Tuesday, 9 December 2014


JEREMIAH 10:1-25 
v2 Thus says the LORD: “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, v3 for the customs of the peoples are vanity.
We all want to fit in. We want to be like others. Churches want to fit in to their day and age. None of us want to be thought of as 'odd'. We live in a particular culture where people think in a certain way. The desire and pressure to fit in, to belong, can be very great.
We live in a tension. On the one hand we know that we are not to be conformed to the world:
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
On the other hand we desire to remove all unnecessary barriers to belief in the gospel.
1 Corinthians 9v19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.
20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.
21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.
22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
Then Paul's instructions to the Romans suggests that it takes real discernment to know the will of God in some issues, to know what is the good and acceptable and perfect.
"Tell me the same old story when you have cause to fear
That this world's empty glory is costing me too dear."
Jeremiah is concerned that the people are becoming too taken up with wanting to be like other nations. They are taking an unhealthy interest in the way of the nations. They are learning from them. so much so that they are beginning to share their same fears (astrology?).
Do not do this - their customs are vanity (like a mist).
There are some things we do not need to know, and are better off not knowing! 1 Cor 14:20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
The Lord's people would be far better off being infants in their knowledge of idols.
Jeremiah 10v5 "Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,..."
v8 They are both stupid and foolish; the instruction of idols is but wood!
v14 Every man is stupid and without knowledge;
The farm I grew up on had scarecrow. It wore my Dad's old jacket and trousers. It's job was to keep the birds off the strawberry field. After a while the birds used it as a resting place!
An idol may be dressed in silver and gold, but underneath it is no different than a scarecrow - they cannot speak, they have to be carried, they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them.
See Psalm 115v4-8
See Tim Keller: What is an idol - page xvii-xviii
You can make your husband/wife an idol; your children an idol; your job an idol. Things that are good in themselves can become an idol. If anything happens to your idol then you are shattered. Your treasure has gone.
PRAISE 732v1&4
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
be thou my best thought in the day and the night,
both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
be thou mine inheritance now and always;
be thou and thou only the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.
[2] v7-10 THERE IS NONE LIKE THE LORD - v6a & 7b
Idols creep into our hearts? How for they cannot move? The same way the Trojan Horse entered the city - the people took it in. We bring idols into our lives without even realising what we are doing.
We need to 'spring clean' our minds and hearts on a regular basis.
Idols once in place are difficult to move. There is only one way we can move them. That is to see how much better, how more desirable, is the Lord.
Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) preached a sermon called: 'The Expulsive Power of a New Affection'
There are two ways in which a practical moralist may attempt to displace from the human heart its love of the world—either by a demonstration of the world’s vanity, so as that the heart shall be prevailed upon simply to withdraw its regards from an object that is not worthy of it; or, by setting forth another object, even God, as more worthy of its attachment, so as that the heart shall be prevailed upon not to resign an old affection, which shall have nothing to succeed it, but to exchange an old affection for a new one.
My purpose is to show, that from the constitution of our nature, the former method is altogether incompetent and ineffectual and that the latter method will alone suffice for the rescue and recovery of the heart from the wrong affection that domineers over it.
The only way to remove an idol is to replace it by something greater, more worthy, more glorious - the Lord himself.
So Jeremiah shows that the Lord is greater than their silver and gold idols.
Jeremiah is not ashamed to appeal to the fact that God created the Universe - v11-12. The foreign nations did not believe this but it is the truth.
We should not be ashamed of the doctrine of creation. All people know this is true, even those who most vehemently deny it.
God not only made the world he also is still very active in it - v13
Idols will put their makers to shame, not so the Lord who made heaven and earth - v14-16.
3. v17-25 GOD WILL BE GOD
v23 I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
The Lord is going to sling them out of the land, as he has warned them many times.
Who is lamenting? Is Jeremiah lamenting, but he had no children? Is it Jerusalem or Judah? Do we hear God's lament over his children? Properly something of all these.
Bad leadership resulted in the scattering of the flock - v21.
Once again Jeremiah warns that the enemy will come from the North. The mention of wild animals adds to the picture of desolation.
Jeremiah acknowledges the sovereignty of God. This is something every Christian has trouble with because it goes against the world's thinking, our own before we became Christians, and the devil's against it.
Yet, what peace of mind knowing that God is sovereign gives when we can say as Jeremiah in v23.
When we see God is sovereign we stop questioning all he does for we trust him more than we trust ourselves. We believe all he says about himself and about us. We not only let God be God we are glad that he is.
This however, does not turn us into fatalists! Jeremiah pleads for God not to bring his full anger upon his people - v24; and for him to bring his wrath upon those who devour Jacob, the Lord's people.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

