Category: Posts from Pastor Eddie


MATTHEW: DAILY BIBLE READINGS

Eddie,
heart containing the text matthew 22:37-40

         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.

12 March Mt 22:34-40

Jesus sums up God’s law in two positive commandments: wholehearted love for God and neighbour (vv.37-40). No surprise here, for God’s law is not arbitrary. It reflects His own character of goodness and love, and we should too. But the call to love exposes our hearts, for we still love our own kingdom more than His. So even while we pray for strength to live a life of love, we confess our failings, and give thanks that we are not saved by the perfection of our love, but by His perfect love for us. Hallelujah!

13 March Mt 22:41-46

This time Jesus puts a question to the Pharisees concerning the Messiah’s identity. How can he be both David’s son (v.42) and David’s Lord (v.43)? Surely if he is David’s son, then David must be ‘lord’ to him? The incarnation provides the only answer. As to his humanity, the Christ is born in the line of David as his son (Mt 1:1-17), but as the eternal Son of God he is also David’s Lord (1:20,23). They marvelled at his wisdom (v.46), but alas, still refused his truth. That is always our danger.

14 March Mt 23:1-12

Mt 23, like the Sermon on the Mount, exposes religious hypocrisy (“they do not practice what they preach” v.3) where concern for external performance and reputation trumps real love for God and others. Jesus calls His followers to a different way of life. The desire to be exalted in the eyes of others is natural to our fallen hearts (vv.5-7), but is not to be our way (vv.8-12). My daily prayer is, “Lord, kill my pride before my pride kills me.” Perhaps, as a church, we should pray this together.

15 March Mt 23:13-24

Jesus spells out His complete rejection of hypocritical religion. It hides the way of salvation rather than making it plain (v.13) and becomes even more corrupting when it is passed on (v.15). It leads to hair-splitting folly (vv.16-22) and focuses on minutiae at the expense of weighty moral issues (vv.23-24). No wonder Jesus condemns its proponents as “blind guides” (v.24). May God preserve us from deceiving ourselves and others. Ps 139:23-4 is a suitable prayer in response.

16 March Mt 23:25-28

Washing only the outside of a cup leaves the inside dirty still. Likewise, whitewashing the outside of a tomb in no way cleans what’s inside. This, says, Jesus, is the problem with a religion that concentrates on externals: it overlooks the fact that the seat of our corruption is in the heart (vv.25-28). External ritual is powerless to bring about internal change. For that we need the transforming grace of Christ – the very thing that the Pharisees so tragically rejected. Seek that grace on your knees.

17 March Mt 23:29-36

Jesus’ final woe warns of the deceptive power of this kind of religion. The Scribes and Pharisees build monuments to past martyrs and boast that they would not have killed the prophets as their ancestors did. Yet at this very moment they are preparing to kill Jesus, and they will soon persecute His followers too. Thus they not only follow the way of their fathers; they actually bring it to its terrible climax in the murder of God’s own Son. Take heed to what is really in your heart.

18 March Mt 23:37-39

God’s long-delayed judgement on those who persecute His prophets was about to fall (vv.35-36). Yet this brings lament from Jesus, not gloating (vv.37-39). This chapter of woes arises from His heart of love, not from vengefulness. And still He offers grace to Pharisees. Was not Saul of Tarsus “a Pharisee of the Pharisees” (Ac 23:6) and the leading persecutor of Christ’s people? Yet grace was given to this “chief of sinners” so that we too might seek Christ’s mercy for our own severe failings (1Tim 1:16).

Matthew: Daily Bible readings for 5th – 11th March

Eddie,

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.

5 March Mt 21:18-22

The cursing of the fig-tree is an acted parable of the judgement that was coming on the temple. The tree bore leaves but no fruit (v.19). In that way, it mimicked the temple which also looked impressive from a distance but was spiritually barren. The disciples were amazed by the rapid withering of the tree, but Jesus promises them that prayer – the very thing the temple lacked (v.13) – will accomplish greater things (vv.21-22). Read Acts to see how these disciples proved it! Do you pray?

6 March Mt 21:23-27

Jesus exposes the hypocrisy of the religious leaders who were trying to trap him. They won’t admit John’s authority because he identified Jesus as the Messiah (v.25). Yet to condemn John’s ministry would lose them all credibility in the eyes of the people who honoured him as an authentic prophet (v.26). Their answer is a cop-out (v.27), allowing Jesus to refuse to answer them on their terms (though in vv.33-46 He makes the basis of His authority plain). Sadly, they were fighting against God. Are you?

