Simple Bible Reading Guide
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"The revelation of Your words sheds light, giving understanding to the simple." —Psalms 119:130
God's word is intended for all people. For thousands of years God has communicated to millions of simple people through His word. In fact, many things are hidden from the learned and clever but revealed to the merest children (Lk 10:21). Of course, God's word is sometimes so difficult to interpret that we need the Church to teach us. Therefore, highly academic Bible study has its place, but it is not the principal approach to God's word. The word is not primarily for an educated elite but for everyday people praying and reading by the power of the Spirit.
Nevertheless, not many books about the Bible are written to help the average person. What most people need is something short, simple, and practical that encourages, motivates and guides. We need something that will help us read the Biblical texts and not just about the text. This is the purpose of this simple Bible reading guide. "We have aimed to please those who prefer simple reading, as well as to make it easy for the studious who wish to commit things to memory, and to be helpful to all (2 Mc 2:25).
Note: The breakdown of the Bible into chapters (although not always adequate) has served God's people for centuries. So in general we will use a chapter-by-chapter structure for our comments.
Be sure to read each chapter of the Bible along with the introductory comments.
P.S. We have prayed before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament about our choice of the verses in this reading guide. We hope the Scriptures will have a prophetic, life-changing power for you.
Jer 1 — NO EXCUSES
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you." Jeremiah 1:5
Jeremiah prophesied for over forty years at a most critical time in Jewish history, the years immediately preceding the Babylonian exile. When God first called him, Jeremiah tried to use his youth as an excuse to get out of his calling to prophesy. But God wouldn't fall for any excuses. The Lord answered Jeremiah: "Say not, 'I am too young.' To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak" (1:7). "See, I place My words in your mouth! This day I set you over nations and over kingdoms, to root up and to tear down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant" (1:9-10).
Prayer: Father, raise up in our day young people to challenge and renew the Church.
Promise: "For it is I this day Who have made you a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of brass, against the whole land: against Judah's kings and princes, against its priests and people. They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord." 1:18-19
Jer 2 — MARRIAGE AND ADULTERY
"I remember the devotion of your youth, how you loved Me as a bride." Jeremiah 2:2
Like Isaiah and Hosea, Jeremiah pictures the relationship between the Lord and Israel as a marriage covenant. Therefore, sin is analogous to adultery (see 2:32). Nevertheless, the Lord will take us back, even after we have committed the adultery of sin, if we only repent.
Prayer: Jesus, may I be faithful to You "for better or worse".
Jer 3 — RETURN
"You have sinned with many lovers, and yet you would return to Me! says the Lord." Jeremiah 3:1
Three times the Lord calls us to return to Him and admit our adulterous compromises with the world (3:12, 14, 22).
Prayer: Father, may I go to Confession very soon.
Promise: "I will appoint over you shepherds after My own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently." 3:15
Jer 4 — HEART-ATTACK
"My breast! my breast! how I suffer! The walls of my heart! My heart beats wildly." Jeremiah 4:19
Jeremiah's prophecy of the Babylonian invasion destroying Jerusalem is so intense that he almost has a heart-attack in the midst of prophesying.
Prayer: Father, circumcise, even break, my heart if it will lead me to repent of my sins (see Rm 2:29).
Promise: "For the sake of the Lord, be circumcised, remove the foreskins of your hearts." 4:4
Jer 5 — THE ONE
"Roam the streets of Jerusalem, look about and observe, search through her public places, to find even one who lives uprightly and seeks to be faithful, and I will pardon her!" Jeremiah 5:1
The Lord promised to spare Jerusalem if He could find even one righteous person. But He could not find even one. Therefore, in His love for us, He became man and by His righteousness saved us all.
Prayer: Jesus, just as sin entered the world through one man, so salvation was given to the world through You, the one Man. I adore You, God-Man.
Promise: "Behold, I make My words in your mouth, a fire." 5:14
Jer 6 — "O, SAY CAN YOU SEE" (6:10, 19, 21, 22)
"See, the word of the Lord has become for them an object of scorn, which they will not have. Therefore My wrath brims up within Me." Jeremiah 6:10-11
"See, I bring evil upon this people, the fruit of their own schemes, because they heeded not My words, because they despised My law." Jeremiah 6:19
When we refuse to listen to God's word and repent, we refuse to see. We blind ourselves (Is 29:9) and bring down on ourselves God's wrath.
