Have you ever found yourself in a situation that you really didn’t want to be in? Maybe your place of employment, or possibly where you live? Sometimes, our circumstances our beyond our control and the only thing we can do is make the best of the situation at hand until it changes. We must always have hope.
Jeremiah 29: 1-23Jeremiah 29: 1-23
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV
29 1 Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon; 2 eunuchs: or, chamberlains 3 By the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, saying, 4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; 5 Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; 6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. 8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. 9 For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD. falsely: Heb. in a lie 10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. expected...: Heb. end and expectation 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. 15 Because ye have said, The LORD hath raised us up prophets in Babylon; 16 Know that thus saith the LORD of the king that sitteth upon the throne of David, and of all the people that dwelleth in this city, and of your brethren that are not gone forth with you into captivity; 17 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil. 18 And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them: to be a curse: Heb. for a curse 19 Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD. 20 Hear ye therefore the word of the LORD, all ye of the captivity, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon: 21 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy a lie unto you in my name; Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall slay them before your eyes; 22 And of them shall be taken up a curse by all the captivity of Judah which are in Babylon, saying, The LORD make thee like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire; 23 Because they have committed villany in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and am a witness, saith the LORD.
1 Jeremiah wrote a letter from Jerusalem to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people who had been exiled to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. 2 This was after King Jehoiachin, the queen mother, the court officials, the other officials of Judah, and all the craftsmen and artisans had been deported from Jerusalem. 3 He sent the letter with Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah when they went to Babylon as King Zedekiah’s ambassadors to Nebuchadnezzar. This is what Jeremiah’s letter said:
4 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: 5 “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. 6 Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! 7 And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”
8 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let your prophets and fortune-tellers who are with you in the land of Babylon trick you. Do not listen to their dreams, 9 because they are telling you lies in my name. I have not sent them,” says the LORD.
10 This is what the LORD says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” Says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the LORD. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
15 You claim that the LORD has raised up prophets for you in Babylon. 16 But this is what the LORD says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all those still living here in Jerusalem – Your relatives who were not exiled to Babylon. 17 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “I will send war, famine, and disease upon them and make them like bad figs, too rotten to eat. 18 Yes, I will pursue them with war, famine, and disease, and I will scatter them around the world. In every nation where I send them, I will make them an object of damnation, horror, contempt, and mockery. 19 For they refuse to listen to me, though I have spoken to them repeatedly through the prophets I sent. And you who are in exile have not listened either,” says the LORD.
20 Therefore, listen to this message from the LORD, all you captives there in Babylon. 21 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about your prophets- Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah – who are telling you lies in my name: “I will turn them over to Nebuchadnezzar for execution before your eyes. 22 Their terrible fate will become proverbial, so that the Judean exiles will curse someone by saying, ‘May the LORD make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned alive! 23 For these men have done terrible things among my people. They have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have lied in my name, saying things I did not command. I am a witness to this. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
Jeremiah writes this letter addressing those who are being held captive in Babylon. He instructs and encourages them to move on with their lives and to pray for the government who took them into captivity. Sometimes, this isn’t an easy thing to do, especially if who you are praying for is someone that you see as ‘evil’. But giving up wasn’t the answer. They needed to move on with their life in the best way that they could and praying for the welfare of those who took them captive would also affect their welfare.
Jeremiah warns the captives, once again, not to believe the lies of the false prophets. They were not sent by God, and the captives would soon see the fate of these false prophets before their very own eyes. God told them that they would be in captivity for 70 years and that would not change, but He promised that He would be with them every step of the way. This was the hope that the people needed. God had not forgotten them, and promised them a new beginning with a new purpose. God was available to them 24/7 through prayer. No matter what circumstance we face, what sorrows we endure, physical issues, or what strange land we travel, nothing can separate us from our relationship with God.
What reaction do we see from someone who is caught in a dishonest act? We may see anger, and definitely defensiveness. Most who spread lies are easy to deal with, until they are challenged. That is when their demeanor will change.
Jeremiah 29:24-32Jeremiah 29:24-32
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV
24 Thus shalt thou also speak to Shemaiah the Nehelamite, saying, Nehelamite: or, dreamer 25 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, Because thou hast sent letters in thy name unto all the people that are at Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying, 26 The LORD hath made thee priest in the stead of Jehoiada the priest, that ye should be officers in the house of the LORD, for every man that is mad, and maketh himself a prophet, that thou shouldest put him in prison, and in the stocks. 27 Now therefore why hast thou not reproved Jeremiah of Anathoth, which maketh himself a prophet to you? 28 For therefore he sent unto us in Babylon, saying, This captivity is long: build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 29 And Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet. 30 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, 31 Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie: 32 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for my people, saith the LORD; because he hath taught rebellion against the LORD. rebellion: Heb. revolt
24 The LORD sent this message to Shemaiah the Nehelamite in Babylon. 25 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: You wrote a letter on your own authority to Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, the priest, and you sent copies to the other priests and people in Jerusalem. You wrote to Zephaniah,
26 “The LORD has appointed you to replace Jehoiada as the priest in charge of the house of the LORD. You are responsible to put into stocks and neck irons any crazy man who claims to be a prophet. 27 So why have you done nothing to stop Jeremiah from Anathoth, who pretends to be a prophet among you? 28 Jeremiah sent a letter here to Babylon, predicting that our captivity will be a long one. He said, ‘Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce.'”
