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Day 180 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 45 – As Jeremiah had been, so Baruch his scribe was affected deeply by the message he had to write down. He too needed the assurance that his suffering was not forever. The gospel of the kingdom can never be reduced to a message of peace when there is no peace (6:13–14). Peace in a fallen world comes only through judgment. Peace with God comes through the judgment on our sins at the cross of Jesus. Having been justified by faith alone, then and only then do we find peace with God (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:13–19).
The words of assurance to Baruch are still applicable to the Lord’s servants who struggle. It is assurance that does not gloss over the solemnity of judgment. What can Baruch take away after his suffering? His life; that is, he will survive this judgment. The fiery trials will not consume God’s faithful servants (Isaiah 43:1–2; Romans 8:31–39; 2 Corinthians 11:21–30). Even if our lives are taken, our souls are secure. We will be restored in the new earth one day.
Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch, had important work to do. But he was apparently wearied from the trials bound up with being the secretary to a controversial prophet, and he also apparently wished to be more than a mere scribe. Jeremiah’s message to Baruch is direct: “And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not.” The heart of human sin is self—the quest for self-glory instead of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). In the upside-down framework of the gospel, our Lord consistently teaches that the way to glory is through servanthood (Mark 10:43). “The last will be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16).
Jesus not only taught this. He also embodied it (Mark 10:45). The path to which He calls us is one He blazed. Leaving behind His heavenly glory, He became a servant to all (John 13:14–15; Philippians 2:6–8). Following our Master, we likewise gladly lay down our lives (John 15:12–13).
How does the gospel humble and encourage you at the same time?
Jeremiah 46 – Jeremiah 46–51 contains a series of judgment oracles against those nations that are part of Israel’s world. Such prophetic oracles against the nations (see Isaiah 13–24; Ezekiel 25–32) show the rule of God over the whole of humanity. He is not a parochial deity. All nations are guilty before God even though they have not had the blessings of election and God’s covenant word that are Israel’s peculiar possession. All humans are without excuse because they have rejected the revelation of God in creation and in their own consciences (Romans 1:18–32).
Jeremiah refers to the day of the Lord as a day of vengeance, a theme no more palatable in our own day than in his. The day of the Lord is the day on which He will act in judgment and salvation to bring in His kingdom (Isaiah 13:6, 9, 13; Joel 1:15; 2:1–11). The New Testament takes up the theme as the day of the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:29–36; 1 Thessalonians 5:1–11; 2 Peter 3:10–13; Revelation 6:12–17). The vengeance of God is an aspect of this day (Hebrews 10:26–31).
In this oracle, set amid the oracles against the nations, the Lord gives a wonderful assurance of salvation for His people. “Fear not” is a typical introductory formula to a prophetic word of assurance of salvation (examples, 30:10; Isaiah 41:10, 13–14; 43:2, 5; 44:2, 8; 54:4; Joel 2:21; Zephaniah 3:16–17).
In a similar way the challenge to “fear not” comes in the New Testament context of salvation in Jesus (Luke 2:10; 8:50; 12:7, 32; John 12:14–15; Revelation 1:17–18). Despite all appearances of chaos as judgment overtakes whole nations in warfare, the remnant of God’s elect are reassured of their safety and final salvation. God’s faithfulness to His covenant ensures that His people will enjoy the blessings of the covenant. They will be delivered from captivity, from turmoil, and from fear. This can happen only through the conquest of their enemies. But it will also be accompanied by disciplining of the faithful (Jeremiah 46:28; Hebrews 12:3–11). The prophetic hope is fulfilled by Jesus’ coming (Luke 1:68–75). His coming, heralded by John the Baptist, assures us “that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days” (Luke 1:74–75).
How do you allow Jesus to remove fear in your life regarding your future?
Jeremiah 47 & 48 – Throughout chapters 47-49 the Lord continues to declare the judgment that will befall idolatrous foreign nations. Such judgments are horrific in what they detail, and are difficult to read.
One truth that is hammered home in these chapters is the awful reality of sin. The horror over divine judgment is not an overreaction. The heinousness of human rebellion against an infinitely beautiful Creator merits consonant retribution. Such sober reminders of the awfulness of sin also, however, drive further home the wonder of the gospel. While the day of the Lord and the judgment on that day will be incomparably horrific, the magnificence of God’s restoration of all those from every nation who put their trust in Jesus will be an incomparable wonder.
For believers in Jesus, the day of the Lord is a judgment that has already fallen on Jesus. Our punishment is behind us. For those in Jesus, justice has already been satisfied.
How do you keep this incredible truth forefront of your thinking?
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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