Our Protection is in God
A daily devotion for August 9th
The Covenant Is Broken
11 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Listen to the terms of this covenant and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem. 3 Tell them that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant— 4 the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.’ I said, ‘Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God. 5 Then I will fulfill the oath I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey’—the land you possess today.”
I answered, “Amen, Lord.”
6 The Lord said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow them. 7 From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.” 8 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.’”
9 Then the Lord said to me, “There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. 10 They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors. 11 Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them. 12 The towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they will not help them at all when disaster strikes. 13 You, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shameful god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.’
14 “Do not pray for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress.
15 “What is my beloved doing in my temple
as she, with many others, works out her evil schemes?
Can consecrated meat avert your punishment?
When you engage in your wickedness,
then you rejoice.[a]”
16 The Lord called you a thriving olive tree
with fruit beautiful in form.
But with the roar of a mighty storm
he will set it on fire,
and its branches will be broken.
17 The Lord Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you, because the people of both Israel and Judah have done evil and aroused my anger by burning incense to Baal.
Plot Against Jeremiah
18 Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing. 19 I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree and its fruit;
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
that his name be remembered no more.”
20 But you, Lord Almighty, who judge righteously
and test the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
for to you I have committed my cause.
But, O LORD of hosts, who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.Jeremiah 11:20
Perhaps the central lesson of this book is what happened to Jeremiah as God prepared him to minister in a day of decay. He was called to a strange and difficult ministry. God gradually had to prepare him and toughen him increasingly for the assignments he was to be given in this nation. So Jeremiah was plunged into an even more difficult time than he had ever known before, a troubled time for the nation.
God sends young Jeremiah back to the nation with another word of warning and denunciation for the third time now in Jeremiah's ministry, God tells him not to pray for this nation:
Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble (Jeremiah 11:14 RSV).
This was what had distressed Jeremiah so much — that God would not even let him pray for them. He had laid a vocal quarantine on Jeremiah and had said,
I do not want you to pray, for prayer delays judgment. This had great effect upon Jeremiah. From here on we are going to see God's toughening of this young man in preparation for what was coming.
Jeremiah found something happening which absolutely threw him into consternation. He learned that there was a plot against his life by his own neighbors and friends. He tells us about it, beginning in Verse 18:
The Lord made it known to me and I knew; then thou didst show me their evil deeds. But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. (Jeremiah 11:18-19a RSV) Jeremiah realized how naive and blind he had been to trust these neighbors and friends. Now he understood that they had plotted against his life.
I did not know it was against me they devised schemes, saying, (Jeremiah 11:19b RSV) Jeremiah was dismayed that his friends would refuse to support him and would betray him in this way. He comes to the Lord and cries out,
Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.
But, O Lord of hosts who judges righteously, who tries the heart and the mind, let me see thy vengeance upon them, for to thee I have committed my cause. (Jeremiah 11:20 RSV)
He did the right thing. He brought his problem to the Lord. Some of us do not bother to do that when a trial strikes. We run to somebody else. But he brought it to the Lord. Yet he was a thorough-going evangelical, for, though he brought his problem to the Lord, he had with it also a complete plan for how God ought to solve it!
Father, help us lay aside our pride and commit ourselves to you, and your causes, for you are our protector always.
Life Application: How do we respond when God's response differs from our understanding? Do we presume to counsel Him? Or have we learned that His wisdom, His Presence and His power are everything we need for every situation?
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