For the third time, the Lord says to Jeremiah, “Do not pray for this people” (Jeremiah 14:11). He is letting Jeremiah know with certainty that judgment must inevitably fall upon His people. The opportunity to avert disaster through prayer has come to an end. Not even the prayers of Moses or Samuel could make a difference (15:1).
However, Jeremiah continues to plead for his people, acknowledging their wickedness and that their only hope is in the Lord (14:20). The Lord explains that it is possible to persist in evil so persistently and resist opportunities to repent so thoroughly that God’s offer to extend mercy must come to an end. God knows the future and recognizes that repentance is not forthcoming, despite God’s merciful pleading and Jeremiah’s intercessory prayers.
This reminds us that there is a shelf life on the offer of salvation. This is why the prophets, apostles, and we, as ambassadors for Christ, must remind people that now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). We beg that people would be reconciled to God today (2 Corinthians 5:20).
The false prophets continue to assure the people of Judah that all is well.
Jeremiah 14:14 14 Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds.
The Lord adds that the prophets will also experience the destruction which will be so severe, incessant, and widespread that there will be no opportunity given for respectful burial or for mourning (16:4-7).
Jeremiah prays for himself, asking the Lord to remember him and vindicate him before his persecutors. He claims loyalty to God’s Word:
Jeremiah 15:16 16 Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
He asks if he will be treated as those who despised God’s law. The Lord replies that Jeremiah must not allow unworthy thoughts of God to diminish the effectiveness of his ministry.
Jeremiah 15:19-21 19 Therefore, thus says the LORD, “If you return, then I will restore you— Before Me you will stand; And if you extract the precious from the worthless, You will become My spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, but as for you, you must not turn to them. 20 “Then I will make you to this people A fortified wall of bronze; and though they fight against you, they will not prevail over you; For I am with you to save you and deliver you,” declares the LORD. 21 “So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.”
In our own thought-life, we must be sure to extract the true and precious from the worthless if we are to be His spokesperson. Therefore, we must discerningly meditate upon His Word.
Hebrews 4:12 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Jeremiah must live out the story. The Lord forbids Jeremiah to marry and have children, considering the certain future where children will perish by sword and famine.
When people ask, “Why this disaster?” the Lord commands Jeremiah to tell them:
Jeremiah 16:11 11 “Then you are to say to them, ‘It is because your forefathers have forsaken Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘and have followed other gods and served them and bowed down to them; but Me they have forsaken and have not kept My law.
But He also commands him to share the plans to give future generations a hope and a future:
Jeremiah 16:14-15 14 “Therefore behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ 15 but, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.
In our previous reading, we learned that Paul expressed maternal affections for the church at Thessalonica (2:7). In chapter 2:11, we read of his paternal affection.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 11 just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, 12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
The Thessalonian church received the message that Paul brought to them as the word of God and not the word of men (2:13). And the word ‘effectually is at work in those who believe’.
Never underestimate the ministry of God’s Word.
Just as Paul had been persecuted by the unbelieving religious authorities in Thessalonica, so did the church that he left behind. Paul reminds them that God will deal with their adversaries.
Paul affirms that he would have visited the Thessalonians personally on an earlier occasion, but Satan hindered him (2:18). We are reminded that Satan opposes the progress of the gospel. He is not only a hinderer, but he is also a tempter (3:5). Yet Jesus encourages His servants to persist in faith, trusting Him to make clear His provision for victory and the gospel’s advance.
Paul’s sincere concern for the Thessalonians is evidenced by his sending Timothy to check up on them.
1 Thessalonians 3:2 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith,
Timothy’s report of the Thessalonians’ faith brings Paul great joy. He prays earnestly for an opportunity to see them again face to face and ‘supply what is lacking in their faith.’
The expression, ‘lacking in your faith,’ does not imply that the Thessalonians were suffering a deficiency in faith, but instead, it is an affirmation that in the body of Christ, every member’s ministry contributes to the overall upbuilding of the body of Christ, “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
Do we pray to have daily opportunities to build up the body of Christ where we live?
