Study of Jeremiah – Chapters 9-10 The Message in the Temple Gate Cont.

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conflict

As a Christian, it is so difficult to experience the conflicting emotions we have when we deal with family and friends who are not saved. We are set apart from the world by our mission for God, but yet we still reside here. Jeremiah, in chapter 9, is dealing with this very same issue.

Jeremiah 9:1-6Jeremiah 9:1-6
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! Oh...: Heb. Who will give my head, etc 2 Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. 3 And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD. 4 Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders. neighbour: or, friend 5 And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity. deceive: or, mock 6 Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD.  

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1 If only my head were a pool of water

and my eyes a fountain of tears,

I would weep day and night

for all my people who have been slaughtered.

2 Oh, that I could go away and forget my people

and live in a travelers’ shack in the desert.

For they are all adulterers –

a pack of treacherous liars.

3 “My people bend their tongues like bows

to shoot out lies.

They refuse to stand up for the truth.

They only go from bad to worse.

They do not know me,”

says the LORD.

4 “Beware of your neighbor!

Don’t even trust your brother!

For brother takes advantage of brother,

and friend slanders friend.

5 They all fool and defraud each other;

no one tells the truth.

With practiced tongues they tell lies;

they wear themselves out with all their sinning.

6 They pile lie upon lie

and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,”

says the LORD.

Do you ever feel this way?  Do you know of someone who is close to you that lies, cheats, commits adultery, or worships false gods?  How do you handle these emotions?  What do you do when you just want to go far away to be by yourself in prayer?  Jeremiah loved his people, but was so angered by their sin.

In Isaiah 59:4Isaiah 59:4
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.  

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it reads:  No one cares about being fair and honest.  The people’s lawsuits are based on lies.  They conceive evil deeds and then give birth to sin.

Verse 4 and 5 give warning: don’t trust anyone!  This is God’s judgment on disobedience, and we will see it again during the last years of time.

Luke 12:53Luke 12:53
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.  

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also speaks of the ‘turning against‘ as we see in verse 4 and 5.  It is so hard to comprehend the idea that a parent could turn against their child, or a brother against a sister.

When we take a look at Matthew 23:37Matthew 23:37
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!  

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, we see that Jesus experienced this same anguish over Jerusalem.  He wanted to save them, but the people wouldn’t let him.

Jeremiah 9:7-16Jeremiah 9:7-16
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people? 8 Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait. in heart: Heb. in the midst of him his wait: or, wait for him 9 Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? 10 For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none can pass through them; neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone. habitations: or, pastures burned up: or, desolate both...: Heb. from the fowl even to, etc 11 And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant. desolate: Heb. desolation 12 Who is the wise man, that may understand this? and who is he to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth and is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through? 13 And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; 14 But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them: imagination: or, stubbornness 15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. 16 I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them.  

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7 Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’t Armies says:

“See, I will melt them down in a crucible

and test them like metal.

What else can I do with my people?

8 For their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows.

They speak friendly words to their neighbors

while scheming in their heart to kill them.

9 Should I not punish them for this?” says the LORD.

“Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?”

10 I will weep for the mountains

and wail for the wilderness pastures.

For they are desolate and empty of life;

the lowing of cattle is heard no more;

the birds and wild animals have all fled.

11 “I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,” says the LORD.

“It will be a place haunted by jackals.

The towns of Judah will be ghost towns,

with no one living in them.”

12 Who is wise enough to understand all this?  Who has been instructed by the LORD and can explain it to others?  Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it?

13 The LORD replies, “This has happened because my people have abandoned my instructions; they have refused to obey what I said.  14 Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them.  15 So now, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will fee them with bitterness and give them poison to drink.  16 I will scatter them around the world, in places they and their ancestors never heard of, and even there I will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely.”

