Friday, July 29, 2011


Today we come to another one of those special nuggets—a verse that many have claimed as a prayer promise for years.

Jeremiah 33:2–3 “Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”

In context, the LORD is encouraging Jeremiah to feel free to question Him further about the prophecies being revealed to him. The LORD is ready to share more with Jeremiah than He already has; all Jeremiah has to do is ask.

Verse 3 is one that I learned early in my youth as a prayer promise. Does it have a valid application to the believer today? Again, I think it is predicated on the unchanging nature of God and His desire to bless those who serve Him in faith and obedience. So often we want to make application of a promise to ourselves without recognition of our accountability before God in connection with that promise. Am I serving God in faith and obedience to the best of my ability as was Jeremiah? Am I seeking wisdom so as to more effectively serve Him and bring honor to His name? Is my motive to share His truth with others? If we can examine our heart and motives and identify them as selfless rather than selfish, I think we can apply this promise to our own lives as well. I think the words of Jesus and His brother James confirm this conclusion.

John 14:13 “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

John 15:7 “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

James 4:3 “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

Several verses down the Lord once again tells the prophet about a time that the people of Israel will be dwelling in their land in prosperity, peace and safety.

Jeremiah 33:14–16 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.”

Considering the situation in the world today, this certainly sounds like an impossible dream. As we examine these verses more closely, we learn that this will be possible because “the Branch of righteousness” will “execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” We don’t have to guess who this Branch is; the scripture identifies Him.

Isaiah 11:1–2 “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;”

Jeremiah 23:5–6 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

Jeremiah also tells us that “Judah shall be saved” when the Lord is on the throne. The Apostle Paul tells us more.

Romans 11:25–27 “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

Paul clarifies several things that we have learned from Jeremiah to this point. God’s plan always included the Gentiles. The nation of Israel as a whole will be blind to spiritual truth for a time. Just as Gentiles were always free to declare faith and allegiance to the Lord in the days before Jesus, so too are Jews free to accept salvation through Jesus Christ in faith since the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. When Jesus returns as King, however, Israel will experience the blessing of the new covenant (discussed in the previous post) and the whole nation will accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. I believe this is the believing remnant that will emerge from the refining fires of the 70th week, the 7-year tribulation, as prophesied by Zechariah.

Zechariah 13:8–9 “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Moving ahead to the end of Jeremiah 31 we encounter a very important prophecy concerning God’s relationship with Israel.

Jeremiah 31:31–34 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

I am sure that the message of these verses brought a song to Jeremiah’s heart. The Lord is declaring through His prophet that a future day is coming that He will establish a “new covenant” with the whole nation of Israel—both Northern and Southern Kingdoms once again joined together as one. This is not a reference to the unconditional covenant He made with Abraham. It is a reference to the conditional covenant under the law that He established with Israel through Moses. It stands out very clearly when you read through Deuteronomy in particular that under this covenant God’s blessing was dependent upon their obedience to God; disobedience would result in suffering His curse.

Deuteronomy 11:26–28 “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.”

Deuteronomy 28:1–2 & 15 “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God….. But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee….”

Instead of a covenant of law written on stones with no inherent power to empower the people to keep it, the LORD is going to write His law on their hearts. The prophet Ezekiel tells us that this covenant will be accompanied by the indwelling Spirit of God in the heart of every person in Israel from that time forward.

Ezekiel 11:17–20 “Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”

Ezekiel 36:26–28 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

In other words, the covenant will be a part of their very being and will empower them through the indwelling Holy Spirit to act according to the true intent of God’s law. Every person of Jewish birth will “know” the LORD; they will have a relationship with Him that reflects their love and obedience. They will know Him and see Him and interact with Him in the person of His Son Jesus Christ who will rule from the throne of David in Jerusalem. Again, that beautiful truth—“I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

The Apostle Paul also talked about this glorious time in Israel’s future.

