Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Jeremiah 30-45 "God's Man on the Spot" 4/4|
Chapter: Jer 41/42
Passage: Jer 41:16 - 42:6
A. Find Out:
1. What had happened to Gedaliah? v.16
2. Where were the survivors making for? v.17
3. Why were they doing this? v.18
4. What did they ask Jeremiah to pray? v.2,3
5. What did Jeremiah say he would do? v.4
6. What was their response? v.5,6
Gedaliah had been appointed Governor of the area by the Babylonians, but soon the fleeing Israelite army officers had returned (40:7-12). Despite being warned about it (40:13-16) Gedaliah took no precautions against being killed and was eventually assassinated (41:1-3). The murderer eventually fled (41:11-15) leaving the remnant fearful of what the Babylonians might do in response. Jeremiah is still with this remnant. These are the facts of the present situation.
The remnant, using human reasoning, decide the only thing to do under the circumstances is to flee southwards, in the opposite direction to the Babylonians and, almost as an afterthought, they ask Jeremiah to enquire of the Lord for them.
It is not unusual to find unbelievers, finding themselves in difficult circumstances, turning and expecting help or direction from God. All we can do those situations is graciously to seek to share God's heart with them, speaking the truth in love. Others' mistakes can open the way for the Lord to move in. Indeed people often only come to their senses and seek God when their mistakes blow up on them.
Chapter: Jer 42
Passage: Jer 42:7-22
A. Find Out:
1. How long did Jeremiah have to wait? v.7
2. What would be their future if they remain in Israel ? v.10-12
3. What will leaving the land be? v.13
4. What would happen if they go to Egypt ? v.16,17
5. What does he say about their request to him? v.20
6. Why? v.21,22
Jeremiah speaks to the Lord and waits for an answer, and waits and waits. It is only after ten days that he gets it. We must learn that sometimes it takes some time for us to be able to hear and receive the Lord's word. It is an answer of options here. The Lord allows them to understand clearly what the choices are.
If they remain in the Promised Land, He will protect and bless them. If they go to Egypt, His protection and blessing will not go with them and they will be destroyed. Even after the destruction of Jerusalem and the deporting of most of the people, God still has a remnant that He wants to draw to Himself and bless. It is God's constant desire to bless the people of His world who will listen to Him - but so few do, such is the terrible effect of sin.
Finally Jeremiah senses that his words are wasted. The remnant WILL go to Egypt despite the clarity of the word from God, and they will, therefore, be destroyed. How foolish! How tragic! “Oh, when will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?”
Chapter: Jer 44
Passage: Jer 44:1-14
A. Find Out:
1. To where had the Jews spread? v.1
2. What example does the Lord put before them? v.2
3. What had been the main sin of Israel ? v.3,5b
4. What were they doing now? v.8
5. What were they NOT doing? v.10
6. What was the Lord therefore going to do? v.11-14
As we said yesterday, merely because the Jews are out of their land, it doesn't mean they are out of God's sight. Just as God's word had come again and again to Israel and Judah in the land, so it now comes to the remnant in Egypt .
The Lord could never be accused of ignoring His people there in Egypt . He warns and warns them again. His longing is that they repent and return to Him and to their own land, but they will have none of it. The Lord reminds them of the clearly visible consequences of their own people's foolishness; a desolate land, deserted and in ruins, all because the people turned to idols and forsook the One Holy God.
And now as He looks on His people, the Lord sees this people becoming just like the Egyptians. This holy people have become idol worshippers again. They have become just like their neighbours, the Egyptians. There is now nothing to differentiate them from these unbelieving, godless pagans.
Chapter: Jer 44
Passage: Jer 44:15-23
A. Find Out:
1. Who responded to Jeremiah? v.15
2. What did they say they would NOT do? v.16
3. What did they say they would do? v.17
4. What had happened when they had stopped? v.18
5. How do the women spread or share their guilt? v.19
6. When had the Lord acted against them? v.22
We have in this passage a clear illustration of the rebellion and twisted thinking of sinful men. That they are sinful is very obvious. First of all they are worshipping idols. They are godless. This is their first sin. Within that the men were not taking the lead they should have been taking and were following the wrong behaviour of their wives without correcting them. Next they refuse to listen to God's word. They refuse to accept the truth. That is the second sin of these people.
Following this we now see how they justify themselves by twisted thinking. They saw it as blessing coming when they sacrificed to an idol, which stopped when they stopped sacrificing.
Jeremiah indicates that the Lord had held back judgement and given them time to repent before He had moved against them. Their “blessing” had stopped, not because they stopped sacrificing but because God brought judgement on their sin! THAT had been the truth! Godless people set their hearts against God and then justify their actions by crooked thinking. The mind of an unrepentant sinner is deceived and confused. Sin produces stupidity!
Chapter: Jer 44
Passage: Jer 44:24-30
A. Find Out:
1. To whom did Jeremiah speak? v.24
2. What vow did he first mention? v.25
3. What was his second vow? v.26
4. What would the Lord do with them? v.27
5. How many would escape? v.28
6. How would the Lord do it? v.29, 30
This is one of those passages in Scripture which bring a sense of immense seriousness. The Lord is pronouncing the death penalty on this foolish people. The reasons for it are obvious.
