Category Archives: Jeremiah

What carries you?

Jeremiah 29: 14

“I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”  NIV

I heard a beautiful sermon on the 29th chapter of Jeremiah this morning.  I’ve known and loved Jeremiah 29:11 for some time.  Earlier in my project, I worked through verses 11, 12 and 13, but I stopped short of tackling verse 14.  The image of God banishing the Israelites into exile was not a comfortable one for me.  I don’t want to think that I, too, may be carried into exile.  I prefer to think of exile being caused by my own choices, or by external forces.

But, this morning, as I read verse 14, I was struck by this, “I carried you into exile.”

Regardless of how I arrive at places or exile in my own life, God never fails to carry me.  I am His child.  I am gripped tightly in the palm of His hand, and nothing can touch me that doesn’t first past through His fingers.

That doesn’t mean that life here will always be pleasant … there will be times of exile … but, it does mean that I will not be deserted.  Regardless of my earthly circumstances or of my own perspectives, I am carried by the hand of God.

That’s pretty powerful.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Wealth and riches … attractive? Not so much.

Jeremiah 48:7a

Since you trust in your deeds and riches, you too will be taken captive. NIV

Trust in anything other than God is pure foolishness.

I love how this verse ties with the parable of the sower in Mark 4.  Verses 18 and 19 say, “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word, but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things, come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” NIV

The deceitfulness of wealth … choke(s) the word.

Trust in … riches, you too will be taken captive.

Powerful stuff.

My security doesn’t come, can’t come, from my the balance in my bank account.  The volatility of the financial markets in the last couple of years have driven that point home very effectively.

My hope, my trust, my future is in God alone.

That’s what I’ll think about today.




Filed under Jeremiah, Old Testament, Trust

Everything else is icing on the cake

Jeremiah 28: 15

Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen Hananiah!  The LORD has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies.” NIV

There will be no lack of things that will attempt to gain our trust.

As Christians, we are called to be discerning.  Our eternal trust must be in God, in the hope of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

One of the greatest joys of our life here is the privilege of forming deep and lasting relationships.   I don’t believe in any way that these verses on trust are saying not to do that.

Instead, I think that they are reminding us that God must remain first and foremost in our lives.  Everything else is icing on the cake.

But, we must be on our guard against those who will tempt us to focus on the sweetness of the icing … who will persuade us to put something else or someone else ahead of God.  In some cases, “those” can include our own wants and desires, which are among the easiest things to sinfully put in God’s place.

These lessons on trust are valuable.  They’re providing me a multidimensional perspective.  One for which I am truly thankful.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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A promised rescue

Jeremiah 39: 17-18

But I will rescue you on that day declares the LORD;  you will not be handed over to those you fear.  I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the LORD. NIV

Over the last several days, I’ve been looking at the word “trust” in the NIV, and taking each verse in order.

This morning, I skipped ahead.  I needed to find a verse with a bit of encouragement in it, and, here it is.

I will not be handed over to those I fear.  God will save me.

Notice, I’m guaranteed neither wealth, nor riches, nor an absence of pain … I will escape with my life, because I trust in God.

In the end, “escaping with my life,” will mean an eternity with Him.

That’s a reason not to worry.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Don’t be deceived

Jeremiah 9: 4-6

Beware of your friends, do not trust your brothers.  For every brother is a deceiver, every friend a slanderer.  Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth.  They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.  You live in the midst of deception;  in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me, declares the Lord.  NIV

These are hard verses.

But, at their core is the repetition of the recipe for not worrying.

Don’t trust anyone but God.  Acknowledge Him as the source of all good things.

That being said, these verses still are very hard to read.

In their deceit, they refuse to acknowledge me, declares the Lord.

Last night, we had dinner with some friends.  It was a delightful evening.  At one point, one of the men reminded us of an old saying, “You can fool all of the people some of the time; and some of the people all of the time; but, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

Those who refuse to acknowledge God are being fooled.  They are, perhaps, deceiving themselves.  But, those who trust them and look up to them, like their children, have a high likelihood of being fooled as well.  They … live in the midst of deception.

God is important.  He made all things.  By His grace, you draw each breath.  By His provision, you have hands to reach out and help others, you have eyes to see their pain, and ears to hear their requests.

God created you.  He made you for a purpose.  He has a plan for your life and He delights in YOU.

Don’t be deceived.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Going into a garage doesn’t make you a car

Jeremiah 7: 13-14

While you were doing all these things, declares the LORD, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen.  I called you but you did not answer.  Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the  house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your fathers.  NIV

When I was in fourth grade, I had to switch elementary schools.  Only 14 of us went from my old school to the new one, and, none of my old friends ended up in my new class.  So, I had to make a whole new group of friends.

