We had a beautiful sunny and cooler than normal day here in Florida as Hurricane Irma is completely out of Florida.

Both Internet and Cable TV were restored last night.  Praise God!

But, many are still without even power in Florida, maybe about 1/2 of the residents here in Pinellas County, Florida.  Many who evacuated up north are trying to get home.  Many are cleaning up and waiting for power to be restored to their businesses and offices like me.  Please pray that power be restored, people get home and clean up safely, and more and more businesses reopen.

It is easy to be nice when everything is working.  It is difficult to be nice under pressure.

do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:4.  Please pray that God give all of us grace so that we all also look out for the interests of others. 

Today’s devotion comes from Jeremiah chapter 43.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+43&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, “Take some large stones in your hands and hide them in the mortar in the brick terrace which is at the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes, in the sight of some of the Jews;  and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am going to send and get Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and I am going to set his throne right over these stones that I have hidden;  and he will spread his canopy over them.  He will also come and strike the land of Egypt;  those who are meant for death will be given over to death, and those for captivity to captivity, and those for the sword to the sword.  And I shall set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt, and he will burn them and take them captive.  So he will wrap himself with the land of Egypt as a shepherd wraps himself with his garment, and he will depart from there safely.  He will also shatter the obelisks of Heliopolis, which is in the land of Egypt;  and the temples of the gods of Egypt he will burn with fire.”’”  Jeremiah 43:8-13.

—————–

Hurricane Irma was as wide as the state of Florida, and all or almost all of every part of Florida was affected by it. 

The armies of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon likewise conquered and controlled all or almost all of the land from Babylon to Egypt.  

And yet, God controlled every piece of debris in every gust of wind of Hurricane Irma.

And, we see from today’s Scripture that God controlled even where the throne of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon would be set.

Other doctrine teaches that man’s alleged free-will is in control.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches that God’s will is in control even to the smallest detail.

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?  And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So do not fear;  you are more valuable than many sparrows.”  Matthew 10:29-31.

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Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 12, 2017

“how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”

This is a special devotion sent from my iPhone because I cannot use my Desktop computer due to no Internet service. Please excuse its shortness and lack of quotes due to my inability to “copy and paste”.

I continue with the order of Scripture. Today’s Scripture comes from Jeremiah chapter 42. I quote only verse 6.

“Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the LORD our God.” Jeremiah 42:6.

—————-

Like the remnant of Judah who were afraid of their exposure to the Chaldeans (people from Babylon) who destroyed Jerusalem and either killed or took captive so many from Judah and who sought protection from the LORD, many in Florida were afraid of Hurricane Irma and prayed for protection from the LORD.

We can safely assume that many from both groups made promises to the LORD or otherwise resolved to do certain spiritual things if the LORD would spare them.

Yesterday’s headline of Tampa Bay Times was “We’re Lucky”.

Although parts of Florida were hit very hard, it could have been a lot worse for most of Florida. For example, Tampa Bay Times reported that property insurers had estimated before Hurricane Irma hit Florida that US insured losses would be about $150 billion, but now afterwards they estimate the losses to be only $20 billion. Tampa Bay was especially spared Although 1/2 of Pinellas county (the county in which my home St. Pete is) lost power and it may take a week or so for power to be restored, it could have been much much worse. Specifically, I believe few had significant damage to their homes like windows or roofs destroyed.

So, what are we going to do?

Will we seek the LORD and learn lessons and read Scripture more and attend church more and also otherwise obey the LORD more?

Or, will we just consider ourselves lucky and go back to our wicked ways?

As Reformed believers, we know that we need God’s grace to do anything that we should do, including even that we need God to grant us repentance in order for us to repent.

Other doctrine emphasizes free-will and cries: “Spare us and we will do good.”

But, Reformed Doctrine emphasizes God’s will and cries: “Save us because we belong to You.” Remember Question and Answer 1 of Heidelberg Catechism. Our only comfort in life and death is that we belong to our Faithful LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone

Today’s devotion is a special devotion based on Isaiah 25:1-9 as Hurricane Irma heads for us here in Florida.  Please pray for us in Florida that our LORD cause Hurricane Irma to go harmlessly east out in the Atlantic Ocean away from Florida and greatly decrease in intensity and that our LORD be our Refuge from this storm.  God willing, the next devotion will be September 10.