7 March Mt 21:28-32

The tax collectors and prostitutes are the son who at first refused to do his father’s will but later obeyed. At John the Baptist’s preaching they repented and believed. But the religious authorities rejected first John and now Jesus – they are the son who boasted he would serve but didn’t. Even when the evidence of God’s work was overwhelming they refused to believe (v.32). They were left without excuse. Pray that we may never harden our hearts in this way, but gladly follow our Lord.

8 March Mt 21:33-46

The vineyard is a common biblical image for Israel (e.g., Isa 5:1-7). The tenants represent the religious leaders, as they knew (v.45). Throughout Israel’s long history, they refused to give God due honour, but acted as though they owned the vineyard. With incredible patience, God pleaded with them through a succession of prophets. Finally, He sent His Son, whom they murdered, resulting in judgement on them, but – amazingly – salvation for others (vv.42-44). God’s love WILL have a harvest!

9 March Mt 22:1-14

The marriage of the King’s Son is a picture of our salvation through union with Christ (Rev 19:9, 21:2), and is the goal of history. To reject the King’s invitation, as Israel’s leaders have done, is not merely rude; it is rebellion. But the King does not cancel the banquet; He invites others to the feast. Those who come in humble gratitude find a welcome, whatever their past (v.10) but there is no place for those who try to come on their own terms (vv.11-13). “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (Jn 3:36).

10 March Mt 22:15-22

Jesus’ opponents were hoping to get him into trouble either with the common people (for supporting the Roman taxation) or the Roman authorities (for opposing it). Jesus refuses a simplistic answer, but offers one that is both witty and wise. He sets out the bigger framework. Caesar’s authority is legitimate but limited – he must not claim what belongs only to God. By all means give him the coin bearing his image. But give only to God the thing that bears His image: yourself (Ge 1:26-27).

11 March Mt 22:23-33

The Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife (v.23) and sought to ridicule this idea as an absurdity (v.28). Replying, Jesus rebuked their ignorance of Scripture (vv.29,31-32). Did they really think that even death could break God’s covenant relationship of love with the patriarchs? They had not grasped God’s power to create a new order of life in which marriage is no longer necessary (v.30). Still today, much of our confusion and misery stems from ignorance of God’s word and doubting His power.

Daily Bible readings from Matthew, week commencing 26 Feb

Eddie,

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.

26 February Mt 19:13-15

The disciples’ hesitation about the commitment of marriage (v.10) is now matched by their attitude to children whom they seem to regard as an intrusion and an inconvenience vv.13-15). Just like the Pharisees, the disciples need God to change their hearts. They have not yet grasped that denying our selfishness and laying down our life for others – essential in both marriage and parenting – are at the heart of God’s kingdom. The one who loses His life for Jesus’ sake will find it. Are you learning this?

27 February Mt 19:16-30

The rich young man saw himself as a commandment keeper, but he had not begun to keep the first commandment (Ex 20:3). His heart was enslaved by his love of money, which far exceeded his love for God (vv.21-22). Jesus exposed the man’s inability to change his own heart. Thankfully, God can change us (v.26), as the disciples had begun to experience (v.27). Every sacrifice made for God will be rewarded, for in His kingdom the world judges as “last” will indeed be first (vv.28-30).

28 February Mt 20:1-16

This parable is not meant to be a business model! Jesus is not teaching us about pay-scales. His point is that the kingdom of God does not operate on the basis of merit at all. If it did, we would all be lost, for our sin merits judgement. But Jesus compares God to a landowner who is generous to a fault, lavish in His kindness. We must not despise His grace when we see it given to others, as though we are more deserving of it than them. We have no cause for complaint, only for gratitude. Do your life show it?

1 March Mt 20:17-28

Jesus sees a terrible death before Him (vv.17-19). He will not die as others do, not even as other crucified men do, but uniquely He will die bearing the price of our sin in order to save us (v.28). And the disciples? Their mind is set on self-promotion and honours (vv.20-24). That may be the world’s style of leadership, but Jesus’ followers are to have nothing to do with it (vv.25-27). “This is our God, the Servant King; He calls us now to follow Him …” Will you?