My first friend was an only child.  Her mom spoke to mine, and I ended up at her house one afternoon.  We made cookies.  Carrot cookies.  I had never eaten one, much less made one.  I remember eating a good amount of the sugary dough before we put the carrots in.  At some point, I asked her where she went to church.  This was my world.  Everyone I knew went to church.  We weren’t all the same religion, but, on Sunday morning, we all went out and got in our cars and went to worship.

She said she didn’t go.

I’m sure I must have been surprised by her answer, and, given that I’m not at all skilled at hiding what I’m thinking, I’m sure she knew that.  What she said next, has stuck with me all these years.  She said, “going into a church doesn’t make me a Christian any more than going into a garage would make me a car.”

I knew that she was right.  I was a new Christian.  I hadn’t become one by going into the church.  It had been a gradual learning process for me.  I came to understand the truth of John 3:16, the miracle of Christmas and the hope of Easter.  God had sent His one and only Son as a sacrifice for my sins.  It was a gift that I had only to acknowledge and accept as my own.  I had accepted Christ into my heart, and it had been transformational for me.

It was years before I realized that the phrase, “going into a church isn’t going to make me a Christian any more than going into a garage will make me a car,” while completely true, was likely one that she had heard from her parents … that they must have used it as a justification for not being actively involved in a local fellowship, but, that’s off my point.

This chapter of Jeremiah, Chapter 7, speaks exactly to that phrase.

The people are off doing all sorts of things that are abominable to God.  And, when it is time to worship, they enter the temple to praise Him.  They treat their temple experience as the thing that will be their salvation.

They were trusting in the temple.  They were entering it and expecting to be made holy … walking into the garage and expecting to become a car.

That isn’t going to cut it.  God clearly says that they cannot trust in the building, the Temple, even if it bears His name.  Trusting anything other than God, is wrong, and, in my case, leads to nothing but worry.

God wants, expects, demands that I trust HIM.  Nothing else.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Jeremiah, Old Testament, Trust

My only hope is in Him

Jeremiah 5:17b

With the sword they will destroy the fortified cities in which you trust. NIV

God is very clear on this trust issue.

All trust belongs to Him as our one true God, our Savior, our Rock, our Deliverer.

Anything else we might trust will be turned to rubble, and revealed as false in the long run.

I hated September 11 … it was one of the absolute worst days of my life.  On that day, things that I had always trusted, without even realizing that I trusted them, were obliterated.  I remember when I heard that the towers had fallen.  I hadn’t watched a moment of the television coverage.  I was working frantically, counting noses to ensure that all of the people for whom I was responsible were accounted for when my boss called.  He said, “They’re gone.”

I didn’t understand … I asked him who was gone.

He said, “The towers, they’re gone.”

I was dumbfounded.  I protested that they couldn’t be gone … perhaps there was too much smoke, perhaps his view of them had been obscured.

No, he was certain.  “They fell down,” he said.

I couldn’t assimilate it.  They were huge.  They dominated the skyline of Manhattan.  How could something so big, so powerful, fall down?

Something that I had considered permanent, immovable, had been shattered, and thousands of people had lost their lives.  Really, there are no words to describe the horror of that day.

This morning, when I read this verse, it was a painful reminder.  But, also, a vivid lesson.

God is the only permanence.  He is trustworthy.  My perspective is incomplete.  Things that I see as permanent, are merely temporal.  Obstacles that I see as insurmountable are mere pebbles in His path.  My little worries, really don’t matter at all in the big scheme of things.

I’m the blind termite, working my way through the piece of wood that is in front of me at the moment.  God is the master builder, and He has all the plans.

My only hope is in Him.

That’s what I’ll think about today.



Filed under Jeremiah, Old Testament, Trust

You may think it’s a small thing, but it’s not

Jeremiah 2:36-37

Why do you go about so much, changing your ways?  You will be disappointed by Egypt as you were by Assyria.  You will also leave that place with your hands on your head, for the LORD has rejected those you trust; you will not be helped by them.  NIV


I’m looking at each verse with the word “trust” in it, verse-by-verse, as I work my way through my NIV concordance.  These verses link together to tell a powerful story, and this is the next chapter.

Listen to how The Message paraphrases these two verses.

