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August 18 - Evening

"We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the desert. Our skin is hot as an oven, feverish from hunger.

Women have been violated in Zion, and virgins in the towns of Judah. Princes have been hung up by their hands; elders are shown no respect. Young men toil at the millstones; boys stagger under loads of wood.

The elders are gone from the city gate; the young men have stopped their music. Joy is gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning. The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned!

Because of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes grow dim for Mount Zion, which lies desolate, with jackals prowling over it.

You, Lord, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation. Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure."

- Lamentations 5:9-22

Jeremiah’s Visual of the Consequences that Resulted from Rebellion Against the Lord


Food had been scarce during the last several years not only because of the siege, but also because of the famine that had struck the land. The lack of food continued even outside the walls of fallen Jerusalem. Attaining food was not only difficult, but also dangerous because of the raiders who moved freely through the land searching for food.

Dehydration (from lack of food and water) made the bodies of the Jews who remained in the land feverish and discolored.

The people left behind have been abused and continued to be abused:

  • Women who endured a two and a half year siege inside the city of Jerusalem were raped
  • Virgins from all the remote rural towns in Judah have been taken by Babylonian soldiers and officers.
  • Princes, the bodily remains of men from the royal family that did not try to escape with Zedekiah and where not taken back to Babylon are still hanging by their hands on the walls, buildings and trees for birds and wild animals to eat.
  • Elders are no longer recognized, in fact in Lamentations 5:8 it indicates that many of these former slave owners are now working mercilessly for their former slaves who had apparently been given some kind of authority by the Babylonians (These elders may have gone into hiding only to reappear after the Babylonian forces had left the land since 2 Kings 24:14 says, “only the poorest people of the land were left” after the 597 BC exile that took Ezekiel and the other craftsmen.)
  • Young men were forced to labor like an animal
  • Boys have had their childhood stolen from them since they now work like pack animals

Before the Babylonian invasion these people’s lives had been quite different:

  • Elders ruled with authority in the city gates
  • Young men played music
  • Women and young girls where filled with joy as the danced in the glory that came from culture with structure and freedom.
But, all this has changed because of sin.

The ruins of the glorious Temple and its courts on Mount Moriah are now nothing more than hunting grounds for wild jackals who are also scavenging this desolate land for food.

Yet, in this hopeless state Jeremiah ends his book of lamentation seeking the Lord and crying out for mercy. What else can they do? So, now, they wait in hope for their restoration.
Paideia (Gr) – correction (Eng) – the Greek word paideia refers to training a child with instruction. It can be translated: “discipline,” “correction,” “instruction,” “training.” Paideia is used in: Ephesians 6:4 – “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Hebrews 12:5 – “And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, 'My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you...' " Hebrews 12:7-8 – “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all." 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness."
I will consider the blessing I have today. I will thank God for the goodness I participate in everyday which include:
  • provisions
  • order
  • safety
  • relationships
  • hope



Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text

Zechariah 13 (520-519 BC)



Personal

Parents

Church

Peace with opponents
Poor
Macedonia



The top of the Dome of the Rock on the Jewish Temple Mount is a crescent moon whose tips touch, creating a full moon. The moon is a traditional symbol of the moon-gods throughout the ancient Middle East throughout history. The Sumerians worshipped the moon-god named Sin whose symbol was the crescent moon (Gideon took the crescent jewelry from the invading eastern peoples called Midianites and Ishmaelites in Judges 8:24-26). The temple of Sin has been excavated in Abraham's old city of Ur. YHWH told Abraham to leave his culture, his land and his family who were worshippers of this Pagan moon-god (Genesis 12:1; Joshua 24:2). Throughout the Old Testament worship of the moon-god and other heavenly hosts is forbidden and met with judgment (Deut.4:19; 2 Kings 21:5; 2 Kings 23:5). This moon on the top of the dome of the Rock is aligned so that if you look through it, you will look straight toward Mecca, the seat of the Black Stone.
The Jot and the Tittle detailed in a diagram that helps explain Jesus teaching in Matthew 5:18.