2 March Mt 20:29-34

The crowds are enjoying Jesus but do not share His compassion. Hence they try to silence the blind men (v.31), but these desperate men shout louder, and Jesus heals them (v.34). Are we desperate enough to do serious business with God? That’s often the missing link. There’s no other basis for coming to Jesus except our need and His unique ability to meet it. Jesus opened their eyes not just to the trees and flowers, but to the God who had come to save them. They followed Him (v.34) – you too?

3 March Mt 21:1-11

At last Jesus makes an open and deliberate statement of His identity as the Messiah. He does this by arranging His entry to Jerusalem in line with the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 (vv.4-5): let everyone know that He is the King of whom the prophet spoke! Yet He comes in gentleness, not with the stern vengeance on God’s enemies that so many expected when Messiah came. This does not mean that God will fail to judge wickedness. But before that day arrives, God offers us His peace and reconciliation.

4 March Mt 21:12-17

Jesus was appalled to find commerce driving prayer out of the temple (vv.12-13). He interrupted the trading and replaced it with healing grace (v.14). The religious leaders were furious, and more so when children praised Jesus in messianic terms (v.15). Jesus’ quotation from Ps 8:2 (v.16) is a devastating reply, as Jesus accepts for Himself the praise which, in the psalm, is offered to God. How dare He? Because He is God with us (Mt 1:23), with the right to judge what happens in His house (v.13).

Matthew daily Bible readings w/c 19 Feb

Eddie,
Bana peel under foot

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.

19 February Mt 17:22-27

Even though Jesus had been glorified on the mountain (17:2-5), the disciples continued to misunderstand Him and His mission. He speaks of His death and resurrection, but their grief suggests they heard only the first part (v.23). Nor has Peter grasped that Jesus is the Son of the God of the temple in a unique sense, and therefore exempt from the temple tax (vv.24-26). Yet despite their failures of faith – and ours – Jesus continues to supply every need (v.27). Such is His grace!

20 February Mt 18:1-5

Aren’t you glad you didn’t ask the question in v.1? How embarrassing it now seems. Plainly the disciples were motivated by more than just theological curiosity. They were arguing about their own importance – something that’s destructive in any family, including the church. So Jesus reminds us that the rule of His new family is humility (vv.2-5). To enter His kingdom we must stoop low (Mt 5:3). The one God counts great is the one who willingly accepts the lowly position (v.4) – as Jesus did (Php 2:8).

21 February Mt 18:6-9

Jesus continues to show us how to treat those who become like little children by believing in Him (vv.3,6). We are to understand that other Christians, so precious to the Lord, are vulnerable, and we are to protect them. Our life influences others, for better or for worse. If we turn others away from Christ, His judgement on us will be terrible indeed (vv.6-7). So let us take drastic action before we cause others to sin and are ourselves condemned (vv.8-9). Act now!

22 February Mt 18:10-14

Jesus underlines how precious every one of His followers is to Him, and how they must be dear to us too. They have great importance to God (v.10), so much so that no matter how many sheep in His flock, He goes after the one that strays (vv.12-14). How, then, can we be carelessly indifferent when another Christian falls into sin and wanders from the church? Surely we must seek to bring them back, not simply write them off. Whom is Jesus asking you to help restore?

23 February Mt 18:15-20

Jesus tells us how to restore one who strays (vv.15-17), beginning privately but ending publicly in excommunication by the church if the warning is not heeded. Church discipline is not alien to the spirit of Jesus, for it is He who commands it in love. The goal is not punishment, but restoration, and as we work to this end Jesus is with us and working through us (vv.18-20). Do we practice what our Lord teaches here? A church with no discipline does not care for the flock as Jesus does.

24 February Mt 18:21-35

But what do we do if the straying one repents? We forgive! And if it happens time and again? More forgiveness! Peter’s attempt to put a limit on forgiveness (v.21) is embarrassing in the light of how much God has forgiven us (v.24). Jesus’ parable makes one big point: since God has forgiven us so much, we must be ready to forgive one another. Forgiving grace transforms us, so that we can and must forgive others. An unforgiving spirit warns us of our own need to repent and seek grace.

