Tuesday, August 25, 2015

God Knows That He Is God

READ Jeremiah 51-52

Never miss this one stunning irrefutable fact: God knows that he alone is God. You might think that is obvious but it’s not for everyone. Some even think that God exists for our pleasure rather than the other way around. No, he alone is God and he will not give his glory to another.

Where do we see this in Chapters 51-52? In the prophecy of the utter destruction of Babylon Jeremiah says in 51:14, “The Lord of hosts has sworn by himself: Surely I will fill you with men, as many as locusts, and they shall raise the shout of victory over you.” Notice, he swore by himself. Why did he do that? Well, Hebrews 6:13 tells us, “For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself.” God knows that he is God and there is no one greater than himself.

John Piper has been very helpful to me in reminding me that God’s highest aim is his own glory. If not, even he would be an idolator. If God chose anyone or anything else to give honor and glory to above himself he would be guilty of what he forbids in us. No, God guards his own glory. He knows that he alone is God and calls us to that same knowledge. We must worship him and him alone for there is no one greater.

Prayer: Father, what a great reminder this is at the end of Jeremiah for us. Your glory is displayed throughout this powerful book in the OT. Forgive us when we elevate other things and people to the highest position in our affections. Call us back to your glory and your glory alone.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

He Watching Over Israel....

READ Jeremiah 43-44

What is God doing in 44:27? “Behold, I am watching over them for disaster and not for good. All the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end of them.” He says he is watching over the remnant who have disobediently gone into Egypt. But his “watching over” is not a positive one as normally comes to mind when we hear that term. No, he is watching over them to bring them to destruction because of their disobedience.

But what is God doing on a deeper level? He tells us all the way back in 1:11-12: “And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.” God is carefully and meticulously fulfilling His Word. He always does this. We can take it to the eternal bank of heaven. God will do what he has promised.

Did he promise to save those who trust in Jesus Christ? Yes. And he will for all eternity? Did he promise never to leave you, Christian, nor forsake you? Yes. And he won’t ever. Did he promise that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose? Yes. And he will sovereignly see that this happens. You can depend on it. Because he is always watching over his Word to perform it.

Prayer: Father, how faithful and just you are. For we your children are always sheltered under the promises of your Word and we can always trust in you to fulfill what you have promised. Humbly we trust in you. Thank you. Glory be to your name.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Heart-hearing a Sermon

READ Jeremiah 41-42

In 42:1-3 the remnant of people who were left in Judah come to Jeremiah and ask him to pray to the Lord on their behalf to tell them what they should do: “…that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.” (3) So Jeremiah does as they request and ten days later gave them the word of God. However, he knows that they have no intention of doing what God has said and makes it very clear what will happen to them when they disobey (42:19-22).

As I read these words I thought had sadly and tragically true they are of some who come to worship with the body of Christ today and listen to the teaching from God’s Word. They seem to want to hear what God is saying to them. But the reality is they only want to hear a word that puts a stamp of approval on their plans. They have no intention of obeying God if they don’t like what the Word says to them. They should be warned. The Bible gives them no assurance of salvation. They are guilty of presumptuous sins. “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.” (Psalm 19:13)

And you and I should pray the prayer of Psalm 19:13 and come to the hearing of God's Word with a heart intent to obey.

Prayer: Father, please keep us from presumptuous sins that are an offense to your holiness. Help us, Lord, to hunger for your life-giving Word to lead us in the ways we should go. Help us to come to your Word with a heart of obedience.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

No Place to Hide...Glory!

READ Jeremiah 23-24

There’s no place to hide…from God. Notice what he says to Jeremiah: “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.” (23:23-24) The theological word is omnipresent. God is everywhere at all times and he sees and knows everything that we do. In the context of Jeremiah 23 he is seeing the sins of the people, especially the false prophets. You and I need to be reminded that this is just as true for us today as it was then. God knows every thought, every word, every action of ours.  Nothing is hidden from him. There is nowhere that we can flee from his presence (Psalm 139:7-12). Sobering thought, isn’t it?

But there is also good news. What is the good news? There’s no place to hide…from God. He is always where you are. He will never leave you nor forsake you, if you are a child of his (Hebrews 13:5). What comfort and joy that brings to a child of God. Like our own precious little children who don’t want their fathers around when they do wrong, yet when they are afraid or hurting they want them to there very close. For us, as God’s children the wonderful assurance is that he is “a God at hand…not far away.”

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you are with us at all times. Thank you that in your love for us you are there to lift us up and to convict us of our sins. Thank you that your presence is filled with grace, mercy, compassion and correction. Strengthen us for the need at hand.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Let the Fire Burn

READ Jeremiah 19-20

The life of a prophet is often extremely difficult. Jeremiah experienced this on numerous occasions. One, in Chapter 20, involved being beaten and put in stocks by the priest Pashhur. Jeremiah knew that his proclaiming the Word of the Lord was the cause of his punishment. He declared, “For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.” (8b)

But even in the midst of his persecution for pronouncing God’s Word he still would not, actually could not, stop. “If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” God’s Word had become a burning fire within him that he simply could not hold in.

Two lessons for preachers/teachers today. First, we simply must proclaim God’s Word to God’s people and to those who do not yet know him. God’s Word is the instrument of God’s grace coming to those who hear (Romans 10:17). We have no other message to put forth than what God has given to us.

And the second is obvious. If we are going to be ridiculed and persecuted for teaching anything, the only thing it should be for is a faithful adherence to the Word of God. We should say what the Bible says, all that the Bible says, and nothing but what the Bible says.

Prayer: Father, help me and all pastors and all our teachers to be faithful to you and to your Word. Help us to know that the ideas of men will never heal the hurts of people nor bring them to salvation. Help us to hold fast to your Word even if it becomes unpopular or even illegal. Give us strength and give us fire in our bones.