“O God, how long will the adversary reproach? Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever? Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? Take it out of Your bosom and destroy them. For God is my King from of old, Working salvation in the midst of the earth.” Psalm 74:10-12 NKJV
Somedays it takes more faith to see we are winning than other days – I mean, over the last couple days how many souls met the afterlife and learned the truth and then I think of how many perished. The 7.2 Magnitude earthquake in Haiti followed by strong aftershocks and then floods. The wildfires caught the Holy City on fire on the 17th despite authorities believing the fires were under control. The crisis in Afghanistan. The Israeli strike on Syria. China’s siege on Taiwan and threats against the USA if they interfere. And the mysterious blast near a power plant in Beirut Lebanon. And the list goes on and on. Pray for our World!
Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is from the book of Jeremiah chapters 38-40, Psalm chapters 74 and 79 (embedded below the image below for your convenience.) Today’s reading continues Jeremiah’s dungeon time – toss in the dungeon and then brought out, in and out. Eventually God puts it in the heart of King Nebuchadnezzar to have His men set Jeremiah free – but God had already given Jeremiah another mission to go on.
Here is something I think is very interesting about this time period in Biblical history. Many books of the Bible were passed down by oral tradition. It was during the years leading up to and early in the Babylonian captivity that many of the books of the Bible were finally written down. Especially the ones they thought would give, the people in captivity, hope.
The Book of Job was one of these books. And one I also find myself referring to in my daily discussions with others. Obviously Job is about God’s sovereignty and ultimate hand in all things – basically comparing Job’s suffering to an antelope that was innocent yet in its prime, fed the lion who was equally innocent. How God decides and manages such things is outside of our ability to reason. Yet while doing it all – He is interested in a relationship with me and wants to even share small talk with me.
Another book written down at this time is Psalms… David’s prayers and songs were collected and not in chronological order – instead in an order to give hope to the captives. They are put in an order that would teach the children of captivity how to worship and pray without the temple to attend. In a symbolic way, the Psalms are the temple. It is no wonder I feel so strongly that we should be praying the psalms – be like David (a man after God’s heart)! We are the temple, under grace and the new covenant – all the more we should understand the temple in this way. I know many who dress to adorn the temple, which is not wrong and we should – but what about filling the courts with thanksgiving and praise, making the living sacrifices daily as they held the daily sacrifices in Solomon’s temple. What about hiding in the cave like David, or entering the Holy of Holy’s, or us going into the secret place to commune with the Lord?! Oh how we need the Psalms in such a time as this – like they understood they would need the Psalms in the Babylonian captivity – so they wrote them down and compiled them.
Jesus said to bless your enemies and pray for them… and sometimes we forget that Jesus was trying to instill a respect for human life the same way God the Father sees human life. David also saw human life with the same reverence – David would not touch the Lord’s anointed but David prayed for their arms to be broken, for confusion to overtake them, for arrows from God Himself to wound them. Other Psalmists also prayed for hard consequences on their enemies.
Evil world leaders do not care for the sanctity of human life – they only care about physical blessings and personal gain. Do not pray for them to be blessed in personal gain – this is NOT what Jesus means. Do not pray for evil either – pray like the Psalms for righteous consequences that give Glory to the Father! Pray that through it – their souls might also be saved. Pray like the Psalms.
We have many prayer requests today (like today and day three of praying for my sister). But let us pray on behalf of our Godly brothers and sisters around the world, especially in Afghanistan but also everywhere – including each other (all who read this blog).
Let us pray Psalm 79:
“O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance; Your holy temple [the body of Christ and the Christians are the temple of today] they have defiled; They have laid Jerusalem in heaps. The dead bodies of Your servants They have given as food for the birds of the heavens, The flesh of Your saints to the beasts of the earth. Their blood they have shed like water all around Jerusalem, [around Haiti, around Afghanistan, and so many other places] And there was no one to bury them. We have become a reproach to our neighbors, A scorn and derision to those who are around us. [Have you noticed how Hollywood and the US Music industry mocks God and Christ – but they are never seen mocking buddha or any symbols of the muslim religions. Only Jews and Christians are a reproach.]
