From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 8/6:

Today Jeremiah tells the people, who would never heed God’s words, the horrors that will occur when Jerusalem is besieged. There will be a great famine and the people will resort to cannibalism – “I will make this city desolate and a hissing; everyone who passes by it will be astonished and hiss because of all its plagues. And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his friend in the siege and in the desperation with which their enemies and those who seek their lives shall drive them to despair.” 

The Lord has Jeremiah break a potter’s flask in front of the people to symbolize their inevitable calamities and say to them – “Behold, I will bring on this city and on all her towns all the doom that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their necks that they might not hear My words.”

Pashhur the priest becomes angry when he hears the word of God. So he beats Jeremiah and throws him in the stocks until the next morning. When Pashhur releases him, Jeremiah tells Pashhur that he and all his family will be taken as captives to Babylon where they will die along with his friends “to whom you have prophesied lies.”

Jeremiah’s calling upon his life creates quite a personal struggle for him. If he shares God’s words he is mocked and beaten. But Jeremiah says he can’t stay silent because, “His word was in my heart like a burning fire.” Jeremiah’s calling causes him so much angst that he even curses being born. However, Jeremiah will stay faithful to the Lord, no matter the cost.

God never promises that life will be easy, but He does promise to be with us through the difficult. Jeremiah remembers God’s faithfulness in the midst of his persecution – “But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One. Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper. Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten. But, O Lord of hosts, you who test the righteous, and see the mind and heart, let me see Your vengeance on them; for I have pleaded my cause before You.”

We will see more examples of God’s faithfulness to His people through hard trials with Daniel and his friends as we enter the Captivity Era. The Captivity of Judah occurs in 3 waves: 1) 605 BC when Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are taken to Babylon, 2) 597 BC when Ezekiel and King Jehoiachin are taken to Babylon, and 3) 587/586 BC when most of Jerusalem is destroyed by Babylon. Today we begin the Captivity Era with the book of Daniel as the first wave is taken into exile. 

In 605 BC Babylon besieged Jerusalem, and Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, tells the master of his eunuchs (a eunuch is a man who has been castrated to serve in the court), “To bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.”

Daniel and his friends are determined to serve and honor the Lord in this foreign land, so they do not defile themselves with the king’s delicacies or wine. And since “God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs,” they were allowed to drink water and eat vegetables which made them healthier than the other men. 

“As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams… And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.”

Keep reading to see how the Lord will use the knowledge and understanding He gave to Daniel and his friends to further accomplish His plans and purposes.  (Jeremiah 19:1-20:18, Daniel 1:1-21)

14 Eras: 

Creation Era (Gen 1:1-11:26) ✔️

Patriarch Era (Gen 11:27-50:26 and Job) ✔️

Exodus Era (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) ✔️

Conquest Era (Joshua) ✔️

Judges Era (Judges, Ruth) ✔️

Kingdom Era (1,2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles 1-9, 1 Kings 1-11, various Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon) ✔️

Divided Kingdom Era (2 Chronicles 10-36, 1 Kings 11-22, 2 Kings, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and some of Jeremiah) ✔️

Captivity Era (the rest of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel) up now! 

Eras to follow: 

Return, Silent, Gospel, Church, Missions, and End 

Times/New Beginnings

From today’s reading Tyndale’s the One Year Chronological Bible dated 8/5:

The Lord tells Jeremiah that He is about to pour out His anger on all the nations beginning with His own people, Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. He says although the people may not want to drink from His cup of wrath they most certainly will – “For behold, I begin to bring calamity on the city which is called by My name, and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth.”

During the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, the Lord says to Jeremiah: “Take a scroll of a book and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah even to this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the adversities which I purpose to bring upon them, that everyone may turn from his evil way, that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.”

So Jeremiah has Baruch, a scribe, write the scroll. Then Jeremiah instructs Baruch to read the scroll “in the hearing of the people in the Lord’s house on the day of fasting. And you shall also read them in the hearing of all Judah who come from their cities. It may be that they will present their supplication before the Lord, and everyone will turn from his evil way.”

When Judah’s officials hear the words, they look in fear at one another and say they will take these words to King Jehoiakam. However, King Jehoiakim does not fear the word of the Lord; instead, he takes the scroll, tears it up and burns it. Then he tries to seize Baruch and Jeremiah, but the Lord protects them. 

