Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Jeremiah 32-34
What a wonderful day this is to dive into the Word with some of my favorite people!!
We open to find Jeremiah imprisoned essentially because King Zedekiah didn’t like what YHWH told Jeremiah to say- and Jeremiah still said it. Everybody wants their ears tickled. (Sidenote: If you think Jeremiah was a rebel, wait til we read about Messiah in context!)
Then, we see a cousin coming to visit him in prison as YHWH had told him would happen, and offer Jeremiah land. So here is something else that is going on. Recall that back in Leviticus 25 we see that YHWH had given this land to His people and they were not allowed to sell it outside of their own bloodline. So Jeremiah’s cousin was offering Jeremiah rights to purchase the land, known as redemption rights.
Essentially this tells us that his cousin was probably in debt and needed to get out so he offered his land to Jeremiah as a way to accomplish this while also keeping the land within the family.
What was the significance of this?
While YHWH had clearly stated that He was going to allow the Babylonians to capture Jerusalem and Judah, this was also a reinforcement of His promise that He would again see His people settled in His land. Jeremiah purchasing this land demonstrated proof and faith in that promise of YHWH – and this also explains why it was done so publicly, with many witnesses.
Jeremiah 32: 31-35 tells us some of what these people did to anger YHWH so much.
This city has aroused my anger and wrath, from the day it was built to this day, so that I will remove it from my sight 32 because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah that they did to provoke me to anger—their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 33 They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction. 34 They set up their abominations in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. Jeremiah 32:31
Note that this group included leaders, kings, officials, priests, and prophets. These were the very people who would have had the most access to and familiarity with the word of YHWH, which was carefully kept on scrolls during that time.
They would have been raised reading it, being taught from it, and hearing it.
And what did they do? They turned from Him. They had been taught “persistently” and they refused to listen or be instructed in any way other than their own. They set up their abominations in houses called by HIS name (what we would think of as churches today).
This serves as a warning to us. Do we have anything in our churches that can be considered an idol in YHWH’s eyes, a golden calf of sorts? Even if we claim it represents YHWH (as the golden calves were set up to be representations as well).
Do we reject any of His words and follow manmade doctrine instead? Even when it contradicts what YHWH instructs?
How do we excuse that? Saying we heard it “was okay to do it this way” from someone else that we trust, saying that “everyone else is doing it so it must be fine”, or claiming to be following our heart? We’ve seen examples of each of these excuses play out in the Bible and none of them ended well. The Father considers that to be adultery towards Him.
Also, what other ways could we be abusing His name or even using it in vain? In our time we often think saying the word “God” (which is a title and not His actual name) in a flippant fashion covers this and so all we have to do is avoid that and we’re good. But what about misrepresenting Him? What about living under the banner of His name while encouraging folks not to read or study His Word (through actions or words) – or encouraging others to disregard even the smallest portion of it?
What about claiming to be teaching His word while actually teaching doctrine that contradicts what YHWH says? Definitely something to think about and examine.
Jeremiah 32:37 YHWH says that He will gather His people from all the countries to which He drove them and restore them once more.
“They shall be my people and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land of faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.” Jeremiah 32:27
We see clear references to the New covenant which we read about in Jeremiah 31:31 in this. But I want to pause and point out something else.
This is one of many many verses we’ve seen and will continue to see in which YHWH mentions bringing His people (Israel) back from all corners of the world. For more, see: Micah 2:12, Zephaniah 2:20, Isaiah 27:12, Jeremiah 31:10, Psalm 147:2, Isaiah 56:8, Ezekiel 39:27, Psalm 107:2-3, Isaiah 54:7, Ezekiel 39:28, Hosea 8:10, Deuteronomy 30:3, Deuteronomy 30:4, Nehemiah 1:9, Jeremiah 29:14, Isaiah 11:11-12, Ezekiel 11:17, Ezekiel 20:34, Ezekiel 20:41, Ezekiel 28:25, Ezekiel 34:13, Ezekiel 36:24, Ezekiel 37:21, Zechariah 10:10, Isaiah 43:5, Jeremiah 31:8, and more!
Then again, we see Messiah saying in Matthew 15:24 that He was only sent for the lost sheep of Israel.