“O Lord, You are my God;
I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name;
For You have worked wonders,
Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.
2 For You have made a city into a heap,
A fortified city into a ruin;
A palace of strangers is a city no more,
It will never be rebuilt.
3 Therefore a strong people will glorify You;
Cities of ruthless nations will revere You.
For You have been a defense for the helpless,
A defense for the needy in his distress,
A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat;
For the breath of the ruthless
Is like a rain storm against a wall.
5 Like heat in drought, You subdue the uproar of aliens;
Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced.

6 The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
And refined, aged wine.
7 And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,
Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken.
9 And it will be said in that day,
“Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”  Isaiah 25:1-9.

——————————

As Hurricane Irma approaches us, our first thoughts are to the glory and strength of the LORD, the Awesome Creator.  The Lord sits as King at the flood, as King over every hurricane and other storm, and as King over everything as Reformed Doctrine teaches.  “Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.”

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.”  Psalm 103:19.

“Ascribe to the Lord, O sons of the mighty,
Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in holy array.

3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
The God of glory thunders,
The Lord is over many waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful,
The voice of the Lord is majestic.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
Yes, the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
And Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord hews out flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
The Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord makes the deer to calve
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everything says, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sat as King at the flood;
Yes, the Lord sits as King forever.
11 The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace.”  Psalm chapter 29.

But, we are frail and cry for help.  And, our LORD brings out of our distresses.  Let us extol Him and praise him! 

“25 For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind,
Which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths;
Their soul melted away in their misery.
27 They reeled and staggered like a drunken man,
And were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
And He brought them out of their distresses.
29 He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they were quiet,
So He guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
32 Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people,
And praise Him at the seat of the elders.”  Psalm 107:25-32.

So, when we put these two preceding Scriptures together, part of the glory and strength that we should ascribe to the LORD is that He gives strength to His people and blesses them with peace (Psalm 29:11) and shows them lovingkindness (Psalm 107:31)

Likewise, Reformed Doctrine teaches us that the LORD is not only Almighty God, He is our Faithful Father.  

Q. 26.  What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?

A.  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;  who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence) is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father;  on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body;  and further, that He will make whatever evils He sends upon me, in this valley of tears, turn out to my advantage;  for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.  Heidelberg Catechism.

“For You have been a defense for the helpless,
A defense for the needy in his distress,
A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat;  …”  Isaiah 25:4.

Today’s devotion comes from Jeremiah chapter 41.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+41&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him heard of all the evil that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had done.  So they took all the men and went to fight with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and they found him by the great pool that is in Gibeon.  Now as soon as all the people who were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah and the commanders of the forces that were with him, they were glad.  So all the people whom Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah turned around and came back, and went to Johanan the son of Kareah.  But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men and went to the sons of Ammon.  Then Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him took from Mizpah all the remnant of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, after he had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, that is, the men who were soldiers, the women, the children, and the eunuchs, whom he had brought back from Gibeon.  And they went and stayed in Geruth Chimham, which is beside Bethlehem, in order to proceed into Egypt because of the Chaldeans;  for they were afraid of them, since Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed over the land.”  Jeremiah 41:11-18.

———————

Over the last few chapters, we have seen the people follow King Zedekiah (king of Judah) then Gedaliah (whom the king of Babylon  appointed over the cities of Judah) then Ishmael (who murdered Gedaliah and captured the people) then Johanan (who rescued them) and now the people were planning to proceed to Egypt to seek protection from the rulers there.

We tend to trust in man, even though sometimes partially and hesitantly, and even sometimes unwillingly at first.

We tend to trust in man in our doctrine too.  We prefer a doctrine that is built at least partially on man’s wisdom and man’s goodness and man’s alleged free-will.

But, Reformed Doctrine knows and teaches that man is not trustworthy.  The condition of man in his natural condition is “Total Depravity”, that is, man is dead in sin, hostile to God, and enslaved to sin and Satan.

Reformed Doctrine knows and teaches that only God is trustworthy.

“5 My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold;  I shall not be shaken.
7 On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
8 Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.  Selah.”  Psalm 62:5-8.

We need a God Who provides everything we need for salvation from the beginning to the end.

Other doctrine is dependent on man to provide at least one of the links in the chain of salvation whether it be man’s wisdom or man’s goodness or man’s works or man’s alleged free-will.

But, surely a salvation dependent on man will fail.

But, a salvation dependent only on God to provide everything for salvation from the beginning to the end will surely succeed.