Prayer: Father, by repenting, may I let You have mercy on me rather than punish me.
Promise: "Thus says the Lord: stand beside the earliest roads, ask the pathways of old which is the way to good, and walk it; thus you will find rest for your souls." 6:16
Jer 7 — DROPPING OUT OF CHURCH
"And now, because you have committed all these misdeeds, says the Lord, because you did not listen, though I spoke to you untiringly; because you did not answer, though I called you, I will do to this house named after Me, in which you trust and to this place which I gave you and your fathers, just as I did to Shiloh. I will cast you away from Me." Jeremiah 7:13-15
The Lord said He was going to drop out of church unless the people repented. He told Jeremiah to stand at the entrance of the Temple and pass on this message.
Prayer: Lord, shake up Your Church, convict us of sin, and cleanse the temple.
Promise: "Reform your ways and your deeds, so that I may remain with you in this place." 7:3
Jer 8 — DEPRESSED
"Death will be preferred to life by all the survivors of this wicked race who remain in any of the places to which I banish them, says the Lord of hosts." Jeremiah 8:3
No matter how terrible the consequences, the people refused to repent and listen to God's word. This was very depressing to Jeremiah. He moaned: "My grief is incurable, my heart within me is faint" (8:18). He prayed: "Oh, that my head were a spring of water, my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night over the slain of the daughter of my people!" (8:23)
Prayer: Father, may I fix my eyes on Your mercy rather than on humanity's rebellion.
Jer 9 — PLANNING A FUNERAL?
"Attention! tell the wailing women to come, summon the best of them; let them come quickly and intone a dirge for us, that our eyes may be wet with weeping, our cheeks run with tears. The dirge is heard from Zion." Jeremiah 9:16-18
Because the people would not repent, Jeremiah began to plan their funeral. The curse of death which fell upon Egypt and brought about the liberation of the people of Israel now falls upon the sinful Israelites (see 2:20; Ex 12:23 ff).
Prayer: Father, may I weep for my sins so I don't have to weep for the destruction of my people.
Promise: "Let him who glories, glory in this, that in his prudence he knows Me, knows that I, the Lord, bring about kindness, justice and uprightness on the earth; for with such am I pleased, says the Lord." 9:23
Jer 10 — WOUNDED, UNREPENTANT LEADERS
"Learn not the customs of the nations, and have no fear of the signs of the heavens, though the nations fear them. For the cult idols of the nations are nothing." Jeremiah 10:2-3
Judah continued in idol worship because they refused to see their wounds as a call to repent and because their leaders did not seek the Lord.
Prayer: Father, when I'm hurt and confused, may I turn to You in repentance.
Promise: "The Lord is true God, He is the living God, the eternal King, before Whose anger the earth quakes." 10:10
Jer 11 — "QUICK TO HEAR, SLOW TO SPEAK" (Jas 1:19)
"Though they cry out to Me, I will not listen to them." Jeremiah 11:11
If we don't listen to God, how can we expect Him to listen to us? Our prayers and church services are mere lip-service if we are not faithful to our covenant with the Lord.
Prayer: Father, may my prayer not be for persuasion but submission.
Promise: "You, O Lord of hosts, O just Judge, Searcher of mind and heart..." 11:20
Jer 13 — MIXED METAPHORS
"Give ear, listen humbly, for the Lord speaks. Give glory to the Lord, your God, before it grows dark; before your feet stumble on darkening mountains; before the light you look for turns to darkness, changes into black clouds. If you do not listen to this in your pride, I will weep in secret many tears; my eyes will run with tears; for the Lord's flock, led away to exile." Jeremiah 13:15-17
Jeremiah prophesied that Judah was like rotten underwear or a broken wineflask. He was desperately trying to bring Judah back to its senses before it was too late.
Prayer: Father, shock me into repenting.
