TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 38:1-6
TO CHEW ON: "This is what the Lord says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes out to the Babylonians will live. They will escape with their lives: they will live.’" Jeremiah 38: 2
None of us likes to bring unwelcome news. Yet when God told Jeremiah to say things that were opposite of what everyone wanted to hear, he said them even though it got him into big trouble.
It was now about sixteen years after Jehoiachim had burned Jeremiah’s scroll. Jehoiakim had died. Babylon was getting stronger every day. Its king Nebuchadnezzar had made Zedekiah king of Judah. But Nebuchadnezzar really wanted Judah for himself. When he came with his army and surrounded Jerusalem, King Zedekiah asked Jeremiah if God had any message for him.
“Yes,” Jeremiah told him, “the Babylonian army will capture the city and burn it down.”
Zedekiah and his officials didn’t like the sound of that, so they put Jeremiah in prison. But he had more to say. “Give yourselves up to the Babylonian army,” he told everyone who came to see him. “If you stay in this city, you’ll die.”
Jeremiah’s words enraged Zedekiah’s officials. “He’s...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 26:1-15
TO CHEW ON: "As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right. Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.” Jeremiah 26:14,15
Josiah was dead. Jehoiakim, his son, was now king in his place. Jehoiakim didn’t follow his father’s ways. Quickly the country slipped back into sin.
One day early in Jehoiakim’s reign, God gave Jeremiah another assignment. “Stand just outside the temple,” He said, “and tell the people if you follow my laws and listen to my prophets with all your hearts, then I will change my mind about destroying this city. But if you don’t do these things, I will really destroy Jerusalem, just like I destroyed Shiloh.”
Jeremiah did what God said. But instead of listening and obeying, the priests and false prophets got angry. “How dare you say Jerusalem will be destroyed?” they asked. Soon the king’s officials arrived on the scene. “This man should be...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 14:13-16
TO CHEW ON: "Then the Lord said to me, 'The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.'” Jeremiah 14:14
Have you ever been outvoted by the majority? Perhaps you were working on a project and most people in your group didn't like your idea. Or you had a suggestion for a family outing, but everyone else wanted to do something different.
It’s not fun when no one agrees with you and you have to stand alone. Jeremiah found that out when he gave God’s messages to the people of Judah. “Unless you change your ways, God will send plague, war and famine,” he said.
But other prophets said the opposite: “Don’t worry about war or shortages of food. There will be lasting peace.”
Of course the people liked the message of the other prophets more than the Jeremiah’s message. The people thought he was annoying and simply ignored him.
Jeremiah talked to God about this. God told him, “I haven’t sent those other prophets. They aren’t saying my words. They’re telling lies. As a...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 7:1-13
TO CHEW ON: "This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, 'This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!' " Jeremiah 7:3,4
People thronged to the temple after Josiah’s clean-up. Looking at the crowds in “church” you’d think that everything had changed in Judah. But for many people, once they were away from God’s house, nothing had changed.
Crime and murder were common. Widows and orphans were ignored. Foreigners were mistreated. People thought that these things didn’t really matter. They thought Jerusalem would never be destroyed because the temple was there. They had a superstitious faith that the temple would save them no matter what they did.
One day God told Jeremiah to stand at the entrance way of the temple. He was to give the worshipers this message from God: “Change the way you act. Don’t put your faith in the temple. Look at what happened to Shiloh where the ark used to sit. I will do the same thing to Jerusalem if you...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 40:1-6
TO CHEW ON: "But today I am freeing you from the chains on your wrists. Come with me to Babylon, if you like, and I will look after you; but if you do not want to, then don’t come. Look, the whole country lies before you; go wherever you please." Jeremiah 40:4
The people from Jerusalem, bound and chained, had set out on the long march to Babylon. Jeremiah was with them. Then at Ramah a surprising thing happened. Nebuzaradan, a commander in the Babylonian army, found him.
“I know about your God and how this is a punishment for the sins of the people,” he said. “But today I’m going to set you free.”
With that he took the chains off Jeremiah’s hands and feet. “You can come with me,” he went on, “or go wherever you like in the country. If you stay here you might want to go to Mizpah. There Gedaliah is watching over everyone who is left.”
So Jeremiah went to live with Gedeliah. Again God had helped him. This time He had sent an enemy commander to set him free....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Habakkuk 1:1-11
TO CHEW ON: "How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, 'Violence!' but you do not save?" Habakkuk 1:2
Have you ever wondered whether it does any good to pray? That seems to be what the prophet Habakkuk was asking at the beginning of his short book.