God had no other choice than to ‘refine’ the people. Many people stray into a sinful life, but that is not God’s wish. Many want to do things their way. The believe that they know better and are not willing to humble themselves and admit they are a sinner. Sometimes, God is put in the position where He just has to put His foot down and deal out a severe judgment on man. This is where God is at during this time. He has tried, time and time again, to get the attention of the people, but they continue to reject Him. The reference to ‘jackals’ indicates that the land will be so barren that only they can survive in it. Jackals thrive in wasteland.

choices

We should take care to make our choices wisely. The people in Judah are in this situation because the choices they made were not wise ones. The choice that they should have made was to keep God’s law and listen to His voice and instruction. But, instead they chose to worship idols. This choice will bring their destruction. When you are faced with choices in life, are you making them wisely? Do you pray for guidance and clarity before making your choice? God desires our hearts. He desires that we learn to lean on Him at all times, not only when we are in need, or have a choice that needs to be made.

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Why do we brag on ourselves?  Are we just proud of our accomplishments?  Or are we secretly trying to make ourselves better than another?  Do we not realize that anything we have is a blessing from God?  What happens when we lose what we have?  Do we take responsibility for our actions?  Or, do we blame God for allowing the bad to happen in our life?  Many times, we can’t see past our own nose. We are so quick to judge and blame others, that we can’t see what we, ourselves, did to contribute to our losses.  It is so important to seek and include God in everything that we do and say, and be accountable and ask forgiveness for our sins.  In the second half of Jeremiah 9, the people in Jerusalem just couldn’t seem to see what they were doing wrong and are about to experience God’s judgment upon them.

Jeremiah 9:17-19Jeremiah 9:17-19
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

17 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for cunning women, that they may come: 18 And let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters. 19 For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we spoiled! we are greatly confounded, because we have forsaken the land, because our dwellings have cast us out.  

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17 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:

“Consider all this, and call for the mourners.

Send for the women who mourn at funerals.

18 Quick! Begin your weeping!

Let the tears flow from your eyes.

19 Hear the people of Jerusalem crying in despair, ‘

We are ruined! We are completely humiliated!

We must leave our land,

because our homes have been torn down.'”

Back in this time, funerals were often attended by ‘professional mourning women’.  You will find references to this in 2 Samuel 14:22 Samuel 14:2
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

2 And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched thence a wise woman, and said unto her, I pray thee, feign thyself to be a mourner, and put on now mourning apparel, and anoint not thyself with oil, but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead:  

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; 2 Chronicles 35:252 Chronicles 35:25
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.  

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; and Matthew 9:23Matthew 9:23
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,  

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.

Jeremiah 9:20-21Jeremiah 9:20-21
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

20 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O ye women, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth, and teach your daughters wailing, and every one her neighbour lamentation. 21 For death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without, and the young men from the streets.  

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20 Listen, you women, to the words of the LORD;

open your ears to what he has to say.

Teach your daughters to wail;

teach one another how to lament.

21 For death has crept in through our windows

and has entered our mansions.

It has killed off the flower of our youth:

Children no longer play in the streets,

and young men no longer gather in the squares.

The KJV Bible dictionary defines ‘lament’ as ‘to mourn; to grieve; to weep or wail; to express sorrow’. God is telling the people of Jerusalem to not only prepare themselves for mourning, but future generations as well. The losses will be great and continuous.

Jeremiah 9: 22-24Jeremiah 9: 22-24
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

22 Speak, Thus saith the LORD, Even the carcases of men shall fall as dung upon the open field, and as the handful after the harvestman, and none shall gather them. 23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.  

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22 This is what the LORD says:

“Bodies will be scattered across the fields like clumps of manure,

like bundles of grain after the harvest.

No one will be left to bury them.”

23 This is what the LORD says:

“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,

or the powerful boast in their power,

or the rich boast in their riches.

24 But those who wish to boast

should boast in this alone:

that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD

who demonstrates unfailing love

and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,

and that I delight in these things.

I, the LORD, have spoken!”