Promise: "For, as close as the loincloth clings to a man's loins, so had I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord; to be My people, My renown, My praise, My beauty." 13:11
Jer 14 — WATERING THE LAND WITH TEARS
"The word of the Lord came...to Jeremiah concerning the drought." Jeremiah 14:1
A great drought indicated that nature itself was groaning under the burden of Judah's sins (Rm 8:22). Yet false prophets continued to assure the people that everything was going to be all right. Jeremiah watered the parched land with tears and prophesied: "Let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of my people over her incurable wound" (14:17).
Prayer: Father, may I cry tears of repentance because of my own sins and those of this nation.
Promise: "You alone have done all these things." 14:22
Jer 15 — SHUT MY MOUTH
"Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth! a man of strife and contention to all the land!" Jeremiah 15:10
Jeremiah complained about the stubbornness of the people and the sufferings he endured in his prophetic ministry. Then he accused the Lord of not being faithful to him. At this point, the Lord interrupted and told Jeremiah to repent of such false accusations. The Lord countered: "If you repent, so that I restore you, in My presence you shall stand; if you bring forth the precious without the vile, you shall be My mouthpiece. Then it shall be they who turn to you, and you shall not turn to them" (15:19).
Prayer: Father, may I talk with You openly but never question Your love.
Promise: "I will make you toward this people a solid wall of brass. Though they fight against you, they shall not prevail, for I am with you, to deliver and rescue you, says the Lord." 15:20
Jer 16 — PROPHETIC LIFE-STYLE
"Do not marry any woman; you shall not have sons or daughters in this place." Jeremiah 16:2
Jeremiah's life-style was his prophecy. He did not marry, go to funeral homes, or join in parties. This counter-cultural life proclaimed the imminent destruction of the people and the urgent need for repentance.
Prayer: Father, may I live in a way that speaks the truth louder than words.
Promise: "O Lord, my Strength, my Fortress, my Refuge in the day of distress! To You will the nations come from the ends of the earth." 16:19
Jer 17 — TRUSTING AND CURSING
"Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord." Jeremiah 17:5
Judah trusted in almost anything or anyone but the Lord. Therefore, they were cursed. We too trust in money, weapons, technology, education, and psychology instead of the Lord. We will also be cursed unless we repent.
Prayer: "Heal me, Lord, that I may be healed; save me, that I may be saved, for it is You Whom I praise" (17:14).
Promise: "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord." 17:7
Jer 18 — BACKTALK
"No use! We will follow our own devices; each one of us will behave according to the stubbornness of his evil heart." Jeremiah 18:12
Instead of repenting, we may spend our time arguing with God the Potter or with His prophets. "Friend, who are you to answer God back? Does something molded say to its molder, 'Why did you make me like this?' " (Rm 9:20)
Prayer: Father, I repent of doing anything else but repenting.
Promise: "But if that nation which I have threatened turns from its evil, I also repent of the evil which I threatened to do." 18:8
Jer 19 — SMASHING
"I am going to bring such evil upon this place that all who hear of it will feel their ears tingle." Jeremiah 19:3
The Lord told Jeremiah to call a "press conference" at the city dump. There he smashed a potter's flask. The message was: "Thus says the Lord of hosts: Thus will I smash this people and this city, as one smashes a clay pot so that it cannot be repaired" (19:11).
Prayer: Father, may I wake up to my need for repentance the next time I see or hear something smashed.
Jer 20 — TALKING TO YOURSELF?
"You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped; You were too strong for me, and You triumphed." Jeremiah 20:7
Jeremiah was arrested for the prophecy given in chapter 19. So he decided to quit the prophetic ministry. But then he started talking to himself: "I say to myself, I will not mention Him, I will speak in His name no more. But then it becomes like a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it" (20:9).
Prayer: Father, may I never quit on You no matter what the pressures are.
Promise: "Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for He has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!" 20:13
Jer 21 — NO EASY WAY OUT
"I Myself will fight against you with outstretched hand and mighty arm, in anger and wrath, and great rage!" Jeremiah 21:5
King Zedekiah hoped that there was some way to deal with the Babylonian invasion other than by repenting. Jeremiah told him that there was no other way. Repent or be doomed.
Prayer: Father, over and over You keep saying: "Repent." May I obey You.
Jer 22 — SOCIAL INJUSTICE
"Your eyes and heart are set on nothing except on your own gain, on shedding innocent blood, on practicing oppression and extortion." Jeremiah 22:17
When a nation does not put its faith in God, it oppresses its people. It sheds innocent blood and commits injustices against aliens, orphans and widows. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.
