the LORD your God to show us what to do and where to go."

Jeremiah agreed to inquire of God on their behalf. However, before he can, the people made a promise - a promise that Jeremiah didn't ask for nor expect.

Jeremiah 42:5-6 Then they said to Jeremiah, "May the LORD your God be a faithful witness against us if we refuse to obey whatever he tells us to do! Whether we like it or not, we will obey the LORD our God to whom we send you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us."

Jeremiah prayed to the Lord and nothing happened. No answer came. The heavens were silent.

The days ticked by. The people had trouble sleeping at night, thinking of the many cruel ways that Babylon would torture, and then execute them.

More days went by. Still no answer from God. Was He even listening? His prophet was still with them. Surely God would speak to him, wouldn't He?

Ten long agonizing days went by. God probably would have answered them immediately if they had not made their promise. But, they did make it. So God made them wait. Would they follow the examples of their forefathers and quickly resort to their own wisdom, burning incense and sacrifices to pagan gods, or would they wait on the Lord?

Finally, the prorogue ended. God spoke to Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 42:10-12 'Stay here in this land. If you do, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you. For I am sorry for all the punishment I have had to bring upon you. Do not fear the king of Babylon anymore, says the LORD. For I am with you and will save you and rescue you from his power. I will be merciful to you by making him kind, so he will let you stay here in your land.'

They waited. They were faithful. Or were they? Unfortunately the answer is no. In the next chapter I find that they didn't listen to Jeremiah, they left for Egypt, incurring the Lord's wrath.

Father, may I be willing to immediately do what You ask, whether I like the direction or not. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Don't prorogue. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 41 - No Discernment

The Babylonians had appointed a regent named Gedeliah to rule Israel. Unfortunately for him, he would not listen to wisdom. In fact, he acted quite foolishly when he was warned about a suspected plot against his life.

Jeremiah 40:13-14 Soon after this, Johanan son of Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. They said to him, "Did you know that Baalis, king of Ammon, has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to assassinate you?" But Gedaliah refused to believe them.

So now he has heard about this first hand. What does he do a short while later when Ishmael Nethaniahson comes to visit?

Jeremiah 41:1 But in midautumn, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family, arrived in Mizpah accompanied by ten men. Gedaliah invited them to dinner. While they were eating,...

He invites Ishmael and his armed men to dinner - fool.

Jeremiah 41:2-3 Ishmael and his ten men suddenly drew their swords and killed Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had appointed governor. Then they went out and slaughtered all the Judean officials and Babylonian soldiers who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah.

Not only was his life forfeit, but he caused the deaths of many others.

Father, may I listen to counsel. If it sounds suspect, please give me wisdom and others to help me discern truth. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Listen, your life may depend on it. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 40 - God's Hand

What I found interesting in this chapter was that the Babylonians, despite being pagans, recognized that God was the one who caused downfall of the Hebrews.

Jeremiah 40:2-3 The captain of the guard called for Jeremiah and said, "The LORD your God has brought this disaster on this land, just as he said he would. For these people have sinned against the LORD and disobeyed him. That is why it happened.

His mighty acts are known even by those that do not claim Him as their God.

Father, may I , as one who does claim You, do so with integrity. Please help me to serve You wholeheartedly. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Peace, Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 39 - Extra-Biblical Proof

On January 15, 588BC the assault on Jerusalem began again. Two and a half years later on July 18 586BC, the city fell.

It was in January during the ninth year of King Zedekiah's reign that King Nebuchadnezzar and his army returned to besiege Jerusalem. Two and a half years later, on July 18, the Babylonians broke through the wall, and the city fell. All the officers of the Babylonian army came in and sat in triumph at the Middle Gate: Nergal-sharezer of Samgar, and Nebo-sarsekim, a chief officer, and Nergal-sharezer, the king's adviser, and many others.

So Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, and Nebushazban, a chief officer, and Nergal-sharezer, the king's adviser, and the other officers of Babylon's king sent messengers to bring Jeremiah out of the prison. They put him under the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, who was to take him back to his home. So Jeremiah stayed in Judah among his own people. - Jeremiah 39:1-3, 13-14

In about 1870AD in the ancient city of Siphar, about one mile from Baghdad, a clay tablet was unearthed. It measured about 2.13 inches wide. All sorts of cuneiform tablets and fragments were being unearthed, so nobody bothered to read this particular tablet. After all, it was quite small and insignificant looking. That is until this year, specifically in June of 2007. Austrian Assyriologist Michael Jursa was reading one of over 100,000 previously undeciphered tablets when he noticed something extraordinary.

The implication of what was read was astounding. The content recorded a transaction whereby a military officer named Nebo-sarsekim donated a large sum of gold to the temple of Esangila. It was about one and one half pounds worth. While yes, that was a large sum of money; the extraordinary thing is the person doing the donating.

Who you ask? Look again at the section of scripture above. Yes, it is the same Nebo-sarsekim from today's chapter in Jeremiah.

Here is the translated text of the tablet:

[Regarding] 1.5 minas of gold, the property of Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, the chief eunuch, which he sent via Arad-Banitu the eunuch to [the temple] Esangila: Arad-Banitu has delivered [it] to Esangila. In the presence of Bel-usat, son of Alpaya, the royal bodyguard, [and of] Nadin, son of Marduk-zer-ibni. Month XI, day 18, year 10 [of] Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

Ten years after donating this large gift to the temple, he appears in Jerusalem. Wow! Proof of a person mentioned in the bible, from a source other than the bible.

Father, thank You for amazing things such as this. You truly are God. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He holds all secrets. Jan
Click to go to the top

Information from:
and other sources.

Jeremiah 38 - Superhero

What is the definition of a superhero? I really was not certain, so I looked it up. The definition is: A figure, especially in a comic strip or cartoon, endowed with superhuman powers and usually portrayed as fighting evil or crime.

In today's reading (not a comic book or cartoon, rather the greatest book ever written), I see a superhero - Darkman. He's able to influence even the most powerful of people. He discerns right from wrong instantly, and despite his fears looks out for the welfare of others. Yes, its the dark skinned man from Ethiopia, otherwise known as Ebed-melech, a mild mannered palace official.

