Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 21 October 18:
1. Jeremiah 32:2 – “At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah.” The scene-setter for what is about to happen next is Jeremiah being imprisoned at the palace while his prophesies are being fulfilled through Babylon besieging the city. Try to imagine being in his position.
2. Jeremiah 32:8 – “Then Hanamel my cousin came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.” Jeremiah is in prison, the city is about to be captured by Nebuchadnezzar, and now Jeremiah’s cousin comes and asks him to buy his field. It took a lot of nerve for Jeremiah’s cousin to ask him to buy a field that was about to be captured. It took far more faith for Jeremiah to buy the field. How shocked Hanamel must have been when Jeremiah bought it, and while in captivity! What Jeremiah was displaying was complete trust, faith, and hope in God. Jeremiah was willing to invest in the future God had promised. Are you ready to put this kind of faith into your investment in the Gospel and the Kingdom of God?
3. Jeremiah 32:25 “Yet you, O Lord God, have said to me, ‘Buy the field for money and get witnesses—though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.’” God directed Jeremiah to invest in God’s future promise when that investment defied all human reasoning and understanding. This is called faith. Jeremiah did it before he understood it, and then he went to the LORD in prayer to seek understanding. God answered Jeremiah’s prayers. Faith obeys first and asks question later. Most people ask a lot of questions first to put off or avoid obedience. Remember Satan in the Garden – “Did God really say….?”
4. Jeremiah 32:27 — “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Do you want to be used by God in your day as powerfully as Jeremiah was in his day? Then, you must walk in absolute faith and obedience as he did. Today, Jeremiah does not hesitate to tell the king that he will soon lose his throne and become a prisoner of war; nor does he hesitate to obey Leviticus:25 and buy his cousin’s field, even though he knew the Chaldeans would take over. Jeremiah obeyed God’s word, period, despite the fact that it seemed to counter human wisdom and good sense. Jeremiah walked by faith, not by sight; he did no lean on his own understanding but rather trusted in God with all his heart. He put his money where his mouth was. He knew that nothing was too hard for God. “And without faith it is impossible to please him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Do you have the faith to please God as Jeremiah did? Are you ‘all in’ for the Lord?
5. Jeremiah 33:3 – “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” God still does this. Are you hearing from God?
6. Jeremiah 33:3 – “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
– The Spirit reveals what is impossible for the mind to know. God who knows all will reveal to you so much more than you could ever learn or discover on your own. How important is it to receive God’s revelation in life?
– Too often we settle for much less than what God wants to do through us. We read in Jeremiah 32:27: “I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for Me?” and we answer, “No Lord.” Yet, when we face difficult situations we begin to qualify our belief in God and lower our expectations of what God will do. It is one thing to believe God could perform a miracle in the Bible, or a thousand years ago, or even in the life of a friend; it is quite another matter to wholeheartedly believe God can do anything He chooses to do in our lives! When almighty God speaks to us, what we do next proves what we believe about Him, regardless of what we say. God revealed to Moses His plan to orchestrate the greatest exodus in human history, and He wanted to use Moses to accomplish it. Moses responded by arguing with God! Moses was overwhelmed by what he heard and began to make excuses for why he could not participate in God’s activity. Moses would have readily acknowledged his belief in God’s power, he simply did not believe God could do His miraculous work through his life. Moses’ argument with God limited his ministry for the rest of his life (Exod. 4:13-16). Do you sense there may be far more that God wants to do through your life than what you have been experiencing? Ask God to show you what it is, then be prepared to respond in faith and obedience to what He tells you.
7. Jeremiah 33:7, 8 – “I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.” God can fix what sin has broken. Turn your past over to God and serve Him today with all of your heart, and let Him give you a new future.
8. Jeremiah 33:5, 8, 9 – “I shall strike down in my anger and my wrath, for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil…. I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me…. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.” In love, God can’t tolerate evil. He will glorify Himself in either a negative way or positive way, revealing His sovereignty, holiness, justice, mercy, and grace. He will punish and cleanse so that He can bless. Does the reality of God’s sovereignty, holiness, justice, mercy, and grace cause you to tremble and drive you towards personal holiness, purity, and obedience?