Someone to Quote

“Jesus Christ is the object of all things, the centre towards which all things tend. Whoever knows him knows the reason for everything.” – Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), a French scientist, mathematician and thinker in his book “Pensees,” (meaning "thoughts") a defense of the Christian faith (read it here)

Something to Ponder

An imprint in a clay seal was found in Lachish that reads: “The property of Gedaliah who is over the house.” This clay seal had at one time sealed a papyrus scroll. The imprints of the fibers from this scroll can still be seen on the back of the clay seal.
Second Kings 25:22 tells us who this Gedaliah was, “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to be over the people he had left behind in Judah. When all the army officers and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah….”
Details 1, 2, 3, 4
Photos 1, 2, 3

Here’s a Fact

Luke was a medical doctor from Troas (Colossians 4:14). Luke’s use of medical terms in his Gospel and in the book of Acts have been noted by scholars (see commentary with Emphasis on Luke's Medical Terms here)

Proverb

"A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great."
- Proverbs 18:16

Coach’s Corner

The greatest miracle is salvation. The godliest spiritual manifestation is the transformed soul.

Zechariah 13 New International Version (NIV)
Cleansing From Sin
13 “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.
“On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land. And if anyone still prophesies, their father and mother, to whom they were born, will say to them, ‘You must die, because you have told lies in the Lord’s name.’ Then their own parents will stab the one who prophesies.
“On that day every prophet will be ashamed of their prophetic vision. They will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive. Each will say, ‘I am not a prophet. I am a farmer; the land has been my livelihood since my youth.’ If someone asks, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ they will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’
The Shepherd Struck, the Sheep Scattered

“Awake, sword, against my shepherd,     against the man who is close to me!”     declares the Lord Almighty. “Strike the shepherd,     and the sheep will be scattered,     and I will turn my hand against the little ones.

In the whole land,” declares the Lord,     “two-thirds will be struck down and perish;     yet one-third will be left in it.

This third I will put into the fire;     I will refine them like silver     and test them like gold. They will call on my name     and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’     and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Jeremiah 40 New International Version (NIV)
Jeremiah Freed
40 The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had released him at Ramah. He had found Jeremiah bound in chains among all the captives from Jerusalem and Judah who were being carried into exile to Babylon. When the commander of the guard found Jeremiah, he said to him, “The Lord your God decreed this disaster for this place. And now the Lord has brought it about; he has done just as he said he would. All this happened because you people sinned against the Lord and did not obey him. But today I am freeing you from the chains on your wrists. Come with me to Babylon, if you like, and I will look after you; but if you do not want to, then don’t come. Look, the whole country lies before you; go wherever you please.” However, before Jeremiah turned to go, Nebuzaradan added, “Go back to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed over the towns of Judah, and live with him among the people, or go anywhere else you please.”
Then the commander gave him provisions and a present and let him go.
So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah and stayed with him among the people who were left behind in the land.
Gedaliah Assassinated
When all the army officers and their men who were still in the open country heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam as governor over the land and had put him in charge of the men, women and children who were the poorest in the land and who had not been carried into exile to Babylon, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah—Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of the Maakathite, and their men. Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, took an oath to reassure them and their men. “Do not be afraid to serve the Babylonians,” he said. “Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you. 10 I myself will stay at Mizpah to represent you before the Babylonians who come to us, but you are to harvest the wine, summer fruit and olive oil, and put them in your storage jars, and live in the towns you have taken over.”
11 When all the Jews in Moab, Ammon, Edom and all the other countries heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, as governor over them, 12 they all came back to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, from all the countries where they had been scattered. And they harvested an abundance of wine and summer fruit.
13 Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers still in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah 14 and said to him, “Don’t you know that Baalis king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam did not believe them.
15 Then Johanan son of Kareah said privately to Gedaliah in Mizpah, “Let me go and kill Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he take your life and cause all the Jews who are gathered around you to be scattered and the remnant of Judah to perish?”
16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, “Don’t do such a thing! What you are saying about Ishmael is not true.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


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