Romans 11:25–27 “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

The verses in Romans above make it clear that a full number of Gentiles would be brought into covenant relationship before Israel turns back to God in faith. We know that Jesus Christ established the new covenant through His death and resurrection. The writer to the Hebrews also makes it clear that this covenant is an everlasting covenant; it will never be replaced.

Hebrews 8:6 “But now hath He [Jesus] obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”

Hebrews 13:20–21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.”

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are privileged to have a part in that new covenant now. We are given the indwelling Holy Spirit as the guarantee of our future inheritance and empowered by Him to live in victory over sin.

1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

Ephesians 1:13–14 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us….”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

God goes on to declare through His prophet that His promises to Israel are as sure as the ongoing function of the sun, moon and stars.

Jeremiah 31:35–36 “Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.”

God has not replaced Israel with the church; He has privileged us to be able to participate in the new covenant with them.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


In Jeremiah 30 the prophet once again declares hope in this midst of his continued message of coming judgment upon Judah.

Jeremiah 30:1–3 “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.”

This chapter begins with the LORD instructing Jeremiah to make a formal record of all his prophecies. The reason—God wants this record to be available to the captives who will one day return home to reestablish their nation. The record will encourage them to remember that God is true to His word and in turn should strengthen their faith.

I am reminded that the LORD often encourages His people to “remember.”

Numbers 15:38–40 “Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.”

Deuteronomy 7:17–18 “If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt….”

Deuteronomy 8:2 “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.”

The ability to remember is important to our spiritual growth. The LORD instructed the people to put fringes in the hems of their garments to serve as a constant reminder that God is faithful to His word. Every spiritual victory provides a memory to help us understand that we have nothing to fear with God on our side. Memory is important to strengthening one’s faith during times of testing to understand that God will be just as faithful to provide in the present as He has in the past.

Jeremiah also clarifies that his message is for the whole of Israel, both Northern and Southern Kingdoms. Preceding that time, however, he prophesies of a time that he identifies as “Jacob’s trouble” in which the people of Israel will suffer a time of trouble that is without comparison.

Jeremiah 30:7 “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”

It is out of this time of trouble that Jacob will be saved. It is obvious to me that this is a reference to the people of Israel as a whole as the descendants of Jacob. I believe that both Daniel and the Lord Jesus referenced this same period of time.

Daniel 12:1 “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”

Matthew 24:15 & 21 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)….For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

It is because Jesus directly connected this time to the words of Daniel that the tribulation, the 70th week of Daniel, especially the last 3.5 years before Jesus returns as King to establish His kingdom, is also often called the time of Jacob’s trouble.

Daniel 9:24–26 “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy….and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”

The next verses in Jeremiah affirm the connection of this prophesied time to the time that David’s throne is once more occupied. It is significant to note that at this time the nation of Israel will “serve the LORD their God”

Jeremiah 30:8–9 “For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.”

The next verse again emphasizes that this restoration will affect the whole nation. Jeremiah is clear in declaring that this restoration of the nation and regathering of the people will usher in a time of rest and quiet in which no one or no other nation will be able to make them afraid.

Jeremiah 30:10 “Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Though I am focusing mainly on Jeremiah’s prophecies that have bearing on end times events, I think it is significant to note that his prophecy concerning the Babylonian captivity and the return of the Jews to Israel was specific. History reveals the confirmation of this timeframe. Fulfilled prophecy is a primary motivation to the expectation of the fulfillment of all—and this is but one of hundreds of examples in scripture.

Jeremiah 25:12–14 “And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.”

Jeremiah is specific in declaring that the people would spend 70 years in Babylonian captivity. God will then punish the Babylonians for their own sin. As they had subjugated others, they will themselves be subjugated to other great nations and kings; as they had treated those whom they conquered, they too would be treated. They will reap what they have sown. This is a principle throughout scripture.

Job 4:8 “Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.”

Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

It is important to note that although God used Nebuchadnezzar to accomplish His purposes, He was not causing Neb and his armies to act outside of their own choices and desires.

The prophet Daniel was obviously aware of Jeremiah’s prophecy.

Daniel 9:2 “In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”

Scripture even tells us why the captivity was declared for 70 years. The people had neglected to allow the land to rest, “enjoy her sabbaths,” every seven years as commanded by God.

2 Chronicles 36:20–21 “And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.”

Again, this did not take the Lord by surprise. He had anticipated the disobedience of His people and had warned them of the consequences as revealed by Moses in the book of Leviticus.

Leviticus 25:2–4 “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD:”

Leviticus 26:32–35 “And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.”

Babylon was eventually conquered by the Medes and the Persians, and Cyrus issued the decree allowing the return of the Jews to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.

Ezra 1:1–3 “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.”

The prophecy concerning the “perpetual desolations” of Babylon is yet future and is described in chapters 50-51.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


The next prophetic portion in Jeremiah that declares the future peace and prosperity of Israel is found in chapter 23.

Jeremiah 23:1–2 “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.”

As I read through this chapter a few times, it seems obvious to me that the “pastors” being referenced are those in positions of spiritual leadership over the people—the prophets and priests. This would be comparable to the “Christian” leaders and pastors of churches of today.

Instead of functioning with the good of the people in mind, they had acted in ways that were detrimental to the spiritual growth of the people of Judah/Israel, God’s chosen people. Though in context Jeremiah is speaking to the people of Judah, the truth is just as applicable to the nation as a whole. The Hebrew for the word “scatter” states first of all “to dash in pieces.” In other words, the spiritual leaders were responsible for the spiritual destruction of the people that led to their physical destruction.

Verse two is another statement of reaping what one sows. God is going to judge these “pastors” and repay them evil for evil. I am reminded of some other sections in scripture regarding those in leadership.

Luke 12:47–48 “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

James 3:1 “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

Jeremiah 23:3–4 “And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.”

It’s interesting to note that the wording of this verse seems to jump forward in reference to the great dispersion of the Jewish people that was the ultimate result of the Roman takeover of the nation that began with the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. It was at this time that the Jewish people were scattered throughout the countries of the world for what would prove to be almost 2000 years. In fact, I think the time of restoration being referenced is yet future and will culminate in conjunction with the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom, the 1000-year reign of Christ on the throne of David that precedes the final judgment of sin. It’s only at that time that the nation of Israel will once again be led by true shepherds, spiritual leaders that will nurture them. Only then will it be true that they will never again fear for their national well-being. Only then will they be fruitful and prosperous, lacking nothing.

“I have driven them” - The LORD is very clear in stating that His people were scattered throughout the nations as a result of His judgment of their sin. The leaders were responsible for leading the people into sin; the people were accountable for following their evil leaders in rejection of God’s covenant, and God stepped in with the judgment they deserved.

Jeremiah 23:5–6 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

These verses are a declaration of the coming Messiah that would reign on the throne of David. The “righteous Branch” brings to mind the words of the prophets Isaiah and Zechariah.

Isaiah 11:1–4 “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.”

Zechariah 6:12–13 “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”

It is pretty obvious to me that both sections of scripture are talking about the same person as Jeremiah—a man who will be both King and Priest in Israel. This will be a first in Israel’s history; no previous king of Israel/Judah was authorized by God to also serve as priest. He will rule on the throne of David with intelligence, wisdom and good success (from the Hebrew for prosper). Those in His kingdom will experience righteous government. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah make it clear that His earthly heritage is rooted in the family of King David. Jeremiah emphasizes that Judah/Israel will find deliverance and dwell safely in His kingdom. He will be known as “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS,” a title declaring His deity.

The passage in Isaiah not only verifies the earthly lineage of the Branch as a descendant of Jesse, David’s father, it also affirms His deity in that it only takes “the breath of his lips,” His word, to exercise judgment over the wicked.