25 February Mt 19:1-12

The Pharisees’ question about divorce reflects their whole difficulty with Jesus: they are not truly seeking God’s purposes. Grounds for divorce were much debated in Jesus’ day. However, Jesus rejects their starting point (“How much freedom do we have to divorce?” v.3) and speaks instead about God’s purpose in marriage (lifelong union vv.4-6). Consider this carefully, if you are not yet married (vv.10-12); commit yourself fully, if you are. Remember: Jesus, not our broken culture, is Lord.

Matthew daily Bible readings w/c 12 Feb

Eddie,

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.

12 February Mt 15:32-39

Matthew has already shown us Jesus feeding a great crowd in the wilderness, so that all ate and were satisfied (14:13-21). We noted then the echoes of the Exodus story: the God who delivered the Jews from Pharaoh is now present in Jesus. But in this second wilderness feeding (15:32-39) the hungry people are mostly gentiles (15:31). So we learn that the Exodus was a picture of the much greater salvation Jesus would accomplish for people from every nation – including us.

13 February Mt 16:1-4

The Pharisees and Sadducees were like many people today: skilled in everyday affairs, yet woefully blind in the things of God (vv.2-3). Their demand for a sign (v.1) rings hollow, because Jesus has performed so many signs which they have ignored. Only “the sign of Jonah” (v.4) will be given, namely Jesus’ resurrection (see Mt 12:40), which Peter pointed to on the day of Pentecost as the decisive proof that Jesus is the Christ (Ac 2:32-36). Beware of being worldly-wise yet spiritually foolish.

14 February Mt 16:5-12

The Pharisees and Sadducees had many differences, but Jesus sees they have a common fault. He calls it their “yeast” and twice warns His disciples against it (vv.6,11). The context shows he is referring to their unbelief, despite all the evidence (16:1-4). This, says Jesus, is our great problem: not a lack of bread, but a lack of trust in Him. Despite the feeding miracles, the disciples still show little faith or understanding (vv.7-10). Have we grasped that our greatest danger is unbelief?

15 February Mt 16:13-20

In response to Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, our Lord announces that Peter will have a foundational role in the church. This was dramatically demonstrated when 3000 responded to Peter’s message on the day of Pentecost. It was by the preaching of the gospel that the keys of the kingdom were exercised (Ac 2:36-41). All subsequent church growth takes place on this foundation (Eph 2:20); a church that is not true to the apostolic gospel is certainly no church of Christ.

16 February Mt 16:21-28

Immediately we see that despite his high calling, Peter is no infallible Pope. He has given Jesus the correct title (v.16), but he doesn’t understand what it means. Jesus will suffer and die (v.21), and we must learn, as Peter had to, that all our attempts to avoid the cross are satanic (vv.22-23). There is a cross for Jesus, and for every disciple too (vv.24-28): a death to self. “When Jesus calls a man, He bids him come and die” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer). Are you ready for this?

17 February Mt 17:1-13

Jesus appears with Moses and Elijah and is transfigured (transformed) so that His glory outshines even these two great prophets from Israel’s history (v.8). If the Israelites needed to obey the words of Moses and Elijah, how much more then should we listen to God’s beloved Son (v.5) – even when He calls us to take up the cross (16:24-26)? But just as John the Baptist was misunderstood and suffered, so Jesus will suffer, and His mission will not be understood till after His resurrection (vv.9-13).

18 February Mt 17:14-21

As Moses descended from Mt Sinai to the chaos and unbelief of the golden calf (Ex 32), so Jesus leaves the mountain for a scene of spiritual turmoil. His remaining disciples seem to have gone backwards in His absence, unable to help a demon-possessed boy despite their earlier authority (Mt 10:1). Were they now looking to their own gifting rather than to God? That’s not faith – it’s folly. True faith, even as small as a mustard seed, always keeps the focus on God’s power, not on our ability.

Matthew : Daily Bible readings starting 5 February

Eddie,

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.

5 February Mt 13:53-58

The parables that Jesus has taught have emphasised that His ministry divides people according to their reaction. Here, His neighbours give a negative verdict. Their pride is offended that one of their own should so outshine them in wisdom and power. Thus they did not benefit from His miracles as they might have done (v.58), for just as Jesus delighted to reward faith (e.g., 8:10, 13), so He judges unbelief. The verdict we pass on Jesus leads to the verdict He passes on us.