Jeremiah 38:7-9 But Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, an important palace official, heard that Jeremiah was in the cistern. At that time the king was holding court at the Benjamin Gate, so Ebed-melech rushed from the palace to speak with him. "My lord the king," he said, "these men have done a very evil thing in putting Jeremiah the prophet into the cistern. He will soon die of hunger, for almost all the bread in the city is gone."

You see, Ebed-melech knew something innately that most people don't. He knew that despite his fears, God would take care of him if he did what was right. Look at the result from the next chapter.

Jeremiah 39:16-18 "Say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, 'The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will do to this city everything I have threatened. I will send disaster, not prosperity. You will see its destruction, but I will rescue you from those you fear so much. Because you trusted me, I will preserve your life and keep you safe. I, the LORD, have spoken!'"

Darkman was a hero because he knew where his true power came from.

Lord, may I also do heroic deeds. For I know that You give me the ability. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Be a superhero. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 37 - Uncommon Protection

Sometimes God provides for us in a way that we don't expect. Jeremiah is flogged and imprisoned in a dungeon - left to die. All hope seems lost. Then King Zedekiah asks to speak with him.

Jeremiah 37:18-21 Then Jeremiah asked the king, "What crime have I committed? What have I done against you, your officials, or the people that I should be imprisoned like this? Where are your prophets now who told you the king of Babylon would not attack you? Listen, my lord the king, I beg you. Don't send me back to the dungeon in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for I will die there."

So King Zedekiah commanded that Jeremiah not be returned to the dungeon. Instead, he was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. The king also commanded that Jeremiah be given a loaf of fresh bread every day as long as there was any left in the city. So Jeremiah was put in the palace prison.

It is clear that Zedekiah valued Jeremiah. He ensured that Jeremiah lived and was well cared for. The courtyard of the guard was not only to keep him from spreading the message, but it was also to keep him alive from a population that was slowly starving to death. A population that would have very little compassion for the man that they undoubtedly blamed for their trouble. God provided for his safety in a very unusual manner.

Father, thank You for providing for my safety and that of my family. You are truly wonderful. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He knows what He's doing. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 36 - Mercy Rejected

I love to see the heart of God coming through in this chapter. He is holy, and righteous. The people have sinned against Him. He is bringing judgment because of their unrepentant hearts. But He again hold out hope.

Jeremiah 36:3 Perhaps the people of Judah will repent if they see in writing all the terrible things I have planned for them. Then I will be able to forgive their sins and wrongdoings.

Jeremiah 36:7 Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the LORD's forgiveness before it is too late. For the LORD's terrible anger has been pronounced against them.

Baruch, a scribe and faithful friend to Jeremiah delivers the message to the priests.

Jeremiah 36:16 By the time Baruch had finished reading, they were badly frightened. "We must tell the king what we have heard," they said.

Their response was correct. Unfortunately when they read the scroll to the king, his was not.

Jeremiah 36:24 Neither the king nor his officials showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard.

The result was tragic. God moved forward with His judgment.

Jeremiah 36:31 I will punish him and his family and his officials because of their sins. I will pour out on them and on all the people of Judah and Jerusalem all the disasters I have promised, for they would not listen to my warnings.

Father, may we not neglet the warnings in Your written word. May we listen and obey. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Don't reject His mercy. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 35 - Family Legacy

Are there any family traditions that you have? Are any passed on from previous generations?

Recently my pastor was talking about someone praying for their children and their children's children. I was reminded that my great grandmother spent the last years of her life in nearly continual prayer. I know I was the subject of some of them. I know from personal experience that my grandmother prayed for me daily. And my mother does likewise.

As I thought about this, I realized that on my mother's side of the family I have over 600 years of Protestant Christian heritage - over 600 years of people's prayers on my behalf and for the generations that may follow me. And their prayers work; I and my brother are both following the Lord. I pray that my children and their children will do likewise.

In today's reading there is a group of people that have been following their ancestor's directives and customs regarding the Lord for over 200 years. They do it because he told them to. The Lord is pleased.

Jeremiah 35:13-14, 18-19 The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and say to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, 'Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me. The Recabites do not drink wine because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to...

Then Jeremiah turned to the Recabites and said, "This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You have obeyed your ancestor Jehonadab in every respect, following all his instructions. Because of this, Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me. I, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, have spoken!

If you have a legacy like mine, continue it. If not, I pray that you build a family legacy; start with your generation.

Lord, may I hear the words, 'Well done'. When I enter glory. Please give me the heart to persevere. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Build a legacy. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 34 - The Tide

This chapter reminded me of when, as a child, I built sandcastles on the beach. Invariably the tide started coming in and I saw that my magnificent city would soon be overrun.

In response to the unwanted invading force I would build moats and several layers of thick defensive walls and barriers. I was determined to keep out the tide of inevitability.

I would cheer the small victories as a wave would expend itself upon the ramparts. But despite my best efforts, if we stayed long enough, I saw my glorious city swept under the ever increasing tide and reduced to nothing. I had built upon land that belonged to the sea. I had no right to claim it for my little kingdom.

King Zedekiah had attempted to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar and formed an alliance with King Hophra (Apries) of Egypt. However, he had no right to do so. God had given the land to the Babylonians. Now, the Babylonian army was coming to reclaim it's property.

Zedekiah's people saw the tide of the Babylonian army advancing, pounding upon the fortifications of the city of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 34:7 At this time the Babylonian army was besieging Jerusalem, Lachish, and Azekah—the only cities of Judah with their walls still standing.

Zedekiah and the people saw that the Babylonians were settling in for the long haul. They saw their impending doom and started to do what was right.

Jeremiah 34:15 Recently you repented and did what was right, following my command. You freed your slaves and made a solemn covenant with me in my Temple.

God, saw a change of heart attitude in the people. He gave them a reprieve.

The Babylonian army left off besieging Jerusalem. The tide seemed to turn. Unfortunately the Israelite's hearts quickly turned again.

Jeremiah 34:16 But now you have shrugged off your oath and defiled my name by taking back the men and women you had freed, making them slaves once again.

What Hezekiah didn't know was that it was his ally, King Hophra of Egypt, that had drawn the Babylonians away. But, his forces in Judea were no match for Nebuchadnezzar. Thoroughly routed, the Egyptians, fled back across the Nile.

God was bringing the tide of inevitability back again.

Jeremiah 34:22 I will call the Babylonian armies back again. They will fight against this city and will capture and burn it. I will see to it that all the towns of Judah are destroyed and left completely empty.