Jeremiah 23:7–8 “Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.”

When the Lord Jesus is on the throne of David, the deliverance of Israel from Egypt by means of amazing miracles will be little thought of in comparison to the amazing regathering of the believing remnant that will take place at the inception of His kingdom. Point is made that the people will be regathered from all over the world.

Jeremiah again emphasizes that the people are scattered as a result of God’s judgment and will be regathered as a direct result of His actions on their behalf. No longer will the nations argue as to the right of the Jewish people to dwell in their own land. This truth was also declared by the Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 34:11–14 “For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Another one of those special nuggets of truth that we need to understand is found in Jeremiah 17.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

The heart is a reference to man’s will and intellect, the place in our being from which decisions and choices are made.

It was interesting to note the Hebrew for the word deceitful—“fraudulent, crooked, polluted” and Webster adds, “serving to mislead or ensnare.” The Hebrew for “desperately wicked” makes reference to being sick and incurable. Webster defines wicked as “Evil in principle or practice; deviating from morality; contrary to the moral or divine law….”

In other words, because of the sin nature we inherited through Adam, man starts out with two strikes against him.

• The part of our being that guides us in making decisions and choices is naturally hardwired to mislead us and trap us through temptations.

• When following the leading of our heart, our natural proclivity is contrary to God’s law.

There is a verse from chapter 18 that is directly connected to this verse.

Jeremiah 18:12 “And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.”

This verse declares that the people are knowingly acting with complete disregard for the power and authority of Almighty God. They are choosing to act according to the desires of their flesh, and they know their actions are evil. The Hebrew for the word “imagination” references obstinacy and lust from a root word that means to be hostile, an enemy. They are aware that they have positioned themselves as enemies of God.

Even more sobering is the answer to the closing question in verse 9 of chapter 17—God searches our hearts; He knows them inside out. The Psalmist was well aware of this truth.

Psalms 44:20–21 “If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

The Hebrew for reins seems to be part and parcel of the heart; it makes reference to the “mind, the interior self.” When the LORD searches our heart, He is examining our thought processes, our motives. His judgments for or against each person are based on that examination.

Thankfully, each person of faith will emerge from that examination declared righteous in Christ Jesus. Heavenly rewards, however, will result from the LORD’s examination of our service before the LORD; and I believe that examination will be focused on the motivations of our heart.

2 Corinthians 5:17–18 & 21 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ…. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

1 Corinthians 3:13–15 “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall
declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

Monday, July 11, 2011


It is important to note that God’s plans have always been directed toward blessing the nations—not just Israel. This is clear from His first words of promise to Abraham.

Genesis 12:1–3 “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

God also revealed this intent through the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 12:14 Thus saith the LORD against all mine evil neighbours, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them. And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land.

The opening phrase in these verses is quite interesting; the LORD is referencing the evil neighbors of Judah/Israel as “His” neighbors. These are words of hope for the people of Israel. Though they have rejected Him, God will keep His covenant with Abraham. Their enemies will not be allowed to permanently possess the land that God has given to His people. The time will come when the LORD will remove them from Israel and bring His people back home. It seems His intention is to return all people to the land of their own heritage.

Though scripture doesn’t define the boundaries of most Gentile nations, it is clear that He has granted certain lands to certain nations; e.g. Edom, Moab and Ammon.

Deuteronomy 2:5 “Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession.”

Deuteronomy 2:9 “And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.”

Deuteronomy 2:19 “And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession.”

I tend to think the nations are defined in God’s view according to genealogical descent from the sons of Noah as described in Genesis 10.

Genesis 10:32 “These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.”

Scripture also indicates that the nations have been apportioned in accordance with the population of Israel.

Deuteronomy 32:8 “When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.”

Jeremiah 12:16-17 “And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The LORD liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of my people. But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD.”

