The kings are no longer appointed by God. The king of Egypt came, deposed the king, and made Eliakim king over Judah, renaming him Jehoiakim. (II Chronicles 36:3-4) Needless to say, they didn’t pick a holy man to reign. So Jeremiah’s words mean nothing to him.
Since Jeremiah is no longer allowed in the temple, he tries to get his message to the leadership some other way. First he brings in some nomads who live in the area. They are true to their traditions as presented to them by their fathers. They don’t drink wine and they never build houses, but live in tents. Those ancestral traditions are obeyed to the letter.
Jeremiah uses these people as representatives of those who follow the leading of their fathers, in contrast to the Jews who don’t. He sends these people with that word to the leaders. To no avail.
Then the prophet calls Baruch the scribe to him. He dictates all of the words which God has spoken to him – from the beginning. Baruch writes them on a scroll, and takes them to the temple. As he reads them, some of the leaders feel compelled to take the messages to the king. Again to no avail.
The king, appointed by Egypt, burns the scrolls and tries to find Baruch and Jeremiah.
It’s ironic how evil tries to silence the messenger. As if the truth won’t be the truth when it’s not being spoken.
On his 95th birthday, Billy Graham aired on TV what he calls his final message: the message of the cross. The message of hope for all mankind.
This sweet, holy man, who reminds everyone of God’s forgiveness awaiting them, speaks very plainly. He said, “The cross confronts, and sometimes makes them hostile.” The reason? “It doesn’t suggest, but it commands that people receive it and change their lifestyles.” Those who don’t want to change, fight against the message ,and they fight against the messenger.
It was the same in the days of Jeremiah. Those who didn’t want to hear what God was saying would try to stop the message. But they couldn’t.
The truth is the truth. Eventually everyone will know it, but for some it will be too late.
That’s the way it was in the days of Jeremiah. That’s the way it is today.
Even though slavery was a common practice in the early days of the church, it’s easy to see God’s attitude toward it here.
Paul is appealing to Philemon to accept Onesimus, his former slave, as a brother in Christ. He has come to the Lord under Paul’s ministry while in prison. Onesimus is being sent back, to fulfill the law of the land, but Paul’s appeal is for pardon and freedom.
This is such a good picture of the way God works in our hearts. Our works are no longer under the law, but they are fruits emanating from spirits loyal to our God.
When we become new creatures, our hearts are sensitive to what our Father wants. No longer are we compelled, but we are led, to do what is right toward our brothers and sisters.
The urgings of the Spirit should be our guide. God’s Word in accordance with these leadings bring us to a higher level than any law – whether an earthly one or the God-ordained Old Testament law.
It’s always a higher standard, but one we embrace willingly when we allow our Father to work within our hearts.
A better covenant and a better way of life.
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