Loud and Clear

March 25, 2020 at 11:10 am | Posted in Jeremiah | Leave a comment
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In Chapter One, Jeremiah was called and commissioned by God as a prophet to the kingdom of Judah. He was warned that this would not be a pleasant task, but he was also encouraged by the dual promise of God’s Word and His presence. We, too, have these same promises – in some ways to a greater extent: not just periodic revelations and instructions, but the full Book. And not just an intellectual and faith-based experience of God’s presence, but the constant in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit.

We DO have those promises and assurances, but we DO NOT have the promise that our attempts to speak “prophetically” will be well-received, nor that they might not put us in danger. Just like Jeremiah, we should expect skepticism, anger, rejection, struggle, and even battle.

Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.

Jeremiah 1:17

Girding up the loins was what men in Bible times did when things were about to get real: for running or fighting or working.

For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.

Jeremiah 1:18

A defenced city is a place of protection, but the walls do get battered.

And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.

Jeremiah 1:19

After giving Jeremiah the visions or illustrations of the urgency of his mission (God’s judgment was right at hand), He told him him to go right to the “heart” of the problem.

Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.

Jeremiah 2:1-2

Jerusalem was the capital of Judah, and the geographical capital of God’s Kingdom on earth. There was no “time in the minors” for Jeremiah; he was sent straight to the big leagues. Nor was there any “spying out” period; no “getting the lay of the land.” The command to “cry in the ears” was a command to get right in their faces, to be loud and bold. We think of proximity to the ear as an occasion for whispering, but Jeremiah was told to YELL right in their ears, and he started by delivering the preamble to a legal declaration by God against the people and the nation. This was like an indictment or the service of a lawsuit. It began with the history of the unfaithfulness of God’s covenant people.

Israel was holiness unto the Lord, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the Lord. Hear ye the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?

Jeremiah 2:3-5

The Woke Bloke Who Broke the Yoke

October 15, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Posted in Jeremiah | 4 Comments
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Jeremiah Chapter 28 features a false prophet named Hananiah who stepped up to face Jeremiah and to challenge his message and authority. Even more dangerous than disregarding the Word of God is claiming that you yourself have a “word” from God when you do not. AND, even more dangerous still, is doubling down and claiming that God’s actual Word is false because it contradicts your own word. If you are partial to the Charismatic school of prophecy claims that God is giving extrabiblical revelation privately to “anointed” individuals today, then please take heed of this: Not all violations of God’s Old Testament law were considered to be capital offenses, but false prophecy certainly was.

Despite the risk involved with contradicting God and challenging His true prophecies, Satan has never had any difficulty in finding people willing to do it. Here, it would appear that his servant was the false prophet Hananiah.

And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, and in the fifth month, that Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon.

Jeremiah 28:1-2

This is a reference to, and refutation of, Jeremiah’s use of the ox-yoke as a symbol of how the people’s only hope now lay in submitting themselves to the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar.

Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the Lord’s house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon:

Jeremiah 28:3

Hananiah claimed that God told him the captives would be returned in two years, along with the accessories and implements used in Temple worship. This was another contradiction against Jeremiah, who, back in Chapter 25, had already revealed that God intended for the Babylonian captivity to last seventy years, not two years!

No doubt this emboldened the conspirators/ambassadors who had met together to form a secret alliance against Nebuchadnezzar. Here was a brash prophet claiming to speak in Yahweh’s name just like Jeremiah did, but saying that God would help them in their scheme. You can be sure that you will always find someone to support your unbiblical ideas if you look hard enough.

The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence. The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him.

Jeremiah 28:8-9

Jeremiah, realizing that competing claims to speak for Yahweh were giving excuses for the leaders to put their faith in the false Hananiah, reminded them of the prophetic tradition of which he was clearly a part. It’s not that God NEVER sent prophets to encourage people with messages of hope; it’s just that He did not lie and proclaim “peace” through His prophets to people who were in clear breach of the Deuteronomic Covenant. And, more importantly, Jeremiah’s previous prophecies had already been confirmed. Many of them had already come to pass. Beware of counselors in your life who coddle you in your sin, or who never tell you hard truth.

Hananiah’s pride would not let him accept a wait-and-see proposition to determine who was really speaking God’s truth here. He became either very angry or very dramatic.

Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck, and brake it.

Jeremiah 28:10

He snatched Jeremiah’s yoke from his neck and broke it. (Apparently Hananiah was a pretty strong dude.)

And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. And the prophet Jeremiah went his way.

Jeremiah 28:11

He acknowledged Jeremiah’s interpretation of the yoke as a symbol of Nebuchadnezzar’s dominance/protection, but, by breaking it, he was saying that God would break Nebuchadnezzar’s hold over the nations in two years. We can imagine everybody in the crowd looking at Jeremiah, who was not known for being violent, but WAS certainly known for being passionate and something of a loose cannon in their view… but he just meekly walked away.

He was not gone for long, however.

Then the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the prophet, after that Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron.

Jeremiah 28:12-13

He came back wearing a yoke of iron, as if to say, “Let’s see you break this one, Hananiah.” This symbol reminds us that in Revelation it is prophesied that Christ will rule the nations with a rod of iron.

Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord. So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.

Jeremiah 28:15-17

Jeremiah showed that he did not leave the previous confrontation because he lacked courage or doubted his own prophecies. He returned to get right in Hananiah’s face, called him a liar, and basically pronounced his death sentence for false prophecy.

The Servant Prophet

August 4, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Mark, parables | 2 Comments
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Jesus the Servant was a Servant King, a Servant Judge, and a Servant Prophet. A true prophet teaches, but He stresses obedience. Prophetic teaching is about more than just imparting information. Many of us Christians are educated beyond our level of obedience. Jesus wants us to understand what He says, and to DO what He says.

What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.

Mark 12:9

Why would the Lord of the vineyard do this? Because of what had been done to His servants, messengers, and his son:

And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.

Mark 12:1-8

If you’re rejecting one truth from God, you have no right to ask Him for a second truth to examine. The Jewish leaders rejected John the Baptist, so why were they examining the teaching of Jesus? Have you ever heard a professing Christian complain that, “I’m just not getting anything out of reading the Bible?” If we are not “getting anything” out of the Bible, it is because we are not “doing” what we do get.

A true prophet stresses obedience, and obedience brings responsibility. Prophets prophesy, but they don’t force people to act on their prophecies by putting a gun to their head or a sword to their neck. The responsibility to obey falls on the hearers.

And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.

Mark 12:13-17

Caesar’s image is on Caesar’s money, so it belongs to Caesar. God’s image is on me, so I belong to God.


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