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Bethany Bible Reading for week of April 18

 

Monday – April 19      Jeremiah 18

This chapter takes me back to my very first year of teaching, I was all of twenty-two years old and had no experience other than student teaching in college. Early on in the semester Peter, one of the brightest students I ever taught, raised his hand and asked me if I thought it was ok to use anthropomorphisms when talking about God.  I was not about to admit I had no idea what he just asked, so I asked him what definition he was using, (unfortunately, when I looked it up, there really only is one.)  Anthropomorphism is attributing human characteristics to God, or a god.  It is when we talk about God’s eye, ear, heart, hands, knowing God is Spirit.  I also have a beautiful clay pot on my shelf from this time, my cousin made it in art class, he was (maybe still is) a skilled potter. 

Jeremiah went to the potter’s house to watch him make something with a lump of clay. It was an object lesson for Jeremiah, it is for us as well.  The potter was making something, but in the middle of make it he found the clay was “marred in his hands,” so he changed his mind and made something else.  God taught Jeremiah something with this, in his teaching he used anthropomorphism, he said that He, like the potter, can change His mind.  God can determine to punish a nation for its sin, but if that nation repents, he will change his mind.  God can determine to bless a nation, but if that nation falls away from him, God can change His mind. Of course, that is anthropomorphism, God knows everything, but in human terms, God can change His mind.    Believers will argue about this until Jesus returns, can prayer change God?  When any or even every kind of evil takes place, was that God’s intention?  This passage surely seems to say God will respond to our behavior, He may and even does “change His mind.”

 

Tuesday  April 20     Jeremiah 19,20

Jeremiah is full of object lessons, he returned to the potter’s house and bought a pot, he smashed it to show what will happen to the nation of Judah.  The people of Judah refused to repent, they refused the invitation to come back to God. Instead, they were complicit in destroying the lives of innocent people, they put their trust in idols, and they were willing to sacrifice their children.  There is more than one way to sacrifice children. Judah had an altar to Moloch in the Hinnom Valley, some people sacrifice their children to the corporate ladder, others snuff out their lives before they are born, others neglect them after they are born.  These things still bother God.

Jeremiah 20 is a vivid portrayal into the heart of a prophet charged with the prophecy of warning and judgment. No one wants to be the bearer of such bad news! Jeremiah complained to God about this, and yet, he has full trust in God.  I wish everyone charged with bringing a message from God would have the same feelings as those expressed in verse 9 “But if I say, "I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”  There will always be people who do not want to hear the whole counsel of God, they love the nice stories, the major holidays, but not the messages that contain a warning or even a call to holiness. Followers of Jesus cannot help themselves, the Word of God will burst out of them if they try to hold it in.

 

Wednesday April 21    Jeremiah 21, 22

I’ve written that the prophecy of Jeremiah is not in chronological order, this chapter is an example as Zedekiah is the last king of Judah.  We are in the middle of Jeremiah but at the end of the book chronologically. 

Zedekiah knows he is in trouble; the city is under siege by the king of Babylon and he wants a good word from Jeremiah.  There is no good word. Zedekiah is relying on two things, God has always delivered his people in the past and he can do it again, and, the city of Jerusalem is very well fortified.  Jeremiah has a message for Zedekiah, the city will fall, but any people who surrender to the Babylonians will live. 

Chapter twenty-two is another chapter that needs context.  Josiah was a God-fearing king, he was killed by the Egyptians.  Josiah’s son was Jehoahaz, also called Shallum in verse eleven, he was taken captive by the king of Egypt. The next king was Jehoiakim, he too was very wicked, he was taken captive to Babylon. Then came Jehoiachin, he too was taken to Babylon but was treated very well by the Babylonian king. The last King was Zedekiah, the Babylonians killed all his sons in front of him, blinded him, and took him to Babylon.  One of my students remembered the order of these kings by saying, “Josiah Haz Kim’s Chin Zedekiah.”  In this chapter we read about the kings Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Jehoichin; they were all wicked, all captured, all under judgment from God.  But note what Jeremiah told them, they were not like Josiah who, “defended the cause of the poor and needy,” they only cared about building big palaces and accumulating wealth. 

