Old Testament In a Year: November 8 – Lamentations 1, 2

Lamentations 1, 2
Focus Verse: The Lord is in the right, for I have rebelled against His word; but hear, all you peoples, and see my suffering; my young women and my young men have gone into captivity. – Lamentations 1:18

The people of Israel experienced harsh punishment from God because of years of unrepentant disobedience. Yet the writer of Lamentations, traditionally believed to be Jeremiah, writes that “the Lord is in the right”. He doesn’t curse God for the destruction that has come upon Israel. He doesn’t blame God. He doesn’t reject God.

“We have sinned against you,” the writer says, “and You are right to punish us.”

Such should be the attitude of our hearts when we find ourselves under God’s hand of chastisement because of some sin we have done. When we experience God’s wrath instead of His mercy and are recipients of His righteous anger instead of His good pleasure, it is easy to get bitter instead of better. But God does not intend for His chastisement to last forever. When we disobey Him, God punishes us out of love, not hate. He hurts us in order to heal us and wounds us so that we can be made whole.

Old Testament In a Year: November 7 – Jeremiah 43, 44

Jeremiah 43, 44
Focus Verse: “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you.” – Jeremiah 44:16

In refusing to listen to what Jeremiah told them, the remnant of Judah were not rejecting him, but God. They were not calling Jeremiah a liar (43:2), but God. The words that Jeremiah spoke were not his words, but God’s word and in refusing to obey them, the remnant of Judah were disobeying God Himself.

God will sometimes speak to us directly, but he often uses other people to speak His Word into our life. His Word is not always what we want to hear, but we must be careful not to refuse to listen to other people because in doing so, we may be refusing to listen to God.

We should ask God to give us His wisdom and discernment so that we will know when He is speaking and when He is not. Then, we should ask to be filled with His Spirit so that once we hear His Word, our hearts will not reject it, but receive it.

Old Testament In a Year: November 6 – Jeremiah 41, 422

Jeremiah 41, 42
Focus Verse: That the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do. – Jeremiah 42:3

The prayer that the people asked Jeremiah the prophet to pray on their behalf is a good prayer. It is one that we all should pray and pray often.

Dear God: Please show me the way that I should go. Please show me the thing that I should do.

We should not wait to pray this prayer after disaster has struck…after we have made a bad decision…after all has gone wrong and we have no other person to turn to for help. Even though God gave them more than enough time to turn to Him, the people waited until they were overrun and almost completely destroyed by Babylon before they decided to seek His way and His will.

Before we take one step, we should first seek God’s way.

Before we make one decision, we should first seek God’s will.

Matthew 6:33 encourages us to “seek FIRST the kingdom of God” before we seek anything else. When we are faithful in seeking God first and what it is that He wants done, we will find that…our paths will be directed, our plans will be established, and all other things will be added unto us.

Old Testament In a Year: November 5 – Jeremiah 39, 52, 40

Jeremiah 39, 52, 40
Focus Verse: “For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in Me,” declares the Lord. – Jeremiah 39:18

When Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and almost destroyed it completely, a lot of people lost their life. One would think that the king of Jerusalem, with his army and palace and wealth, would have been able to save his life. But, no! The king and all the king’s men perished. Their lives were lost because their trust was in themselves and in what they possessed instead of being in God.

On the other hand, the life of Jeremiah the prophet and the life of Ebed-melech the Ethiopian were saved. The sword did not slay them. Famine did not fell them. Because they put their trust in God and kept their trust in God regardless of their circumstances, they were able to survive the war and live the rest of their life in relative peace.

There are some who trust in chariots and some who trust in horses, but may we be among those who trust in the name of the Lord our God. His salvation will preserve our life, not only here for a moment…but in Heaven for an eternity.

Old Testament In a Year: November 4 – Jeremiah 34, 37, 38

Jeremiah 34, 37, 38
Focus Verse: Jeremiah said, “You shall not be given to them. Obey now the voice of the Lord in what I say to you, and it shall be well with you, and your life shall be spared.” – Jeremiah 38:20

Those who obey the words of God, even when they do not understand, will find that things will always be well with them. God blesses those who are obedient to Him. And ultimately, those who are obedient to Him will have their life spared. Death in this world will not be the end for them, but only the beginning to living a life that will last forever.