6 February Mt 14:1-12

The rejection of Jesus in Nazareth (yesterday) prefigured His greater rejection in Jerusalem. Likewise, the brutal murder of John the Baptist foreshadowed Jesus’ own violent death. A weak ruler (Herod) was manipulated against his will into killing God’s servant (vv.6-10); Pilate would follow a similar path (27:11-26). There is perennial warfare between the seed of the woman and the serpent’s seed (Ge 3:15). We should not be surprised or dismayed, but give thanks for Christ’s victory.

7 February Mt 14:13-21

Even when Jesus sought quiet, the crowds followed (v.13). Compassion, not frustration, was His response (v.14), for His love is measureless. Hungry people following their Lord into the wilderness and discovering His miraculous provision … every Jew knew the manna story, and now it was repeated before their eyes. Who is Jesus, they wondered? He’s the Exodus God who leads His people out of slavery, and provides all they need. “They all ate and were satisfied”– and still plenty to spare (v.20).

8 February Mt 14:22-36

See Jesus walking – not slogging – on the storm-tossed lake. No matter how high the waves, how strong the wind, how dark the night, Jesus rules. How? The words translated, “It is I” (v.27) are literally, “I am” – the name of God’s self-disclosure in Ex 3:14. Jesus is the God who made and rules all things. His grace is sufficient to save us, whether we are an experienced disciple beginning to sink (vv.30-31), or someone stretching out a hopeful hand to Him for the first time (vv.35-36)

9 February Mt 15:1-20

This passage highlights the danger of substituting outward ritual for inward devotion to God. Religious traditions may end up undermining God’s word rather than supporting it (vv.3-6). Hypocrisy is the unhappy result (vv.7-9). Not external dirt, but inward pollution, is the root of the human problem (vv.1-2, 10-11, 16-20), and no amount of water can touch it. Only the blood of Jesus can cleanse our hearts (Mt 26:28). Thank God, our Lord is mighty to save, whatever our past, as we’ll see tomorrow.

10 February Mt 15:21-28

A Canaanite woman crying out to Jesus (v.22)? The Canaanites were the ancient inhabitants of the land who suffered God’s judgement through Israel’s sword in the days of Joshua. She’s got no chance! Yet Jesus’ three rebuffs of her (vv.23-24, 26) are matched by her threefold appeal to Him as “Lord” (vv.22,25,27). She must have Jesus. Jesus wanted His disciples to see that the tenacious faith lacked by the Pharisees and the people of Nazareth was found in a Canaanite. Whoever wishes to may come!

11 February Mt 15:29-31

The Canaanite woman was not the only “outsider” entering God’s kingdom. Galilee (v.29) has already been identified as an area of mixed population (Mt 4:15). Now he tells us that this Galilean crowd “praised the God of Israel” (v.31), implying they were not themselves Israelites. They were used to looking on from the outside, but Jesus draws them in. Isaiah foretold this (Isa 42:6-7); and what Jesus her11 February Mt 15:29-31e does on a small scale, He will multiply after His resurrection (Mt 28:19) – for our sake.

Daily Bible readings from Matthew, week commencing 29 Jan 17

Eddie,
Grain cast onto a variety of soils

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.

29 January Mt 12:46-50

Jesus has just exposed the shameful hardness of the Pharisees’ hearts. So how should we respond to Jesus? He leaves us in no doubt. Jesus words in vv.48-50 are remarkable. Our relationship to Him is more fundamental even than our biological family, for this is the relationship that lasts to eternity. And what is the mark of belonging to Jesus’ family? It is that we devote ourselves to doing the will of our heavenly Father (v.50). Do you bear the family likeness?

30 January Mt 13:1-9, 18-23

The parable of the sower might better be called the parable of the soils. It describes four different ways in which people respond to God’s word, three of which produce no lasting fruit, and therefore no salvation. Some hearts, like some soil, are too hard for the word to penetrate (v.19). Other are too shallow (vv.20-21) or too overcrowded (v.22) for anything more than a superficial response. But where the gospel is truly received, it produces an abundance of new life (v.23). Which kind of soil are you?

31 January Mt 13:10-17

We often assume Jesus spoke in parables to make His meaning clearer, but the truth is more complex (vv.10-13). His parables act as a filter, revealing the truth to some, but concealing it from others. Those who demand God on their own terms will soon tire of Jesus’ stories (vv.14-15). But those who are genuinely hungry for the true God will press deeper into the meaning of Jesus’ words (vv.16-17, compare v.36): they must have God at any cost. What kind of hearer are you?