Prayer: Father, give me Your heart for the poor. Like Jesus, may I not only help the poor but become one of them.
Jer 23 — GODLESS LEADERS
"From Me they have no mission or command, and they do this people no good at all, says the Lord." Jeremiah 23:32
The Lord threatened to punish the shepherds who misled and scattered His sheep. The Lord also called to repentance other leaders. He announced: "Both prophet and priest are godless! In My very house I find their wickedness" (23:11). The Lord promised that He Himself would shepherd the sheep. God literally did this by becoming man and being our Good Shepherd. "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous Shoot to David; as king He shall reign and govern wisely, He shall do what is just and right in the land" (23:5).
Prayer: Father, work through or despite of the religious leaders of my church.
Promise: "Had they stood in My council, and did they but proclaim it to My people My words, they would have brought them back from evil ways and from their wicked deeds." 23:22
Jer 24 — GOING TO EXTREMES
"The good ones are very good, but the bad ones very bad." Jeremiah 24:3
At the time of the Babylonian exile, many of Judah's exiles became very good in living out their commitment to the Lord while many of those who remained in Jerusalem became very bad. This same thing is happening in the Church today.
Prayer: Father, sin is increasing, but grace is abounding even more (Rm 5:20). May I accept Your grace.
Promise: "I will give them a heart with which to understand that I am the Lord. They shall be My people and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart." 24:7
Jer 25 — 70 +
"This whole land shall be a ruin and a desert. Seventy years these nations shall be enslaved to the king of Babylon; but when the seventy years have elapsed, I will punish the king of Babylon and the nation and the land of the Chaldeans for their guilt, says the Lord." Jeremiah 25:11-12
Jeremiah prophesied that the Israelites' exile in Babylon would last seventy years. "Seventy" symbolized an indefinitely long period of time.
After the Babylonian exile, the Lord also punished Babylon and other foreign nations and had them drink the cup of His judgment. He promised: "They shall drink, and be convulsed, and go mad because of the sword I will send among them" (25:16).
Prayer: Father, when You begin "the season of judgment" (1 Pt 4:17) with Your own household, may I already be repentant, forgiven, and sanctified.
Promise: "The Lord roars from on high, from His holy dwelling He raises His voice; mightily He roars over the range." 25:30
Jer 26 — DON'T RUN
"Thus says the Lord: stand in the court of the house of the Lord and speak to the people of all the cities of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord; whatever I command you, tell them, and omit nothing." Jeremiah 26:2
The Lord told Jeremiah to stand at the entrance to the Temple and prophecy its destruction. Uriah did the same thing. When the religious leaders threatened to kill both prophets, Jeremiah courageously confronted the opposition but Uriah fled in fear. Jeremiah was spared; Uriah was apprehended and slain.
Prayer: Father, may I never give in to fear.
Promise: "Did they not rather fear the Lord and entreat the favor of the Lord, so that He repented of the evil with which He had threatened them?" 26:19
Jer 27 — INNOCENT VICTIMS?
"The people that submits its neck to the yoke of the king of Babylon to serve him I will leave in peace on its own land, says the Lord, to till it and dwell in it." Jeremiah 27:11
When we are a part of a nation, family, or church that will not repent, we should resign ourselves to punishment and suffering. If we are innocent victims, our sufferings will be redemptive.
Prayer: Father, like Jesus, may I suffer for the sins of others and repent of my own.
Promise: "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: it was I Who made the earth, and man and beast on the face of the earth, by My great power, with My outstretched arm; and I can give them to whomever I think fit." 27:4-5
Jer 28 — 2 + 2
"To the prophet Hananiah the prophet Jeremiah said: Hear this, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, and you have raised false confidence in this people. For this, says the Lord, I will dispatch you from the face of the earth; this very year you shall die." Jeremiah 28:15-16
In the last chapter, Jeremiah told several nations to make for themselves yoke bars as a symbol that they would be conquered by Babylon. The prophet Hananiah contradicted Jeremiah's prophecy by taking the yoke from Jeremiah's neck and breaking it. This was to symbolize Judah breaking the yoke of Babylon within two years. Because Hananiah prophesied falsely, he died within two months.