The Lord instructs Jeremiah to prepare another scroll with the same words and say — “You have burned this scroll, saying, ‘Why have you written in it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and cause man and beast to cease from here?’ Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: ‘He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. I will punish him, his family, and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring on them, on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and on the men of Judah all the doom that I have pronounced against them; but they did not heed.’” Soon in the story, Babylon is going to invade Jerusalem and take Jehoiakim, his family, and his servants into captivity. Then the king of Babylon will place another descendant of King David as king of Judah (2 Kings 24:10-17).

At the hearing of the message of destruction that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah, Baruch says “Woe is me now! For the Lord has added grief to my sorrow. I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.” Therefore the Lord says to Baruch – “Behold, what I have built I will break down, and what I have planted I will pluck up, that is, this whole land. And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh… But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.” 

Baruch is discouraged by his personal suffering and by the chaos that is surrounding him. He was hoping for great things for himself, but the Lord tells him that there is no life to be found in exalting yourself. True life is only found in trusting the Lord and exalting His Name. 

Jeremiah continues to announce judgment against other nations, but the Lord gives great hope for His people – “‘I will save you from afar, and your offspring from the land of their captivity; Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease; no one shall make him afraid. Do not fear, O Jacob My servant,’ says the Lord, ‘For I am with you; for I will make a complete end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but I will not make a complete end of you. I will rightly correct you, for I will not leave you wholly unpunished.’”

Tomorrow the Divided Kingdom Era comes to an end as we enter the Captivity Era. Keep reading. (Jeremiah 25:15-38, Jeremiah 36:1-32, Jeremiah 45:1-46:28)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 8/4:

After King Josiah was killed in battle, Egypt made Judah a vassal kingdom and imposed a tribute on the land. Jehoahaz, who did evil in the sight of the Lord, only reigns for three months in Judah before the king of Egypt, Necho, takes him off to captivity in Egypt. Necho then places Jehoahaz’ brother Eliakim on the throne and changes his name to Jehoiakim.

Jehoiakim taxes the people to pay Egypt the silver and gold demanded by Necho. Jehoiakim is also a wicked king, so the Lord sends Jeremiah with messages for both Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim, the sons of Josiah. Jeremiah tells them that the palace will be destroyed and Jehoahaz shall die in Egypt where Necho took him captive. The Lord says about Jehoiakim – “Yet your eyes and your heart are for nothing but your covetousness, for shedding innocent blood, and practicing oppression and violence.” Therefore, Jehoiakim shall have a disgraceful burial and be, “Dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.”

Then Jeremiah, standing outside the temple, warns the people to turn from their evil ways and heed the words of the Lord or He, “Will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.” However, this message from the Lord is not what the people want to hear, so they threaten Jeremiah saying, “You will surely die!” But Jeremiah does not back down. He says, “do with me as seems good and proper to you. But know for certain that if you put me to death, you will surely bring innocent blood on yourselves, on this city, and on its inhabitants; for truly the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”

Others come to the defense of Jeremiah. They say to remember when the prophet Micah also spoke against Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah and no one killed him. In fact, it led the people to repentance. So Jeremiah escapes death with the intervention of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan who was Josiah’s scribe during the religious reform.

“In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. Then he turned and rebelled against him. And the Lord sent against him raiding bands of Chaldeans, bands of Syrians, bands of Moabites, and bands of the people of Ammon; He sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken by His servants the prophets. Surely at the commandment of the Lord this came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed; for he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the Lord would not pardon.”

Jeremiah says since the people would never listen to the Lord, He is going to send them off to captivity, “And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” 

Tomorrow Jeremiah continues to speak of the Lord’s judgment upon Judah; and in two days reading, the first wave will be taken into captivity. So keep reading. (2 Chronicles 36:1-4, 2 Kings 23:31-37, 2 Chronicles 36:5, Jeremiah 22:1-23, Jeremiah 26:1-24, 2 Kings 24:1-4, Jeremiah 25:1-14)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 8/3:

Zephaniah announces judgment against Judah’s enemies. Yesterday he said the Lord will destroy the Philistines, and their coastland will be left for the remnant of Judah that will be brought out of captivity. Today he proclaims judgment against Moab and Ammon, Lot’s descendants, who have continually attacked the Israelites. The Lord says He will destroy Moab and Ammon like He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in the days that Lot and his daughters fled the destruction. Then His people will possess their land.