How often have we made promises, bargains, and deals with God only to instantly forget them when circumstances changed?

May we not build our lives on shifting sands. Our castles will not stand. But if we lay up treasure in heaven, or as the song says "send lumber to heaven", we know we'll have a place that will never crumble.

Father, may we understand our allegiance to You and appreciate it for all it is worth. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Rely on the rock. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 33b - All things new

Our holy, just, righteous, almighty God metes out wrath and vengeance against evil doers. However, He also gives grace, mercy, restoration, and blessing to those who turn from their sinful ways. He heals, He delivers, He cleanses, He rebuilds.

I have experienced this in my life. My first marriage ended in failure; partly due to my backsliding. The Lord will not allow one that claims the name of Christ to remain lukewarm. He will turn up the heat. When He does so, one of two things will happen, repentance or hardening.

As long as I held onto my own way, my own desires, my own futile attempts at shape, form and substance I was resisting His hands. Only when I was broken and unable to stand on my own was He able to mold me anew.

My repentance however, came too late. My first wife left me. I was alone. I was broken. Finally, I was in a state that the Master Potter could use to remake into something useful.

Israel sinned so much, for so long, that they needed to be broken - thoroughly and absolutely. Only then could the Master Potter remake them.

Along with prophecies of exile, doom and gloom, Jeremiah also told of a time when Israel would finally yield to the Master's touch. He told of the coming joy.

It was just such a time for me and my new bride.

The following verse was our focus verse at our wedding three years ago. I think you'll see why we chose it. God has indeed made all things as good as new.

Jeremiah 33:11 But the time is coming when you're going to hear laughter and celebration, marriage festivities, people exclaiming, "Thank GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies. He's so good! His love never quits," as they bring thank offerings into GOD's Temple. I'll restore everything that was lost in this land. I'll make everything as good as new.' I, GOD, say so. (MSG)

Thank You Father for restoration and healing. Thank You for the gift of my family. In Jesus' name, Amen.

The time is now. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 33 - Cleansing and Forgiveness

The price of sin is sometimes very high. There are times that sin does not bear any consequence other than a guilty conscience; however, there are times that sin does have consequences - grave consequences that not only affect the one sinning, but many others.

Sin has a price. The generation that Jeremiah preached to suffered, they had to pay the price. Once paid, there was a promise of hope, of restoration.

Jeremiah 33:8 I will cleanse away their sins against me, and I will forgive all their sins of rebellion.

Fortunately for us, Jesus came to offer forgiveness of sins. Without His sacrifice, we would eternally suffer the consequences of our sins. We would have to pay the price, and we can't afford it.

Don't let this grace escape you. Accept the payment of your sin debt and the cleansing and forgiveness that are offered through Christ. Don't delay, the time is short.

Thank You Lord for forgiveness. May I live in a way that shows my gratitude to You and reveals Your offer to others. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He paid the debt. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 32 - Silence the Message

I read with particular interest the following verses.

Jeremiah 32:2-3 Jerusalem was under siege from the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. King Zedekiah had put him there because he continued to give this prophecy: "This is what the LORD says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon..."

Rather than throw Jeremiah into a deep dark dank dungeon somewhere, Zedekiah holds him captive in the courtyard of the guard. Why not just do him in?

There can be only one reason, Zedekiah recognized that Jeremiah was indeed a prophet of God and was speaking God's message. Zedekiah didn't want Jeremiah to die, nor did he want to incur his disfavor. Additionally, it is clear that he was allowed some liberty since his cousin was allowed to visit. King Zedekiah was trying to curry Jeremiah's favor. However, he couldn't allow the message to be publicly spread; it was demoralizing to the populous. After all, they were under siege and supplies were running low.

Instead he sought to silence the message and perhaps buy time. He didn't succeed. All he did was temporarily silence the messenger.

Have you tried to push the message God is giving you into some obscure guarded corner of your world? Have you attempted to buy time or curry some sort of favor or broker a deal with God? There are times that I have, and God had to deal with it. Don't make Him go there. Get right, now!

Father, may I submit to Your will, whatever it may be. May I be wholly devoted to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Let the message spread. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 31 - Greatly Ashamed

The following verse sounds all too familiar.

Jeremiah 31:19 I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity! I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.

I've been there, you've been there, most of us have been there; hanging our heads in shame. Thank God that Jesus came to give us a hope and a future. My righteousness is as filthy rags. Only because of the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus am I acceptable to God, the Holy and Just One.

Thank You Father for the free gift of salvation; regeneration through the blood of Christ Jesus, Your Son. May I live closer to Him every day. In His name, Amen.

Lift up your head. Salvation has come! Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 30 - Write it down

God gives Jeremiah an absolutely amazing directive in this chapter. He tells him to write down what God says and has been saying to him.

Jeremiah 30:2 This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Write down for the record everything I have said to you, Jeremiah.

In and of itself writing things down is nothing special. But God had plans for this message - plans that meant the message needed to be preserved.

Daniel 9:2 During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, was studying the writings of the prophets. I learned from the word of the LORD, as recorded by Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years.

If Jeremiah had not recorded God's messages to him, then Daniel would not have been able to read about the coming liberation of his people. God ensured that when the return to Israel happened, just as He said it would, that there would be no doubt that it was His timing and doing.

However, another reason exists which is very similar to the first. It is so that we can see the workings of God; so that we can see His consistency throughout history. He is both a righteous holy disciplinarian, and a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.

And yet a third reason exists; that is to give us an example to follow. If God speaks to you, record it. Some day, you or someone else may benefit from it.

Father, thank You for Your preserved word. May I learn it and live by it. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He's the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 29 - Too Busy

One of the frustrating things about modern day life is the fast pace. I find that I rarely have time to myself that is not planned in advance. I'm too busy. But like most, I see no way out. The shame of it is that often I find that I'm too busy to spend time with God.

Jeremiah 29:13-14 "If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you," says the LORD...

I look for Him, but not in earnest. My time, my interest, my attention is constantly divided. I'm beginning to understand the reason some people take lengthy sabbaticals. Pity that the concept is so rare in the American workplace, I could use one.