Here is a great prayer for every local church:
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; 13 so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.
The Lord is addressed as the “Shepherd of Israel” (80:1).
The repeated prayer request is: “Restore us, O God; Make your face to shine upon us that we may be saved!” (80:3,7,19) and “Return to us, O God!” (80:14).”
Israel proved to be a “false or faithless vine” (Psalm 80:8-16). Jesus proves to be “The True Vine” (John 15:1), “the man at your right hand, the son of man that you have raised up for yourself.” (Psalm 80:17). He is the One who lights up the face of God on our behalf!
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS – PROVERBS 25:1-5
Proverbs 25:1-5 1 These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, transcribed. 2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. 3 As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, So the heart of kings is unsearchable. 4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there comes out a vessel for the smith; 5 Take away the wicked before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.
I love the fact that God’s glory is declared through the created universe, and we are called to seek it out and make daily discoveries. This is so applicable to the world of science, but how much more to the world of theology, knowing that the express image of God’s glory is found in the person of His Son. There is so much to discover of God’s glory as we look to Christ!
Area: 238,391 sq km
Balkan state on the lower Danube River, a mix of mountains, hills and plains.
Population: 21,190,154 Annual Growth: -0.41%
Official language: Romanian Languages: 23 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Challenges for Prayer
A legacy of brokenness endures from the days of Ceausescu’s regime, a moral vacuum being filled with every kind of social evil. Substance abuse, prostitution, pornography, human trafficking, and challenges to child welfare are widespread. Romania has one of the highest abortion rates in the world, with three or more abortions for every child born. Poverty is still common, with widespread unemployment and economic instability caused to a large degree by rampant and entrenched corruption. Divisions in government reduce its effectiveness; major strides forward are needed in its legal, education, and health care systems as well as police and local administrations. Pray for leadership that has the wisdom to chart the right path and the integrity to implement the right policies.
Christian media ministries.
a) Pray for the Christian publishing houses and for the distribution networks to establish a viable, indigenously funded literature ministry. Pray that more locally written material might become available. Few pastors have a theological library. Pray that the recent inter-confessional NT will be a blessing and a useful tool for all Bible-minded Christians.
b) Radio ministry continues to develop despite difficulties with permission and licenses. It is a powerful tool in Romania. RMS and HCJB collaborate with the EA on the Voice of the Gospel radio network, which includes eight FM stations, all uplinked to satellite. Pray for both local commercial Christian stations and transmissions from abroad. Alfa Omega TV and Credo are interdenominational stations available on cable, satellite, and the Internet with immense potential impact in evangelism, discipleship, and promoting Christian values.
Department of Réunion
Area: 2,512 sq. km
Rugged, mountainous volcanic Indian Ocean island 700 km east of Madagascar. The largest of the Mascarene Islands, which include Mauritius.
Population: 837,094 Annual Growth: 1.32%
Official language: French. Common language French Creole, spoken by over 85%, which is replacing minority languages Languages: 9 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Challenges for Prayer
The dark legacy of slavery abolished in 1848 still overshadows the present. The Creole population are descendants of those slaves. Poverty (over half the population), unemployment (25-33%), alcoholism, dysfunctional families, and high illegitimacy marginalize this large underclass. A deep work of healing and laying to rest the legacy of the past is far from complete. Pray for the entire population to come to terms with the past, possible only through faith in Christ.
PRAYER: Great God and Father, Your wisdom and glory are on display throughout the universe, and You encourage us to explore every marvel. You have revealed Yourself to us in the Scriptures. Like Jeremiah, we delight in Your Word, feed on its power, and marvel in our daily discoveries of Your truth. We rejoice that the light of Your countenance falls upon us with favor due to all that Your Son is on our behalf! We ask that we would be sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we look for opportunities to minister to others the grace that we have received. May we be building up the body of Christ through sharing our portion today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.