Highlighting God’s sovereignty over all the nations, Zephaniah says the Lord will also cut down Ethiopia and Assyria because of their wickedness. Then Zephaniah turns his attention to the city of Jerusalem, who has not obeyed the voice of God – “Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, to the oppressing city! She has not obeyed His voice, she has not received correction; she has not trusted in the Lord, she has not drawn near to her God.” 

Although Judah has seen the Lord judge the nations around them for their wickedness, Judah still does not turn from their evil ways. Therefore, the Lord is bringing judgment upon His own people. However, the Lord will one day bring restoration – “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord… And you shall no longer be haughty in My holy mountain. I will leave in your midst a meek and humble people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.” Many commentators believe that the Lord is speaking of the day when Jesus returns and rules as the righteous King. In that day there will be great rejoicing – “Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall see disaster no more.”

The current king of Judah, Josiah, dies in battle because he does not heed God’s warning not to interfere with Necho of Egypt who was aligning with the Assyrians to attack the Babylonians. Then Jehoahaz, Josiah’s son, becomes the next king of Judah.

In addition to Zephaniah, the Lord is also using Jeremiah to speak of God’s judgment upon the nations of Philistia and Moab. Babylon will overthrow both these nations. The Lord says to Moab, “For because you have trusted in your works and your treasures, you also shall be taken. And Chemosh shall go forth into captivity, His priests and his princes together. And the plunderer shall come against every city; no one shall escape. The valley also shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the Lord has spoken.” Chemosh is the national deity of the Moabites. And since Chemosh is a false god, he will provide no saving power for the Moabites. 

However, the Lord gives Moab a word of hope similar to that of Judah. He says, “Fear and the pit and the snare shall be upon you, O inhabitant of Moab… Woe to you, O Moab! The people of Chemosh perish; for your sons have been taken captive, and your daughters captive. Yet I will bring back the captives of Moab in the latter days.” Many believe the restoration that will occur in the latter days is a prophecy of the coming Messiah, when we will see Gentiles convert to Christ followers.

Tomorrow we learn that Jeremiah isn’t very popular with the people in Judah — not everyone wants to hear the truth from the Lord. However, Jeremiah will stay faithful to sharing the word of God in spite of public opinion and his own comfort and security. Keep reading. (Zephaniah 2:8-3:20, 2 Chronicles 35:20-27, 2 Kings 23:29-30, Jeremiah 47:1-48:47)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 8/2:

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 8/2:

Habakkuk’s ministry was during the last days of Judah before the Babylonian invasion. Habakkuk is struggling with understanding the plans of the Lord so he takes his concerns to God – “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.”

Habakkuk can’t understand why God is allowing all of this wickedness to occur. So the Lord responds – “For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, a bitter and nasty nation” to bring judgment against Judah. But Habakkuk questions how the Lord can use people more wicked than Judah to judge Judah. The Chaldeans lived in the southern part of Babylon and were known for their cruelty. Habakkuk asks, “Shall they therefore empty their net, and continue to slay nations without pity?”

The Lord assures Habakkuk that He will judge the wicked in His perfect timing. The proud who walk in their own evil ways will be destroyed, “But the just shall live by faith.” The Lord is reminding Habakkuk not to worry about what he sees but to trust the Lord and walk by faith because the Lord always acts on behalf of those who trust Him and wait on Him (Isaiah 64:4). So Habakkuk submits to the Lord in prayer. He remembers God’s goodness, His sovereignty over the world, and His protection for His people. Therefore, Habakkuk says, “I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”

God also sends Zephaniah, a descendant of King Hezekiah, with a message for Judah during the days of King Josiah. Under the reign of King Josiah’s father, Amon, and his grandfather, Manasseh, the nation of Judah became corrupt and full of idolatry. Zephaniah’s message was one of judgment against Judah for turning their backs on the Lord and turning to the worship of false gods. The Lord says, “I will cut off every trace of Baal from this place, the names of the idolatrous priests with the pagan priests—Those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops; those who worship and swear oaths by the Lord, but who also swear by Milcom; those who have turned back from following the Lord, and have not sought the Lord, nor inquired of Him.” And this is exactly what King Josiah is doing. King Josiah is ridding the land of Judah of idolatry and leading the people to the worship of the Lord.