“You think it’s just a small thing, don’t you, to try out another sin-project when the first one fails?  But Egypt will leave you in the lurch the same way that Assyria did.  You’re going to walk away from there wringing your hands.  I, GOD, have blacklisted those you trusted.  You’ll get not a lick of help from them.”  MSG


You will be disappointed by Egypt as you were by Assyria.  OK … I don’t know enough about world history to put this in complete historical context, but, the meaning of these verses is crystal clear to me.  Jeremiah is telling us that we just don’t get it.  We trust in one oppressor, instead of God, and we may realize the error of our ways, but, if we substitute another in its place, instead of trusting God, we’re doomed.

In my case, I’ve learned that my worry stemmed from my inability to control my future.  I worried about how things would turn out … a lot.  That worry did no good.  It simply distracted me from being able to accomplish anything for the kingdom.  There I was, occupying my time with worry, foolishly thinking that I was accomplishing something by making plan after plan, when all of it was really for, well, nothing.  All I was doing was putting my trust in my own perspectives  and my own abilities above my trust in God.  Anytime God isn’t first, everything is out of order.

So, I feel like I get it.  Especially this last week with the “trust” verses I looked at in Isaiah.  I’m blind.  I don’t know the future and I’m not meant to.  I must trust God to lead me to it and through it.

And, then, today’s verse.

“You think it’s just a small thing, don’t you, to try out another sin-project when the first one fails?  But Egypt will leave you in the lurch the same way that Assyria did.”

The only path, the narrow path, is to trust God with my whole heart.  I can’t trust myself or anyone else here for my fate or for my future.  I can’t substitute another oppressor for the one that I’ve spent so much time getting rid of!

I know that I won’t get a “lick of help,” from any other source, and I don’t want to find myself wringing my hands after I figure out the next thing that I might have trusted instead of God.

So, that’s my prayer today … that God would show me when I’m getting off track, when I’m trusting anything or anyone else in place of Him. That He would empower me to keep my focus laser sharp, on trusting Him.


Filed under Jeremiah, Old Testament, Trust

He’s in charge

Jeremiah 46: 28a

“Do not fear, O Jacob my servant, for I am with you,” declares the Lord. NIV

This morning, I came to the end of the listings of the word, “fear” in my King James concordance.  The word appears hundreds of times in various forms, but, as I went through the list, I was mostly focusing on times that it was paired with “not.”

This particular “fear not” is one that I found months ago, but, didn’t catalog.  The remainder of this verse is a bit … sobering.  God says, “I will not completely destroy you.  I will discipline you but only with justice;  I will not let you go unpunished.”

The Biblical reminders not to worry that I’m finding are not just platitudes.  They aren’t like that song, “Don’t worry … be happy.”  Candidly, I’m not a big fan of that song … when you’re worried, it is very challenging to flip that switch to happiness on your own.

But, the Bible tells us, over and over, that we don’t have to face worry alone.  This verse says, “Do not fear … I am with you.”

And, the verses that I’m finding are showing me that worry over things to come is really not my responsibility — more than that, it’s above my pecking order.  “Do not fear … my servant.”

God reminds us that we needn’t worry because we’re not in charge … He is.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Fear, Jeremiah, Old Testament, Worry

“Don’t worry,” and “There’s nothing to worry about,” are two entirely different things

Jeremiah 28:9

“But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord, only if his prediction comes true.” NIV

I skipped over this verse for some reason.  I didn’t realize that I’d skipped it until this morning.  Yesterday, I had made it all the way to Ezekiel in the listings of the word, “worry” in The Message.  Today, I’m back in Jeremiah, where this verse reads, “So any prophet who preaches that everything is just fine and there’s nothing to worry about stands out like a sore thumb.  We’ll wait and see.  If it happens, it happens — and then we’ll know that God sent him.” MSG

Jeremiah is speaking here, against the false prophet Hananiah.  Chapter 28, in fact, is called “The False Prophet Hananiah” in my NIV version of the Bible.

At the beginning of the chapter, Hananiah claims to have a word from God.  He tells the people that all will be restored, and that God will break the yoke of the King of Babylon.

Jeremiah responds that he wishes that were true, but, that all of the prophets who have come before them have prophesied the opposite.  Later in the chapter, God tells Jeremiah that Hananiah is a false prophet, and, by the end of the chapter, Hananiah is dead.

So, here’s the interesting thing … Jeremiah basically says, everything isn’t going to be all right … there are definitely bad things coming … things that would merit worrying over, if one, like me, were a worrier.

But, commanding us not to worry, as God does over and over again throughout the Bible, is no where near saying “there’s nothing to worry about.”  There’s lots to worry about, we just shouldn’t spend our time here doing that.

Even when very bad things happen, we are called to trust God and to step forward on faith with Him.  Regardless of my changing circumstances, God never changes.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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