“How long, Lord? Will You be angry forever? Will Your jealousy burn like fire? [Literal fires consuming Jerusalem?] Pour out Your wrath on the nations that do not know You, And on the kingdoms that do not call on Your name. For they have devoured Jacob, And laid waste his dwelling place. Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, For we have been brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, For the glory of Your name; And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, For Your name’s sake!
“Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
Let there be known among the nations in our sight The avenging of the blood of Your servants which has been shed. Let the groaning of the prisoner come before You; According to the greatness of Your power Preserve those who are appointed to die; And return to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom Their reproach with which they have reproached You, O Lord. So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations.” AMEN (Psalm 79 NKJV)
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
MEMORY WORK: As I promised, this year is full of memory verses that when the enemy comes up against us we can quote: It is written! Just as Jesus did when the devil tempted him. I know I have the victory and I must just stand fast and continue to submit to God… so let us memorize and quote this with authority! So as we submit, we can remind the old devil where he can go!
NKJV – “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”
NAS – “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.”
ESV – “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
AMP – “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth shall have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth shall have [already] been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”
NIV – “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will bebound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will beloosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!
BIBLE READING: Jeremiah 38-40, Psalm 74 & 79 NKJV
Jeremiah in the Dungeon
38 Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, Jucal[a] the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken to all the people, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord: ‘He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes over to the Chaldeans shall live; his life shall be as a prize to him, and he shall live.’ 3 Thus says the Lord: ‘This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.’ ”
4 Therefore the princes said to the king, “Please, let this man be put to death, for thus he [b]weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man does not seek the [c]welfare of this people, but their harm.”
5 Then Zedekiah the king said, “Look, he is in your hand. For the king can do nothing against you.” 6 So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah [d]the king’s son, which was in the court of the prison, and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire. So Jeremiah sank in the mire.
7 Now Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, one of the [e]eunuchs, who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon. When the king was sitting at the Gate of Benjamin, 8 Ebed-Melech went out of the king’s house and spoke to the king, saying: 9 “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon, and he is likely to die from hunger in the place where he is. For there is no more bread in the city.” 10 Then the king commanded Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, “Take from here thirty men with you, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon before he dies.” 11 So Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took from there old clothes and old rags, and let them down by ropes into the dungeon to Jeremiah. 12 Then Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Please put these old clothes and rags under your armpits, under the ropes.” And Jeremiah did so. 13 So they pulled Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the dungeon. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.
Zedekiah’s Fears and Jeremiah’s Advice
14 Then Zedekiah the king sent and had Jeremiah the prophet brought to him at the third entrance of the house of the Lord. And the king said to Jeremiah, “I will ask you something. Hide nothing from me.”
15 Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I declare it to you, will you not surely put me to death? And if I give you advice, you will not listen to me.”
16 So Zedekiah the king swore secretly to Jeremiah, saying, “As the Lord lives, who made our very souls, I will not put you to death, nor will I give you into the hand of these men who seek your life.”
17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘If you surely surrender[f] to the king of Babylon’s princes, then your soul shall live; this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. 18 But if you do not [g]surrender to the king of Babylon’s princes, then this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans; they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand.’ ”
19 And Zedekiah the king said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews who have defected to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they abuse me.”
20 But Jeremiah said, “They shall not deliver you. Please, obey the voice of the Lord which I speak to you. So it shall be well with you, and your soul shall live. 21 But if you refuse to [h]surrender, this is the word that the Lord has shown me: 22 ‘Now behold, all the women who are left in the king of Judah’s house shall be surrendered to the king of Babylon’s princes, and those women shall say:
23 ‘So they shall surrender all your wives and children to the Chaldeans. You shall not escape from their hand, but shall be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon. And you shall cause this city to be burned with fire.’ ”
24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Let no one know of these words, and you shall not die. 25 But if the princes hear that I have talked with you, and they come to you and say to you, ‘Declare to us now what you have said to the king, and also what the king said to you; do not hide it from us, and we will not put you to death,’ 26 then you shall say to them, ‘I presented my request before the king, that he would not make me return to Jonathan’s house to die there.’ ”
27 Then all the princes came to Jeremiah and asked him. And he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they stopped speaking with him, for the conversation had not been heard. 28 Now Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison until the day that Jerusalem was taken. And he was there when Jerusalem was taken.
