Day 191: A Very Foolish Choice

Jeremiah 49:7-14

Of Edom, Yahweh of Armies says:
“Is wisdom no more in Teman?
Has counsel perished from the prudent?
Has their wisdom vanished?
Flee! Turn back!
Dwell in the depths, inhabitants of Dedan;
for I will bring the calamity of Esau on him when I visit him.
If grape gatherers came to you,
would they not leave some gleaning grapes?
If thieves came by night,
wouldn’t they steal until they had enough?
But I have made Esau bare,
I have uncovered his secret places,
and he will not be able to hide himself.
His offspring is destroyed,
with his brothers and his neighbors;
and he is no more.
Leave your fatherless children.
I will preserve them alive.
Let your widows trust in me.”

For Yahweh says: “Behold, they to whom it didn’t pertain to drink of the cup will certainly drink; and are you he who will altogether go unpunished? You won’t go unpunished, but you will surely drink. For I have sworn by myself,” says Yahweh, “that Bozrah will become an astonishment, a reproach, a waste, and a curse. All its cities will be perpetual wastes.”
I have heard news from Yahweh,
and an ambassador is sent among the nations,
saying, “Gather yourselves together!
Come against her!
Rise up to the battle!”

Have you noticed that when Israel was being judged, it became a time of upheaval for all the nations surrounding it? Once Israel was judged, the hammer came down on the rest as well. It’s interesting that the nations were trying to destroy Israel, but what they were really doing was cutting off the branch of the tree that they were resting on. That’s how foolish it is to oppose God. Whenever we do that we destroy ourselves.

This passage is about God’s judgment of Edom which was the nation that came from Esau. A part of Edom called Teman was known for its wise sages. God mocks them here because they had rejected Him and by doing so, elected to destroy themselves. There’s nothing more foolish than that.

Here we read that God decided to destroy this people entirely. God mentions that under normal circumstances, attackers would leave some people behind when they’ve had enough, but God was going to cause them to be completely wiped out. There was one exception, however. God was going to save the widows and the orphans! The people who had no husband or father to protect them were going to continue to be protected by God Himself.

Once again, this passage reminds us of a Grand Theme of the Bible: God’s grace saves us by faith in His word. When we decide that we are strong enough on our own to oppose God, we become weak and are brought down by God Himself, but when we are weak and we trust in God for our salvation, God is gracious to us and saves us in the worst of circumstances. There is nothing more foolish than trusting in our own strength and failing to trust in God.

Day 130: Survival in the Wilderness

Jeremiah 31:1-6

“At that time,” says Yahweh, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.”

Yahweh says, “The people who survive the sword found favor in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.”

Yahweh appeared of old to me, saying,
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.
Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.
I will build you again,
and you will be built, O virgin of Israel.
You will again be adorned with your tambourines,
and will go out in the dances of those who make merry.
Again you will plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria.
The planters will plant,
and will enjoy its fruit.
For there will be a day that the watchmen on the hills of Ephraim cry,
‘Arise! Let’s go up to Zion to Yahweh our God.’ ”

This writing is still very mysterious to me but I see a correlation to parts of the Bible that are much less mysterious. If I am right about the previous passage’s relating to the “Day of the Lord,” then this passage is merely a continuation of the discussion about the Israelis living at that time.

It does fit that this is talking about the same things. We read more detail about that time in the book of Revelation. In that book, God reveals that there will come a time in which a part of Israel will hide from the terror of a wicked world leader. At first they think he’s good, but they suddenly discover that he is the worst of the worst.

Revelation 12:13-14

When the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. Two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, so that she might be nourished for a time, times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

As you can see this passage uses symbolic language and if God allows us to make it all the way to Revelation, I intend to discuss it more, but for now, it’s important to know that the dragon is understood to be Satan and the woman the Israelis. At that time, these Israelis will run away “into the wilderness to her place.” So, God has planned a place to protect the Israelis from this evil in the wilderness and they will survive.

It’s also good to understand the part at the end of our passage, that talks about people from Ephriam and Samaria, delighted to go up to Zion. People living back at the time of Jeremiah and even up to now, know that this is not something that one would expect. If you remember back to what we read in the history of Israel, the nation split into two parts. The northern part set up its capitol in Samaria and that was the place where people from that part of the country were told to worship God instead of Jerusalem. The woman at the well in the book of John actually mentions this issue. Here we read that the people from Samaria will again long to go to Jerusalem to worship which is quite a departure. A day is coming when Israel will be united again and will have one king who will rule from Jerusalem. Israel will be at peace and will live happily ever after, but only after a false king attempts to rule there first.

Day 75: The Mercy of a Serious God

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Yahweh, you know.
Remember me, visit me,
and avenge me of my persecutors.
You are patient, so don’t take me away.
Know that for your sake I have suffered reproach.
Your words were found,
and I ate them.
Your words were to me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart,
for I am called by your name, Yahweh, God of Armies.
I didn’t sit in the assembly of those who make merry and rejoice.
I sat alone because of your hand,
for you have filled me with indignation.
Why is my pain perpetual,
and my wound incurable,
which refuses to be healed?
Will you indeed be to me as a deceitful brook,
like waters that fail?

Therefore Yahweh says,
“If you return, then I will bring you again,
that you may stand before me;
and if you take out the precious from the vile,
you will be as my mouth.
They will return to you,
but you will not return to them.
I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall.
They will fight against you,
but they will not prevail against you;
for I am with you to save you
and to deliver you,” says Yahweh.
“I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and I will redeem you out of the hand of the terrible.”

It appears to me that God accused Jeremiah of being undependable. He’s definitely the One to know. Even though Jeremiah did speak God’s words and separated himself from the people, he must have been influenced by them. This is exactly why it is so personal to me. I have this very same sin in my life. I do speak the truth, but am often influenced by the thoughts of those to whom I am speaking. This perverts my attitude. What the Bible actually tells me to do is to have a clean separation between the ideas of the world and the ideas of God. I should never be allowing myself to think as they do. Could it be that Jeremiah’s complaint to God exposed the fact that he was beginning to think that he really was worthy of people’s hatred? It appears that, by this, Jeremiah was allowing the thoughts of others to influence his. The truth was that Jeremiah didn’t deserve their hatred and that they were completely wrong and would soon be discovering that fact. What they thought about Jeremiah only made it worse for them and that’s it. Let’s look at what God tells us as Christians now:

James 4:4

You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

God calls friendship with the world “hostility toward God”. We shouldn’t being going along with the world’s ways at all. God made this clear to Jeremiah in His response, but He also made it clear that if Jeremiah was willing to stay on track, God would make him like a wall that no one would be able to penetrate. The Creator of the Universe personally vowed to be Jeremiah’s protector even though Jeremiah had shown himself to be less than worthy. That is mercy. I find that God is more serious about sin than we are, but He uses it to express the depth of His mercy toward those who put their trust in Him.