SAY IT WITH TEARS - JEREMIAH 7:29-8:3; & 8:18-9:26

JEREMIAH 7:29 - 8:3
Jeremiah 7:29 “‘Cut off your hair and cast it away; raise a lamentation on the bare heights, for the LORD has rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.’
30 “For the sons of Judah have done evil in my sight, declares the LORD. They have set their detestable things in the house that is called by my name, to defile it.
31 And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind.
What evil had the people in Jeremiah's time done to cause the Lord to reject and forsake that generation?
[1] v30 - they have defiled the Temple.
[2] v31 They have sacrificed their own children: 2 Kings 16:3; 17:31; 21:6; Psalm 106:34.
A practice God had forbidden - Leviticus 18:21; 20:1-5. Deut 12:31, 18:10
How far does a society have to go before God gives them up? Read Romans 1:22-28.
Who would have thought that the Lord's people would engage in child sacrifice? What have we been doing to our children? They have been failed by parents, failed by social services, failed by the Police; failed by society.
God's wrath will fall on the people in the very place where they have sacrificed their children turning it into a grave yard - v32-33.
He will bring silence to the streets of the cities - v34.
Last century saw two World Wars and Spanish Flue that killed more than the 1st World War. How long before the Lord brings his next major judgement?
Even the bones did not escape - v1-2.
What of the living? They will prefer death - v3.
How would you answer the question: If offering children as a sacrifice then how can it be right for God to sacrifice his own Son?
See John 10v11,15, &17.
JEREMIAH 8:18- 9:26
1. LAMENT FOR A PEOPLE - 8:18-9:3
9v1: "Oh that my head were water and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night..."
Hetty Lalleman in the IVP commentary helpfully identifies the speakers in the lament as follows:
v18 Lament of Jeremiah
v19a Listen to Jeremiah
v19b Lament of the people
v19c God's answer
v20 Lament of the people
v21 Lament of the prophet
v22 Lament of the prophet and people
9v1-3 Lament of the prophet or maybe of God
in Gilead the balm from a tree was famous as a perfume and a medicine.
v4 "Let everyone beware of his neighbour"
Further evidence of a breakdown in society.
Lies, deceit, slander, oppression - at the bottom of it all v6 they refuse to know the Lord.
Such behaviour will bring punishment from the Lord - v8-9.
v10 “I will take up weeping and wailing ....and a lamentation..."
God's judgement will be upon the whole nation, nowhere will escape, country and city alike.
4. WHY, WHY, OH WHY - v12-16
v12 "Why is the land ruined and laid waste like a wilderness..."
Because they have forsaken God's law, not obeyed it, nor walked in accord with it and followed their own hearts after Baals - v13-14.
Judgement is coming - v15-16
v17 “Consider, and call for the mourning women to come;
It is a time for mourning. Professional mourners, we meet some in the time of Jesus in Jairus's house. There will be death on a massive scale.
Jeremiah had a real message of judgement.
v24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me,
The apostle Paul took up these words - 1 Cor 1v26-31 & 2 Cor 10v12-18.
Gals 6:14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Ephesians 2v8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Jeremiah is part of the 'Bible' that Jesus and Paul read.Knowing the context of the OT quotes that appear in the NT helps us to better understand them.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


