Friday, November 23, 2012

Jeremiah 29:1-9

1 Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the elders who were carried away captive—to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This happened after Jeconiah the king, the queen mother, the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem.) 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, saying, 4 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. 9 For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord.

There are those dreams and visions which come from God; and there are those which come from man. And here the Lord warns the captives in Israel not to listen to the words of their prophets (that is the prophets they raised up for themselves) nor the dreams of their own hearts (vs 8-9). For these were really just saying what the Israelites wanted to hear; that they would soon return to their native land from which God through Nebuchadnezzar had removed them for their ongoing unfaithfulness to Himself. For the Lord had said that for seventy years His people would be in Babylonian captivity and so not until His Word is fulfilled should any of His people presume upon anything else. And so Jeremiah writes this letter to the people to encourage them, to build houses and plant vineyards, to make marriages for themselves and their children, for their sojourn in Babylon will be long. Thus they are to pray for the city and its well being, for in its peace they will have peace. For God will bless and prosper His people while they remain there and continue on in His Will for them. And so He will multiply and increase them so that when they return, they will be able to inhabit the land again as His people in His inheritance for them (Jer 29:10-14; 30:18-22; 31:1-40 etc.). And so there's lot on going on there in the Book of Jeremiah; both of God's judgment on His people for their sinning and forsaking Him (something the we seem to always get hung up on when we read the Old Testament Scriptures). Yet if we keep a balanced perspective (that God is both a God of justice and mercy, Jer 9:24) we also see there is God's Promise of a bright future for them, when He returns them to their native land from their Babylonian captivity; that's initially. But also there is God's promise when He will write a New Covenant with them; a covenant not like the one He made with their fathers in the wilderness when they came out of Egypt; but a covenant by which He can secure their and our eternal peace with Himself (Jer 31:31-37; 33:1-26, vs. 14-16).
And so at the heart of this New Covenant is the heart of God, transplanted into our own, by the indwelling of God's Spirit in us all who believe in Jesus, God's Son. That is the essence of the New Covenant, ushered in by Jesus Christ's death on the cross. For through Christ's death, God has secured the legal means by which He can redeem us all to Himself, because of what the Lord Jesus Christ has first done to fulfill all of God's righteous requirements under the Law given through Moses. Something that we could never do for ourselves (as the Old Covenant Israelites so clearly demonstrate throughout the Old Testament Scriptures). For the Law was never given as a means for either the Israelites or mankind in general to earn salvation for ourselves. The Law was given so that through our own failures God's grace and glory could be magnified, when we having come to end of ourselves, turn to Him and put all of faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation (Gal 3:10-14; 19-25).
And thus we now have, by the grace of God, remission of all our sins because of Jesus' broken body and shed blood at Calvary. For that is where God has made atonement or payment for all our sins. But we also have, because of the Lord Jesus Christ's Resurrection and Ascension back to the Father, the Holy Spirit of God indwelling and uniting us all who believe in Christ; (of both Jews and Gentiles as Jesus sent Him into the world for that expressed purpose); so that we all might have new and everlasting life with Himself (which is both a current reality, and yet a future promise to be fulfilled in the Kingdom of heaven). Therefore unlike the Old Testament Israelites who were always looking forward to these things; we now have and enjoy them. That is the rich privileges and promises of God as His born again children because of what Jesus Christ has first done to redeem and secure us to Himself (John 1:12; 3:3-5; Gal 3:26-29). But we also have His Glorious life and Spirit's empowerment within us, for living life, rich, full and abundant as His people here and now, but also we will always have Him and His Everlasting Life within us as we wait for God's consummation of all things. An amazing amount of goodness and kindness that God our Father has bestowed upon us!

If you are now seeing your need for God; for His Son Jesus Christ's Substitutionary Crucifixion death at Calvary to save/liberate you, from all your sins, and thus redeem you from the eternal damnation that comes from those things (Rom 6:23); from unbelief (John 3:35-36); please while you can be reconciled to God, calling on the Name of the Lord Jesus (Rom 10:9, 10, 13); "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cor 5:21

If you do not know how to do that, a simple payer in faith, asking Jesus to save you, to come into your heart and life to be your Lord and Savior is all it takes to find remission of ones sins and eternal life (Rev 3:21). Simply pray in faith something like this:
Dear Lord Jesus I believe You are God's Son and You came to earth as a Man and died on the Cross for all my sins, so that You could restore me back to God the moment I believe in You. Therefore I now invite You into my heart and life, to be my Lord and Savior, placing no conditions on You other than wanting to be Your disciple whatever the cost, I pray this Lord Jesus Christ in Your Name, amen.

If you have made that all critical and destiny changing decision for the Lord Jesus Christ please let know. Send me an email and I will correspond with you as best I can to help you grow in your relationship with Christ; as well as answer any questions you may have. May God's rich life, grace, blessings and peace be with you as so journey on home with Him in Christ.
In Christ's love

Meditation Passage:
Psalm 119:41
41 Let Your mercies come also to me, O Lord— Your salvation according to Your word. 

Scripture Quotations
The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982

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