Old Testament In a Year: November 3 – Jeremiah 33, 21

Jeremiah 33, 21
Focus Verse: Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. – Jeremiah 33:6

God specializes in restoring what is ruined and in making that which is broken beautiful again.

He has promised to do it to His people. In days to come, Israel will be restored to its former glory and all its people will receive health and healing, prosperity and peace. Instead of the curses of sin, they will experience the blessings of salvation. Instead of the guilt of rebellion, they will experience the freedom of redemption.

God is also in the process of restoring and making beautiful everyone who comes to Him by way of His Son, Jesus the Christ. When we trust in Him, we experience health and healing from the sickness of sin. An abundance of spiritual prosperity and eternal security is made available to us in Heaven. Our future is restored and God reshapes and rebuilds us as He originally formed us to be. We are cleansed from guilt. And as new creatures in Christ, we reflect the joy and glory of God before all the world as we tell of the good that He has done for us.

Old Testament In a Year: November 2 – Jeremiah 31, 32

Jeremiah 31, 32
Focus Verse: Ah, Lord God! It is You who have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for You. – Jeremiah 32:17

Jeremiah did not always understand God’s doings, but this prayer shows that he maintained trust in Him regardless. Because God had made the heavens and the earth, Jeremiah knew that nothing was too hard for Him to do.

Jeremiah didn’t guess: I think nothing is too hard for God.

He didn’t question: Is nothing too hard for God?

He declared: Nothing is too hard for You.

What would happen if we prayed with this declaration in mind and mouth? God, I don’t understand Your ways in this or Your thoughts in that, but this I know – nothing is too hard for You. And since nothing is too hard for You…because nothing is impossible with You, please do the impossible for me, with me, and through me.

May the truth that there is nothing too hard for God to do, be the foundation of our faith and the ground of our prayers. And if ever we begin to doubt this truth, may we take a moment to look at the heavens and the earth, at the sun and the moon and the stars, at the oceans and the mountains, at our self – created out of nothing, spoken into existence by the word of God. This observance will surely strengthen our faith and increase our prayers. No, nothing is too hard for the One who made everything.

Old Testament In a Year: November 1 – Jeremiah 51, 30

Jeremiah 51, 30
Focus Verse: It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heavens. – Jeremiah 51:15

Sin is evidence that we either do not know who God is or we have forgotten who God is – if not permanently, then for a moment.

After being chosen by God, delivered from Egypt by God, and abundantly blessed with the Promised Land and so much more by God, Israel turned to sin because she forgot who God is – mighty and miraculous, good and great and gracious, longsuffering and everlasting, patient and powerful, and above all…HOLY, a God who cannot stand sin.

After being raised up by God to become a mighty nation and conquer many other nations (including God’s chosen nation, Israel), Babylon started and continued in sin because she did not know who God is. She did not realize that it was He who had given her the might she had.

As followers of Christ, it is easy to forget who God is when we become too familiar with Him. We’ve been praying to Him for years and reading the Bible every day. We’ve been going to church faithfully and know all the lyrics to all the praise songs. So, we think we know God well. He’s just the same as one of our human friends. We talk to Him any which way. He’s the big guy upstairs who only cares about out happiness and who we run to when we want something.

This type of “knowing” God is wrong. Because we are finite and He is infinite, it is impossible to fully know God. If we could fully know God and understand all His ways, He would not be God. We must be careful not to minimize the majesty and might of God just so we can wrap our minds around Him. God is POWERFUL…the One who made the earth. He is WISE…the One who established the world. He is UNDERSTANDING…the Person who stretched out the heavens. And above all, He is HOLY…the One who hates sin. He hates it so much that He turned His back on His only begotten Son as He hung on the cross, bruised and crushed by the sins of the entire world.

In its end, sin only brings forth pain and death, but in its beginning, sin often has a way of making us feel happy. And if engaging in sin brings us feelings of happiness, then God doesn’t care about our happiness. He cares about our holiness. He cares about us becoming more like Him. Therefore, He will not wink at our wrongdoing or turn a blind eye when we do bad things just because He wants us to be happy. God’s holiness trumps our happiness every time.

God. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. He is higher…so much higher than we. Never forget.