JEREMIAH 7:1 v 8:3
Jeremiah 8:5 Why then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding?
v8 “How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’?
v14 Why do we sit still?
Name me a Greek philosopher?
Name me a book he wrote?
"By all means marry; if you get a good wife you'll be happy. If you get a bad one you'll become a philosopher. Socrates (469-399 BC)
"Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior."
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
"True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing."
Most of what we know about Socrates comes from books that his pupil Plato wrote.
Socrates was born in Athens in 470 BC. He was a soldier in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC). Athens v Sparta and Sparta won which was very bad for Athens.
He made no charge for his teaching. He earned his living when not a soldier as a stone cutter. He would go to the market place and engage people in conversations, asking probing questions. He saw his role of a teacher as being that like a midwife whose task was to assist at the birth of wisdom in those he taught through dialogue.
There is a way of teaching named after him: the 'Socratic method'. By asking probing questions you seek to show someone if their thinking has a sound basis, or if they are using faulty logic; what assumptions they are making; what may they have neglected to consider; what the implications of what they are saying.
Eventually the authorities considered that he asked too many questions when he begun questioning the use of the death penalty. He was accused of corrupting the cities young men and sentenced to death. A penalty carried out, to the great sorrow of his pupils, when he drunk the cup of hemlock - a poisonous plant.
Jeremiah lived before Socrates. His ministry started in 627 BC and continued until after 586 BC. Jeremiah used questions to challenge the people of his day, to show them their sin and foolishness, to them teach God's word.
He was not the first to do so. Asking questions can be used for good or evil purposes - see Genesis 3v1; 3v8-13.
Jeremiah 8v4-17 uses questions to probe the people.
We generally think of people asking of God the question Why. Here God asks people that question - v5a.
He sets up this questions by asking two questions to get people thinking - v4. The natural thing when you fall is to get up, and when you go away to return. So why haven't the people got up and returned to the Lord?
Backsliding is turning away from the Lord. It is 'going backwards'! It is translated in 2v19 as 'apostasy' and 5v6 as 'apostasies' and in 3v6, 'faithless' in 3v6,8,11,12&22.
Their perpetual backsliding is stubborn and wilful - v5b
No one asks themselves the right question: "What have I done" -v6a
Everyone is like a War Horse plunging into battle - v6b - read War Horse page 51ff.
v7: The stork, turtledove, swallow and crane know what time they should return - but the Lord's people do not know.
Christopher Wright asks at what point is a society so committed to it's immoral path that it passes the point of no return? He then wonders if we already have. Will we ever see the law on same sex marriages changed? Will the National lottery ever be consigned to the dustbin? Will the abortion laws ever be changed to greatly reduce, even stop, the loss of life? What of immorality, drunkenness, swearing, lying, etc that are so common in our society? You have to be over 45-50 to remember a time when it was not so bad.
Richard Sibbes- 'The Returning Backslider' page 257
Do you remember the Children's TV program 'How'? 'How' was originally devised as a show for adults returning from the pub. A trial program was shown late one evening. Then it was thought it might work better as a show for children. It run for 17 years. Each item begun with the word, "How".
Once again we find Jeremiah got their first! - v8a
v8b The scribes lie!
Today we are fed a diet of lies by films, novels and songs. Sin, all sin, brings pain, the pleasure is short lived and far less than living with the of the Lord, keeping Jesus' commandments.
v9 If you reject the word of the Lord then you have no wisdom.
If you only go to church once, you get 35 minutes of teaching from the Bible in the sermon, 4 or 5 hymns and songs that teach, 1 or 2 bible readings. How many hours of lies do we fill our lives with each week?
Immorality brings pain; killing in war, glamorised by video games, brings deep psychological problems, Joe suffered even as he was dying.
Greed is not good. It brings judgement - v10ab
People prefer lies to the truth and the false prophets and priests are ever ready to oblige - v10c-11
How different is the real message of peace - Romans 5v1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
They knew no shame - v12
v13 Does this put you in mind of anything?
Jesus parable - Luke 13v1-9; Mark 11v13-25;
Why do we do nothing - v14a
We are doomed to die - v14b God has given his people a cup of hemlock!
Jeremiah was a very eloquent preacher - v15. The writer to the Hebrews was a little more blunt - Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
The enemies war horses are coming - v16
Snakes shall bite you - v17!
This sort of preaching would be considered too much by many, perhaps even most ,congregations today!
Simply saying, none of us are perfect, doesn't really cut it today. This no longer cuts to the heart and brings conviction. We must let our preachers be more like Jeremiah for we are preaching to a sin hardened generation. As Nelson saw no ships because he held up his telescope to his blind eye, so people see no sin in themselves for they are spiritually blind.
Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones used the Socratic method in chairing ministers fraternals. It became popular about 20 years ago among Christian Unions and then into churches. We went through 1 Peter in this way. It can be helpful. Jesus sometimes used it. It is no substitution for teaching.
The Socratic method held Science back as people tried to 'discover' things through thinking alone. It was only when experimentation begun that science really leaped forward.
Asking the right questions is the key. The questions we need to ask people are not necessarily the questions they may want to ask us. however, their questions may help us learn how they are thinking which will help us tell them the gospel in a way that will speak to them.
A Question for Christmas: Have you ever been to a birthday party to which the person whose birthday you are celebrating was not invited? 
Can you think of any others? 