Prayer: Father, may I say what You want me to say.
Jer 29 — LETTER-WRITING CAMPAIGNS
"There you must increase in number, not decrease. Promote the welfare of the city to which I have exiled you; pray for it to the Lord, for upon its welfare depends your own." Jeremiah 29:6-7
Jeremiah wrote a letter to the exiles encouraging them to make the best of their captivity. He promised them "a future full of hope" (29:11), for after "seventy years" the nation would return from exile.
The false prophet Shemaiah also wrote a letter. His letter was addressed "to all the people of Jerusalem, to all the priests" (29:25). He wanted Zephaniah to arrest Jeremiah and put an end to his prophecies.
Jeremiah responded by prophesying against Shemaiah. God would indeed restore and prosper His people, but none of those who believed Shemaiah would be a part of it (see 29:32).
Prayer: Father, show me if there is anyone You want me to write a letter to.
Promise: "When you call Me, when you go to pray to Me, I will listen to you. When you look for Me, you will find Me. Yes, when you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me with you." 29:12-14
Jer 30 — "A FUTURE FULL OF HOPE" (29:11)
"They shall serve the Lord, their God, and David, their king, whom I will raise up for them. But you, My servant Jacob, fear not, says the Lord, be not dismayed, O Israel! Behold, I will deliver you from the far-off land, your descendants, from their land of exile." Jeremiah 30:9-10
This chapter and the next one do not fit into the chronology of the book. Rather, they are inserted here to emphasize them and show that we have "a future full of hope."
Prayer: Father, encourage me. Fill me with hope.
Promise: "From them will resound songs of praise, the laughter of happy men. I will make them not few, but many; they will not be tiny, for I will glorify them." 30:19
Jer 31 — THE NEW COVENANT
"The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah." Jeremiah 31:31
This is one of the most important chapters of the Bible. It prophesies the return from exile. This is seen to be not only an individual historical event but a symbol of a new relationship with the Lord. We will not break this covenant. It will be placed within us and written on our hearts. All will know the Lord, and He will forgive our evildoing and remember our sin no more.
Prayer: Father, thank You for giving me the opportunity to have a relationship with You that is closer than any marriage relationship.
Promise: "With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept My mercy toward you." 31:3
Jer 33 — MAGNIFICENT RESTORATION
"Behold; I will treat and assuage the city's wounds; I will heal them, and reveal to them an abundance of lasting peace. I will change the lot of Judah and the lot of Israel, and rebuild them as of old." Jeremiah 33:6-7
The Lord promised to restore Jerusalem in a magnificent way: "Then Jerusalem shall be My joy, My praise, My glory, before all the nations of the earth, as they hear of all the good I will do among them. They shall be in fear and trembling over all the peaceful benefits I will give her" (33:9).
Prayer: Father, restore Your Church in a way worthy of Your "magnificent riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:19).
Promise: "Call to Me, and I will answer you; I will tell to you things great beyond reach of your knowledge." 33:3
Jer 34 — EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION?
"Though they agreed and freed them, afterward they took back their male and female slaves whom they had set free and again forced them into service." Jeremiah 34:10-11
While Babylon was attacking Jerusalem, King Zedekiah proclaimed the emancipation of all Hebrew slaves. This action was dictated by emergency conditions. Later, however, the emancipation proclamation was revoked. This showed that Zedekiah was not trying to obey God; he was merely playing politics. He would soon be destroyed.
Prayer: Father, I repent of manipulating others. I ask to be straightforward (Phil 2:15).
Jer 35 — GOD "DON'T GET NO RESPECT"
"They obeyed their father's command. Me, however, you have not obeyed, although I spoke to you untiringly and insistently." Jeremiah 35:14
Like the Rechabites, many people in the secular world are more faithful to their beliefs and dedicated to their jobs than Christians are dedicated to Christ.
Prayer: Jesus, may I listen to You more than I listen to any superstar, president, millionaire, or professor.