How is it possible that people can believe that YHWH has replaced His chosen people Israel with another or that He forever rejected Israel in lieu of anyone else, rather than grafting us into that tree of chosen people as He’s shown us in Scripture time and again? AND in Jeremiah 32:40 He even says that He will make an EVERLASTING covenant with them.
So in order to believe that YHWH has replaced Israel with another people we have to be able to believe that:
A. He doesn’t know what everlasting means.
B. His word cannot be trusted.
Both of those are obviously false and I know of no Christian who would ever agree with either statement.
But, if we haven’t read our Bible and seen with our own eyes what YHWH said, we could easily be led to agree with replacement theology without realizing the consequences of what that means – that supporting such is supporting the belief that: YHWH could not foretell the future, does not know what everlasting and eternal means, and that He willfully lied to His chosen people.
This is another reason why it’s so important to read the word for ourselves.
We are responsible for knowing the Word and ignorance due to lack of interest, lack of dedication, poor or faulty leadership, or lack of concern will not exempt us.
So when someone gives you a verse, always take a chapter, or better yet a whole book, or better yet, just start reading the Bible through beginning at the beginning – Genesis- in order to get the whole picture of what YHWH intended His followers to know.
In Jeremiah 33:3 we see a loving reminder that the Father always has more to reveal to us – we can always grow ever closer to Him, and learn more and more of His ways. I could not love that more!
Jeremiah 33:7 Further reiterates that YHWH has not abandoned Israel
“I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me…” Jeremiah 33:7
Do we believe what He says? Do we believe that YHWH’s word is always truth? I sure do.
And so I want to read it, know it, have Him write it on my heart.
Isn’t this exciting?
Now at the end of 34 we read this piece of scripture:
And the men who transgressed my covenant and did not keep the terms of the covenant that they made before me, I will make them like the calf that they cut in two and passed between its parts – Jeremiah 34:18
You may be asking “What on earth are they talking about?”
I’m glad you asked ? There are many places in Scripture where, if we look to understand the culture of the time, we can have a much greater understanding of the Word and what is actually taking place. Just like how we talked about why Jeremiah’s cousin came to sell him his land. It is vitally important that we understand that the Hebrew mindset does not work like our modern western mindset.
What took place in Jeremiah 34:18 was part of an ancient practice of making a covenant. Whenever a covenant was made between two parties an animal or animals were cut in two and spread out side by side with room to walk in between them. Both parties would then walk in between the animal parts to signify their acceptance of the terms of the covenant. It is widely believed that this is where the phrase “cutting a deal (covenant)” came from. The semblance, some believe, is that those who would transgress the covenant would suffer the same fate as the animal. We see what may be proof to back this up in 1 Samuel 11:7.
Also, we actually see YHWH instructing Abraham to do this customary act in Genesis 15 but with a noted difference. While the custom was for both parties to walk down the middle in between the cut animal, in Genesis 15:18-20 we see only YHWH pass down the middle, not Abraham. Actually, we see smoke and fire pass down the center and Abraham hears YHWH’s voice as He recites the terms of the covenant.
Why didn’t Abraham pass through as well? Because this was a unilateral covenant, there were no terms for Abraham to agree to, YHWH was providing all and Abraham didn’t have a duty to perform in order to maintain or enter into this covenant. No doubt, this act of cutting a covenant held deep meaning for Abraham already – and he knew full well what it meant, but when the Father did not expect or ask Abraham to pass through himself and when He Himself passed through, we can be certain Abraham understood the eternal significance of this.
So now we see that Jeremiah 34:18 is saying is that these men freely entered into a covenant with YHWH, knowing and accepting the terms by their actions, and then did not keep them.
There is a lot to digest in today’s reading as we are given many more pieces to the overall picture we’ve been reading about all the way back from Genesis.
I hope you’re enjoying learning at the feet of our Father! His word is ALIVE, living and breathing, and what a tremendous blessing that He gifted us with such a treasure of His wisdom and the ability to know Him through these words!
And now one last thought. After our notes yesterday and laying out the parameters of the New Covenant and what it entails, here is something for us to think on today:
If you are a parent, how do you feel when your kids obey you?
How would you feel if someone they spent a lot of time with managed to convince them that obeying you was a bad thing?
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!