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January 29, 2023

This week we read Jeremiah chapters 1-20. Jeremiah was a prophet from the time of king Josiah (good king) until the Israelites were taken over by the Babylonians. He was called by God before he was formed (1:5), and prophesied words from the Lord.

The main theme throughout 1-20 is the judgement God has for his people because they would not turn from their sin. As chapter 3:6 says, “She committed adultery and I gave a certificate of divorce.” As repeated many times throughout the readings, Judah was worshipping other gods.

In chapter 2:13 it says “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” What is meant here is the people abandoned God, the provider of ongoing living water, power and answers to pray, for the broken cisterns that fail at holding water like the false god and idols who are unable to give anything for the people.

Jeremiah is bold when he speaks to the people and the people are not happy. He tries to encourage them, and tells them how God will give them a chance if only they would change their ways. Chapter 4:1-2 says, “If you will return, O Israel, return to me, declares the LORD. If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, As surely as the LORD lives, then the nations will be blessed by him and in him they will glory.”

The problem, however, is that no one will turn from their ways. They continue to worship false gods and forsake the one true God. The LORD gives them many chances, but they do not change.

Jeremiah tries to encourage the people, but nothing comes of this either.

This is a difficult book to read. God is angry with his people because they do not worship Him. He has warned the people since the days of Moses about what would happen if they forsake him. He has been merciful to His people, but they continue to close their ears and hearts. He has forgiven over and over the sins of the people. He has warned through the prophets, what is to come. We will find out later in the book of Jeremiah, that the people are turned over to the Babylonians.

There are similarities and differences with the happenings in Judah and today. There are similarities because we all sin and can be stubborn and do what we want, even when we know it may be wrong. God continues to give us mercy. The difference is we are not going to be in exile in Babylonian but have the New Covenant through Jesus. If we believe in Christ, we are forgiven and God will remember our sins no more. This is predicted in Jeremiah Chapter 31:31-34 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to[d] them,[e]” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

Even though we all sin against God, we have forgiveness and eternal life through Christ if we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart he rose from the dead (Romans 10:9). Have you done this?

Next week we will finish the book of Jeremiah and read chapter 21-52. Have a blessed week.

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