Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday, 12 June; Jeremiah 20-21; Matthew 24: 1-28 ~ Elizabeth

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Jeremiah 20-21;Matthew 24:1-28

After being flogged, Jeremiah was locked in the stocks overnight in order that his captives might ridicule and discredit him. However, Jeremiah still announced the threat of the apostate nation’s doom, even more emphatically and pointedly than before. The moment he took his eyes off the Lord and became introspective, Jeremiah slipped back into dark brooding over his fate. The sudden change of mood from praising God to deep melancholy will not surprise anyone who has wrestled with God in the night watches of doubt; that person knows from experience it is possible to fall into self-pity and rebellious complaint at the very moment when faith seemed to have a strong grip on God’s promises. Jeremiah complains bitterly about the opposition he has experienced in response to the dire warnings he preached to the people. His predictions of destruction stand unfulfilled, giving his enemies grounds to beat him, imprison him, and plot against his life. Jeremiah calls on the Lord for help and praises His name, but he cannot help expressing the anger and despair he genuinely feels. Like Jeremiah, we are often weak and fearful in times of crisis because we doubt the Lord and trust in ourselves. When we are weakest, God’s strength shines through more clearly. He is ever our refuge and strength, who hears our confession and forgives all our sins.

Through Jeremiah, God reveals His judgment on Jerusalem to the political and religious leaders of Judah: only those who surrender to the Chaldeans will live. God disciplines them for their lack of repentance and for ignoring His warnings. Even during this judgment, mercy and compassion shine through, providing a way of survival. No matter what you face today, call on the Lord with a repentant heart and humbly trust that He has an answer for you. Consider the life and sufferings of Jesus, who humbled Himself to redeem you for your salvation. Three kings who immediately preceded Zedekiah are dealt with in chronological order, each one’s fate demonstrating how the threat uttered against the whole dynasty would affect the lives of its individual members. Shallum and Jehoiakim were sons of Josiah, during whose 13th year Jeremiah was appointed a prophet; Coniah was a grandson of the same godly king. Jeremiah condemns Israel’s leaders for their obsession with wealth and power and, at the same time, neglect and abuse of the needy. God tells these powerful people that they will not enjoy their dishonest gains. People worship the same things today, sacrificing integrity and compassion for temporary riches. Jesus, having all things, avoids the deceit of wealth and power, remaining faithful to the plan of salvation by going to the cross to save us from our sinful deceptions.

In response to His disciples’ admiring comments about the temple, in our Gospel reading today Jesus predicts its destruction. The things of this world do not endure. All earthly splendor will be forgotten on the Last Day. Understanding the provisional nature of material things leads us to place our highest hopes in the Lord and what He has in store for us in the new heavens and new earth. Jesus prophesies about things leading up to the end of the world. Today, stories of military conflicts, political intrigues, and natural disasters continue to fill the news. All this should remind us of the nearness of the end of this age. In that we may rejoice! Though the world is indeed increasingly evil and hostile to God, Christians are ever nearer the great day of Christ’s return. While prophesying concerning Jerusalem’s destruction, Jesus again warns His disciples against being deceived by false messiahs. During crises, people instinctively seek spiritual aid. In such times, God’s people are tempted to join those fleeing to charlatans and the false hopes they offer. Christ’s return in glory will be unmistakable. In an instant, He will raise the dead, transform believers into His likeness, and so effect our final deliverance.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Jeremiah 22-23; Matthew 24:29-51


Nathan Reimer said...

My prayer for myself and other believers is found in Matthew 24:13

"But the one who remains faithful to the end will be saved."

Conrad said...

"For many will come in my name, saying, I am the Christ, and they will lead many astray."

Even as Christians we are not exempt from being lead astray. We need to stay connected to God to know that He is the one leading us.

TammyIsBlessed said...

Jeremiah's lament reminds me of Job.

I love that God's mercy and compassion shines through despite the warnings of wrath and judgment. Until we draw our last breathe, it is never too late to grasp hold of our salvation.

Pamela said...

The same verse stood out for me as it did for Conrad:
5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

I think the shocking thing is the last verse: This is the BEGINNING of the birth pains. The Beginning. All that we have seen and heard that seems to be so against what God would want is just the beginning.