9. Jeremiah 33:14-16 – “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’”
– “The Righteous Branch” refers to Jesus. Interesting to compare with Matthew 2:23:23 — “He went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’” The root of the word ‘Nazareth’ (in Greek the word is ‘Nazara’) relates to the Hebrew word for branch: “nazar.” The use of ‘nazar’ to mean BRANCH is found in at least a few important messianic passages such as Isaiah 11:1: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch [nazar] shall grow out of his roots.” There are many passages earlier and later than Isaiah 11:1 which define the condition ‘nazarim’- the holy, set apart life, set apart and sanctified to God.
10. Proverbs 21:3 — “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Another major theme throughout the Bible is that proclaiming Jesus is no substitute for obeying Jesus. Obeying is far better than saying, “I’m sorry.” You should worship in church as the Bible commands, but you will worship today in your behavior. True worship is being obedient to God, doing what is right. Will you deny yourself today, take up your cross, and follow Jesus?
11. Proverbs 21:9 — “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” This verse isn’t just about marriage or directed at women. It is about relationships in general, particularly close relationships. Do you lift people or bring them down? Are you positive or negative? Are you thankful or always complaining? Do you bring peace or discourse? When you walk in a room, do people light up or turn away? Maybe your answer is different for different relationships. Maybe you are positive at work or negative at home or vice versa. Seek to always be a harbinger of peace and joy. Seek to change your outward behavior towards others immediately, but simultaneously, get to the root of your behavior. If you lack grace, peace, joy, gentleness, etc, it can only be that you are not close enough to Jesus; you are not amazed enough by grace. Don’t just heal the wound superficially. Draw nearer to Christ that you would be so filled by His love that it would naturally overflow out of your life onto others.
12. Proverbs 21:10 – “The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.” If what you desire most is not God but something else, you will eventually treat people unfairly and justify your actions to defend what you really care about the most.
13. Proverbs 21:11 — “When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise; when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.” There are many possible responses to the truth. One is acceptance, one is doubt, but the scoffer wholly rejects truth, refusing to listen at all. There is no hope for a scoffer.
14. Proverbs 21:30, 31 – “No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” Don’t learn this the hard way. Better to understand this upfront and follow the teachings of God rather than the counsel of people. The world is full of many very talented and intelligent false teachers. If you aren’t grounded in God’s word, being counselled daily by the Holy Spirit, you will be deceived by another teacher and go the wrong way. Judge everything you hear and see from the standard of God’s word.
15. Proverbs 21:31 — “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” What are you placing your confidence in today? If you lost all physical possessions on this earth, would your trust be shaken? If so, your trust is not really in God as it should be. God tested Abraham’s trust by asking him to sacrifice the one thing he cared most about in life. Is there something that motivates you more than Jesus?
16. Psalm 123 – Look to the LORD if you need mercy. You won’t find complete mercy anywhere else.
17. Psalm 123:2 – “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.” Keep your eyes on Jesus today; follow Him closely.
18. Psalm 124:1-5 – “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side… when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; then over us would have gone the raging waters.” Life is too big for any of us. God tells us to take responsibility for our lives, to plan, to save for the future, to work hard, etc, but we are deceived if we think that our security and our future rests in our abilities. God remains in complete control. Trust in Him, and rest in His security.
19. Psalm 124:8 – “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Your fate is solely in God’s hands. Turn to Him. Part of turning to Him is obeying what He has told you to do for His glory and for your benefit. Too often we expect God to remove from our lives the consequences resulting from our disobedience. Sometimes, our merciful God does remove the consequences of our sin, but often, in perfect love, He leaves the consequences in our lives as his chisel to shape us more and more into the image of Christ.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 21 Oct 18: Practice Psalm 123:2 today. Keep your eyes affixed on Jesus today, and truly walk with Him today, not just conceptually but tangibly. Jesus said, “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kinds of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” Today, be led by the Spirit rather than your own perceptions, intellect, and emotions, and translate Spiritual truths into tangible reality through your words and deeds. Transmit the will of God into the world through your words and deeds. Be a light today, and ambassador of Jesus. Worship Jesus today through your love for others.