Monday, 10 November 2014


Our book for 2015 will be 'FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD' by Sinclair B Ferguson published by Banner of Truth. You can find more details and read an extract from it by following the link:

If you wish us to purchase a copy then please sign up for it on the sheet on the Church Notice Board. We will seek to obtain the best price for a bulk purchase. 


1. Please come prepared to say one thing that has made an impression upon you from these months of reading, meditating, and discussing heaven. It may be something that was new to you or something you have known for a long time but it has come to you afresh.
2. How can knowing that we shall never sin again remove some, even all, of the fears that we may have, or have had, about heaven?
3. How can the teaching on the resurrection of the body help us face suffering?
4. How will heaven be heaven when some whom we love are in hell? How do we live with that thought now?
5. It is said that, 'Marriages are made in heaven', but they do not continue in heaven, or do they? Will we know one another in heaven?
6. What would you say to someone who says that they do not wish to go to heaven because their husband/wife was not a believer and they want to be with them?

Thursday, 16 October 2014


1. How would you describe heaven to someone who has never read the Bible?
2. Discuss the thought of Jesus as, 'bringing you to heaven'?
3. Read Mr Steadfast's words on page 86. You are going to see Jesus. What do you think this will be like? At the moment you die many other believers also die. Will you stand in line for your turn? How long will you have to talk with him personally? How long do you think you would like in a one to one time with the Lord?
4. In heaven Christ will mean even more to us than he does now - page 89. Do you find this thought helpful? If so how?
5. "To die will be an awfully big adventure." page 92. Discuss.
6. It is said of the puritan preacher Richard Sibbes that, "heaven was in him before he was in heaven". With this in mind consider the last question:
True or false: A person may be "Too heavenly minded to be of any earthly use."? Please give some reasons for your answer.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


JEREMIAH 4:5-31 
v1-5: Truth, Justice and the Jerusalem way!
Have you heard the expression: "Truth, justice and the American way"? Erik Lundegaard of the New York Times tells the story of this expression:
'In the first screen incarnation of Superman, the Max Fleischer cartoons that ran from 1941 to 1943, each episode's preamble informs us not only of the origin and powers of this relatively new creation (Krypton, speeding bullet, etc.), but also the kinds of things he fights for. It's a shorter list than you think. Before World War II, Superman fought "a never-ending battle for truth and justice." Back then, that was enough.
By the time the first live-action Superman hit the screen - Kirk Alyn, in a 1948 serial - the lessons of World War II, particularly in the gas chambers of Europe, were obvious. That's why Pa Kent tells young Clark he must always use his powers "in the interests of truth, tolerance and justice."
It wasn't until Superman came to television in the 1950s that the phrase became codified in the form most of us remember it: "a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way."'
Jeremiah was no superman, but he got there first! This chapter is all about truth, justice and the Jerusalem way.
Jeremiah is sent to look for a righteous man so that Jerusalem may be spared. Sound familiar? Remember the story of Abraham, Lot, Sodom and Gomorrah? Genesis 18:22-33.
What does he find? The people say all the right things. They can talk in pious language, but they tell lies.
God has brought a measure of judgement against them - but all to no avail. They have become hardened. They have refused to repent.
Jeremiah thought that maybe things would be different among the better educated, wealthier citizens. They would know the 'way of the Lord' and 'the justice of God'. They were no better.
Social justice is an often heard topic among the 'Christian leaders' of our country (Archbishops, political commentators, etc). Why do you think we here less about issues of justice from evangelical non-conformist?
v6 The lion, the wolf and the leopard. (Sounds a little like CS Lewis. Like him, Jeremiah uses his imagination.)
The people shall be struck down, devastated, and torn in pieces because of their many transgressions and great apostasies.
v7-13 The answer my friend is not blowin in the wind!
v13 The false prophets are just full of wind, not the word.
v7 How can God, in justice, pardon his people? They have forsaken God, who had fed them to the full, and sworn allegiance to idols and committed adultery - spiritual and actual, with idols and their neighbour's wives. The two often go together.
v8 Another animal metaphor - 'well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbour's wife'!
v10 He illustrates Israel and Judah as a vine - Isaiah 5; Jeremiah 2:21
These words can be taken literally as directions to the invaders. Do not miss the note of mercy in the midst of wrath - 'but make not a full end.'
The prophets have spoken falsely assuring the people that the good times are here to stay, no disaster is coming. (Would our leaders tell us if we were heading for another financial crash, especially as we head towards an election, and what has been happening at Tesco?)
How do we do as a nation when it comes to truth and lies? It seems to me that lying is more widespread today than 30 years ago, and more accepted as the norm. Remember Allan Sugar choosing as winner of the Apprentice a contestant who had lied on his CV.
v14-17 Jeremiah a prophet with a mouth filled with fire.
v14 Many people like a fiery preacher, unless they are the wood!
v15 The Barbarians are coming.