Reformed Doctrine summarizes the salvation of Scripture in which God provides everything for salvation from the beginning to the end as “TULIP”.  Because man is dead in sin (“Total Depravity”), man cannot contribute anything to salvation or show himself worthy as receiving salvation.  God unconditionally elects those whom He chooses to save (“Unconditional Election”) and further provides atonement for the sins of only His elect (“Limited Atonement”) and irresistibly draws the elect to Christ (“Irresistible Grace”) and preserves the elect to the end, that is, to salvation and eternal life (“Preservation of the Saints”).

“He only is my rock and my salvation, …  On God my salvation and my glory rest”.

Today’s devotion comes from Jeremiah chapter 40.

“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan captain of the bodyguard had released him from Ramah, when he had taken him bound in chains among all the exiles of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon.  Now the captain of the bodyguard had taken Jeremiah and said to him, “The Lord your God promised this calamity against this place;  and the Lord has brought it on and done just as He promised. Because you people sinned against the Lord and did not listen to His voice, therefore this thing has happened to you.  But now, behold, I am freeing you today from the chains which are on your hands.  If you would prefer to come with me to Babylon, come along, and I will look after you;  but if you would prefer not to come with me to Babylon, never mind.  Look, the whole land is before you;  go wherever it seems good and right for you to go.”  As Jeremiah was still not going back, he said, “Go on back then to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed over the cities of Judah, and stay with him among the people;  or else go anywhere it seems right for you to go.”  So the captain of the bodyguard gave him a ration and a gift and let him go.  Then Jeremiah went to Mizpah to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam and stayed with him among the people who were left in the land.

Now all the commanders of the forces that were in the field, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam over the land and that he had put him in charge of the men, women and children, those of the poorest of the land who had not been exiled to Babylon.  So they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, along with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of the Maacathite, both they and their men.  Then Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, swore to them and to their men, saying, “Do not be afraid of serving the Chaldeans;  stay in the land and serve the king of Babylon, that it may go well with you.  Now as for me, behold, I am going to stay at Mizpah to stand for you before the Chaldeans who come to us;  but as for you, gather in wine and summer fruit and oil and put them in your storage vessels, and live in your cities that you have taken over.”  Likewise, also all the Jews who were in Moab and among the sons of Ammon and in Edom and who were in all the other countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant for Judah, and that he had appointed over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan.  Then all the Jews returned from all the places to which they had been driven away and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered in wine and summer fruit in great abundance.

Now Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were in the field came to Gedaliah at Mizpah and said to him, “Are you well aware that Baalis the king of the sons of Ammon has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life?”  But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam did not believe them.  Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah in Mizpah, saying, “Let me go and kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and not a man will know!  Why should he take your life, so that all the Jews who are gathered to you would be scattered and the remnant of Judah would perish?”  But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, “Do not do this thing, for you are telling a lie about Ishmael.”  Jeremiah chapter 40.

—————————

In our world, it may seem like things are out of control like it seemed to the remnant of Judah in today’s Scripture.  

In the world of the remnant of Judah, they lost their rulers, their military, their businesses, and all of the people in the upper and middle classes.  They lost the temple, the palaces, and all of the structure of the city of Jerusalem.  And, they were about to lose Gedaliah whom the king of Babylon appointed over them to protect them. 

In our world (at least in Florida where I live), we have a category 5 Hurricane Irma headed right for us.  We have the threats of North Korea.  And, we have divisions in our society.

But, things are not out of control.  The LORD was still in control then and is still in control now.  The LORD reigns, and His sovereignty rules over all.

“The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.”  Psalm 93:1-2.

“Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity.”  Psalm 96:10.

“The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
Let the many islands be glad.”  Psalm 97:1.

“19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the Lord, O my soul!”  Psalm 103:19-22.

Today’s devotion comes from Jeremiah chapter 39.

“Now when Jerusalem was captured in the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it;  in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the city wall was breached.  Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came in and sat down at the Middle Gate: Nergal-sar-ezer, Samgar-nebu, Sar-sekim the Rab-saris, Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, and all the rest of the officials of the king of Babylon.  When Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, they fled and went out of the city at night by way of the king’s garden through the gate between the two walls;  and he went out toward the Arabah.  But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho;  and they seized him and brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he passed sentence on him.  Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes at Riblah;  the king of Babylon also slew all the nobles of Judah.  He then blinded Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him in fetters of bronze to bring him to Babylon.  The Chaldeans also burned with fire the king’s palace and the houses of the people, and they broke down the walls of Jerusalem.  As for the rest of the people who were left in the city, the deserters who had gone over to him and the rest of the people who remained, Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard carried them into exile in Babylon.  But some of the poorest people who had nothing, Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard left behind in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at that time.

Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave orders about Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, saying, “Take him and look after him, and do nothing harmful to him, but rather deal with him just as he tells you.”  So Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard sent word, along with Nebushazban the Rab-saris, and Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, and all the leading officers of the king of Babylon;  they even sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the guardhouse and entrusted him to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to take him home.  So he stayed among the people.

Now the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah while he was confined in the court of the guardhouse, saying, “Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am about to bring My words on this city for disaster and not for prosperity;  and they will take place before you on that day.  But I will deliver you on that day,” declares the Lord, “and you will not be given into the hand of the men whom you dread.  For I will certainly rescue you, and you will not fall by the sword;  but you will have your own life as booty, because you have trusted in Me,” declares the Lord.’”  Jeremiah chapter 39.

———————–

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.”  Psalm 34:7.

“He also brought me forth into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.”  2 Samuel 22:20.  Psalm 18:19 is very similar.

“He delivers me from my enemies;
Surely You lift me above those who rise up against me;
You rescue me from the violent man.”  Psalm 18:48.

“Commit yourself to the Lord;  let Him deliver him;
Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”

Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb;
You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts.
10 Upon You I was cast from birth;
You have been my God from my mother’s womb.”  Psalm 22:8-10.

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”  Psalm 50:15.

In conclusion, Psalm chapter 91 (my mother’s favorite chapter) puts it all together.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.

11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”  Psalm chapter 91.

Today’s devotion comes from Jeremiah chapter 38.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+38&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

Then they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchijah the king’s son, which was in the court of the guardhouse;  and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. Now in the cistern there was no water but only mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud.  But Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, while he was in the king’s palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. Now the king was sitting in the Gate of Benjamin;  and Ebed-melech went out from the king’s palace and spoke to the king, saying, “My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet whom they have cast into the cistern;  and he will die right where he is because of the famine, for there is no more bread in the city.”  Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, “Take thirty men from here under your authority and bring up Jeremiah the prophet from the cistern before he dies.”  …  So they pulled Jeremiah up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern, and Jeremiah stayed in the court of the guardhouse.

Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘If you will indeed go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, then you will live, this city will not be burned with fire, and you and your household will survive.  But if you will not go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, then this city will be given over to the hand of the Chaldeans;  and they will burn it with fire, and you yourself will not escape from their hand.’”  Then King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I dread the Jews who have gone over to the Chaldeans, for they may give me over into their hand and they will abuse me.”  But Jeremiah said, “They will not give you over.  Please obey the Lord in what I am saying to you, that it may go well with you and you may live.  But if you keep refusing to go out, this is the word which the Lord has shown me:  ‘Then behold, all of the women who have been left in the palace of the king of Judah are going to be brought out to the officers of the king of Babylon;  and those women will say,

“Your close friends
Have misled and overpowered you;
While your feet were sunk in the mire,
They turned back.”  Jeremiah 38:6-10 and 13 and 17-22.

———————-

Even close friends can mislead and overpower us, and when our feet are sunk in the mire, they can turn away.  Verse 22.  We should not trust in man.

But, our Lord will pull us out of the pit as He did for Jeremiah.  Verse 13.  We should trust in the LORD.

“I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord.

How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.”  Psalm 40:1-4.

Thus says the Lord,
Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the Lord.
“For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
A land of salt without inhabitant.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
“For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:5-8. 

Today’s devotion comes from Jeremiah chapter 37.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+37&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Now Zedekiah the son of Josiah whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had made king in the land of Judah, reigned as king in place of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim.  But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord which He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet.

Yet King Zedekiah sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “Please pray to the Lord our God on our behalf.”  Now Jeremiah was still coming in and going out among the people, for they had not yet put him in the prison.  Meanwhile, Pharaoh’s army had set out from Egypt;  and when the Chaldeans who had been besieging Jerusalem heard the report about them, they lifted the siege from Jerusalem.