29 But when Zephaniah the priest received Shemaiah’s letter, he took it to Jeremiah and read it to him. 30 Then the LORD gave this message to Jeremiah: 31 “Send an open letter to all the exiles in Babylon. Tell them, ‘This is what the LORD says concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Since he has prophesied to you when I did not send him and has tricked you into believing his lies, 32 I will punish him and his family. None of his descendants will see the good things I will do for my people, for he has incited you to rebel against me. I, the LORD, have spoken!'”
Shemaiah was a false prophet who protested Jeremiah’s letter. He accused Jeremiah of being a false prophet himself. Jeremiah’s words were true and from God, but the captives hated him. He was trying to encourage them to make the best of their situation, offering a short-term remedy for their situation, which would lead to long-term benefits. The people were again led astray by the false prophets, and tricked into believing that their stay there would be short. Their rebellion made God angry and He promised punishment for Shemaiah and his family for committing this dishonest act in God’s name.
Sometime in our life, we have all had to learn the hard lesson of discipline. Whether it was in our childhood, our marital relationships, our employment, or involvement in social or church events, we all went through it. Discipline is not something that we can escape. It is a necessary practice in order to learn lessons in life.
Jeremiah 30:1-24Jeremiah 30:1-24
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV
30 1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. 3 For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. 4 And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. 5 For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. of fear...: or, there is fear, and not peace 6 Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? a man: Heb. a male 7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. 8 For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: 9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. 10 Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. 11 For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished. 12 For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous. 13 There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines. that...: Heb. for binding up, or, pressing 14 All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased. 15 Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee. 16 Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey. 17 For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after. 18 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof. heap: or, little hill 19 And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. 20 Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them. 21 And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD. 22 And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 23 Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. continuing: Heb. cutting fall...: or, remain 24 The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.
1 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Write down for the record everything I have said to you, Jeremiah. 3 For the time is coming when I will restore the fortunes of my people of Israel and Judah. I will bring them home to this land that I gave to their ancestors, and they will possess it again. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
4 This is the message the LORD gave concerning Israel and Judah. 5 This is what the LORD says:
“I hear cries of fear;
there is terror and no peace.
6 Now let me ask you a question:
Do men give birth to babies?
Then why do they stand there, ashen-faced,
hands pressed against their sides
like a woman in labor?
7 In all history there has never been such a time of terror.
It will be a time of trouble for my people Israel.
Yet in the end they will be saved!
8 For in that day,”
says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies,
“I will break the yoke from their necks
and snap their chains.
Foreigners will no longer be their masters.
9 For my people will serve the LORD their God
and their king descended from David –
the king I will raise up for them.
10 “So do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant;
do not be dismayed, Israel,”
says the LORD.
“For I will bring you home again from distant lands,
and your children will return from their exile.
Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet,
and no one will terrorize them.
11 For I am with you and will save you,”
says the LORD.
“I will completely destroy the nations where I have scattered you, but I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you, but with justice;
I cannot let you go unpunished.”
12 This is what the LORD says:
“Your injury is incurable –
a terrible wound.
13 There is no one to help you
or to bind up your injury.
No medicine can heal you.
14 All your lovers – your allies – have left you
and do not care about you anymore.
I have wounded you cruelly,
as though I were your enemy.
For your sins are many,
and your guilt is great.
15 Why do you protest your punishment –
this wound that has no cure?
I have had to punish you because your sins are many
and your guilt is great.
16 “But all who devour you will be devoured,
and all your enemies will be sent into exile.
All who plunder you will be plundered,
and all who attack you will be attacked.
17 I will give you back your health
and heal your wounds,” says the LORD.
“For you are called an outcast –
‘Jerusalem for whom no one cares.'”
18 This is what the LORD says:
“When I bring Israel home again from captivity
and restore their fortunes,
Jerusalem will be rebuilt on its ruins,
and the palace reconstructed as before.
19 There will be joy and songs of thanksgiving,
and I will multiply my people, not diminish them;
I will honor them, not despise them.
20 Their children will prosper as they did long ago.
I will establish them as a nation before me,
and I will punish anyone who hurts them.
21 They will have their own ruler again,
and he will come from their own people.
I will invite him to approach me,: says the LORD,
“for who would dare to come unless invited?
22 You will be my people,
and I will be your God.”
23 Look! The LORD’S anger bursts out like a storm,
a driving wind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked.
24 The fierce anger of the LORD will not diminish until it has finished all he has planned.
In the days to come
you will understand all this.
This chapter opens with a message of hope, and a promise of restoration for the people of Israel. Much is discussed within this message: events to happen in the near future as well as in the very distant future. Reference is also made to the future when Christ will reign forever; ‘king descended from David’ is the Jesus Christ the Messiah.
The message goes on to imply how fatal ‘sin’ is, and that only God can ‘cure’ your sinful nature. It is very important that even when we make a mistake and sin, and are corrected, that we learn from that experience.
The city of Jerusalem was rebuilt after the 70 years of captivity, but the final restoration will be completed when Jesus Christ returns and takes His place in Jerusalem; His reign in Christ’s Kingdom.
Where once God’s people were rebellious; sinning, and disobeying, they will eventually repent and become God’s people.
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