December 15: After the Storm
Jeremiah 29:1–30:24; Romans 6:1–14; Proverbs 20:13–30
As we blink and squint in the light that emerges after a storm, we marvel that the sun was there all along and we just couldn’t see it. The same is true during times of difficulty. When we’re in pain or worried, it seems impossible to find God, but in retrospect, it always seems obvious: God was there all along.
Jeremiah prophesied to God’s people about their unraveling. The people heard words from Jeremiah’s mouth that must have seemed hopeless and full of despair. But in Jeremiah 29, we catch a glimpse of the light that comes after: “Build houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and father sons and daughters … and multiply there, and you must not be few” (Jer 29:5–6).
Even in exile, God will contin
ue to guide His people. Because of their sins, they have endured (and lost) war and have been driven away from the land that God gave them; but God remains with them nonetheless. They may need to experience the pain of exile to understand the consequences of turning away from God, but God still plans to be good to them. He will provide for them.
We witness a parallel picture in Rom 6. After describing the death that sin brings into the world and the current sad state of humanity, Paul presents a full vision of living without sin—of conquering the very problem that drove God’s people into exile: “What therefore shall we say? Shall we continue in sin, in order that grace may increase? May it never be! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Rom 6:1–2).
Even with the grace God has offered us, Paul encourages us to live the vision God has created through Jesus—one that strives to be sinless. Likewise, Jeremiah does not offer empty words without the command that God’s people follow Him with their entire beings (Jer 29:8–14).
We have all made mistakes. We’ve all lost ourselves in the storms—in storms we caused and storms that came upon us for no apparent reason. But what’s certain in both instances is that God is with us and desires for us to be one with Him.
What storm are you currently in, coming out of, or anticipating? What is God teaching you through it? What is He asking of you?
JOHN D. BARRY
- Now thee are the words of the book that Jeremiah the Prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the Elders, which were carried away captives, and to the Priests, and to the rophets, and to all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babel: (After that Jeconiah the King, and the Queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah, and of Jerusalem, and the workmen, and cunning men were departed from Jerusalem) By the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, (whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent unto Babel to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel) saying, Thus hath the Lord of hosts the God of Israel soken unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away captives from Jerusalem unto Babel: Build you houses to dwell in, and plant you gardens, and eat the fruits of them. Take you wives, and beget sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters, that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the prosperity of the city, whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall you have peace. For thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel, Let not your prophets, and your soothsayers that be among you, deceive ou, neither give ear to your dreams, which you dream. For they prophesy you a lie in my Name: I have not sent them, saith the Lord. But thus saith the Lord, that after seventy years be accomplished at Babel, I will visit you, and perform my good promise toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts, that I have thought towards you, saith the Lord, even the thoughts of peace, and not of trouble, to give you an end, and your hope. Then shall you cry unto me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hear you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, because ye shall seek me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord, and I will turn awa your captivity, and I will gather you from the nations, and from all the places, whither I have cast you, saith the Lord, and will bring you again unto the place, whence I caused you to be carried away captive. Because ye have said, The Lord hath raised us up Prophets in Babel. Therefore thus saith the Lord of the King, that sitteth upon the throne of David, and of all the people that dwell in this city, your brethren that are not gone forth with you into captivity. Even thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so naughty. And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence: and I will make them a terror to all kingdoms of the earth, and a curse, and astonishment, and an hissing and a reproach among all the nations whither I have cast them, Because they have not heard my words saith the Lord, which I sent unto them by my servants the Prophets, rising up early, and sending them, but ye would not hear, saith the Lord. Hear ye therefore the word of the Lord, all ye of the captivity, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babel. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy lies unto you in my Name, Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar King of Babel, and he shall slay them before your eyes. And all they of the captivity of Judah, that are in Babel, shall take up this curse against them, and say, The Lord make thee like Zedekiah, and like Ahab, whom the King of Babel burnt in the fire, Because they have committed villainy in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbor’s wives, and have spoken lying words in my Name, which I have not commanded them, even I know it, and testify it, saith the Lord. Thou shalt also speak to Shemaiah the Nehelamite, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, Because thou hast sent letters in thy name unto all the people, that are at Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the Priest, and to all the Priests, saying, The Lord hath made thee Priest, for Jehoiada the Priest, that ye should be officers in the House of the Lord, for every man that raveth and maketh himself a Prophet, to put him in prison and in the stocks. Now therefore why hast not thou reproved Jeremiah of Anathoth, which prophesieth unto you? For, for this caue he sent unto us in Babel, saying, This captivity is long: build houses to dwell in, and plant gardens, and eat the fruits of them. And Zephaniah the Priest read this letter in the ears of Jeremiah the Prophet. Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the Lord of Shemaiah the Nehelamite, Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie, Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will visit Sehmaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people, neither shall he behold the good, that I will do for my people, saith the Lord, because he hath spoken rebelliously against the Lord. The word, that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee, in a book. For lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: for I will retore them unto the land, that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. Again, these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel, and concerning Judah, For thus saith the Lord, We have heard a terrible voice, of fear and not of peace. Demand now and behold, if man travail with child: wherefore do I behold every man with his hands on his loins as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into a paleness? Alas, for this day is great: none hath been like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, yet shall he be delivered from it. For in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and break thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him. But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their King, whom I will raise up unto them. Therefore fear not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord, neither be afraid, O Israel: for lo, I will deliver thee from a far country, and thy seed from the land of their captivity, and Jacob shall turn again, and shall be in rest and prosperity, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee saith the Lord, to save thee: though I utterly destroy all the nations where I have scattered thee, yet will I not utterly destroy thee, but I will correct thee by judgment, and not utterly cut thee off. For thus saith the Lord, Thy bruising is not incurable, and thy wound is dolorous. There is none to judge thy cause, or to lay a plaster: there are no medicines, nor help for thee. All thy lovers have forgotten thee: they seek thee not: for I have stricken thee with the wound of an enemy, and with a sharp chastisement for the multitude of thine iniquities, because thy sins were increased. Why cryest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable, for the multitude of thine iniquities: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee. Therefore all they that devour thee, shall be devoured, and all thine enemies everyone shall go into captivity, and they that spoil thee, shall be spoiled, and all they that rob thee, will I give to be robbed. For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord, because they called thee, The castaway, saying, This is Zion whom no man seekth after. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring again the capitivity of jacob’s tents, and have compassion on his dwelling places, and the city shall be built upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof. And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving, and the voice of them that are joyous, and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few: I will also glorify them, and they shall not be diminished. Their children also shall be as afore time, and their congregation shall be established before me: and I will visit all that vex them. And their noble ruler shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them, and I will cause him to draw near and approach unto me: for who is this that directeth his heart to come unto me, saith the Lord? And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. Behold, the tempest of the Lord goeth forth with wrath: the whirlwind that hangeth over, shall light upon the head of the wicked. The fierce wrath of the Lord shall not return, until he have done, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall understnad it. Jeremiah 29:1–30:24
- What shall we say then? Shall we continue still in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live yet therein? Know ye not, that all we which have been baptized into Jesus Christ, have been baptized into his death? We are buried then with him by baptism into his death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead to the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of life. for if we be planted with him to the similitude of his death, even so shall we be to the similitude of his resurretion. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin, For he that is dead, is freed from sin. Wherefore, if we be dead with Christ being raised from the dead with Christ, we believe that we shall live also with him, Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died once to sin: but in that he liveth, he liveth to God. Likewise think ye also, that ye are dead to sin, but are alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin reign therefore in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither give ye your members, as weapons of unrighteousness unto sin: but give yourselves unto God, as they that are alive from the dead, and give your members as weapons of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the Law, but unto grace. Romans 6:1–14
- Love not sleep, lest thou come into poverty: open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisifed with bread. It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone apart, he boasteth. There is gold, and a multitude of precious stones: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel. Take his garment, that is surety for a stranger, and a pledge of him for the stranger. The bread of deceit is sweet to a man: but afterward his mouth shall be filled with gravel. Establish thy thoughts by counsel; and by counsel make war. He that goeth about as a slanderer, discovereth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips. He that curseth his father or his mother, his light shall be put out in obscure darkness. An heritage is hastily gotten at the beginning, but the end thereof shall not be blessed. Say not thou, I will recompense evil, but wait upon the Lord, and he shall save thee. Diverse weights are an abomination unto the Lord, and deceitful balances are not good. The steps of man are ruled by the Lord: how can a man then understand his own way? It is a destruction for a man to devour that which is sanctified, and after the vows to inquire. A wise King scattereth the wicked, and causeth the wheel to turn over them. The light of the Lord is the breath of man, and searcheth all the bowels of the belly. Mercy and truth preserve the king: for his throne shall be established with mercy. The beauty of young men is their strength, and the glory of the aged is the gray head. The blueness of the wound serveth to purge the evil, and the stripes within the bowels of the belly. Proverbs 20:13–30.