Jer 36 — BIBLE-BURNING
"Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king would cut off the piece with a scribe's knife and cast it into the fire in the brazier, until the entire roll was consumed in the fire." Jeremiah 36:23
Baruch wrote down Jeremiah's prophecies. He also read them publicly in the Lord's house on a special fast day. He read them another time to the princes. However, the king decided to burn the scroll of Jeremiah's prophecies. "Hearing all these words did not frighten the king and his ministers or cause them to rend their garments. And though Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them" (36:24-25). "Jeremiah took another scroll, and gave it to his secretary, Baruch, son of Neriah; he wrote on it at Jeremiah's dictation all the words contained in the book which Jehoiakim, king of Judah, had burned in the fire, and many others of the same kind in addition" (36:32).
Prayer: Father, may I tremble at Your word (Is 66:2).
Jer 37 — UNPOPULARITY CONTEST
"The princes were enraged, and had Jeremiah beaten and thrown into prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe, which they were using as a jail." Jeremiah 37:15
Jeremiah's prophecies made him very unpopular. The authorities were just looking for an excuse to arrest him. Jesus went through the same thing, and Jesus' followers will also.
Prayer: Father, may my concern be to please You rather than people (see Gal 1:10).
Jer 38 — STICK-IN-THE-MUD
"They took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Prince Malchiah, which was in the quarters of the guard, letting him down with ropes. There was no water in the cistern, only mud." Jeremiah 38:6
Jeremiah was stuck in the mud in punishment for prophesying. But King Zedekiah was stuck in a worse way because of his fear.
Prayer: Father, may I never act out of fear but out of faith (see Mk 5:36).
Jer 39 — DOOMSDAY
"The Chaldeans set fire to the king's palace and the houses of the people, and demolished the walls of Jerusalem." Jeremiah 39:8
The fall of Jerusalem to Babylon was the most disastrous event in Jewish history up to the holocaust of World War II. Jerusalem was taken. King Zedekiah was forced to look on as his sons were slain. With this as his last sight, Zedekiah was blinded. He and most of the people were deported to Babylon. Jeremiah and Ebed-melech were spared, however, because they trusted in the Lord.
Prayer: Father, may I trust in You and be ready for anything.
Promise: "I will make certain that you escape and do not fall by the sword. Your life shall be spared as booty, because you trusted Me, says the Lord." 39:18
Jer 41 — BAD, WORSE, WORST
"While they were together at table in Mizpah, Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, and the ten who were with him, rose up and attacked with swords Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, son of Shapan, whom the king of Babylon had made ruler over the land; and they killed him." Jeremiah 41:1-2
Ishmael assassinated Gedaliah. Johanan avenged the murder, although Ishmael got away. In fear of the Babylonians, Johanan and the survivors planned to flee to Egypt.
Prayer: Father, by obedience to Your will, may I turn chaos into peace.
Jer 42 — PRETENDING TO SEEK GOD'S WILL
"At the cost of your lives you have deceived me, sending me to the Lord, your God, saying 'Pray for us to the Lord, our God; make known to us all that the Lord, our God, shall say, and we will do it.' " Jeremiah 42:20
Although they had already made up their minds to escape to Egypt, Johanan and the survivors asked Jeremiah to pray for direction from the Lord. "Ten days passed before the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah" (42:7). He insisted that the people stay in Judah and threatened that their running in fear to Egypt would be disastrous.
Prayer: Father, may I be open and honest with You.
Promise: "If you remain quietly in this land I will build you up, and not tear you down; I will plant you, not uproot you; for I regret the evil I have done you." 42:10
Jer 43 — ADDING INSULT TO INJURY
"You lie; it was not the Lord, our God, Who sent you to tell us not to go to Egypt to settle. It is Baruch, son of Neriah, who stirs you up against us, to hand us over to the Chaldeans to be killed or exiled to Babylon." Jeremiah 43:2-3
Johanan and the people called Jeremiah a liar, did the opposite of what he told them, and kidnapped him, taking him to Egypt. Jeremiah continued to prophesy the destruction of those who fled to Egypt.
Prayer: Father, may I never be stampeded by fear but always trust in You.
Jer 44 — THE BITTER END
"The whole remnant of Judah who came to settle in Egypt shall know whose word stands, mine or theirs." Jeremiah 44:28
This is Jeremiah's last prophecy chronologically. The people openly rejected his words. Almost all of the people were destroyed, but not before they had murdered Jeremiah.
Prayer: Father, may I listen to Your prophets before I am implicated in murdering them.