The Fall of Jerusalem
39 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2 In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the [k]city was penetrated.
3 Then all the princes of the king of Babylon came in and sat in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer, Samgar-Nebo, Sarsechim, [l]Rabsaris, Nergal-Sarezer, [m]Rabmag, with the rest of the princes of the king of Babylon.
4 So it was, when Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, that they fled and went out of the city by night, by way of the king’s garden, by the gate between the two walls. And he went out by way of the [n]plain. 5 But the Chaldean army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. And when they had captured him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced judgment on him. 6 Then the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes in Riblah; the king of Babylon also killed all the nobles of Judah. 7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him with bronze [o]fetters to carry him off to Babylon. 8 And the Chaldeans burned the king’s house and the houses of the people with fire, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive to Babylon the remnant of the people who remained in the city and those who defected to him, with the rest of the people who remained. 10 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left in the land of Judah the poor people, who had nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields [p]at the same time.
Jeremiah Goes Free
11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, 12 “Take him and look after him, and do him no harm; but do to him just as he says to you.” 13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent Nebushasban, Rabsaris, Nergal-Sharezer, Rabmag, and all the king of Babylon’s chief officers; 14 then they sent someone to take Jeremiah from the court of the prison, and committed him to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, that he should take him home. So he dwelt among the people.
15 Meanwhile the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, 16 “Go and speak to Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for adversity and not for good, and they shall be performed in that day before you. 17 But I will deliver you in that day,” says the Lord, “and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. 18 For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,” says the Lord.’ ”
Jeremiah with Gedaliah the Governor
40 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him bound in chains among all who were carried away captive from Jerusalem and Judah, who were carried away captive to Babylon.
2 And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him: “The Lord your God has pronounced this doom on this place. 3 Now the Lord has brought it, and has done just as He said. Because you people have sinned against the Lord, and not obeyed His voice, therefore this thing has come upon you. 4 And now look, I free you this day from the chains that [q]were on your hand. If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you. But if it seems wrong for you to come with me to Babylon, remain here. See, all the land is before you; wherever it seems good and convenient for you to go, go there.”
5 Now while Jeremiah had not yet gone back, Nebuzaradan said, “Go back to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people. Or go wherever it seems convenient for you to go.” So the captain of the guard gave him rations and a gift and let him go. 6 Then Jeremiah went to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, to Mizpah, and dwelt with him among the people who were left in the land.
7 And when all the captains of the armies who were in the fields, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed to him men, women, children, and the poorest of the land who had not been carried away captive to Babylon, 8 then they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah—Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah[r] the son of a Maachathite, they and their men. 9 And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, took an oath before them and their men, saying, “Do not be afraid to serve the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. 10 As for me, I will indeed dwell at Mizpah and serve the Chaldeans who come to us. But you, gather wine and summer fruit and oil, put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken.” 11 Likewise, when all the Jews who were in Moab, among the Ammonites, in Edom, and who were in all the countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, 12 then all the Jews returned out of all places where they had been driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruit in abundance.
13 Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, 14 and said to him, [s]“Do you certainly know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to murder you?” But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam did not believe them.
15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah in Mizpah, saying, “Let me go, please, and I will kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he murder you, so that all the Jews who are gathered to you would be scattered, and the remnant in Judah perish?”
16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, “You shall not do this thing, for you speak falsely concerning Ishmael.”
b Jeremiah 38:4 Is discouraging
c Jeremiah 38:4 Well-being; lit. peace
d Jeremiah 38:6 Or son of Hammelech
e Jeremiah 38:7 Or officers
f Jeremiah 38:17 Lit. go out
g Jeremiah 38:18 Lit. go out
h Jeremiah 38:21 Lit. go out
i Jeremiah 38:22 Or misled
j Jeremiah 38:22 Deserted you
k Jeremiah 39:2 city wall was breached
n Jeremiah 39:4 Or Arabah; the Jordan Valley
o Jeremiah 39:7 chains
p Jeremiah 39:10 Lit. on that day
q Jeremiah 40:4 Or are
s Jeremiah 40:14 Or Certainly you know that
A Plea for Relief from Oppressors
A [a]Contemplation of Asaph.
