Jeremiah 24 - Day 674 (link to reading)
Scripture: Jeremiah 24:4-5
Commentary (melissabeaty.com): 4-5 God now explains the vision. As beautiful and ripe as the good figs are, so will the remnant be in Babylon. God says this deportation is actually for their good. This is explained by the fact that God has decreed evil against Jerusalem and the land of Judah because of the sins of the Jews (Jer. 11:17). The people's sins have caused the land to be defiled, and now God will have to purge the land to know before He can once again bless it (Lev. 18:24, Num. 35:33).
Application: On the surface, it just doesn't make sense. When exiled, you are deported to a foreign country where you have nothing, can't speak the language, and have to start over. Doesn't it seem like those who were displaced are being punished?
Yet God has confirmed that they are blessed. Just because we're facing challenges in our lives doesn't mean that God has abandoned us.
Prayer: Lord, You alone I long to worship...
Jeremiah 23 - Day 673 (link to reading)
Scripture: Jeremiah 23:1-6
Commentary (workingpreacher.org): The spotlight of judgment is focused
on “the shepherds.” While actual shepherds were among the poor and
lowly in ancient Near Eastern societies, “shepherd” was also a term
used to refer to a king. It is kings — specifically the kings of Judah
— who are the objects of judgment in Jeremiah 23:1. Shepherds are
responsible for protecting and providing sustenance for their flocks,
keeping peace within the flock, defending against attackers, searching
for sheep that have gone astray, and rescuing those who are in danger.
The shepherd, and by analogy the king, is expected to act for the
well-being of the sheep. Yet the opening verse of Jeremiah 23 accuses
the shepherds of destroying and scattering God’s sheep!...It is
important to recognize two dimensions of this promise. First, God
promises to continue working through the ages to raise up shepherds
who will “deal wisely and …execute justice and righteousness in the
land” (Jeremiah 23:5). And secondly, God promises a fullness of
righteousness reigning through Jesus Christ, the good shepherd for us
Application: Jesus modeled for us the qualities of a good shepherd.
Everyone, in some capacity, has the responsibility to care for
(shepherd) another person. Care for others as Jesus did.
Prayer: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want..
Jeremiah 22 - Day 672 (link to reading)
Scripture: Jeremiah 22:1-5
Commentary (We know the difference between right and wrong. There is something deep within every single person who recognizes this. Our actions however many times are contrary to what we know to be true. When our conscious becomes seared we will fall into choices and follow-through of things that are completely opposite to doing the right thing.
This comes from our own justification. It tangibly shows itself when we are driven by our own will over what is the right thing to do. It doesn’t mean the Spirit of God doesn’t wrestle with us over such matters, He most certainly does. But the more we make excuses for why we can’t do the right thing, the easier it becomes to continue on the path of deception.
Application: The difference between "knowing" what to do and actually "doing " what is right is a choice.
Prayer: Lord, I choose to obey You...
Jeremiah 21 - Day 671 (link to reading)
Scripture: Jeremiah 21:1-14
Commentary (melissabeaty.com): Zedekiah was the final king of Judah, placing the events of Jeremiah 21 in the final days of the city of Jerusalem. Chronologically, this chapter falls after Nebuchadnezzar has defeated Judah once. Zedekiah chose to resist Babylonian rule, and so Nebuchadnezzar is not coming to conquer a nation but instead is subduing a rebellion.
Taking this into consideration, it is odd that the king would ask Jeremiah to pray on his behalf to defend the city against Babylon. God gave Judah into the hands of Babylon because of their sins. God distinctly established Babylon as rulers over His people. (Jer. 4:3-7) For Zedekiah to rebel against those who God had established as having authority over him was for Zedekiah to rebel against God. That is, the king was not accepting the rule of those whom God has placed as his superior. This was utter foolishness.
Application: I've recently learned that our memories are not as accurate as we think. However, we confidently act as if we know what we're doing. Zedekiah was delusional, so he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar and then asked God for help. I'm embarrassed to admit that I've done the same thing.
Prayer: Lord, I need You...
Jeremiah 20 - Day 670 (link to reading)
Scripture: Jeremiah 20:7-18
Commentary (workingpreacher.org): How can these biblical characters speak to God like that? But they do, easily and often. Do they not model for us an openness to speak to God in comparable ways? Can we not voice to God our deepest questions and complaints, no holds barred? Certainly these kinds of prayers can be an important way for us to speak to God in difficult times. Given any number of personal crises we may face, these kinds of prayers are a genuine gift...Laments are a God-given way for us to make a situation more open for God, to give God more room to work in our lives. We can be confident that God always has our best interests at heart and will work with our prayers and other factors to create the best possible future.
Application: Was Jeremiah bipolar? Or was he just stuck in an impossible situation? Regardless, he models for us what a real relationship with God looks like. The key is to look beyond our circumstances and focus on the end goal - knowing Jesus.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, strengthen me today to obey You...
Husband, Father, Pastor....
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