Father, please give me the wisdom and grace to order my day in a manner that You are my priority. Only then can the remainder make sense. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Hit pause. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 28 - Shifting Paradigm

What do you do when confronted with trouble, problems, or lies? Do you immediately react to the situation, or do you take the time to ensure a measured response?

If there is any one thing, besides a love for the Lord, that I want to instill in my children, it is that they respond instead of react. A response is thought out, it is appropriate to the circumstance. A reaction is instinctual and often wrong, only making things worse.

Jeremiah's paradigm is confronted by Hannaniah with something that is clearly different that the truth that God revealed. What does Jeremiah do with this?

Jeremiah 28:5-6 Jeremiah responded to Hananiah as they stood in front of all the priests and people at the Temple. He said, "Amen! May your prophecies come true! I hope the LORD does everything you say. I hope he does bring back from Babylon the treasures of this Temple and all our loved ones.

He responds, quite correctly, with hope for good and peace. He has no way of knowing if perhaps the Lord did speak to Hannaniah. However, he is also quick to warn Hannaniah that God is not to be trifled with.

Jeremiah 28:9 So a prophet who predicts peace must carry the burden of proof. Only when his predictions come true can it be known that he is really from the LORD.

He says that if it is from God, we'll know soon enough. Unfortunately for Hannaniah, he was lying. God did not send him to speak peace. Look how Jeremiah responds once God reveals the truth to him.

Jeremiah 28:15-17 Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah, "Listen, Hananiah! The LORD has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. Therefore, the LORD says you must die. Your life will end this very year because you have rebelled against the LORD."

Two months later, Hananiah died.

In a measured response, no yelling, no screaming, no arguing, he simply states the facts. "You lied. God didn't send you. You will die."

Will we respond or react the next time something shifts our paradigm?

Father, may I respond as led by Your Holy Spirit. May I show You and Your ways to all those I meet. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Respond or react, your choice. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 27 - Gifts

I was reminded in this chapter that God loves to give good gifts to His children. We are those children!

Luke 11:11-13 "You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."

The message in the passage above is that God is going to give the greatest gift He can, Himself living in us in the person of the Holy Spirit. However, the principle is that God as a father gives good gifts to His children.

In this chapter of Jeremiah we see God talk about some of what He can give.

Jeremiah 27:5 By my great power I have made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose.

Will He give these things to us? The answer is a resounding Yes! Look that the following verse.

Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world...

We Christ followers are those on the right. We get the kingdom!

Father, thank You for Your generosity. May I live in a manner that reflects my gratitude and acknowledges that You are the source. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Receive with joy. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 26 - Unmarked Graves

Many years ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, and I was attending high school, I would occasionally borrow my brother's car to drive to school. The parking lot was horrible, there just was not enough parking for all of the students. If you came even a little late, you were out of luck.

Well, being young and brilliant I hit upon the perfect plan. There was an old cemetery on top of the hill near the school that nobody visited anymore. It had a grassy circular wheel-rut path that ran through the length of it. I found just the perfect spot, a few feet off the path below a canopy of trees. Not only did I have exclusive parking. I had shade! The car wouldn't be hot when I got back to it.

After a full day of school I returned to the car and found a note on the windshield. It was from a police officer. It wasn't a ticket, just a note. It said something to the effect of, "Don't park here again. You are dishonoring those below you." I looked down and discovered that I'd parked across several graves that grass and fallen leaves had partially obscured! I quickly left and never parked there again.

But that cemetery intrigued me. I was fascinated by the ornate monuments, the clever, and sometimes heartbreaking inscriptions. The people represented had long since been forgotten. Or were they?

Jeremiah 26:20-23 (At this time, Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim was also prophesying for the LORD. And he predicted the same terrible disaster against the city and nation as Jeremiah did. When King Jehoiakim and the army officers and officials heard what he was saying, the king sent someone to kill him. But Uriah heard about the plot and escaped to Egypt. Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt along with several other men to capture Uriah. They took him prisoner and brought him back to King Jehoiakim. The king then killed Uriah with a sword and had him buried in an unmarked grave.)

This man Uriah was doing God's work. Jehoiakim thought that he'd silenced the message. He was quite mistaken. When our glorious resurrection day comes, Uriah will burst forth from his ignoble hole in the ground to a place of honor and praise. He will receive eternal rewards for his faithfulness. Jehoiakim will likewise burst forth. However, he will not be honored, he will, to his horror, be judged and condemned to an eternity in hell.

Revelation 20:12-13 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to the things written in the books, according to what they had done. The sea gave up the dead in it, and death and the grave gave up the dead in them. They were all judged according to their deeds.

There are no unmarked graves. God knows every one.

Father, thank You that You know all. You are watching, recording and waiting. Help us to be faithful in what You ask us to do. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Where do you park? Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 25 - Time of Anger

The Lord's anger has burst forth into a conflagration. Pain, sorrow and destruction are coming. Seventy years of exile are decreed.

Jeremiah 25:10-11 I will take away your happy singing and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. Your businesses will fail, and all your homes will stand silent and dark. This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.

But that is not the total story. We need to fast forward a few chapters.

Jeremiah 33:11 But the time is coming when you're going to hear laughter and celebration, marriage festivities, people exclaiming, "Thank GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies. He's so good! His love never quits," as they bring thank offerings into GOD's Temple. I'll restore everything that was lost in this land. I'll make everything as good as new. I, GOD, say so.

Father, thank You that Your anger did not last forever. Thank You for the salvation that was offered to me as a result of the restoration. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Hallelujah! Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 24 - Hurt vs. Harm

The book and teaching named Boundaries talks about the difference between hurt vs. harm. The premise is that there are something that may hurt us, however the they not harm us. Conversely there are things that may harm us but do not hurt us.

The authors, Drs Henry Cloud and John Townsend, use a dentist as an example. They explain that when you have a cavity, and go to a dentist, the procedure that the dentist does may hurt you. But it is not harming you, it is actually helping you. On the flip side of that is the sugar that caused the cavity. It didn't hurt. However, it did harm.

Jeremiah 24:6-7 I have sent them into captivity for their own good. I will see that they are well treated, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them hearts that will recognize me as the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.

God sent certain people away into exile. He hurt them. However, it was not harmful. Those that remained behind, they were the ones hurt.

The end result of the pain, the hurt, is hearts that recognize God and return to Him wholeheartedly.

