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lighthouse on a rocky shore August 4 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 36:1-7; 45:1-5; 25; 46:1-28; 2Kings 24:7

Last Warnings

Lighthouses serve to warn boats and ships to stay away from rocky shores that could destroy them and injure crew and passengers. This is similar to what a parent or teacher does with children - he will try to shine a light on things that might harm or destroy their lives. Some children, however, do not listen. Parents and teachers will repeat their warnings and repeat their warnings and repeat their warnings. Like sirens, some will even yell their threats and warnings. If that doesn’t work, they know that they will have to take action.

God had been extremely patient with Israel and Judah. Along with discipline, he sent many prophets to warn them of ultimate judgment in hopes that they might repent, and then he would not have to punish them.

They said, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the LORD gave to you and your fathers for ever and ever. Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not provoke me to anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you,” (Jeremiah 25:5-6, NIV).

God’s patience and warnings had run out; finally he had enough! First, he punished Israel. Though Judah saw that Israel, her sister nation, was destroyed and her people taken into exile, she paid no heed and became worse than her and the nations surrounding her. Now, 100 years later God had just about enough of Judah - just a few more warnings before he exercised his justice on her as well. Though Judah saw Babylonian forces advancing toward their land and conquering all the nations in her path, she deluded herself into thinking, “not us – we are the people of God. Besides that, God’s temple is here,” (Jeremiah 7:4). But they were in danger of being dashed against the rocks. Is your life in danger, too? Turn to God before it is too late. He blesses those who heed his warnings and turn to him. He offers forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...).

Jeremiah was like a lighthouse, warning Judah of danger. He was still in Jerusalem, telling people to turn away from their sins so that God would save them from Babylonian killing, capture and destruction. You would think that a nation under siege (Jeremiah 10:17) would consider her ways, but the people were obstinate. They would not repent, so their judgment became irrevocable. They would suffer the same fate as other nations around them. They would die by the sword, their cities destroyed, their treasuries pilfered, and those who were left would be exiled. Like a ship dashed against the rocks, the destruction of Jerusalem and all nations around them would be horrific.

Like many of us, Jeremiah’s aid, Baruch, did not like this message of judgment. He was discouraged. He evidently had some aspirations for greatness. He did not want to suffer. He did not want to offer a message of judgment to the king. Perhaps he thought that this was the time for him to take what he could get or seek a position of importance before all opportunities were gone. God told him it was of no use, however; Judah would be destroyed. However, for his faithfulness God would protect him wherever he went, and he would escape with his life.

Judah would soon be devastated, but in God’s grace he would later extend mercy to her. Because Israel and Judah were God’s covenant people, after seventy years of captivity in Babylon and nationwide repentance, they would be allowed to return to their land. Disobedience to God brings punishment, but even in judgment there is God’s mercy for those who have a special relationship with him. Do you have a personal relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ? (more...)

Lessons to live by:

  • Do not think that because you are a Christian, God will not punish you for bad behavior.
  • Because God delays his punishment, many people think he will not do it. Consider that God’s delay in judgment is to lead people to repentance (Romans 2:4).
  • Listen to God's warnings in his Word and heed them before judgment comes. You may be spared a shipwrecked life.
  • God exercises mercy on those with whom he has a special relationship. (more...)

Today’s Bible memory verse: Isaiah 55:7 “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” (NIV)

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