Zephaniah says judgment is coming against the royalty and the merchants. Judgment is also coming against the complacent, and no one will be able to hide from the Lord’s judgment – “And it shall come to pass at that time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled in complacency, who say in their heart, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil.’”

At the end of the story, Jesus will also have a word for the complacent or lukewarm —“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth…Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:15-19). 

Lukewarm people are so entangled in worldliness that they can’t be distinguished as Christ followers. They do not spend their time seeking to know the Lord, nor do they have a real burden for lost people to come to know Jesus as their Savior. Lukewarm people go about their lives afraid to speak truth from the word of God in order to avoid offending anyone. They simply perform the religious motions on Sundays and go back to their worldly cares and concerns for the rest of the week. 

As Charles Spurgeon says, “Religion cannot long be lukewarm; it will either die out or it will kindle and set you all on fire.” A person on fire for the Lord can live in a world full of chaos and evil but still have peace knowing that what the Lord said to Habakkuk is true. He will serve judgment to the wicked in His perfect timing, and He will save those who have faith in Him. However, in order to be on fire for the Lord, you have to know Him. In order to know Him, you have to spend time with Him through prayer and reading His word. So keep reading! (Habakkuk 1:1-3:19, Zephaniah 1:1-2:7)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 8/1:

Josiah gathers all the people of Judah, both small and great. “And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord. Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. And he made all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin take a stand. So the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. Thus Josiah removed all the abominations from all the country that belonged to the children of Israel, and made all who were present in Israel diligently serve the Lord their God. All his days they did not depart from following the Lord God of their fathers.” 

During the purge of the false gods, Josiah inquires of a certain tombstone. The men of the city said to him – “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things which you have done against the altar of Bethel.” Remember on June 9th when we read about this man of God? The Lord sent him from Judah to give Jeroboam, the first king of Israel, a word from the Lord after Jeroboam led the nation into idolatry. The man of God stood before Jeroboam – “Then he cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord, and said, “O altar, altar! Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men’s bones shall be burned on you’” (1 Kings 13:2). Today, about three hundred years after the man of God approached Jeroboam, Josiah fulfilled that prophecy.

Josiah also commands the people to keep the Passover just as the Lord commanded the Israelites in the wilderness. The Passover is an annual celebration commemorating their deliverance from Egypt – “There had been no Passover kept in Israel like that since the days of Samuel the prophet; and none of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as Josiah kept, with the priests and the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah this Passover was kept.”

Next we meet the prophet Nahum who begins his ministry before the fall of Assyria in 612 BC. Nahum describes the sovereignty and goodness of the Lord but says He will not tolerate wickedness. He proclaims judgment against Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, and in contrast he speaks of the Lord’s mercy toward Judah.

Not long ago we read about Jonah unwillingly visiting Nineveh and the people repenting (Jonah 3). “This repentance, however, did not last beyond 745 B.C. when Tiglath-pileser made his people the leading military power in the Near East. The vast Assyrian Empire was established by bloodshed and massacre, cruelty and torture, destruction, plundering, and exiling such as has seldom been seen in history.” (ESV Study Bible)

Remember, the Assyrians are the ones that destroyed Northern Israel as a nation. Nahum tells Nineveh that the Lord is against them and that He is going to send an enemy to shame them before all the nations. And when Nineveh falls, “All who hear news of you will clap their hands over you, for upon whom has not your wickedness passed continually?” 

All nations are under control of the sovereign hand of the Lord. Soon He will destroy the Assyrian empire and raise up Babylon as His “battle ax” to bring judgment upon Judah and the surrounding nations.

Tomorrow we will hear from the prophets Habakkuk and Zephaniah, so keep reading. (2 Kings 23:1-20, 2 Chronicles 34:29-33, 2 Kings 23:21-28, 2 Chronicles 35:1-19, Nahum 1:1-3:19)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/31:

“‘Hear this now, O foolish people, without understanding, who have eyes and see not, and who have ears and hear not: Do you not fear Me?’ says the Lord… But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; they have revolted and departed. They do not say in their heart, ‘Let us now fear the Lord our God.’”

The people are in complete rebellion against the Lord and disaster is upon them, but their leaders are saying, “Peace, peace! When there is no peace.” This is a message that the people want to hear instead of truth from the Lord. However, the truth is that the Lord is sending the Babylonians to destroy Judah because of their wickedness. Jerusalem will be punished because “She is full of oppression in her midst. As a fountain wells up with water, so she wells up with her wickedness. Violence and plundering are heard in her. Before Me continually are grief and wounds.”

