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Sunday, August 28, 2016

God is Faithful: [Jeremiah 1-2 Study Notes!]

God shouldn't be just first in our lives. There shouldn't be a second place. No one or any thing should be in competition with God for your heart. He wants all of you all of the time. I love how these two chapters express God's jealousy. Isn't it lovely to have your man jealous of you because he wants all of your attention? How much more is God's love for us. In these chapters God uses judgment to express His authority and love. Though the Israelites are being led captive, my eyes see God's love and mercy. After all He's done still, His people rebel… Kind of sounds like us? Like a newlywed that was once high off love… she later committed adultery and tried to come back to her loving and faithful husband. We can learn valuable lessons from the Old Testament. So don't disregard it! Without further ado, let's begin with Jeremiah 1 and 2! I hope this helps open up your spiritual eyes so that you can make God your only priority and not an option. He loves you so much!!

Jeremiah 1New Living Translation (NLT)
These are the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests from the town of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. 
The Lord first gave messages to Jeremiah during the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah. 
TheLord’s messages continued throughout the reign of King Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son, until the eleventh year of the reign of King Zedekiah, another of Josiah’s sons. In August of that eleventh year the people of Jerusalem were taken away as captives.

Jeremiah’s Call and First Visions

The Lord gave me this message:
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” God knew us from the beginning of time. He knew the plans for our lives. He created us each with divine purposes. We each have a special gift and can receive all of the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. Before we aimlessly chase our self ambitions, we should instead consult God for His plans for our lives. God makes your life more meaningful when you are surrendered to His purpose. “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth! Forget about who you are. Decrease so that He can increase. Deny yourself and accept who God created you to be. Don't let the opinions of others stop God's awesome plan for your life! 10 Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow. Others you must build up and plant.” 11 Then the Lord said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?” And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.” 12 And the Lord said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching,[c] and I will certainly carry out all my plans.” 13 Then the Lord spoke to me again and asked, “What do you see now?”And I replied, “I see a pot of boiling water, spilling from the north.” 14 “Yes,” the Lord said, “for terror from the north will boil out on the people of this land. 15 Listen! I am calling the armies of the kingdoms of the north to come to Jerusalem. I, the Lord, have spoken! “They will set their thrones  at the gates of the city. They will attack its walls  and all the other towns of Judah. 16 I will pronounce judgment on my people for all their evil—for deserting me and burning incense to other gods. Yes, they worship idols made with their own hands! Evil never goes unpunished. It may last for a short while but, God sees everything. 17 Get up and prepare for actionGo out and tell them everything I tell you to say. Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them. He didn't give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). God will let you have your way with your feelings if you choose to disobey Him. You'll end up looking like a fool trying to do things without His help. Trust Him and DO NOT FEAR! He is with you! 18 For see, today I have made you strong  like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall.You will stand against the whole land—the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah.19 They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” God strengthens us to do His work. Hence, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13).

Jeremiah 2New Living Translation (NLT)

