Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 1-2:30; Philippians 4:1-23; Psalm 75:1-10; Proverbs 24:17-20
Today we begin reading the book of Jeremiah, another of the major prophets. Jeremiah was called by God to be a prophet to the final kings of Judah. During Jeremiah’s time of service Babylon came and conquered Judah taking many of the people captive (Jeremiah 1:1-3).
Before Jeremiah was even born God knew him, formed him, and had called him to be a prophet (Jeremiah 1:5). In a scene reminiscent of Moses at the burning bush, Jeremiah makes excuses as to why he can’t be a prophet (Jeremiah 1:6). Notice that experience is not a prerequisite for God. God chose Jeremiah not because of his experience. In fact, God almost always chooses unlikely candidates so that credit will go to Him. He does this not because He needs attention but because He wants people to know He exists so they can be saved.
But because he was young and inexperienced Jeremiah needed a lot of encouragement, which God provided (Jeremiah 1:16-19). When God calls us to do something that is beyond our human capabilities (which is pretty much anytime He calls us) He is always right beside us the whole time providing the strength that we need.
Also notice, once again that God announces His coming judgement before it happens so that people have time to repent. He announced the flood 100 years before it came. He announced the invasions of Assyria and Babylon before they happened. And He has announced the judgement that is coming at the end of people’s lives. Sadly, as we’ve seen, most people ignore these warnings at their own peril.
As in many of the writing of the prophets, Jeremiah’s assessment of Jerusalem is eerily consistent with state of things in the United States. Notice God tells Jeremiah to “shout” the message (Jeremiah 2:2). This was an urgent message. God needed to get the people’s attention.
Its interesting what God remembers about Israel in their early days coming out of Egypt (Jeremiah 2:2). If we reread Exodus we see that Israel wasn’t all that eager or loving. They whined the entire time they were in the wilderness. But God chose to look at them differently. The same is true of you and me. We are far from perfect. We think God can’t be interested in us because of the mistakes we make. But as this passage shows, God doesn’t want to hold our sins against us. He’s willing to look past them to what we can be.
Just like Israel, the United States has traded its God for a new ones (Jeremiah 2:11). This was a country that used to honor God in our schools, government, and private lives. But no more. Isn’t it interesting that nations that have false gods don’t exchange them for new ones. Only nations that have the one true God do that. We think doing so is “progress” but those in heaven know better – they are shocked and dismayed at our horrible behavior (Jeremiah 2:12).
There is nothing in life that should be approached without prayer (Philippians 4:6). This is a command, not a suggestion. God wants us to tell Him what we need. But don’t forget to thank Him for all that you already have. When we give thanks and pray, we will experience peace (Philippians 4:6) because we have left our situation in God’s hands and He will always do what is best for us.
Instead of worrying we should meditate on things that are true and worthy of thought (Philippians 4:8). Don’t think you know how to meditate? If you know how to worry then you know how to meditate. Meditation is the same as worry only with our thoughts focused on the right things.
Even though Paul was imprisoned when he wrote this letter to the church at Philippi he seemingly had some effect on some people in Caesar’s household (Philippians 4:22). What appeared to be a tragic and undesirable situation when viewed from a human perspective, was really an opportunity for God to be glorified and for people to hear God’s word who wouldn’t otherwise have heard it. As we already learned this year, God can take any situation and use it for good (Romans 8:28).
God is the only judge that matters (Psalm 75:7). Human decision-makers are prone to error and corruption. But not God. He knows who is arrogant and wicked and He will someday break their spirits (Psalm 75:9). This actually describes all of us. Every single human being will learn the truth about God at some point. Whether it is while alive or after death, we will realize there is a loving God who created us. If this happens after death, though, it is too late to repent and have your sins forgiven. Its better to submit to Him while alive. Then you will spend eternity in heaven with Him.
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