74 O God, why have You cast us off forever?
Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?
2 Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old,
The tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed—
This Mount Zion where You have dwelt.
3 Lift up Your feet to the perpetual desolations.
The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary.
4 Your enemies roar in the midst of Your meeting place;
They set up their banners for signs.
5 They seem like men who lift up
Axes among the thick trees.
6 And now they break down its carved work, all at once,
With axes and hammers.
7 They have set fire to Your sanctuary;
They have defiled the dwelling place of Your name to the ground.
8 They said in their hearts,
“Let us [b]destroy them altogether.”
They have burned up all the meeting places of God in the land.
9 We do not see our signs;
There is no longer any prophet;
Nor is there any among us who knows how long.
10 O God, how long will the adversary [c]reproach?
Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever?
11 Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand?
Take it out of Your bosom and destroy them.
12 For God is my King from of old,
Working salvation in the midst of the earth.
13 You divided the sea by Your strength;
You broke the heads of the [d]sea serpents in the waters.
14 You broke the heads of [e]Leviathan in pieces,
And gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
15 You broke open the fountain and the flood;
You dried up mighty rivers.
16 The day is Yours, the night also is Yours;
You have prepared the light and the sun.
17 You have set all the borders of the earth;
You have made summer and winter.
18 Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O Lord,
And that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name.
19 Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast!
Do not forget the life of Your poor forever.
20 Have respect to the covenant;
For the [f]dark places of the earth are full of the [g]haunts of [h]cruelty.
21 Oh, do not let the oppressed return ashamed!
Let the poor and needy praise Your name.
22 Arise, O God, plead Your own cause;
Remember how the foolish man [i]reproaches You daily.
23 Do not forget the voice of Your enemies;
The tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.
a Psalm 74:1 Heb. Maschil
b Psalm 74:8 oppress
c Psalm 74:10 revile
d Psalm 74:13 sea monsters
e Psalm 74:14 A large sea creature of unknown identity
f Psalm 74:20 hiding places
g Psalm 74:20 homes
h Psalm 74:20 violence
i Psalm 74:22 reviles or taunts
A Dirge and a Prayer for Israel, Destroyed by Enemies
A Psalm of Asaph.
79 O God, the [a]nations have come into Your inheritance;
Your holy temple they have defiled;
They have laid Jerusalem [b]in heaps.
2 The dead bodies of Your servants
They have given as food for the birds of the heavens,
The flesh of Your saints to the beasts of the earth.
3 Their blood they have shed like water all around Jerusalem,
And there was no one to bury them.
4 We have become a reproach to our neighbors,
A scorn and derision to those who are around us.
5 How long, Lord?
Will You be angry forever?
Will Your jealousy burn like fire?
6 Pour out Your wrath on the [c]nations that do not know You,
And on the kingdoms that do not call on Your name.
7 For they have devoured Jacob,
And laid waste his dwelling place.
8 Oh, do not remember [d]former iniquities against us!
Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us,
For we have been brought very low.
9 Help us, O God of our salvation,
For the glory of Your name;
And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins,
For Your name’s sake!
10 Why should the [e]nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Let there be known among the nations in our sight
The avenging of the blood of Your servants which has been shed.
11 Let the groaning of the prisoner come before You;
According to the greatness of Your [f]power
Preserve those who are appointed to die;
12 And return to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom
Their reproach with which they have reproached You, O Lord.
13 So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture,
Will give You thanks forever;
We will show forth Your praise to all generations.
a Psalm 79:1 Gentiles
b Psalm 79:1 in ruins
c Psalm 79:6 Gentiles
d Psalm 79:8 Or against us the iniquities of those who were before us
e Psalm 79:10 Gentiles
f Psalm 79:11 Lit. arm