The Lord’s Case against His People 

The Lord gave me another message. He said, “Go and shout this message to Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says: “I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago,how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness. In those days Israel was holy to the Lordthe first of his children. All who harmed his people were declared guilty, and disaster fell on them. I, the Lord, have spoken!” We have to repent and go back to our First Love. Those of who are married, remember how high off of love you were on your wedding day and honeymoon? That's the love that God wants us to keep fresh. He doesn't want us to get tired or bored in our relationship with Him. Even though most of us commit adultery by putting things and people before Him; He still remains committed to us and does everything in His Will to keep us connected; just as any faithful husband would. Listen to the word of the Lord, people of Jacob—all you families of Israel! This is what the Lord says: “What did your ancestors find wrong with me that led them to stray so far from me? They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves. Isn't this heartbreaking? God gives us everything and our evil hearts still put other things before Him. Some days we rather get on Facebook than spend time in His Word. We shouldn't treat Him like this. He is worthy of ALL our praise! They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lorwho brought us safely out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness—a land of deserts and pits, a land of drought and death, where no one lives or even travels?’ Never forget about all of the times that God came through for you. Count your blessings. He hasn't forgotten all of the times He has helped you. God is faithful. He is good. And when I brought you into a fruitful land to enjoy its bounty and goodness, you defiled my land and  corrupted the possession I had promised you. When God blesses us we should take advantage of His Grace and not take Him for granted. (Grace isn't a license to sin says Romans 7). The priests did not ask,  ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who taught my word ignored me,the rulers turned against me, and the prophets spoke in the name of Baal, wasting their time on worthless idols.Therefore, I will bring my case against you,”  says the Lord.“I will even bring charges against your children’s children in the years to come. Praise God that the curse is broken! On the cross, Jesus became a curse for us bearing ALL of ours sicknesses and sins. Through His shed blood we can be set free from ANY and ALL bondage. Generational curses are done away with. We aren't under the Law of Moses anymore. Praise God for His NEW covenant of Grace!! Thank You, Jesus!! 10 Go west and look in the land of Cyprusgo east and search through the land of Kedar. Has anyone ever heard of anything as strange as this? 11 Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones, even though they are not gods at all? Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols! 12 The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay,” says the Lord13 “For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me—the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all! How foolish of us to forsake God for things that do us no good and that do nothing at all for us? Putting things and people before God is like choosing to work when we can live on vacation.

The Results of Israel’s Sin

14 “Why has Israel become a slave?  Why has he been carried away as plunder? 15 Strong lions have roared against him, and the land has been destroyed. The towns are now in ruins,and no one lives in them anymore. 16 Egyptians, marching from their cities of Memphis and Tahpanhes, have destroyed Israel’s glory and power. 17 And you have brought this upon yourselves  by rebelling against the Lord your God, even though he was leading you on the way! Let us not blame God when we hit rock bottom. Sin will take us further than where we plan on going. He was always there guiding and warning us. Pay attention to the signs and be attentive to His Holy Spirit. 18 “What have you gained by your alliances with Egypt and your covenants with Assyria? What good to you are the streams of the Nile or the waters of the Euphrates River? 19 Your wickedness will bring its own punishment.Your turning from me will shame you.You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is to abandon the Lord your God and not to fear him. I, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken! Trust in the Lord. He's omniscient and He knows best. Turning your ear away from the Lord and taking Him lightly has disastrous effects. Consequences can be irrevocable. 20 Long ago I broke the yoke that oppressed you and tore away the chains of your slavery, but still you said, ‘I will not serve you.’ On every hill and under every green tree, you have prostituted yourselves by bowing down to idols. 21 But I was the one who planted you, choosing a vine of the purest stock—the very best.How did you grow into this corrupt wild vine? 22 No amount of soap or lye can make you clean. I still see the stain of your guilt.   I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken! Jesus can break every chain. Count the times that God has delivered you from your mess. All of our sins deserve death in Hell. But, God so loved the world that He gave up His Son Jesus to die for our sins (John 3:16) emphasis added. Jesus washes ours sins away!!