The Lord tells the people that the only way for true peace and rest for their souls is to walk in His ways and not their own ways. But the people choose to ignore the ways of the Lord and instead walk in the ways of their evil hearts. Therefore, “Because they have not heeded My words nor My law, but rejected it”, an invasion is coming from the north, from Babylon. “They will lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel and have no mercy; their voice roars like the sea; and they ride on horses, as men of war set in array against you, O daughter of Zion.”

One of the reasons that Judah has become so corrupt is that “the priests rule by their own power.” This is because they are ignoring the Book of the Law. When King Josiah is in his eighteenth year as king, he sends Hilkiah, the high priest, to the temple to count the money to be distributed to the overseers of the temple for repairs to the house of the Lord. And guess what Hilkiah finds?! The Book of the Law. I’m not sure what the priests were doing all this time, but they definitely weren’t reading and sharing God’s word.

Shaphan, the scribe, takes the Book of the Law to Josiah and reads it to him. When Josiah hears the word of God, he tears his clothes and tells Hilkiah, Shaphan, and others, “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is aroused against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”

So the men go to a woman named Huldah, the prophetess. And she gives the leaders a word from the Lord. She explains that the Lord will bring calamity on Judah because of their great rebellion. But as for King Josiah, “because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you… Surely, therefore, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the calamity which I will bring on this place.” 

Tomorrow Josiah reads the Book of the Law to all the people in Judah. We have seen throughout this story that every time the Book of the Law is elevated, a spiritual revival occurs — and we will see it happen again in tomorrow’s reading. So keep reading. (Jeremiah 5:20-6:30, 2 Kings 22:3-20, 2 Chronicles 34:8-28)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/30:

Today the Lord likens Judah to an unfaithful bride and to her rebellious sister Israel who never learned. The Lord calls out, “O generation, see the word of the Lord!” But the people ignore the word of God and claim to be innocent and free of sin as they walk in their evil ways and not in the ways of the Lord.

“They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, may he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? ‘But you have played the harlot with many lovers; yet return to Me,’ says the Lord.”

According to the Book of the Law, the answer is no — a husband can not return to his wife who was with another man (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). However, the Lord in His mercy is still pursuing His unfaithful people – “‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the Lord; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the Lord; ‘I will not remain angry forever.’” 

But the people refuse to repent and return to the Lord. Even after Judah watched the Lord put away and divorce her unfaithful sister Israel, Judah still did not fear the Lord and repent, making Judah worse off than Israel.

The Lord says to Judah – “‘Return, O backsliding children,’ says the Lord; ‘for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding… At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts.’”

Jeremiah explains the type of repentance that is required – “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your hearts… O Jerusalem, wash your hearts from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you?” The Lord does not want a mere outward change in appearance and behavior. He wants a deep inward change of the heart.

The Lord says the people are foolish because of their lack of wisdom of the knowledge of God – “For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” In their arrogance and ignorance of God, the people believe they are wise; but they are only wise in doing what the Lord calls evil. 

The people refuse to receive correction from the Lord and lie about Him. Therefore, judgment is upon them – “Because you speak this word, behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. Behold, I will bring a nation against you from afar.”

The Lord is sending Babylon from the north to serve judgment against Judah. However, the Lord says, “l will not make a complete end of you. And it will be when you say, ‘Why does the Lord our God do all these things to us?’ then you shall answer them, ‘Just as you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve aliens in a land that is not yours.’”

God always leaves a remnant to fulfill His plan to bring the Messiah as the cure for the people’s deeply sick heart issue. We are all born with a sinful heart that is prone to idolatry. Therefore, we are all in need of a heart transplant by the Lord. In order to receive a new heart that is pleasing to the Lord, we must repent of our sins and trust in the final sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ. Out of love, Jesus will sacrifice Himself as a cure for our sin problem so that we may be deemed righteous – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Keep reading. (Jeremiah 2:23-5:19)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/29:

Manasseh begins his reign at twelve years old, and he is an evil king. He rebuilds all the high places his dad tore down, he practices witchcraft, and he even places a carved image of Asherah in the house of the Lord. “So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.”