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Thus you are to say to the king of Judah, who sent you to Me to inquire of Me:  “Behold, Pharaoh’s army which has come out for your assistance is going to return to its own land of Egypt.  The Chaldeans will also return and fight against this city, and they will capture it and burn it with fire.”’  Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will surely go away from us,” for they will not go.  For even if you had defeated the entire army of Chaldeans who were fighting against you, and there were only wounded men left among them, each man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.’”  Jeremiah 37:1-10.

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We see in today’s Scripture that God is sovereign:  it is useless to look for assistance elsewhere, and God will accomplish His plan as prophesied. 

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
And rely on horses,
And trust in chariots because they are many
And in horsemen because they are very strong,
But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord!
Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster
And does not retract His words,
But will arise against the house of evildoers
And against the help of the workers of iniquity.”  Isaiah 31:1-2. 

God accomplishes all of His good pleasure.  Total Perfect Triumph.

“9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken;  truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.”  Isaiah 46:9-11.

Today’s devotion comes from Jeremiah chapter 35.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+36&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“In the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Take a scroll and write on it all the words which I have spoken to you concerning Israel and concerning Judah, and concerning all the nations, from the day I first spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, even to this day.  Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the calamity which I plan to bring on them, in order that every man will turn from his evil way;  then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin.”  Jeremiah 35:1-3.

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Today, we have so much more warning and reason to turn away from our evil ways.  We not only have the words of Jeremiah, we have 65 other books of the Bible.  And, today, we have more than one scroll, we have countless Bibles around the world. 

How great is our accountability to the LORD!

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”  2 Corinthians 5:10.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.”  Matthew 16:26-27.

“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will warn you whom to fear:  fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell;  yes, I tell you, fear Him!”  Luke 12:4-5.

What should be our response?

We should repent and turn from our evil ways, and today’s Scripture shows our LORD’s patience and willingness to forgive. 

Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the calamity which I plan to bring on them, in order that every man will turn from his evil way;  then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin.”  Verse 3.

“They refused to listen,
And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them;
So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.
But You are a God of forgiveness,
Gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness;
And You did not forsake them.”  Nehemiah 9:17.

Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”  Acts 17:30-31.

But, will we repent?

Unless we receive grace from God to repent, we will be like the king and the servants who did not repent.

Yet the king and all his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments.”  Verse 24.

Other doctrine depends on its wisdom and will-power to repent.

But, Reformed Doctrine continually looks to God and depends on God for grace even to repent.

If there is true repentance, then God must have granted it through His Will and Sovereign Power. 

He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”  Acts 5:31.

When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”  Acts 11:18.

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,”  2 Timothy 2:24-25.

Today’s devotion comes from Jeremiah chapter 35.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+35&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction by listening to My words?” declares the Lord.  “The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are observed.  So they do not drink wine to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command.  But I have spoken to you again and again;  yet you have not listened to Me.  Also I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them again and again, saying:  ‘Turn now every man from his evil way and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to worship them.  Then you will dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your forefathers;  but you have not inclined your ear or listened to Me.  Indeed, the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have observed the command of their father which he commanded them, but this people has not listened to Me.’”’  Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster that I have pronounced against them;  because I spoke to them but they did not listen, and I have called them but they did not answer.’”

Then Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father, kept all his commands and done according to all that he commanded you;  therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me always.”’”  Jeremiah 35:12-19.

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By faith, we obey God. 

By faith, we believe the promises of God for such obedience.

By faith, we tolerate temporary earthly conditions, setting our minds on eternal heavenly conditions.

The Rechabites obeyed God and received the reward as promised by God:  “Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father, kept all his commands and done according to all that he commanded you;  therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me always.”   Verses 18-19.

The Rechabites’ obedience remind us of Abraham.

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance;  and he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;  for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”  Hebrews 11:8-10.

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6.

We should receive great encouragement and motivation that God clearly and repeatedly promises us rewards (also known as blessings) if we obey him.

“Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.  All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God:

“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.

“Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.

“Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

“The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.  The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you.  The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways.  10 So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you.  11 The Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you.  12 The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand;  and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.  13 The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, 14 and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.”  Deuteronomy 28:1-14.

Who would not want these blessings?!

But, we can not depend on how much sense it is to obey God.

And, we can not stand before God on our own.

We need God’s grace to obey God, and we need God’s grace to stand before God always.

Other doctrine depends on it own wisdom to make good choices to stand before God.

But, Reformed Doctrine depends on God’s choice of us (election) and God’s sovereign ability to make us stand before God always. 

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.”  Jude 1:24-25.

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