God is telling the people that the losses will be so great that there will not even be enough men left to bury their own.  Verse 22 emphasizes the massiveness of the destruction.  The fact that they will not be able to bury their people and that the bodies will be ‘scattered across the fields’ is an indicator of how incapacitated and humiliated Judah will be.  Jeremiah begins to turn their attention to the true source of wisdom – God.  As humans, we tend to admire wisdom, power, and riches in others, even sometimes envy those traits, don’t we?  But God places a higher priority on knowing him personally and living a life that reflects his justice, righteousness, and love.  If we are going to boast about anything in life, it should be that we know the LORD, and we have an intimate relationship with Him.  We should allow God to shine through us and use us to do His will.  What character trait do you most want people to admire in you?  Evidence of following God will not be seen in earthly treasures, but in our unfailing love, justice, and righteousness.

Jeremiah 9:25-26Jeremiah 9:25-26
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

25 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; punish: Heb. visit upon 26 Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart. in the utmost...: Heb. cut off into corners, or, having the corners of their hair polled  

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25 “A time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit – 26 the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places, and yes, even the people of Judah.  And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.”

Circumcision dates back to the time of Abraham.  We can see in Genesis 17:9-14Genesis 17:9-14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. he that is eight...: Heb. a son of eight days 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.  

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, that it was a symbol of mans covenant relationship to God.  This practice was also seen in the Pagan nations, but was not symbolic of any covenant with our God.  God says that even people who ‘think’ they are of the true religion (the circumcised) are no better than those who are not; this is referring to religious actions versus true righteousness, and all will be punished equally.  By Jeremiah’s time, the people had forgotten the spiritual significance of circumcision, even though they continued with the practice.  Have you lost sight of why you are performing a particular ritual?  Have you found yourself ‘going through the motions’ in any area of your spiritual life?  Going to church, worshiping, praying?  We must always remember the spiritual significance of all that we do or say.

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Would you like to know the future and all it holds in store for you?  Think of everything you could do with that knowledge… I guess there are many who would like to have that information if they could…think about it…important decisions wouldn’t be so difficult, you could avoid disappointments and failures, and you could be sure to take the path of success.  This is exactly what the people of Judah were trying to do in Jeremiah, at the beginning of Chapter 10.

Jeremiah 10:1-7Jeremiah 10:1-7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

10 1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. customs...: Heb. statutes, or, ordinances are vanity 4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. 5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. 6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might. 7 Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee. to...: or, it liketh thee  

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1 Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O Israel! 2 This is what the LORD says:

“Do not act like the other nations,

who try to read their future in the stars.

Do not be afraid of their predictions,

even though other nations are terrified by them.

3 Their ways are futile and foolish.

They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol.

4 They decorate it with gold and silver

and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails

so it won’t fall over.

5 Their gods are like

helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field!

They cannot speak,

and they nee to be carried because they cannot walk.

Do not be afraid of such gods,

for they can neither harm you nor do you any good.”

6 LORD, there is no one like you!

For you are great, and your name is full of power.

7 Who would not fear you, O King of nations?

That title belongs to you alone!

Among all the wise people of the earth

and in all the kingdoms of the world,

there is no one like you.

The people of Judah tried to discern the future by reading the stars in the sky.  The stars were created by God, those very same stars that people make charts of and consult and worship.  No one will ever learn their future in man-made charts of God’s creation.  Our LORD is the only one who knows your future and He has promised to direct and guide our steps throughout our life.  He will not reveal the future to us, but will be with us as it unfolds before us.  God is warning the people of Judah not to become a disciple of these idols.  They cannot help, nor hurt you because they have no power.  In verse 6 and 7, we see that the majesty and in comparability of our LORD is contrasted with the uselessness and impotence of idols.  To be able to discern between to two is true wisdom.

Jeremiah 10:8-10Jeremiah 10:8-10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities. altogether: Heb. in one, or, at once 9 Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men. 10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. true...: Heb. God of truth everlasting...: Heb. king of eternity  

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8 People who worship idols are stupid and foolish.

The things they worship are made of wood!

9 They bring beaten sheets of silver from Tarshish

and gold from Uphaz,

and they give these materials to skillful craftsmen

who make their idols.

Then they dress these gods in royal blue and purple robes

made by expert tailors.

10 But the LORD is the only true God.

He is the living God and the everlasting King!

The whose earth trembles at his anger.

The nations cannot stand up to his wrath.