Father, may I receive whatever Your hand gives. I know that whatever it may be is for my good, painful or not. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He doesn't harm His own. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 23 - Omnipresent

I'd always wondered where exactly in scripture a description or explanation of God's omnipresence was located. I mean, I understand the concept, I intellectually ascent to the fact that God, by definition must be everywhere. But where was the explicit reference to that fact? Well, here is one.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 Am I a God who is only in one place?" asks the LORD. "Do they think I cannot see what they are doing? Can anyone hide from me? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?" asks the LORD.

Couldn't be plainer. Then why do I act at times as though He's not around? That I can do whatever I want?

Father, may I have a holy reverent awareness of your omnipresence, both in times of trial and temptation. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He's watching. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 22 - Nobility

There are people from the lowest walks of life that conduct themselves in a manner fit for a king or queen. And there are those from "noble" stock that are, to quote a favorite Star Trek line, "a waste of flesh".

I think that God is expressing a similar sentiment in these two verses.

Jeremiah 22:15-16 "But a beautiful palace does not make a great king! Why did your father, Josiah, reign so long? Because he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. He made sure that justice and help were given to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn't that what it means to know me?" asks the LORD.

An expensive home and the elegant clothes on the man don't mean a lick if he's a jerk. It is how you behave that reveals what is inside.

Father, please give me the grace to behave outwardly in a fashion that shows I'm one of Yours. May I bring honor to Your name. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Know the Lord. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 21 - A Choice

Everything in life hinges on the choices we make. Choose one job over another, soon a career path develops. Choose one place to live over another, you settle down in a certain area. Choose one person instead of another, joy or heartache may result. Each choice shapes us and our subsequent choices. Turn right and avoid an accident, turn left and life is changed permanently due to disability and pain. A or B? Left or right? To do or not to do? How do you choose?

Jeremiah 21:9 Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, famine, or disease, but those who go out and surrender to the Babylonians will live.

Stay in Jerusalem during the siege and die, surrender and live. A choice.

Deuteronomy 30:19 "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!

Choose the path of life so that your descendents have a hope and a future...

What about us? Our city is not under siege, is it?

1 Corinthians 15:33 Don't be fooled by those who say such things, for "bad company corrupts good character."

Choose one set of friends and walk the path of the wise. Choose another and destruction is inevitable.

God leaves much up to us, so how do we choose? How do we make wise choices?

James 1:5 If you need wisdom – if you want to know what God wants you to do – ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.

We simply ask God, and then trust that He will reveal His wisdom to us.

1 Corinthians 2:13 When we tell you this, we do not use words of human wisdom. We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths.

Like Paul, when we ask, God answers. He gives us the words and the understanding to make wise decisions.

Ephesians 1:8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God, freely gives us wisdom. He showers it on us. He wants us to choose wisely.

Luke 7:35 But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.

When we do choose wisely, it is demonstrated in all that we do. It shows in the way we live; in the choices that we have made.

Father, may we choose wisely. Please grant me wisdom to choose that which You want me to choose. May I live in a way that I'm directed by You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Choose wisely. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 20 - Mighty Warrior

The following verse got me to thinking, what exactly does the phrase Mighty awesome One or Mighty Warrior mean?

Jeremiah 20:11 But the LORD is with me as a mighty, awesome One. Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper. Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten. (NKJV)

Jeremiah 20:11 But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior;... (NIV)

So I looked up the words in the Strong's concordance.

Mighty is the Hebrew word "Gibbowr". Some of the translations are; mighty, champion, chief, great, strong. In other words, a very powerful one that is victorious, not defeated.

One is the Hebrew word "`ariyts". It is an adjective that means; awe-inspiring, terror-striking, awesome, terrifying, ruthless, mighty. In other words, you don't want to be on the bad side of whomever is being described.

This mighty, undefeated awe-inspiring, terror-striking champion is on Jeremiah's side. And he's on ours.

Like a little child, may I hide behind my father when the bullies come. He won't let me be harmed.

Lord, thank You for Your protection. May I avail myself of it. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He's on our side. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 19 - Monument to Stupidity

We've all heard of the term Pork Barrel Project. It means that money is being wasted on something. Usually that something is not needed, or could have been accomplished in a much less expensive way.

Boston Massachusetts has the Big Dig as it's most famous monument to stupidity. A three and a half mile long section of elevated highway was to be replaced with a tunnel to modernize transportation. This project, began in 1982, it is still under construction. It is finally expected to be completed on December 31st, 2007. The cost is still being tallied. As of 2006 it was over $14.6 billion, yes, that is the word billion! They could have bought every house and building within a several mile radius of the proposed project, leveled them and put in a normal overland highway for that much.

One monument to stupidity received so much bad press that it was actually killed prior to construction. That was the Gravina Island bridge, connecting Ketchikan Alaska, an island, to the mainland. This bridge was to have cost the taxpayers about $400 million dollars. However, the island already has a very efficient ferry service that charges only $5 per person. There are about 500 thousand transits on the ferry per year. That meant that if the bridge was charging $5 per person, it would have taken over 100 years to pay off.

And then there is Jerusalem. God's crown jewel, the place that He Himself came and inhabited. The Jews screwed up the city so badly that God abandoned it.

Jeremiah 19:8 I will wipe Jerusalem from the face of the earth, making it a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be appalled and will gasp at the destruction they see there.

Do we have a parallel? How about New Orleans?

Build a city on a delta, put in levees, and enormous pumps to keep it from flooding because it is below sea-level. Oh, by the way, it is on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. And it is sinking further below sea-level every year. What a monument to stupidity. People are still gasping at the degree of destruction a hurricane caused.

Father, may I evaluate any potentially lasting things I may build, participate in or do through Your word, through Your Spirit, and through Your people. Only then can I discern what is right and what is not. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Don't be stupid. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 18 - Turn my back on them

I'm sure you've seen it, that defiant stance; arms crossed, back to the one that is being defied. Other times though it is a sign that say, "I can't take any more I will not be a part of this."

Jeremiah 18:17 Like the east wind I will scatter them in front of the enemy. On the day of their disaster, I will show them my back, not my face.

God had enough. He was not longer going to be associated with them in any way. They no longer resembled anything of His. He turned His back.

Father, thank You that because of Jesus I can approach Your throne and know that You accept me. That is amazing! Thank You for mercy and grace. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He is Holy. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 17 - Barren Wilderness

The following verses stuck out to me. So I looked at them in a few different translations.