Habakkuk was another prophet in Judah. He lived at the same time as Jeremiah did. Instead of God giving Habakkuk messages for the people, he talked to God for them.
He asked questions that people from all times and places have asked:- If You’re in control, God, why does evil win so often?- How can You ignore unfairness? Why do evil people get richer and more powerful?- Why do You use evil people to work Your will?
Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992
God answered Habakkuk’s questions. Sometimes his answers were surprising. When Habakkuk complained, in today’s reading, that it seemed like God was ignoring unfairness, God replied, “You haven’t seen anything yet!” Then he explained that soon He would use the cruel nation of Babylon even more.\
But God’s answers did finally satisfy Habakkuk. And...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 1:1-10
TO CHEW ON: "But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord." Jeremiah 1:7,8
Do you have any idea what you’d like to do when you grow up? Have you ever thought that God may have a special job for your life?
God talked to Jeremiah when he was just a child. He told him what his job would be. He would be a (Jeremiah 1:5) 1. _____.
Jeremiah argued back. What two reasons did he give for why he couldn’t do what God asked (Jeremiah 1:6) 2. _____ 3. _____.
But God didn’t buy Jeremiah’s arguments. For He had chosen Jeremiah before he was born. Now God touched his mouth and said, “I have put my words in your mouth.”
Jeremiah’s words would be not only to his nation Judah, but to the nations all around. They would have much power – power to uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow, build and plant.
Have you ever asked God if He has a special job...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Lamentations 1:1-12
TO CHEW ON: "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the Lord brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?" Lamentations 1:12
What is the saddest thing that has ever happened to you? How did you handle your sad feelings - by crying, sleeping, staying busy, playing sports, talking to others, writing?
Lamentations is a Bible book that someone (most likely Jeremiah) wrote about a very sad time – the fall of Jerusalem.
It is poetry and full of word pictures. Jerusalem is compared to a widow. She was once married but now she is a slave dressed in clothes that are dirty with the sins she has done. Jerusalem’s former rulers are like deer who are starving and so weak they don’t have the strength to run away from the hunter. The roads leading to Jerusalem weep and its gates are empty.
Though Jeremiah escaped going to Babylon, this poem shows that he felt as sad as anyone. He loved his country. He loved Jerusalem. He hated to see it destroyed and its people taken away. Writing Lamentations probably...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 28:11-16;30-31
TO CHEW ON: "Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 28:31
Three months after the shipwreck Paul, his guards and companions set sail again. Soon they arrived in Rome. When they got there, the soldiers took Paul to a house.
"Arrival at Rome" by Johann C. Weigel, 1695
For two years he had to stay in that house with someone guarding him all the time.
"Paul preaches at Rome under guard" - Artist unknown
Even though he was a prisoner, Paul didn’t whine, sulk or feel sorry for himself. What did he do? (Find the words for the blanks in the word bank below - Acts 28:31)...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 38:7-13
TO CHEW ON: “My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have thrown him into a cistern, where he will starve to death when there is no longer any bread in the city.” Jeremiah 38:9
As he sank ever deeper in the filthy mud, Jeremiah wondered, is this it? Will I die here? He had done and said what God had told him to. But his message was so unpopular, King Zedekiah’s officials had put him in prison and then thrown him into this wet cistern.
But that wasn’t the end for Jeremiah. Ebed-Melech, an official in the palace, heard what had happened. He knew that it was not fair. He went to the king about it.
“These men have been most wicked in the way they treated Jeremiah,” he said. “They’ve put him in a cistern and he’ll starve to death.”...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 36:1-26
TO CHEW ON: "The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes." Jeremiah 36:24
“I’m sure the people will change their ways when they hear all this,” Baruch said, as he put the final touches on the scroll.
God had told Jeremiah many months before to try another way to get the people to listen. “You write down all the things I’ve told you,” God told him. “Then read them to the people. When they hear about the judgments that are coming, surely they’ll change their ways.”
Jeremiah had hired Baruch as his secretary. He had spoken the things God had said to him, while Baruch wrote them on a scroll. It was slow work and took a long time. But finally they were done.
On a day when many people were in Jerusalem, Baruch read Jeremiah’s words at the crowded temple courtyard. Micaiah heard them. He hurried to a room where the king’s officials were gathered. “You’ve got to hear this!” he told them.
They invited Baruch to read Jeremiah’s scroll. After he finished they said, “This is serious. We’d better make sure the king hears this!”
On a cold winter...
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