Regardless of where someone goes to get the best material, or how beautiful someone makes an idol, that idol can never have the power and life of the true and living God, our LORD.

Jeremiah 10:11-16Jeremiah 10:11-16
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

11 Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. 12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion. 13 When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures. multitude: or, noise with: or, for 14 Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. brutish in his knowledge: or, more brutish than to know 15 They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. 16 The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts is his name.  

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11 Say this to those who worship other gods: “Your so-called gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth and from under the heavens.”

12 But God made the earth by his power,

and he preserves it by his wisdom.

With his own understanding

he stretched out he heavens.

13 When he speaks in the thunder,

the heavens roar with rain.

He causes the clouds to rise over the earth.

He sends the lightning with the rain

and releases the wind from his storehouses.

14 The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge!

The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make,

for their carefully shaped works are a fraud.

These idols have no breath or power.

15 Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies!

On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed.

16 But the God of Israel is no idol!

He is the Creator of everything that exists,

including Israel, his own special possession.

The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name!

God is very clear, throughout the Bible, how He feels about someone who worships an idol, or another god.  An idol doesn’t necessarily mean a built structure of some kind, but anything that we place before God in our life.  It can be money, a job, a home; anything materialistic, but it also includes our pride and ego.  Probably the most damaging is our ‘wants and desires’ and our depth of self-indulgences.  What kind of idols do you have in your life?  What, or who, do you put first in your life over God?

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When a child does something wrong, a parent can only allow it to go on for so long before we employ a punishment.  Knowing we are made in God’s image, should we be surprised when we do wrong that God would deliver a punishment to us as well?  We ARE His children, and we are not free from discipline.  Just as our children may be led astray by their peers, we, as adults, can be led astray by our leaders.
This is what was occurring to the people of Judah.  They were led astray by their leaders, and God was at the point of delivering His correction through punishment.

Jeremiah 10:17-22Jeremiah 10:17-22
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

17 Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress. inhabitant: Heb. inhabitress 18 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find it so. 19 Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it. 20 My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains. 21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. 22 Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.  

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17 Pack your bags and prepare to leave;

the siege is about to begin.

18 For this is what the LORD says:

“Suddenly, I will fling out

all you who live in this land.

I will pour great troubles upon you,

and at last you will feel my anger.”

19 My wound is severe,

and my grief is great.

My sickness is incurable,

but I must bear it.

20 My home is gone,

and no one is left to help me rebuild it.

My children have been taken away,

and I will never see them again.

21 The shepherds of my people have lost their senses.

They no longer seek wisdom from the LORD.

Therefore, they fail completely,

and their flocks are scattered.

22 Listen!  Hear the terrifying roar of great armies

as they roll down from the north.

The towns of Judah will be destroyed

and become a haunt for jackals.

The leaders, or shepherds, of this nation are evil, and are responsible for this distress.  They led the people of Judah astray; away from God, and the people are about to lose their civilization and community.

Jeremiah 10:23-25Jeremiah 10:23-25
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. 24 O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. bring...: Heb. diminish me 25 Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.  

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23 I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own.

We are not able to plan our own course.

24 So correct me, LORD, but please be gentle.

Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.

25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you –

on the peoples that do not call upon your name.

For they have devoured your people Israel;

they have devoured and consumed them,

making the land a desolate wilderness.

God’s judgment is coming as prophesied, and is necessary to restore righteousness to God’s people.  Jeremiah prays for God’s wrath to be poured out on the people of Judah, because he knows that the people have strayed so far off from God and are so deep in sin that they deserve the punishment of God’s justice, and that it is the only answer for restoration of the nation.

We do not really have the ability to direct our course of life, although we may ‘think’ that we do.  God is in control and has a specific plan for each of our lives.  Sometimes, when we realize God’s power, we are afraid, knowing that we could be crushed if He used it against us.  But, that is not God’s intentions.  He is so very patient with us, and gives us so much mercy.  He is continuously nudging us into the right direction.  Don’t be afraid to let God correct your plans.  He will graciously give you wisdom if you are willing to receive it.

Written by Mary Hudak-Collins

Mary Hudak-Collins

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