Jer 45 — A MEMO TO HIS SECRETARY
"I am bringing evil on all mankind, says the Lord, but your life I will leave you as booty, wherever you may go." Jeremiah 45:5
Jeremiah prophesied that God would spare the life of his secretary Baruch, although the Lord was displeased with Baruch's complaining and pride.
Prayer: Father, may I stop complaining and consider it a privilege to serve You and even suffer for You (Phil 1:29).
Jer 46 — ENDING WITH A BANG
"This is the word of the Lord that came to the prophet Jeremiah against the nations." Jeremiah 46:1
With a prophecy of Egypt's downfall, Jeremiah begins six chapters of oracles against the nations. Since these chapters end the book, we are left with "violence and outrage" as our last impression of Jeremiah's prophetic ministry (20:8).
Prayer: Father, may I not rely on what is passing away (2 Cor 4:18).
Promise: "You, My servant Jacob, never fear, says the Lord, for I am with you; I will make an end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but of you I will not make an end." 46:28
Jer 47 — PROVEN PROPHECIES
"Yes, the Lord is destroying the Philistines." Jeremiah 47:4
This prophecy against the Philistines, and Jeremiah's other prophecies, have been proven to be true by history. The true test of a prophet is the fulfillment in time of his prophecies (see Dt 18:21-22).
Prayer: Father, may I never "despise prophecies" (1 Thes 5:20).
Jer 48 — MERCY OVER JUSTICE (Jas 2:13)
"Because he boasted against the Lord, make Moab drunk so that he retches and vomits, and he too becomes a laughingstock." Jeremiah 48:26
In the Old Testament, people rejoiced in the execution of justice against their enemies. In the New Testament, we rejoice in God's mercy on our enemies.
Prayer: Father, may I seek the conversion of my enemies rather than their destruction.
Promise: "I will change the lot of Moab in the days to come, says the Lord."48:47
Jer 49 — UNITED NATIONS
"Flee! leave your homes, hide in deep holes, you that live in Hazor, says the Lord; for counsel has been taken against you." Jeremiah 49:30
Jeremiah prophesied against the Ammonites, Edom, Damascus, Arabia, and Elam. These prophecies can also be applied to the U.S.A., China, Russia, the Muslim countries, France, England, Sweden, etc. Any person or nation that does not serve the Lord is included.
Prayer: Father, may my nation be under Your lordship.
Promise: "In days to come I will change the lot of Elam, says the Lord." 49:39; see 49:6; 48:47
Jer 50 — GOD'S IN CONTROL
"Strong is their Avenger, Whose name is Lord of hosts; He will defend their cause with success, and give rest to the earth, but unrest to those who live in Babylon." Jeremiah 50:34
The last two chapters of the oracles against the nations focus on public enemy No. 1: Babylon. Jeremiah dwells on the destruction of Babylon not only for the sake of vengeance but also as a proof of the Lord's sovereign power and justice.
Prayer: Father, You love me and You are bigger than all my problems. I adore You.
Promise: "In those days, at that time, says the Lord, the men of Israel and of Judah shall come, weeping as they come, to seek the Lord, their God." 50:4
Jer 51 — CATHARSIS
"Jeremiah had written all the misfortune that was to befall Babylon." Jeremiah 51:60
We hear oracle after oracle against Babylon. The repetition may seem boring to us. However, it can be a deep, purging experience that brings peace to both consciousness and even unconsciousness.
Prayer: Father, resolve conflicts deep inside me.
Promise: "The Lord has brought to light our just cause; come, let us tell in Zion what the Lord, our God, has done." 51:10
Jer 52 — DEATH AND HOPE
"Indeed, what was done in Jerusalem and in Judah so angered the Lord that He cast them out from His presence." Jeremiah 52:3
An editor supplements the book of Jeremiah by taking this passage from 2 Kings 24:1825:30. It shows undeniably that Jeremiah's prophecies were proven to be accurate by historical events.
The book ends by mentioning the favor shown to exiled King Jehoiachim of Judah at the Babylonian court. This is a tiny ray of hope shining in the frightening darkness of the Babylonian exile.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for saving us when we were doomed to be damned in hell forever.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, April 3, 1997
Imprimatur: Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 8, 1997
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