Israel, an Unfaithful Wife

23 “You say, ‘That’s not true! I haven’t worshiped the images of Baal!’ But how can you say that? Go and look in any valley in the land! Face the awful sins you have done.  You are like a restless female camel desperately searching for a mate. Don't ask God why you're in trouble. He will let you know where and when you chose to disobey Him. You are the reason why you're in trouble as a result of your sins not God. He has good plans for you! 24 You are like a wild donkey sniffing the wind at mating time.Who can restrain her lust? Those who desire her don’t need to search,for she goes running to them! Living in habitual sin can cause us to crave for our flesh to be fed. 25 When will you stop running?  When will you stop panting after other gods? But you say, ‘Save your breath. I’m in love with these foreign gods,and I can’t stop loving them now!’ Living in sin without repentance causes our hearts to become harden towards God. We end up so deep in sin that we begin to tolerate our sinful lifestyle as if our sins weren't that bad. For example, a homosexual person may be so proud of being gay that they end up in love with their partner and assume that it's impossible to leave. So they get married because they think they're in love. Another example: a heterosexual couple may have sex outside of marriage. They end up getting emotionally connected so they move in together and never get married because they no longer see living in sin as wrong. 26 Israel is like a thief who feels shame only when he gets caught. They, their kings, officials, priests, and prophets—all are alike in this. Don't recognize sin until you get caught. See it as wrong because God says it is. Take His advice ahead of time. 27 To an image carved from a piece of wood they say, ‘You are my father.’ To an idol chiseled from a block of stone they say,‘You are my mother.’They turn their backs on me, but in times of trouble they cry out to me,‘Come and save us!’ 28 But why not call on these gods you have made? When trouble comes, let them save you if they can! For you have as many gods  as there are towns in Judah. Don't just pray when things are good. Pray when things are bad too! Persevere during trials so that your faith can get stronger. Why spend our days worshipping false gods knowing that they are worthless and God is real? Choose to worship Jesus alone. 29 Why do you accuse me of doing wrong? You are the ones who have rebelled,” says the LordNever question God's authority. It isn't Him whose unfaithful; it is us. 30 “I have punished your children, but they did not respond to my discipline.You yourselves have killed your prophets as a lion kills its prey. Don't close your ears to God's directions. God is the same today and forever. He is still with you and His Word remains the same. Hallelujah! 31 “O my people, listen to the words of the LordHave I been like a desert to Israel?  Have I been to them a land of darkness? Why then do my people say, ‘At last we are free from God!  We don’t need him anymore!" You need the Lord. You cannot make it on your own. Don't think that you don't need Him because you think He can't help. He can help you if you have faith. 32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry, or a bride her wedding dress? Yet for years on end my people have forgotten me. Keep your faith alive and rely on it as your most cherished possession that you can't stand to be without. 33 “How you plot and scheme to win your lovers. Even an experienced prostitute could learn from you! 34 Your clothing is stained with the blood of the innocent and the poor,though you didn’t catch them breaking into your houses! 35 And yet you say,‘I have done nothing wrong. Surely God isn’t angry with me!’ But now I will punish you severely because you claim you have not sinned. Pay attention to the signs. Live holy and don't lean on your own understanding. If God says it is sin then, it is sin. It doesn't matter what you make yourself believe or what the world accepts. 36 First here, then there—  you flit from one ally to another asking for help. But your new friends in Egypt will let you down, just as Assyria did before. 37 In despair, you will be led into exile with your hands on your heads, for the Lord has rejected the nations you trust.They will not help you at all.

This concludes my 2-day study of Jeremiah chapters 1 and 2. Hope that I could be a help to you. Like, Share and leave feedback! God bless you!

*Wisdom is when we can apply bible knowledge to our every day decisions. I could have simply read these chapters and assumed that they applied to the Israelites only. But that would be just like any other book... Wisdom without knowledge is pointless.The bible wasn't written just so we could know about our ancestors. It was written so that we could learn from their mistakes as well as their accomplishments. He was the same God for them so He is the same for us. His Word can never change. God gives us wisdom when we diligently seek Him.

 His Word has come alive in my life. He is my flashlight and a lamp unto my feet. I need His Word to direct me as I awake and arise to face each day in victory! Let His Word come apart of your daily life. Let the bible give you clear understanding. It doesn't make a big difference in someone's life to tell them a bunch of scriptures if you aren't going to interpret them through your words and actions. Read your bible with purpose.

 I don't boast about knowing a bunch of bible verses. I boast only in the Lord because I can hear His voice as I spend time reading His Word. It's all about having a relationship with God. I desire for you to get to know Him better!! 2 Peter 3:18.

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