Finally, note the patience of God in this passage, he still calls them back, he begs them to return to him.  God does not want to punish them, he wants them to repent.  Scripture tells us God is the same yesterday, today, and forever; repentance is still his desire.

 

Thursday  April 22       Jeremiah 23

Today we will read about the “shepherds” who are leading the people away from God, they made up messages claiming they were from God when they were not. They prophesied by Baal, they committed adultery, they lied, and God will punish them.  But then Jeremiah prophesied about one who would be different, a descendant from David, one who will do what is just and right; Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd,” he fulfilled this passage.  Shepherds take care of sheep, they find food and water and protect them; the “shepherds” of Israel did not do that for their “sheep,” they invited disaster. 

How relevant is this chapter to our context, does it say anything to the “shepherds” living today?  The shepherds of Jeremiah’s day were making false promises, they told the people they were secure, no foreign enemy could destroy them.  The false shepherds of today make wild political predictions, they promise healings and wealth and forget the Word of God. In Jeremiah’s day the “shepherds” were involved in adultery, today we hear of sexual scandals among our “shepherds” over and over; think of how many pastors at the height of a terrific career feel hard with a sexual scandal, there are too many to count!  God’s Word continues to be relevant, it continues to call us back to Him.  Today, remember the Good Shepherd, He laid down His life for His sheep, He is the Shepherd you want to follow!

Friday   April 23     Jeremiah 24

Today we read about another object lesson, the lesson from baskets of figs. To fully understand the lesson, we need to be reminded of the context; Zedekiah is already the king, that means the Babylonians have already taken captives to Babylon two times.  The first lesson came from the good figs, they represented God’s people in Babylon.  God will watch over His people in Babylon and He will give them a heart to return to Him.  The bad figs represent Zedekiah and those aligned with him, they are a disappointment to God.

What do we do with this piece of history?  We can learn something about God’s feelings towards two kinds of people around 590 BC, we know God continued to care for those who were taken into captivity, He wanted a renewed relationship with them.  We also know those who dug in and continued to reject God were like rotten figs to Him, they are not going to fare well at all.  I wonder, to what kind of fig would God compare me?  Can you imagine what it takes to be considered a rotten fig by God, the God who is slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness; the God who desires a renewed relationship with you?  I don’t want to just learn a bit of history when I read Jeremiah, I want to know God’s heart, and I want Him to have my heart.

 

Saturday   April 24     Jeremiah 25, 26

You will see that yesterday Jeremiah was talking about people in captivity and the reign of Zedekiah, today he is prophesying during the reign of Jehoiakim who was two kings before Zedekiah.  There is a lot of reading in these two chapters but it all centers around one theme, God is calling his people to repent, the people will not listen, and the people will surely go into captivity for seventy years.  Jeremiah told the people he had been giving them this message for twenty-three years and they refused to listen.  Jeremiah gave them a visual image of a person drinking from the cup of the wrath of God, and they wanted to kill him for it. We have an expression, “don’t shoot the messenger,” Jeremiah was the messenger and the people wanted to punish him for his message.  We have access to God’s message every day, we have pastors on the radio, television, millions of books, and more importantly, we have God’s Word in print. Sometimes we hear God’s Word and, like the people of Judah we choose to ignore it, other times we choose to not listen in the first place.  According to the Barna research team, (the folks who conduct poles and other types of research on religious issues,) most Christians in the USA have chosen to ignore God’s Word, and like Judah too many get upset when a “Jeremiah” proclaims it.