Waiting for the Barbarians BY C. P. CAVAFY

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?
The barbarians are due here today.
Why isn’t anything going on in the senate?
Why are the senators sitting there without legislating?
Because the barbarians are coming today.
What’s the point of senators making laws now?
Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.
Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting enthroned at the city’s main gate,
in state, wearing the crown?
Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor’s waiting to receive their leader.
He’s even got a scroll to give him,
loaded with titles, with imposing names.
Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?
Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.
Why don’t our distinguished orators turn up as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?
Because the barbarians are coming today
and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.
Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home lost in thought?
Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven't come.
And some of our men just in from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.
Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
Those people were a kind of solution.
C. P. Cavafy, "Waiting for the Barbarians" from C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Translation Copyright © 1975, 1992 by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.
v16-17 Unlike the Barbarians of the poem, the ones Jeremiah is speaking about are real, and they are coming to eat them up! See Deuteronomy 28v49-52.
v18 Once again the note of mercy remembered in the midst of wrath: "But even in those days...I will not make a full end of you."
v19 Another of those searching questions - WHY?
Answer: Because they have forsaken the Lord and served foreign gods. The punishment will fit the crime. You reap what you sow. They shall go to serve foreigners in the land of those gods.
v20-25 They have no fear of God. The God who made the sea and established it's boundaries. How impressive is the storm tossed sea crashing against the rocky shore.
They have no fear of the Lord of the Harvest, who sends the rain. So he will not send the rain or give the harvest.
v26 Wicked men catch men as a fowler catches birds.
v27b-28 They have no regard for social justice, but get rich at the expense of the very people they should be protecting and caring for.
v29 Again two devastating questions.
v30-31a Appalling and horrible is the ministry of false prophets. (Now coming to our screens on Freeview TV!). The priests follow the directions of the false prophets and that is the way the people want it!
v31b Final question: "but what will you do when the end comes?"
They did not listen to the word of the Lord. Are we listening?

Monday, 8 September 2014


Jeremiah 3:6-4:4 'Return Faithless Israel'
Jeremiah begun his ministry in 627 BC. This message comes from the earlier part of his ministry. A surprise, speaking to the scattered people of Israel. Doing so to catch the ear of Judah for although unlike her sister she has not moved geographically she has gone far away spiritually.
4:4 "Circumcise....your hearts."
Jeremiah warns of the consequences of failing to heed this message and repent:
v4b "lest my wrath go forth like fire..."
Jeremiah follows this with a graphic picture of what it will be like when God's wrath comes:
Augustine was astounded. He saw Bishop Ambrose reading but he heard nothing. Ambrose appeared to be reading silently! Augustine had never seen anyone do this before. Augustine was not five years old, but a grown man. One who himself was an avid reader. He, like everyone else he had known until that day, read out loud.
For the first thousand years after it was written anyone reading the book of Jeremiah would have read it out loud. I want to encourage you to read the bible out loud (perhaps quietly if you live with others) to yourself. I believe that we feel the impact of the words more when we do so. Often it helps our understanding.
Jeremiah is often very dramatic. This better than Shakespeare's Henry V:
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Life is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!”Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa
To the people of Jeremiah's day when he preached this it seemed no challenger was in the ring! Assyria had been the undefeated champion for 100 years now seemed seemed like an old man with a zimmer frame who was unable to even climb into the ring. No new challenger had arisen.
Jeremiah's prophecy of invasion, siege and destruction seemed to be without any foundation or reality.
However, it came true forty years later. God is patient. Very patient. But his patience does run out.
'A lion has gone up form his thicket.' -v7a
v5 Action stations, sound the alarm, soldiers to their battle stations, civilians to the shelters.
v6a Unfurl the standard. Remind ourselves who we are and what we are fighting for. Remind the enemy we are ready, come if they dare.
v6b-7 A lion comes from the North. A destroyer of nations. The Babylonians are coming - although no one knew it would be them. Other nations will also hear the lions roar and feel the bite.
v8 Through this lion the wrath of God will go forth like fire (v4), his fierce anger.