I think the wording of these last four verses in chapter 12 of Jeremiah are in reference to the time that Messiah comes to set up His kingdom. They are speaking of a time when Israel has been regathered and will be in a position to teach the nations their ways (implied is that these are the ways that were given to them by God). The hope for the Gentile nations is that they will also be allowed to prosper if they will learn to honor the LORD. If, however, a nation chooses to disobey God and rebel against His rule, the LORD will destroy that nation. This truth is also recorded in Isaiah’s prophecy.

Isaiah 2:2–4 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

Isaiah 60:9–12 “Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.”

Friday, July 8, 2011


There are just some sections of Jeremiah that I have to address despite the fact that they aren’t prophetic. The Lord gives us so many precious nuggets of truth through this prophet that are so important for us to embrace today. Chapter 9 is the source of one of these nuggets.

Jeremiah 9:23 “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

These are verses of very important truth that was totally disregarded by the people of Israel at that time as well as by the majority of people today. The most treasured possession available to man today is a relationship with and knowledge of the LORD that is evidenced in his life!

What are the things that occupy the desires of most men and women in the world? Wisdom, power and wealth. It is thought that if you possess enough wisdom, it will enable you to attain power and/or wealth. Or if you have enough power, you can make use of the wisdom of others in achieving more power and wealth. Or if you have wealth, it provides the power needed to influence the wise towards your own purposes. It’s all about self. What they don’t focus on is the fact that worldly wisdom, power and wealth are just temporary possessions associated with this life.

True wisdom, power and wealth are the possession of every person that places faith in the LORD and strives to get to know Him through His word and honor Him with their lives. The wisdom, power and wealth associated with that choice are eternal.

The LORD is very clear in declaring that He exercises and delights in lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness. Implied is that He expects the same from His people. Lovingkindness speaks to showing mercy to others and doing good deeds in honor of God. Judgment speaks to governing according to God’s law. Righteousness makes reference to possessing morals and virtues as defined by God’s revelation to man in scripture.

This truth is summarized well by the prophet Micah.

Micah 6:8 “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

The next verse we will address is found in chapter ten; it is both a special nugget of truth and a prophetic word regarding our future.

Jeremiah 10:10 “But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.”

YHWH is unique from all the “gods” of this world. He is genuine and trustworthy. There is not one iota of pretense about Him. Unlike the idols worshipped by the world at large, YHWH is “the living God.” In fact, He is the source of all life.

Isaiah 42:5 “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein….”

Acts 17:24–25 “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things….”

Not only is God the Creator and the source of all life, He is the everlasting King. He is not bound by time or space; He is outside time and space. His authority and power will last for time without end.

Though God is longsuffering and full of love for His creation, He is also righteous and holy. The time is coming when His wrath will be expressed in righteous anger against all that is wicked and evil. This is often referred to in scripture as the day of the Lord or the time of His vengeance.

Nahum 1:2 “God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.”

Isaiah 13:9–13 “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.”

The day is coming when the Lord will once again take His rightful place as King of kings on planet earth.

Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The next section I want to focus on is from chapter 7; it is a section that I think is needful for the “church” today to hear. This is another excerpt from my journal.

Jeremiah 7:21-23 “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.”

I think the NIV translation is much easier to understand for this section of verses:“Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.”

It’s interesting how much energy man will invest in performing rituals and adhering to routines to project a desired appearance of spirituality. When it comes to actually serving God according to His will as revealed in His word, however, we choose to follow our own inclinations while trying to justify actions that go against that very revelation. We seem to be wired to try to meet God on our own terms rather than His.

Jeremiah 7:24 “But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.”

The sad truth—God’s people chose not to listen to Him. They chose to act according to their own purposes and their own desires as stated above.

The Hebrew for the word "imagination" was interesting. It stated “in the sense of twisted” from a root that stated “to be hostile; enemy.” It was actually emphasizing the fact that their purposes were rooted in a heart that was hostile to God; their thinking was twisted; it wasn’t rooted in the truth. Instead of growing spiritually, they were in spiritual decline.