Jeremiah 17:5-6 This is what the LORD says: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, on the salty flats where no one lives."

Verse five in the Rotherham translation is a bit more descriptive I think.

Jeremiah 17:5 Thus, saith Yahweh, accursed is the man - who trusteth in a son of earth, and have made flesh his arm, and whose heart from Yahweh, turneth aside.

Son of Earth. That is a very good graphic of us. God made the earth, but we pitiful humans put our trust-  rely on strength from - human beings instead of God.

I recall reading about barren wilderness in the New Testament.

Matthew 12:43 When an evil spirit comes out of a person, it goes through dry places looking for a place to rest. But it doesn't find any.

Like those that live in a  place fit for demons are people that put their trust in anything but God. Wow!

Father, may I place my trust in You alone. In Jesus' name, Amen.

In God I trust. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 16 - Don't make me angry

I remember watching the TV series, The Incredible Hulk, starring Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby when I was younger. One memorable line from the show was the following from Dr. Bruce Banner, played by Bill Bixby.

"Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

I see God doing pretty much the same thing. He warned, and warned the Hebrews not to make Him angry. Yet they didn't listen.

When Dr. Banner transformed into the Hulk, he exhibited incredible power, and anger. Destruction was his call-sign. However, he never harmed the innocent. He always protected the weak and hurt.

What a parallel to our God. He is kind, loving, compassionate, not wanting any to perish. However, He does have limits. If you get Him angry, He will respond. He will respond with deadly ferocity against the wicked.

Jeremiah 16:21 So now I will show them my power and might," says the LORD. "At last they will know that I am the LORD.

Father, thank You that You are indeed Holy. Thank You also that You protect Your own, as you did Jeremiah. May I live my life in a way that is pleasing to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Don't make Him angry. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 15 - Not even if...

In Exodus I read how Moses pleaded for the Hebrews, for God not to wipe them out when they had abandoned Him after only 40 days and had started worshiping a golden calf.

Exodus 32:11-12 But Moses pleaded with the LORD his God not to do it. "O LORD!" he exclaimed. "Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and mighty acts? The Egyptians will say, 'God tricked them into coming to the mountains so he could kill them and wipe them from the face of the earth.' Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you are planning against your people!

And God listened. He did not destroy them.

I also see how Samuel was begged by the Israelites to plead with God on their behalf, and He did.

1 Samuel 7:8-10 "Plead with the LORD our God to save us from the Philistines!" they begged Samuel. So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the LORD as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the LORD to help Israel, and the LORD answered. Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived for battle. But the LORD spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them.

Yet now in the book of Jeremiah I see how even these two men who moved God with their passionate prayers; these two men who arguably were the most influential Hebrews that ever lived, even they would not be able to sway God's decision to punish His people.

Jeremiah 15:1 Then the LORD said to me, "Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn't help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight!

The level of disgust that God must have felt, the revulsion for their piled up sin must have been beyond belief.

Jeremiah 15:13-14 Because of all my people's sins against me, I will hand over their wealth and treasures as plunder to the enemy. I will tell their enemies to take them as captives to a foreign land. For my anger blazes forth like fire, and it will consume them.

He was ticked. For seventy years God allowed Judah to feel the full weight of their sin.

Father, thank You that You are Holy. And thank You that Jesus made the way for me to come to You. Without Him, I'd be lost. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Peace, Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 14 - Who is John Gault?

The question, "Who is John Gault?", is posed numerous times in the book "Atlas Shrugged", by Ayn Rand. The phrase is understood to mean, "Who knows why things are the way they are?".

However, there is a back-story to it all. John Gault was a brilliant engineer who decided that he would no longer allow those that scorned or disdained his intellect to benefit from it. He would no longer give to those that did not value him.

In fact, he determined that nobody would benefit from anyone's intellect since they didn't value it properly. He therefore vowed to "Stop the engine of the world." And he did. He assisted the disappearances of men of intelligence and ability from society, forming their own utopian enclave hidden deep in the mountains. Without "Men of the Mind", civilization crumbled.

Jeremiah 14:1-6 This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD, explaining why he was holding back the rain: "Judah wilts; her businesses have ground to a halt. All the people sit on the ground in mourning, and a great cry rises from Jerusalem. The nobles send servants to get water, but all the wells are dry. The servants return with empty pitchers, confused and desperate, covering their heads in grief. The ground is parched and cracked for lack of rain. The farmers are afraid; they, too, cover their heads. The deer abandons her newborn fawn because there is no grass. The wild donkeys stand on the bare hills panting like thirsty jackals. They strain their eyes looking for grass to eat, but there is none to be found."

For their crimes against men of intellect and ability John Gault stopped the engine of the world.

For their sins and for taking Him for granted, God stopped the engine of Israel. God allowed the country to wither. Their businesses ground to a halt.

Father, may we not take You for granted. May we offer You our lives - for You are worthy. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Who is Yahweh? Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 13 - Don't wait

He says it well in the following verses.

Jeremiah 13:15-16 Listen! Do not be proud, for the LORD has spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God before it is too late. Acknowledge him before he brings darkness upon you, causing you to stumble and fall on the dark mountains. For then, when you look for light, you will find only terrible darkness.

The warning is out there. It applies to us too. Lay down pride, acknowledge sin, repent, give glory to God.

Father, may we all be willing. May I be willing. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Do it now. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 12 - Given a place

In the last part of this chapter is a verse that speaks directly to us.

Jeremiah 12:16 And if these nations quickly learn the ways of my people, and if they learn to swear by my name, saying, 'As surely as the LORD lives' (just as they taught my people to swear by the name of Baal), then they will be given a place among my people.

We are the alien nation that did not know God. Through the adoption offered because of Jesus we have now been given a place among His people.

Thank You Father for adopting me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Peace, Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 11 - No Fear

A company created in 1989 by several persons goes by the name of No Fear. They market sports wear, shirts, hats, glasses, etc. They want people to go all-out when living their adventure.

Jeremiah was promised by God, in chapter one of this book, that he would protect him. Now a plot to kill Jeremiah comes to his attention. God responds.

Jeremiah 11:21-22 The men of Anathoth wanted me dead. They said they would kill me if I did not stop speaking in the LORD's name. So this is what the LORD Almighty says about them: "I will punish them!...