The Lord tries to speak to Manasseh and the people, but they would not listen. Therefore, the Lord’s anger is provoked, and He delivers His people into the hands of the Assyrians “who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon. Now when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.” 

So Manasseh learns the hard way that there is only one true God. When he returns to Jerusalem, he takes away all the foreign gods and commands Judah to worship the Lord. 

When Manasseh dies, his evil son, Amon, becomes king of Judah. “And he did not humble himself before the Lord, as his father Manasseh had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more.” So Amon’s servants kill him. Then his son, Josiah, becomes the next king of Judah.

Josiah is only eight years old when he takes the throne. Josiah reigns for thirty-one years. “And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” When Josiah is sixteen years old, he begins seeking the Lord; and when he turns twenty, he begins purging the land of all the false gods.

This is when we are introduced to Jeremiah. Jeremiah is a young man who is called into ministry in the thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign. The Lord has a very specific calling on the life of Jeremiah. God is going to use him to send a message to Judah. Like Moses in the Exodus Era and Gideon in the Judges Era, Jeremiah questions if he is up to the calling. God tells Jeremiah the same thing that he told Moses and Gideon — that He, the Lord God Almighty, will be the One doing the work. Jeremiah, like the others, will simply be an instrument in the Lord’s hand.

God warns Jeremiah that the people “will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you.” So the Lord sends Jeremiah to Jerusalem to bring a case against His people. “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns – broken cisterns that can hold no water.” The people have left the life-giving Lord for lifeless false gods which could never quench their thirst.

The Lord compares the people to a harlot, a weed, and a person so dirty that no amount of washing could make them clean. The people are in need of the Lord and the coming Savior who will shed His blood for the stains of our sin so that we may be clean before the Lord and have true life. And when Jesus Christ arrives on the scene,  He will cry out to the people – “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37). Jesus’ invitation is open to all. Anyone who puts their trust in Him will receive the Holy Spirit who will seal your salvation and change your heart of stone to a heart that is pleasing to the Lord and will be a blessing to others. 

More from Jeremiah tomorrow, so keep reading. (2 Kings 21:1-9, 2 Chronicles 33:1-9, 2 Kings 21:10-17, 2 Chronicles 33:10-19, 2 Kings 21:18, 2 Chronicles 33:20, 2 Kings 21:19-26, 2 Chronicles 33:21-25, 2 Kings 22:1-2, 2 Chronicles 34:1-7, Jeremiah 1:1-2:22)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/28:

“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him. You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, who remembers You in Your ways. You are indeed angry, for we have sinned— in these ways we continue; and we need to be saved. But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.”

Isaiah knows that we are all stained by sin, and even our best attempts at being good or righteous are just as gross as filthy rags. Therefore, we are all in need of a Savior. 

The Lord says, “I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts; a people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face.” Although the Lord has been patient with His people, desiring for them to repent, He says, “Behold, it is written before Me: I will not keep silence, but will repay.” 

However, the Lord always saves a remnant to accomplish His plans and purposes –  “So will I do for My servants’ sake, that I may not destroy them all. I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there.” The Lord is still working His plan to bring the Messiah from the tribe of Judah, from King David’s descendants. 

But for the ones who turned their backs on the Lord – “I will number you for the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter; because, when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear, but did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight.” However, “My servants shall sing for joy of heart, but you shall cry for sorrow of heart, and wail for grief of spirit.”

Then the Lord speaks of a future day when He will bring final judgment and ultimate restoration – “For behold, the Lord will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword the Lord will judge all flesh; and the slain of the Lord shall be many… For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory…And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles.” We will see partial fulfillment of this prophecy with the first coming of Jesus and completion after His return.

Isaiah ends his book explaining that we all have a final destiny based on how we respond to the word of God. For those who hear, repent and accept Him as their Savior, their destiny is one of eternal worship. For the ones who do not, their destiny is one of a worm in an eternal fire – “‘All flesh shall come to worship before Me,’ says the Lord. ‘And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.’”

If you are alive today and you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Lord is being patient and merciful toward you. Today is the day to choose Christ and live! 

Tomorrow Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son, takes the throne in Judah and we meet the prophet Jeremiah, so keep reading. (Isaiah 63:15-66:24, 2 Kings 20:20-21, 2 Chronicles 32:32-33)