1 February Mt 13:24-30, 36-43

Many in Jesus’ day expected that when the Messiah’s kingdom arrived, judgement day would follow immediately. John the Baptist was puzzled when this did not happen (11:1-3). In this parable, Jesus tells us that God withholds final judgement during the gospel age. Why? For the sake of His harvest, so that it will not be lessened but may be fully grown and reaped (vv.28-30). Only then will the final separation take place (vv.40-43). Thank God for giving us time to turn to Him!

2 February Mt 13:31-35

Once again, Jesus corrects false ideas of the kingdom of heaven. Many assumed that when the kingdom came, its full glory would at once be seen. Not so, says Jesus. Its coming is quiet, small and unspectacular, but let no-one underestimate its power. Like the tiniest seed, like yeast in dough, the kingdom will grow and expand. Eventually, the people of many nations will find a home in it (v.32), and no part of the world will be left untouched by God’s redeeming love (v.33).

3 February Mt 13:44-46

Having clarified the kingdom’s gradual growth, Jesus now underlines its supreme worth. V.44 is not intended as moral guidance on how to behave if we find hidden treasure. Jesus’ point is simply that whatever the cost in discipleship, the treasure of the kingdom is worth far more. Likewise in vv.45-46: it is worth parting with everything else in order to take hold of the kingdom of heaven. This kingdom is worth more than everything else combined. Have you realized that? Really?

4 February Mt 13:47-52

The parable of the net focuses on the final separation of the wicked from the righteous at the end of the age (v.49). Jesus’ fierce words in v.50 may offend modern sensibilities, but we dare not downplay them. Our business is not to argue with God’s Son, but to listen to Him (17:5). His love issues honest warnings as well as gracious invitations (compare 11:24, 28). The disciple’s task is to grasp and share all that God has revealed in His word, and not to cherry-pick (vv.51-52).

Daily readings from Jeremiah: week commencing 27th November

Eddie,

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.

27 November Jer 49:23-39

The chapter concludes with brief oracles of judgement on various nations. The familiar themes of terror, destruction and depopulation are highlighted, the ugly fruits of human sin that upend God’s good purposes for His creation (Ge 1:27-31). Notice that, as ever, God singles out for special attention the things in which we wrongly put our confidence: Damascus relied on its fame (v.25); Kedar on its remoteness and mobility (vv.29,31); Elam on its archers (v.35). False refuges! When will be learn that “God (alone) is our refuge and strength …” (Ps 46:1)?

28 November Jer 50:1-10

The oracles against the nations end with the doom of Babylon, the tyrant that has loomed over the whole book. Although God made use of Babylon as the instrument of His judgement, she will herself judged. Her violence will not be the Lord’s final word in history. God will again bring salvation and blessing to His people (vv.4-5), for the earth belongs to the Lord, not to the gods of Babylon (Bel and Marduk, v.2).

29 November Jer 50:11-20

While the Lord grieved at the judgement He brought on His people, Babylon rejoiced and mocked (v.11). Her arrogance will be repaid as God turns her arrogance to shame (vv.12-13). Babylon will suffer the violence she has inflicted on others (vv.14-15). Freed from her tyranny, people of many nations will be free to return to their lands (v.16). In contrast to the fallen empires of Assyria and Babylon, God’s people will be forgiven and restored (vv.17-20). Good news – gospel – indeed!

30 November Jer 50:21-32

The Lord’s holy war against Babylon is vividly depicted in vv.21-27. God’s action is a direct judgement on Babylon for its destruction of the temple (v.28). Although the burning of the temple was God’s own judgement on His people for their backsliding, it was simultaneously Babylon’s blasphemous rejection of the Lord’s rule over all the earth (v.29). God’s triumph over Babylon’s arrogance (vv.29-32) is therefore a vindication of His sovereignty over all nations.

1 December Jer 50:33-46

God’s judgement on Babylon is simultaneously an act of redemption for His people (vv.33-40). The term “Redeemer” (v.34) recalls Israel’s law by which a widow or orphan might be adopted by another family member (e.g., Ruth 4). In this personal, costly way God redeems His people, not only from Babylonian captivity, but ultimately from sin and guilt through our Lord Jesus Christ. Note the irony that Babylon, “from the north” (1:13-14), is now herself hunted by a northern army (v.41).