'..courage shall fail.' -v9
"Whatever happened to the heroes?
                       No more heroes any more." The stranglers!!!
v9 The four groups who lead the people - see 1:18 & 2:26.
v10 Is young Jeremiah being critical of the Lord God? If so for what? How had God deceived the people? Others had prophesied peace, but they were false prophets who had not been sent by the Lord, so how could Jeremiah think the Lord was to blame? The answer may be that Jeremiah is blaming God for allowing false prophets to mislead the people.
Have you never wondered why God allows false religions, and especially 'false Christianity' to thrive and grow (especially if you have friends or loved ones caught up in them)?

3. WE'RE ALL DOOMED - v11-18
'This is your doom..it has reached your very heart.' v18
Dad's army - Corporal Jones - "Don't Panic, don't panic."
Private Frazer - "We're All Doomed" (buy the T shirt!)
v11-12 The wind of judgement will blow.
v13 Wind - more like a whirlwind!
v14 How can a person wash their heart from evil or cleanse their thoughts?
v15-17 Trouble is coming. Dan is the most northern place in what was Israel, and Mount Ephraim is just north of Jerusalem. The enemy are everywhere.
v18 They are going to reap what they have sown.

4. HOW LONG - v19-21
'How long must I see the standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?' v21
'How long O Lord' - the cry of the Psalmist: 6:3; 13:1-2; 35:17; 62:3; 74:10; 79:5; 80:4; 89:45; 90:13; 94:3; 119:84
Jeremiah feels a physical pain brought on by his mental anguish and agony of heart by what he is having to prophesy. These are his people.

'The earth.... was without form or void' - v23
Here is God's response to Jeremiah's cry. God always answers his people's prayers. He does not always give the answer we want!
v22 Man has become a reverse of what he should be, wise in things he should be innocent in and foolish in that which he should be wise.
v23-28 So God will reverse creation. Creation will be undone.
This sounds like a poem. Four times he says: 'I looked...'
Is judgement inevitable? Remember Jonah. But how can they comply with v4 & v14? How can they cleanse themselves of their sin?
They cannot do so, but God can. Grace can triumph, but at this point there is no mention of grace, or is there? Where is there grace in this chapter?

'Woe is me...' v31
v29-31 The picture we saw earlier in chapter 2, the unfaithful wife is brought back.

She does not repent. She tries to seduce the invaders to no effect. She ends up in despair and anguish.

Thursday, 4 September 2014


1. 'Heaven is created for God's glory' What do you understand by 'the glory of God'? Doesn't this make God selfish, self-centred and egotistical? If not, why not?
2. 'Heaven is God's home.'  How does the Psalmist in Psalm 73 use this to help him when his faith almost gave way.
3. Alistair Begg in his forward to John Blanchard's book, 'A Hitch-Hikers Guide To Heaven' writes: "Shortly before his death from cancer on 4th April 2013, Roger Ebert, the celebrated Chicago Sun-Times film critic, expressed the increasingly widespread notion that death ends everything:."Many readers have informed me that it is a tragic and dreary business to go into death without faith. I don't feel that way. I have no desire to live forever. The concept frightens me."
What would you say to someone who says something similar to you?
4. Ted on page 78 talks of seeing heaven, 'on a hospital bed, in the face of a dying believer...in a faithful Christian struggling against difficulties.' Relate one experience where you have seen heaven in someone.
5. 'Here on earth we may all experience heaven daily' - page 79. What does this really mean in practical terms. What is it like to experience heaven?