Skipping now to verse 27…

Jeremiah 7:27-28 “Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee. But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.

The LORD reminds Jeremiah that the people are going to reject the message he declares; his message will fall on deaf ears. They will refuse to repent of their sin. He is not to quit; he is to be faithful to continue to proclaim God’s word. He
is to confront them with their sin and warn them of the judgment to come.

The church today would do well to follow Jeremiah’s example. We have become so focused on talking about God’s love that the message of identifying sin and declaring judgment has become almost nonexistent. We need to declare the whole counsel of God. We should exercise God-sensitivity—not seeker sensitivity.

Jeremiah was grieved at the response of his people. He is often described as the weeping prophet.

Jeremiah 9:1 “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!“

Jeremiah freely expresses deep grief and sorrow for the wickedness and evil that permeates the culture of his people. He loved his people and was sick of seeing how they had given themselves over to evil in rejection of the God of Israel.

Again, this is an area in which we would do well to follow Jeremiah’s example. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own little world and ignore the spiritual needs that surround us. Mighty men of God always reflect a heart of love and concern for their people. Listen to the hearts of Moses, Daniel and the Apostle Paul.

Exodus 32:30–32 “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.”

Daniel 9:4–6, 16-17 “And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land…. O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.”

Romans 9:1–4 “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites….”

Saturday, July 2, 2011


The book of Jeremiah is filled with declarations of coming judgment, but is punctuated at times with a message of hope for the future of the Jews and the nation of Israel. One of the first mentions of that hope is found in chapter 3.

It should be noted that God was faithful to send His prophets to proclaim His truth among the people and encourage them to repent from their evil ways and turn back to God in faith and obedience.

2 Kings 17:13–14 “Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.”

The sad observation regarding the response of the people, “they would not hear.” They were stiff-necked and stubborn, determined to hold onto their sinful ways. Still, God is faithful to declare that repentance will result in forgiveness and blessing—and the same is true today.

Jeremiah 3:12–13 “…Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God….”

Jeremiah 3:14–18 “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD…And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.”

A natural reading of the above passage clearly describes a time yet future—a time when Jerusalem will be known as the throne of the LORD. It is a time when “all the nations” will recognize the LORD on the throne in Jerusalem. It is a time when Israel will experience the fulfillment of the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob regarding possession of the land.

Genesis 13:14–15 “And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.”

It’s interesting to note that the point is made that at that time the ark of the covenant will have no significance to the people. The ark was representative of the throne of God and His presence among the people. In that day the Lord Jesus will reign in person from the throne of David and dwell among the people.

God describes the response of the people to Jeremiah's message in a poignant verse in chapter 4. Following is an excerpt from my journal on that verse.

Jeremiah 4:22 “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.”

This verse seems to begin God’s answer to Jeremiah’s question in verse 21. He declares the people of Israel, specifically Judah in context, to be foolish—perverse, willfully wicked. “Sottish” children again emphasizes silly (lacking in judgment) from a root that means “to be fat.” One definition from Webster for fat that seems to apply is: “Exhibiting the qualities of a fat animal; coarse; heavy; gross; dull; stupid.” These comments flow easily in context with the statement that they have no understanding; I believe spiritual understanding is the implication. This conclusion is clarified by the next statement—they are wise to do evil but seem to have no understanding of how to do good.

When man chose to rebel against God and inherited a sin nature, it became natural for man to choose to do evil. This does not excuse evil actions because scripture is clear from the very beginning that men knew what was acceptable before God and what was not. Evil is identified in contrast to that which is good and acceptable. Though men may argue the fact, it doesn’t change the truth that God is the source of truth and goodness.

Deuteronomy 32:3–4 “Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life….”

1 Chronicles 16:34 “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Psalms 34:8 “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

Those who choose to do evil show themselves to be children of the devil.

John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

Acts 13:10 “… thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?”

1 John 3:8 “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.”