2 December Jer 51:1-19

What gospel grace God shows to His people (v.5)! And how devastating is His judgement on Babylon (vv.11-14). Yet there is a note of sadness over Babylon’s incurable condition (v.9), reminding us that judgement is God’s reluctant resort when all else has failed. The folly of idolatry contrasts starkly with the glory and grace of our God (vv.17-19). When will we learn?

3 December Jer 51:20-44

God uses Babylon’s horrible violence in judgement (vv.20-23) yet also judges Babylon for its violence (vv.24-26). Babylon will be devoured (vv.27-33), an apt punishment for the nation that devoured God’s people (vv.34-35). How are the mighty fallen (v.41)! Thus passes this world’s glory.

Daily readings from Jeremiah: week commencing 6th Nov

Eddie,

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).

Daily readings from Jeremiah: week commencing 30th Oct

Eddie,
Jerusalem ruined after the Babylonian's take the city (photo is actually Knossos in Crete)

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.

30 October Jer 37:11-21

Jeremiah is accused of treason by attempting to desert to the Babylonians. Although the charge was false, it was given weight by Jeremiah’s preaching of surrender as the only way of survival (21:9). Yet Jeremiah’s calling was to point others to safety while refusing it for himself (compare Mt 27:42). Flogging and imprisonment brought Jeremiah near to death (v.20), but his prophetic voice was unwavering (vv.17,19). The king still would not hear, but he did ease Jeremiah’s prison conditions (v.21).

31 October Jer 38:1-13

The weak king Zedekiah is swayed first one way, then the other. Some of his officials persuaded him to have Jeremiah killed by allowing him to drown in a muddy cistern (vv.1-6). Then Ebed-Melek, a foreigner in the king’s service, convinced him that Jeremiah should be rescued (vv.7-10). God is still watching over His prophet and His word (compare 1:12).

1 November Jer 38:14-28

The final encounter between the king and the prophet is cloaked in secrecy (vv.24-27). Jeremiah is frustrated by the king’s past refusal to listen (v.15). Still, he repeats God’s offer of mercy even at this late hour (vv.17,20). Yet once again the king fails to respond (as ch.39 shows). Zedekiah is hoping to hear that God has changed His mind; he cannot face the necessary change on his own part. Ironically, it was he, rather than Jeremiah, whose feet were “sunk in the mud” (v.22).

2 November Jer 39:1-10

The story of the fall of Jerusalem, so consistently prophesied by Jeremiah, is now briefly told (further details are given in ch.52). Zedekiah, who hasn’t dared let God save him and his family, now deserts the people he has doomed (v.4). His attempt to save himself on his own terms fails horribly (vv.5-7), as all such efforts must (see Mk 8:35). Verses 8-9 show the severity of Babylonian judgement, tempered by a measure of reconstruction (v.10) since chaos would be in no-one’s interests.

3 November Jer 39:11-18

Although Jeremiah had never advocated collaboration with the enemy, he had urged surrender to spare further bloodshed. The Babylonians responded by treating him well (vv.11-14). But behind their action we should see God’s hand. For as the story of Ebed-Melek implies, God alone determines what happens to the one who trusts in Him (vv.15-18).

4 November Jer 40:1-12

Jeremiah rejected preferential treatment in Babylon (vv.1-4), choosing instead to stay with Gedaliah and the people left behind (vv.4-6). Gedaliah was a Jew appointed as governor by Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king (v.5). Gathering to Gedaliah (vv.7-8) implied submission to Babylon in line with God’s oft-repeated word through Jeremiah (v.9). God’s renewed blessing on the people and the land (vv.10-12) shows His unchanging purpose to do good to those who trust His word.

5 November Jer 40:13 – 41:18

Gedaliah’s generous attitude (40:13-16) was exploited by an assassin (41:1-3). Ishmael, his murderer, then displayed monstrous violence, slaughtering pilgrims who came to worship at the site of the ruined temple (41:4-9), and kidnapping many other people (41:10). Ishmael was in turn chased off the scene by Johanan and the army officers, and his captives were freed (41:11-15). But the fledgling community then repeated the mistake of turning to Egypt as a (false) refuge from Babylon (41:16-18).