Bible Reading / Book By Book: Proverbs to Luke
Day 17 / Jeremiah 1-2
Jeremiah was a prophet during the last years before Judah was defeated by Babylon. He is predicting Judah’s downfall, so he is delivering messages that are both hard to hear and hard to deliver. Chapter 1 records the time when God told Jeremiah he was to be God’s spokesperson. Jeremiah is concerned because he is young and doesn’t think people will listen to him. God lets Jeremiah know God has chosen him and he can trust God to take care of things.
Chapter 2 illustrates the relationship between God and Judah in a number of ways. It starts out well, like a couple that is in the beginning stages of infatuation, but turns sour over time. God says he has been faithful throughout, but Judah has pursued other inferior relationships. Verse 13 paints an interesting picture we miss in our time since most of us get water from faucets. God says he is like a spring of water, while Judah is digging leaking cisterns. Water from a spring tastes great! Water from a cistern is stagnant. Even worse: the cistern doesn’t hold water. God is saying you could have had a great relationship with me, but you chose something far worse.
We are confronted with the same choice today. I can choose to do life God’s way and enhance my relationship with the Creator of the universe who loves me unconditionally, or I can opt for something far less meaningful.
Jeremiah 1 (NASB)
Jeremiah’s Call and Commission
1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, 2 to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. 3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the exile of Jerusalem in the fifth month.
4 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
6 Then I said, “Alas, Lord God!
Behold, I do not know how to speak,
Because I am a youth.”
7 But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And all that I command you, you shall speak.
8 “Do not be afraid of them,
For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord.
9 Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me,
“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
10 “See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To pluck up and to break down,
To destroy and to overthrow,
To build and to plant.”
The Almond Rod and Boiling Pot
11 The word of the Lord came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.”
13 The word of the Lord came to me a second time saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.” 14 Then the Lord said to me, “Out of the north the evil will break forth on all the inhabitants of the land.15 For, behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdoms of the north,” declares the Lord; “and they will come and they will set each one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls round about and against all the cities of Judah. 16 I will pronounce My judgments on them concerning all their wickedness, whereby they have forsaken Me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands. 17 Now, gird up your loins and arise, and speak to them all which I command you. Do not be dismayed before them, or I will dismay you before them. 18 Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its princes, to its priests and to the people of the land.19 They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 2 (NASB)
2 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 2 “Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord,
“I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth,
The love of your betrothals,
Your following after Me in the wilderness,
Through a land not sown.
3 “Israel was holy to the Lord,
The first of His harvest.
All who ate of it became guilty;
Evil came upon them,” declares the Lord.’”
4 Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. 5 Thus says the Lord,
“What injustice did your fathers find in Me,
That they went far from Me
And walked after emptiness and became empty?
6 “They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord
Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
Who led us through the wilderness,
Through a land of deserts and of pits,
Through a land of drought and of deep darkness,
Through a land that no one crossed
And where no man dwelt?’
7 “I brought you into the fruitful land
To eat its fruit and its good things.
But you came and defiled My land,
And My inheritance you made an abomination.
8 “The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’
And those who handle the law did not know Me;
The rulers also transgressed against Me,
And the prophets prophesied by Baal
And walked after things that did not profit.
9 “Therefore I will yet contend with you,” declares the Lord,
“And with your sons’ sons I will contend.
10 “For cross to the coastlands of Kittim and see,
And send to Kedar and observe closely
And see if there has been such a thing as this!
11 “Has a nation changed gods
When they were not gods?
But My people have changed their glory
For that which does not profit.
12 “Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
And shudder, be very desolate,” declares the Lord.
13 “For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
That can hold no water.
14 “Is Israel a slave? Or is he a homeborn servant?
Why has he become a prey?
15 “The young lions have roared at him,
They have roared loudly.
And they have made his land a waste;
His cities have been destroyed, without inhabitant.
16 “Also the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes
Have shaved the crown of your head.
17 “Have you not done this to yourself
By your forsaking the Lord your God
When He led you in the way?
18 “But now what are you doing on the road to Egypt,
To drink the waters of the Nile?
Or what are you doing on the road to Assyria,
To drink the waters of the Euphrates?
19 “Your own wickedness will correct you,
And your apostasies will reprove you;
Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter
For you to forsake the Lord your God,
And the dread of Me is not in you,” declares the Lord God of hosts.
20 “For long ago I broke your yoke
And tore off your bonds;
But you said, ‘I will not serve!’
For on every high hill
And under every green tree
You have lain down as a harlot.
21 “Yet I planted you a choice vine,
A completely faithful seed.
How then have you turned yourself before Me
Into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine?
22 “Although you wash yourself with lye
And use much soap,
The stain of your iniquity is before Me,” declares the Lord God.
23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled,
I have not gone after the Baals’?
Look at your way in the valley!
Know what you have done!
You are a swift young camel entangling her ways,
24 A wild donkey accustomed to the wilderness,
That sniffs the wind in her passion.
In the time of her heat who can turn her away?
All who seek her will not become weary;
In her month they will find her.
25 “Keep your feet from being unshod
And your throat from thirst;
But you said, ‘It is hopeless!
No! For I have loved strangers,
And after them I will walk.’
26 “As the thief is shamed when he is discovered,
So the house of Israel is shamed;
They, their kings, their princes
And their priests and their prophets,
27 Who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
And to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
For they have turned their back to Me,
And not their face;
But in the time of their trouble they will say,
‘Arise and save us.’
28 “But where are your gods
Which you made for yourself?
Let them arise, if they can save you
In the time of your trouble;
For according to the number of your cities
Are your gods, O Judah.
29 “Why do you contend with Me?
You have all transgressed against Me,” declares the Lord.
30 “In vain I have struck your sons;
They accepted no chastening.
Your sword has devoured your prophets
Like a destroying lion.
31 “O generation, heed the word of the Lord.
Have I been a wilderness to Israel,
Or a land of thick darkness?
Why do My people say, ‘We are free to roam;
We will no longer come to You’?
32 “Can a virgin forget her ornaments,
Or a bride her attire?
Yet My people have forgotten Me
Days without number.
33 “How well you prepare your way
To seek love!
Therefore even the wicked women
You have taught your ways.
34 “Also on your skirts is found
The lifeblood of the innocent poor;
You did not find them breaking in.
But in spite of all these things,
35 Yet you said, ‘I am innocent;
Surely His anger is turned away from me.’
Behold, I will enter into judgment with you
Because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 “Why do you go around so much
Changing your way?
Also, you will be put to shame by Egypt
As you were put to shame by Assyria.
37 “From this place also you will go out
With your hands on your head;
For the Lord has rejected those in whom you trust,
And you will not prosper with them.”