Daily readings from Jeremiah: week commencing 6th Nov

As you read each passage, pray for God’s help. Ask yourself:

  • What does God reveal about Himself?
  • How is your own heart revealed?
  • How does this passage underline the wonder of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, and your own need of Christ as Saviour and Lord?
  • Turn these truths into prayer and praise.

6 November Jer 42:1-6

What seems like a genuine plea from the army officers for divine guidance is, in fact, dubious. It is significant that they already stand on the road to Egypt (41:17). The reference to “your (Jeremiah’s) God” (v.2) hints at a deeper truth than they realized, despite v.6 (“our God”). Do they really want to know God’s will and obey it, or are they simply hoping for divine endorsement of their own plans? What follows supplies the answer.

7 November Jer 42:7-22

The word from God repeats a familiar theme. The way of safety lies in submitting to the Babylonians. God’s answer goes against human intuition and once again poses the question, “In whom will we trust? Ourselves and our wisdom, or God and His word?” To seek refuge in Egypt rather than the Lord is as offensive to God as ever (vv.13-22). Man-made havens promise much, but end in disappointment. God alone is His people’s safety.

8 November Jer 43:1-7

The truth of Jeremiah’s prophetic words has been amply demonstrated by the recent destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. Yet once again, Jeremiah is accused of speaking falsely (v.2). The claim that the Lord is “our God” (v.2) is not made in humble submission but with the arrogance that thinks God will endorse our own plans. The temptation to think that our own interpretation of God’s will is true, especially if it fits what we desperately want to believe, is as real today as it was then.

9 November Jer 43:8-13

Even in Egypt God continues to speak to His people, and will yet appeal to them for repentance (44:7). However, His present word warns of judgement. Egypt will prove no safe haven from Nebuchadnezzar (“my servant”, v.10). In trying to save themselves from Babylon, these people have put themselves in the direct path of the Babylonian armies. In the event, Nebuchadnezzar invaded and defeated Egypt in 568/7 BC (compare Ezekiel 29:17-20).

10 November Jer 44:1-14

God continues to speak to His people even in Egypt. He warns them that just as He punished their forebears for idolatry (vv.2-6), so the current generation is courting disaster by turning to false gods (vv.7-10). God’s impassioned reproach (vv.7-9: “Why … Why … Have you forgotten …?) shows that the impending judgement is as unwelcome to Him as it is inevitable (compare Mt 23:37-38). Yet even now, judgement is characteristically tempered by mercy (v.14).

11 November Jer 44:15-30

The idolaters argue that when they worshipped the Queen of Heaven they prospered (vv.15-19). Jeremiah points out that it was just such worship that had brought those days to an end (vv.20-23). Compare the modern secularist who blames all our ills on Christianity, not the lack of it. Jeremiah’s final word to them warns that Pharaoh Hophra will prove no more of a refuge than Zedekiah did (v.30). The whole Egyptian enterprise was under God’s judgement because it was an attempt at self-salvation.

12 November Jer 45:1-5

Baruch’s bleak ending (43:6-7) was in stark contrast to the “great things” he might have hoped for as a member of a distinguished family (45:5). But this brief chapter reveals how Baruch had faced up to the cost of discipleship twenty years earlier (45:1, compare 36:1,4). His private drama (45:3) had to be accepted in view of the bigger drama in progress (v.4). Yet God was watching over His faithful servant (v.5).