October 5, 2011
Jeremiah 4:19-6:15; Colossians 1:18-2:7;
Psalm 77:1-20; Proverbs 24:23-25
God answers by describing not how long there will be suffering, but why there must be suffering. The nation of Israel has backslidden into idolatry. They are dishonest, greedy, lustful, and rebellious. God describes this as being clever in doing what is wrong, but having no talent for doing what is right! Verses 23-31 are a double prophecy that look not only to the coming capture of Jerusalem by Babylon, but also the future Great Tribulation when Israel is persecuted by the Antichrist. The Great Tribulation is often represented by a woman giving birth to wind or futility. Jerusalem and the nation of Israel are that woman giving birth and being in pain. The illustration is that of the child (Jesus), who is born prior to the woman's labor, as the one who will come and rescue Jerusalem from this pain. We saw this description in Isaiah's prophesies.
Chapter 5 continues with God's desire to find honesty among His people, but alas, all are dishonest. The leaders have led the people astray. God is justified in using a mighty and ancient nation to punish the people of Judah for their rebellion. Verse 18 is God's promise that even though their punishment is severe, He will not blot the nation of Israel out completely. He will preserve a remnant among them.
Chapter 6 is a warning to run!! The judgment is coming! God describes Jerusalem as spouting evil like a fountain. The battering rams will come against her. She will be invaded and overtaken. God's fury will pour out over Jerusalem in this coming captivity.
As the story of the Bible unfolds, God's judgment comes upon the earth. We have seen foreshadowing of this with Noah's flood, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and we will see it finally in the Great Tribulation. Only the death of Christ provides redemption from God's wrath upon sin. Jesus was sent to reconcile a broken relationship between mankind and a Holy God.
Have you accepted Christ's redemption for you?
As the Apostle Paul explains to the church in Colosse the role of Christ on earth, we see that Jesus is the head of the Church. The Church is a different entity than the nation of Israel. The Church was established when Jesus was the first to raise from the dead. Jesus is the first in everything.
Jesus is the great peacemaker, because it is his death on the cross that satisfies the wrath of God against sin and redeems the debt we owed to God because of our sins. Jesus reconciles mankind to God. Paul explains that our evil thoughts and actions keep us apart from God. We see God's anger against sin in our reading in Jeremiah today. Jesus' death allows us to stand before God without a single fault held against us.
Paul explains that he is responsible to give a secret message to the Gentiles that has been hidden for centuries. This secret message is that Christ is able to live inside of believers through His Holy Spirit. His Spirit inside of a person is the guarantee that they will live forever. Remember, God is the only thing that lasts forever. You must have His Spirit inside of you in order to live for eternity. This is what was kept secret until the Church age.
Because of this truth, believers should be knit together in love. Christ is the secret to having the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Christ is everything that counts. This knowledge should lead to obedient living. Our roots are to go down deeply into Christ and draw up nourishment from Him. This will make us strong in our faith and able to live in truth. This truth will cause us to overflow with thanksgiving.
What do you think of this secret message? Are you overflowing with thanksgiving?
Notice how the psalmist starts out distressed and depressed. He works his way back into praising God for who He is. This is a key to dealing with our troubles through faith in God. Remember who He is. Remember that He loves you and is powerful. Remember that He has a good plan for us, even in our suffering. Christ suffered. He relied upon God. He never lost the faith. Hang tough, friends!
Justice is important. This proverb speaks of that truth.
What are you learning? Please share.