GLIMMERS OF HOPE
Father, the heavens declare your glory, the earth your love. For your greatness and tenderness, I praise you.
Read JEREMIAH 16
Day of Disaster
16 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 2 “You must not marry and have sons or daughters in this place.” 3 For this is what the Lord says about the sons and daughters born in this land and about the women who are their mothers and the men who are their fathers: 4 “They will die of deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried but will be like dung lying on the ground. They will perish by sword and famine, and their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals.”
5 For this is what the Lord says: “Do not enter a house where there is a funeral meal; do not go to mourn or show sympathy, because I have withdrawn my blessing, my love and my pity from this people,” declares the Lord. 6 “Both high and low will die in this land. They will not be buried or mourned, and no one will cut themselves or shave their head for the dead. 7 No one will offer food to comfort those who mourn for the dead—not even for a father or a mother—nor will anyone give them a drink to console them.
8 “And do not enter a house where there is feasting and sit down to eat and drink. 9 For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Before your eyes and in your days I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in this place.
10 “When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the Lord decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?’ 11 then say to them, ‘It is because your ancestors forsook me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law. 12 But you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors. See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts instead of obeying me. 13 So I will throw you out of this land into a land neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.’
14 “However, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 15 but it will be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors.
16 “But now I will send for many fishermen,” declares the Lord, “and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks. 17 My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes. 18 I will repay them double for their wickedness and their sin, because they have defiled my land with the lifeless forms of their vile images and have filled my inheritance with their detestable idols.”
19 Lord, my strength and my fortress,
my refuge in time of distress,
to you the nations will come
from the ends of the earth and say,
“Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods,
worthless idols that did them no good.
20 Do people make their own gods?
Yes, but they are not gods!”
21 “Therefore I will teach them—
this time I will teach them
my power and might.
Then they will know
that my name is the Lord.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectConsider the ways in which your church community is seeking to communicate the gospel.
There are times when God asks his prophets to live out the message he is seeking to communicate to his people: Hosea, Isaiah and Ezekiel were all asked to do things at great personal cost (Hosea 1; Isaiah 20; Ezekiel 24:15–24). It is the same for Jeremiah as he is asked to forgo the gift of wife and children to show what life will be like under God’s judgment.
God’s determination to get his message heard and understood at times requires personal sacrifice for his messengers. God coming to live as a human in the person of his Son, the Lord Jesus, is the supreme example of his commitment to have his message of love and grace toward people heard loud and clear.
God’s judgment has a purpose (vs 14,15). Restoration is the goal for the people of Judah and one day it will be reported as significantly as the Exodus from Egypt. Jeremiah is inspired by this glimmer of hope and sees that a day is coming when the nations will turn to the living God (v 19).
If only God’s people will recognize again that he is the Lord, the God of power and might (v 21), and will turn to him in repentance and faith. This is the way to life.
Find ways to bring a message of hope in your community; be willing for some personal sacrifice.
Loving Father, when all seems lost, that is when you begin to work. Help me to remember this truth and believe that you can say yes to my heart’s desires.
Book and Author Intros
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