These people, both men and women, have vowed (made a solemn commitment) to worship idols, to worship demons. They are utterly committed to sin, to rebelling against God and giving themselves over to Satan. For them there was only a future of evil, and that while they still carried the name ‘ Israel ', the people of God.
We should always remember that everybody has to die sometime. The fact that it may be sooner than later should not horrify us. God knows those who will repent and those who will not, and He alone can decide when their life should end.
So often when a person gives himself over to evil in this manner, the Lord knows there is no hope (although NO ONE is beyond His salvation), and the sooner might as well be instead of the later. He, in His perfect wisdom, has the right to choose when.
Chapter: Jer 45
Passage: Jer 45:1-5
A. Find Out:
1. What had Baruch been doing? v.1
2. What had been his complaint? v.3
3. What did the Lord say He was doing? v.4
4. What did He say Baruch shouldn't do? v.5
5. But what did He promise Baruch? v.5
Here is a short insert referring back some years to a time when God had given a word to Baruch. Baruch had obviously been feeling sorry for himself, as many of us are prone to do from time to time. Perhaps he was aware that as he took down Jeremiah's words, he would be associated with them and would receive the same rejection and opposition Jeremiah received. It ISN'T easy in such situations!
The Lord, knowing he feels like this, brings him a word through Jeremiah. It is as if the Lord says, “Look Baruch, I know you wish for peace, acceptance and prosperity, but the land just isn't going to have that! I'm in the process of getting ready to destroy the land, so don't wish for what is impossible. Trouble is coming to the land, but as you are my man, your life will be spared.”
How often do we hope for what is unrealistic? It is said, “The grass is always greener on the other side”, which means we are not content with what we have. The reality is that often it isn't “greener” on the other side, we just think it is from where we are now. We actually need to face the present, realistically, and receive God's grace for it.
A. Find Out:
1. What would happen to Babylon ? 50:2
2. How? 50:3
3. Where was message to be taken? 51:59
4. What was the messenger to do and say first? v.61,62
5. Then was he to do and say? v.63,64
As we come to the last words of Jeremiah we see something quite amazing. His last words from God are against the nation He has been using. Again and again we have seen the Lord proclaiming the end of Jerusalem through these Babylonians if Israel would not repent. Eventually the city was breached and destroyed.
Now the Lord speaks against the instruments He has been using. What does this say to us? It says, merely because the Lord takes and uses the godless, unrighteous intentions of men for His purposes, it doesn't mean that He excuses the ones He uses.
The Babylonians were godless and unrighteous but the Lord had used them to chastise Israel . He didn't excuse Babylon their godlessness and unrighteousness and, indeed, now He calls them to account for their wrongs.
Although Jeremiah had been seen to have been prophesying victory for the Babylonians that doesn't mean the Lord is for them! Their end is decreed. Today Babylon , in Iraq , is no longer! God's word was fulfilled. The servant of God who dares to speak the word of God has to understand both the Law of God and the ways of God.
RECAP - "Jeremiah with the Remnant" - Jeremiah 41-45
In this final group of 7 studies we have seen :
The end picture is tragic. The Judah remnant rejects God's word and flees to Egypt where they wholeheartedly commit themselves to idol worship, for which they receive God's just condemnation.
To the very end Jeremiah remains God's faithful mouthpiece to this ungodly people. At the very end we find him balancing the judgement of Judah with the judgement of Babylon . God has no favourites.
These passages incredibly portray the folly of mankind. In particular we see so-called religious people exhibiting it most. May we heed the warning!
1. God wants us to be alert to the circumstances and Jesus in them.
2. We sometimes need to persevere in waiting on God for His wisdom.
3. We are to learn from our history not to repeat mistakes.
4. The ungodly use twisted thinking to justify their sin.
5. We are to learn to rest in God's love in the present.
6. God uses the godly and the ungodly for His purposes.
Ask the lord to teach you these lessons so that you may stand IN the circumstances as His child. Praise and thank Him that He has provided ALL you need for the circumstances (2 Cor 9:8)
In these studies in the second half of Jeremiah we have seen:
a) The Lord
Accepting that Jeremiah is perhaps not the easiest of books to read, especially as it is not in neat chronological order, this latter half of the book presents us with:
a) A Challenging Example
b) An Encouraging Example
c) A Frightening Example
In all this we see God working out His purposes with this foolish people. Despite their foolishness He is not deterred and comes again and again to see if they will heed Him. At the end when it is clear they will not respond, He brings an end to Jerusalem , but this is merely the beginning of another era.
A further perspective on this time can be seen by reading “Daniel's Story” another in this series. The continuation is seen in “Restoration” the story of Ezra and Nehemiah also in this “Bible Alive” Series. For a similar prophetic perspective on the end of Israel years earlier, see the studies on Hosea also in this series of “Bible Alive".