 

 




     

    Bethany Bible Reading Plan (year Tw0)

                 Beginning August 31, 2020


     

    Week

    Monday

    Tuesday

    Wednesday

    Thursday

    Friday

    Saturday

    8/30

    Psalm 1,2

    Psalm 3,4

    Psalm 5,6

    Psalm 7,8

    Psalm 9,10

    Psalm 11,12

    9/6

    Psalm 13,14

    Psalm 15,16

    Psalm 17,18

    Psalm 19,20

    Psalm 21,22

    Psalm 23,24

    9/13

    Psalm 25,26

    Psalm 27,28

    Psalm 29,30

    Psalm 31,32

    Psalm 33,34

    Psalm 35,36

    9/20

    Psalm 37,38

    Psalm 39,40

    Psalm 41,42

    Psalm 43,44

    Psalm 45,46

    Psalm 47,48

    9/27

    Psalm 49,50

    Psalm 51,52

    Psalm 53,54

    Psalm 55,56

    Psalm 57,58

    Psalm 59,60

    10/4

    Psalm 61,62

    Psalm 63,64

    Psalm 65,66

    Psalm 67,68

    Psalm 69,70

    Psalm 71,72

    10/11

    Psalm 73,74

    Psalm 75,76

    Psalm 77

    Psalm 78

    Psalm 79,80

    Psalm 81,82

    10/18

    Psalm 83,84

    Psalm 85,86

    Psalm 87,88

    Psalm 89,90

    Psalm 91,92

    Psalm 93,94

    10/25

    Psalm 95,96

    Psalm 97,98

    Psalm 99,100

    Psalm 101,102

    Psalm 103,104

    Psalm 105

    11/1

    Psalm 106

    Psalm 107,108

    Psalm 109,110

    Psalm 111,112

    Psalm 113,114

    Psalm 115,116

    11/8

    Psalm 117,118

    Psalm 119:1-32

    Psalm 119:33-64

    Psalm 119:65-96

    Psalm 119:97-136

    Psalm 119:137-176

    11/15

    Psalm 120,121

    Psalm 122,123

    Psalm 124,125

    Psalm 126,127

    Psalm 128,129

    Psalm 130,131

    11/22

    Psalm 132,133

    Psalm 134,135

    Psalm 136,137

    Psalm 138,139

    Psalm 140,141

    Psalm 142,143

    11/29

    Psalm 144,146

    Psalm 147,148

    Psalm 149,150

    Proverbs 1

    Proverbs 2

    Proverbs 3

    12/6

    Proverbs 4

    Proverbs 5

    Proverbs 6

    Proverbs 7

    Proverbs 8

    Proverbs 9

    12/13

    Proverbs 10

    -Proverbs 11

    Proverbs 12

    Proverbs 13

    Proverbs 14

    Proverbs 15

    12/20

    Proverbs 16

    Matthew 1

    Matthew 2

    Luke 1

    Luke 2

    Proverbs 17

    12/27

    Proverbs 18

    Proverbs 19

    Proverbs 20

    Proverbs 21

    Proverbs 22

    Proverbs 23

    1/3

    Proverbs 24

    Proverbs 25

    Proverbs 26

    Proverbs 27

    Proverbs 28

    Proverbs 29

    1/10

    Proverbs 30

    Proverbs 31

    Ecclesiastes 1,2

    Ecclesiastes 3,4

    Ecclesiastes 5,6

    Ecclesiastes 7,8

    1/17

    Ecclesiastes 9,10

    Ecclesiastes 11,12

    Song of S 1,2

    S of Songs 3,4

    Song of S 5,6

    S of Songs 7,8

    1/24

    Isaiah 1

    Isaiah 2

    Isaiah 3

    Isaiah 4

    Isaiah 5

    Isaiah 6

    1/31

    Isaiah 7,8

    Isaiah 9

    Isaiah 10

    Isaiah 11

    Isaiah 12

    Isaiah 13

    2/7

    Isaiah 14

    Isaiah 15,16

    Isaiah 17,18

    Isaiah 19,20

    Isaiah 21,22

    Isaiah 23,24

    2/14

    Isaiah 25,26

    Isaiah 27

    Isaiah 28

    Isaiah 29

    Isaiah 30