The punishment pronounced is severe, death to them and to their families. God does not mess around. He protects those He sends on a mission.

Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Father, may I not fear those that can merely harm my body. You alone are to be feared. In Jesus' name, Amen.

No fear. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 10 - Big Bang

If you ask an evolutionist how the universe came into existence they'll tell you that it was the result of the Big Bang. I love the following sentence from Wikipedia regarding the Big Bang.

"Extrapolation of the expansion of the universe backwards in time using general relativity yields an infinite density and temperature at a finite time in the past."

In layman's terms: By measuring how fast the universe is expanding, you can measure backwards to determine when it started. And by measuring what things (planets, stars, solar-systems, galaxies, etc.) must fit into that single point in space and time (a singularity), you get a point of infinite density and temperature.

So this singularity of infinite density and temperature exploded and the universe whooshed outward, stretching to its present expanding form. Um, where did something of infinite density and temperature come from?

A verse I read today explains it.

Jeremiah 10:12 But God made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. He has stretched out the heavens by his understanding.

God is the one that stretched out the universe. It was His purposeful doing (by his understanding). It was no accident. He alone is infinite. He is God.

Thank You Father for the Big Bang. Thank You for tidbits like this in Your word. In Jesus' name, Amen.

God spoke, and bang... Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 9 - Boasting

Ah, a ray of hope in this dismal chapter.

Jeremiah 9:24 Let them boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who is just and righteous, whose love is unfailing, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!

Everything that exists or ever will exist does so because of God. All knowledge, all power, all resource, all creativity; it all comes from Him. What right do we have to boast? It would be like a sheet of paper boasting that it has a page from a best seller written upon it. The paper had nothing to do with it.

What should be boast in? That we intimately know God who delights in justice, righteousness and unfailing love.

Father, may I boast in You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He is worthy! Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 8 - Twisted

I won't belabor this point too much. However, something from today's reading struck me as very familiar.

Jeremiah 8:8-10 How can you say, "We are wise because we have the law of the LORD," when your teachers have twisted it so badly? These wise teachers will be shamed by exile for their sin, for they have rejected the word of the LORD. Are they so wise after all? I will give their wives and their farms to others...

I know a lady whose former husband twists the word of the Lord into a hammer and uses it to pound anyone that disagrees with him. He thinks that he is so wise. Why then do most people view him as a fool? He argued, raged in anger, and demanded everyone agree with his interpretation of scripture for so long, that he eventually reaped the consequence of his anger. He no longer has a wife, his children want nothing to do with him, he lost everything.

The great shame of it is that, like the scribes, the teachers, described in the verses above, he has amazing knowledge of God's word. However, it is abused.

Father, please give me wisdom and grace so that I interpret Your word according to Your will. May I rightly divide Your word. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Keep it straight. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 7 - Situational Ethics

I remember learning about Situational Ethics while growing up, going to public school. This school of thought espouses that traditional laws about what is moral and just can be suspended if the ends justifies the means. To put it more simply, to do a little evil to achieve a greater good. Sadly, many of us have bought into this. We believe that it is possible to be holy and still endorse some evil. I think God has a different standard.

Even sadder is the fact that this school of thought came about in the 1960's as the result of an Episcopal Priest named Joseph Flecher. He believed that any law could be broken if doing so would result in an expression of love greater than the evil committed or allowed.

In theory it is good, but in practice it means that you decide for yourself what laws apply. Truth is no longer truth. Absolutes become fuzzy. Judah had this problem.

Jeremiah 7:28 Say to them, 'This is the nation whose people will not obey the LORD their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips.

Our nation is tottering on the edge of being unteachable, of wholeheartedly embracing relative-truth. We are on the precipice. The direction we take is in our hands.

Father, please give us wisdom. Give us courage. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Defend truth, never stop learning. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 6 - Watchmen

In one memorable scene from The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King movie, Pippin climbs the beacon Amon Din. It is located atop the tower of Echthelion, in the city of Minas Tirith.

Once atop the pyre he dumps oil upon the wood and lights it. It quickly bursts into flame.

The tower is one in a long series of beacons strategically placed so that they are all within sight of each other. One after another, like dominoes, the beacons come to life with flame, calling out into the distance. First Amon Din, then, Eilenach, Nardol, Erelas, Minrimmon, Calenhad and finally Halifirien. A distance of three day's ride has been covered in minutes.

The message is seen. The response is decisive.

Aragorn: The beacons of Minas Tirith! The beacons are lit! Gondor calls for aid.

[Theoden is standing at a table, speaking with Eomer, Gamling and others. He looks at Aragorn and pauses. Eowyn comes to stand by Eomer.]

Theoden: [pauses] And Rohan will answer. Muster the Rohirrim!

[A Rohan soldier rings a bell in a tower. Theoden comes out of Meduseld with Eomer.]

Theoden: Assemble the army at Dunharrow, as many men as can be found. You have two days.

The amazing thing about this scene is the sight of some of the towers, they are located in inhospitable places, some high on mountains covered with snow. Yet they are manned and ready despite standing idle for perhaps centuries. Several generations of watchmen faithfully endured hardships and stood at their posts, passing their mission on to those that came after them. They knew their purpose, they did it. They were there when needed.

Jeremiah 6:17 I set watchmen over you who said, 'Listen for the sound of the trumpet!' But you replied, 'No! We won't pay attention!'

God set watchmen to protect his bride Judah, but unlike King Theoden, they would not heed the call. They allowed the evil in; no, they embraced it. And as a result they reaped the consequences.

Father, may I watch for Your signal. May my eyes not grow weary. May I stand my post and fulfill my purpose. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Stand your post, keep watching. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 5 - A Serotinous Life

Lodgepole and Jack pine trees require fire for survival. Their cones, which contain the seeds, are known as serotinous; they need heat or fire to open and disperse the seeds. It is the test, the trial, which allows new life to develop. If the heat of a fire is not applied then new life does not happen for these fire-dependent species.

After a raging forest fire all appears to be dead. However, add some water and time and soon new life begins to sprout.

We Christians are a fire-dependent species. We were birthed in the fire of adversity. We were spread due to the heat of persecution. And it is with the heat of the refining fire that we are developed into what we are meant to be.

