Thru the Bible – Day 174

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Day 174 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue in Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 23 – Jeremiah 22 highlights the fact that those who should have been the good shepherds of the people were in fact false. This passage continues that theme but speaks of hope as well as of judgment. The sheep are not safe, but scattered. The remnant is made up of the faithful few who will be the nucleus of a true people of God. The purpose of God is infallibly to save His own out of the faithless and godless multitude, and to give them good shepherds. Furthermore, none shall be missing. So, God will one day raise up a descendant of David—“a righteous Branch”. He is the Good Shepherd, who infallibly saves His own: none will be missing, because they are God’s gift to Jesus (John 6:37–40).

The kingdoms of Israel and Judah will be reunited under one godly King. This will be salvation for the true people of God. The name of the “Branch” is significant: “The Lord is our righteousness.” There was no righteousness among the people or their rulers. This brings us to the heart of the gospel: there is no one who is righteous before God (Romans 3:9–18). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). To imagine we can have enough righteousness within us is to be deluded (1 John 1:8). We must look outside of ourselves, to the “alien” righteousness of another. The Lord whom Jeremiah prophesies is our righteousness, and the just live by faith in Him—ultimately, that is, in Jesus (Romans 1:16–17; 3:21–24; 1 Corinthians 1:30). By the grace of God, the righteousness He maintained becomes ours as we are united to Jesus by faith (2 Corinthians 5:21). Believers have the righteousness of Jesus imputed to them as a gift (Romans 4:5–8). Our record is therefore spotless, clean, perfect.

This is the basis of our assurance: God accepts us on the grounds of the perfect righteousness of Jesus. Justification by faith alone is the central truth of the gospel, pointing us to the merits of Jesus for us.

Jeremiah shifts the focus from the definitive redemptive event in the exodus from Egypt to another redemption to come. The people will one day look back on this second exodus, the return from Babylon, as the basis of their blessing in the land. However this second exodus, like the first, will be but a foreshadowing of the one true exodus from the power of Satan, sin, and death that Jesus accomplishes (Matthew 2:14–15; 1 Corinthians 5:7–8; Ephesians 4:8; Revelation 16:3).

The Scriptures have many warnings against false prophets. The definitive prophet was Moses, who met with God on Mount Sinai. God promised Israel that He would raise up another prophet like Moses, whose words would come from the Lord (Deuteronomy 18:15–19). Israel was also warned of lying prophets who would seek to deceive them (Deuteronomy 18:20–22). Many true prophets arose in Israel and Judah, Jeremiah being one of them. Yet the promise of a prophet like Moses was never entirely fulfilled by these (Deuteronomy 34:10–12).

The indictment of the false prophets includes the contrast with the true prophet who is one who has “stood in [God’s] council.” We know that Jesus came as that definitive and ultimate prophet from the very presence of His Father. The apostles identified Jesus as the prophet spoken of by Moses (Acts 3:20–24). From our perspective, then, we know the truth of the biblical prophets in that they testify to Jesus and His gospel. Jesus came as the very Word of God in the flesh (John 1:14). He has truly “stood in God’s council,” and His words are true (John 3:31–36) and have the authority of his Father (John 12:44–50; 17:6–8, 14). Jesus’ prophetic ministry fulfills and takes over from the Old Testament prophets (Hebrews 1:1–2). Because the whole Bible is the Spirit-inspired testimony to Jesus and the salvation He brings (2 Timothy 3:15), we can have confidence in it as the very Word of God.

How does this confidence encourage you today?

Jeremiah 24 – The exile is now a reality. Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) the king has been taken along with many others to Babylon. Zedekiah, the king’s uncle, is placed on the throne as a puppet king. God gives Jeremiah a vision of two baskets of figs, to warn against any further insurrections against the conqueror, Nebuchadnezzar. The good figs are the exiles and the bad figs are those who have stayed in Jerusalem. The encouragement is for the exiles. God will restore them and will give them a new heart. Ezekiel has a similar promise of regeneration (Ezekiel 36:26–28). It is significant that we are not dealing here with people “turning over a new leaf,” but with a supernatural gift of God to change the inner nature of a sinner. It is God’s gift to give people a heart to know that He is God. That is how Jesus instructed Nicodemus: a new birth was necessary, but it would be the sovereign work of the Spirit of God (John 3:5–8). Only then can we become truly repentant people of the covenant.

How has God transformed you heart?

Jeremiah 25 – The cup of the Lord’s wrath is imagery used to describe God’s judgment against all who have opposed His kingdom and have done evil (Isaiah 51:17, 22; Habakkuk 2:16; Revelation 14:9–11; 16:17–21). Jesus’ cup of suffering was substitutionary and the means of our redemption (Matthew 26:37–39). In drinking that cup He bore our sins and endured the full weight of God’s wrath on sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).

How does this truth led you to worship Jesus?

 

What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?

 

Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

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