    Isaiah 31


    2/21

    Isaiah32

    Isaiah 33

    Isaiah 34

    Isaiah 35

    Isaiah 36

    Isaiah 37

    2/28

    Isaiah 38

    Isaiah 39

    Isaiah 40

    Isaiah 41

    Isaiah 42

    Isaiah 43

    3/7

    Isaiah 44

    Isaiah 45

    Isaiah 46

    Isaiah 47

    Isaiah 48

    Isaiah 49

    3/14

    Isaiah 50

    Isaiah 51

    Isaiah 52

    Isaiah 53

    Isaiah 54

    Isaiah 55

    3/21

    Isaiah 56

    Isaiah 57

    Isaiah 58

    Isaiah 59

    Isaiah 60

    Isaiah 61,62

    3/28

    Isaiah 63,64

    Isaiah 65

    Isaiah 66

    Jeremiah 1

    Jeremiah 2

    Jeremiah 3

    4/4

    Jeremiah 4

    Jeremiah 5

    Jeremiah 6

    Jeremiah 7

    Jeremiah 8

    Jeremiah 9

    4/11

    Jeremiah 10

    Jeremiah 11

    Jeremiah 12,13

    Jeremiah 14,15

    Jeremiah 16

    Jeremiah 17

    4/18

    Jeremiah 18

    Jeremiah 19,20

    Jeremiah 21,22

    Jeremiah 23

    Jeremiah 24

    Jeremiah 25,26

    4/25

    Jeremiah 27,28

    Jeremiah 29,30

    Jeremiah 31,32

    Jeremiah 33,34

    Jeremiah 35,36

    Jeremiah 37,38

    5/2

    Jeremiah 39,40

    Jeremiah 41,42

    Jeremiah 43,44

    Jeremiah 45,46

    Jeremiah 47,48

    Jeremiah 49

    5/9

    Jeremiah 50

    Jeremiah 51

    Jeremiah 52

    Lamentations 1

    Lamentations 2

    Lamentations 3

    5/16

    Lamentations 4

    Lamentation 5

    Ezekiel 1,2

    Ezekiel 3,4

    Ezekiel 5,6

    Ezekiel 7

    5/23

    Ezekiel 8,9

    Ezekiel 10,11

    Ezekiel 12

    Ezekiel 13

    Ezekiel 14,15

    Ezekiel 16

    5/30

    Ezekiel 17

    Ezekiel 18,19

    Ezekiel 20

    Ezekiel 21

    Ezekiel 22

    Ezekiel 23

    6/6

    Ezekiel 24,25

    Ezekiel 26,27

    Ezekiel 28

    Ezekiel 29

    Ezekiel 30,31

    Ezekiel 32

    6/13

    Ezekiel 33

    Ezekiel 34,35

    Ezekiel 36

    Ezekiel 37

    Ezekiel 38

    Ezekiel 39

    6/20

    Ezekiel 40

    Ezekiel 41

    Ezekiel 42

    Ezekiel 43

    Ezekiel 44

    Ezekiel 45

    6/27

    Ezekiel 46

    Ezekiel 47

    Ezekiel 48

    Daniel 1

    Daniel 2

    Daniel 3

    7/4

    Daniel 4

    Daniel 5

    Daniel 6

    Daniel 7

    Daniel 8

    Daniel 9

    7/11

    Daniel 10

    Daniel 11

    Daniel 12

    Hosea 1,2

    Hosea 3,4

    Hosea 5,6

    7/18

    Hosea 7,8

    Hosea 9,10

    Hosea 11,12

    Hosea 13, 14

    Joel 1

    Joel 2

    7/25

    Joel 3

    Amos 1

    Amos 2

    Amos 3,4

    Amos 5

    Amos 6,7

    8/1

    Amos 8

    Amos 9

    Obadiah

    Jonah 1,2

    Jonah 3,4

    Micah 1,2

    8/8

    Micah 3,4

    Micah 5,6

    Micah 7

    Nahum 1,2

    Nahum 3

    Habakkuk 1

    8/15

    Habakkuk 2

    Habakkuk 3

    Zephaniah 1

    Zephaniah 2

    Zephaniah 3

    Haggai 1

    8/22

    Haggai 2

    Zechariah 1

    Zechariah 2,3

    Zechariah 4,5

    Zechariah 6,7

    Zechariah 8

    8/29

    Zechariah 9

    Zechariah 10,11

    Zechariah 12,13

    Zechariah 14

    Malachi 1,2

    Malachi 3,4