Sometimes the adversity is a result of our own making. Due to their sin, God brought judgment upon the Israelites. He cut many of them off.

Jeremiah 5:10 Go down the rows of the vineyards and destroy them, but leave a scattered few alive. Strip the branches from the vine, for they do not belong to the LORD.

Jeremiah 5:14 Therefore, this is what the LORD God Almighty says: "Because the people are talking like this, I will give you messages that will burn them up as if they were kindling wood.

Their sins brought about the breaking off of the dead and the refining fire of adversity.

Paul wrote about this too. But now, this act of destruction against Israel is revealed for what it truly was, the method of our salvation.

Romans 11:17 But some of these branches from Abraham's tree, some of the Jews, have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, were grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in God's rich nourishment of his special olive tree.

God made room, if you will, on the Olive tree for us. He cut away the dead wood, burned it up, and grafted us in. However, His refining fire still burns. He wants us to be pure, to be holy.

Luke 12:49 I have come to bring fire to the earth, and I wish that my task were already completed!

It is with this refining fire that new life, beauty can be unveiled.

1 Peter 1:7 These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Yes, God will put His people through the fire, because He desires all to repent. He needs us to spread His message. If we won't, He'll mercifully put us in the fire again, knowing that we Christians tend to forget our purpose. We are serotinous. We need fire to spread His seeds.

Matthew 3:11 I baptize with water those who turn from their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is far greater than I am – so much greater that I am not even worthy to be his slave. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

The seeds of new life are watered with baptism. The new growth, when ready, develops seeds that are then scattered and germinated with the fire that the Holy Spirit brings. It is the cycle of life - the Christian life. A serotinous life.

Father, may I be willing to endure whatever fires You bring. May I do all that is necessary to fulfill Your purpose in my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.

I smell smoke... Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 4 - Dead Flesh

Yesterday, while doing repair work with my brother and my son Sam on my mother's house, I cut my index finger.

I was attempting to get a soffit segment into place. It moved faster than my finger, which was in the way. Ouch! My finger survived. However, there is a small triangular section of skin on it that is turning funny colors and will either eventually lose feeling, due to having the nerve severed, or it will hang lifeless - dead flesh.

The Israelites had a heart problem. They had dead flesh surrounding their hearts, encasing it with stone hard cladding.

Zechariah 7:12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets...

Prior to salvation, we had the same problem. The word of the Lord was not received. We could not feel it, dead flesh surrounded our heart.

The answer for Israel is the same as it is for us.

Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Paul restated this in the New Testament when he declared the following.

Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Christ came and died on the cross to remove the dead things of our lives, those things that kept us from feeling or perceiving the things of God.

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Yes, the blood of Christ can heal, can remove dead flesh, but we must allow it. The Great Physician will not act unless we let Him.

Father, may I be willing to let You cut away whatever You determine should go. Please give me a willing heart, a circumcised heart. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He still makes house calls. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 3 - Is Divorce a Sin?

Too many people in our society are held bondage to the belief that they are somehow "tainted goods" due to a divorce. Let me state this as equivocally as I can, divorce is not sin. It cannot be, otherwise God sinned.

Jeremiah 3:8 Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.

The speaker in the verse above is God. He divorced Israel.

Let that sink in for a moment.

God is a divorcee. How's that grab you?

Divorce is not sin. Sin leads to divorce, however divorce is merely a declaration of what has already occurred. It is akin to a death-certificate. That piece of paper doesn't make someone dead. It is merely the legal document that lets the world know that the person is indeed dead.

All marriages end as a result of sin.

When God made us we were never meant to die. Thus marriage was never meant to end. This is part of the reason that Jesus said, the following.

Mathew 19:4-6 "Haven't you read the Scriptures?" Jesus replied. "They record that from the beginning 'God made them male and female.' And he said, 'This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' Since they are no longer two but one, let no one separate them, for God has joined them together."

When Adam and Eve sinned, death came into the world. The joining-together that Jesus spoke of came to an abrupt end when one spouse died.

There are only two ways a marriage can end, death or divorce. The ultimate root cause of both is sin, but they in and of themselves are not sin.

Father, thank You for Your word. I am grateful that You understand the pain that I went through. Thank You also for the healing You brought me in Pam. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He gives freedom. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 2 - Shame

You've seen them. I know you have. People that have no shame. They have no remorse over the immoral, wicked, evil things that they do. The only time they show remorse is when they are caught. They feign shame.

Jeremiah 2:26 Like a thief, Israel feels shame only when she gets caught. Kings, officials, priests, and prophets-all are alike in this.

How do they get that way? Is it learned or innate somehow? I suspect that a little of both.

If we are a Christian we have a sin nature that wars against our spirit. (If we are not, then there is no war and sin rules.) However, depending upon how long we have indulged in sin, the war may be quite protracted due to the extreme effort required extricate the entrenched evil.

Lord, let my battles be swift and decisive. May I feel true shame and remorse at my sins and thereby allow You to deal with them. In Jesus' name, Amen.

God wins. Jan
Click to go to the top

Jeremiah 1 - Defense

During WWII there were some Japanese held islands that were so well defended, so entrenched that the allies decided to entirely bypass them. They were not able to be taken. Only when Japan as a nation surrendered did these island fortresses surrender.

Jeremiah 1:18-19 For see, today I have made you immune to their attacks. You are strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall. None of the kings, officials, priests, or people of Judah will be able to stand against you. They will try, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the LORD, have spoken!

Jeremiah was promised virtual immunity from attacks if he would obey the Lord's commands. Wow!

Father, whether You promise immunity or not, may I obey. In Jesus' name, Amen.

He is my defense. Jan
Click to go to the top



Who am I?

I am a Christian man in his mid 40's. Like many men, I struggle with daily life issues. I know that my wife and children deserve to have a man of integrity, a man of courage, a man of passion, in short - a warrior for God, as head of our home.

Therefore, one of the things I have resolved to do is to chronicle my bible readings as the Lord Jesus gives me strength and ability. I am doing so with several other men that God has placed in my life. It is a concept that you can find on I encourage you to follow suit.

Remember, if you are in Christ, you are blessed!

More recent view of me. I've upgraded from savage to knight!

Jan Broucinek

You are visitor number
Hit Counter

email me at:
jan @
remove the spaces in front of and behind the @ symbol to send email.

e-Sword Home