Vs. 1, “While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women.” The last few chapters, we have been reading of a plot to curse the Israelites with King Balak hiring Balaam. Instead, the enemy used a more clandestine approach; bring in women to seduce the Israelite men. How sad of a turn of events because the Israelites were just east of the Jordan river ready to enter the Promised Land! 24,000 people are slain due to this outright rebellious act (vs. 9)! It wasn’t just the sexual immorality, but it was the Israelite men who participated in offering sacrifice (vs. 2-3) to the Baal of Peor. How could Israel turn from the LORD to such detestable acts after all His faithfulness? False god’s and their idolatry offered something that was appealing; tangible symbols, promises of good things, tolerant of individuals belief’s, freedom to indulge. Question: How did this happen? Balaam. In Numbers 31:16, we are told it was Balaam who had schemed behind the scenes to bring this temptation. Perhaps, the offer of riches from Balak was back on the table if Balaam could prove to curse God’s people with a different method.
Regarding application…Zealous for God. Vs. 11, “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites; for he was as zealous as I am for my honor among them, so that in my zeal I did not put an end to them.” Phinehas was the grandson of Aaron and would become the high priest. Question: Why was Phinehas commended by God? Because he stood up for God’s honor. Zeal is having a passionate devotion. Phinehas revered God so much that he reacted when God was dishonored. I would contend that many of us don’t have such zeal. We live in a laid-back society that is always concerned about being politically correct and not offending others. I think its time we begin to get righteously offended by actions of others that bring dishonor to God. Think of Jesus’ anger in the temple (Luke 19, Matthew 21, John 2). Be courageous enough to stand up for the Lord!
Vs. 37, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Question: What time is it? End Times. This was going to be a very difficult time for everyone involved, including us. Jesus let his dicsiples know as well as us that the Gospel would need to first be shared to all nations. Brothers & sisters, we are nearly at that time. Jesus gave us a comparison that the end times would be like the days of Noah. And those days were not good ones, for evil would increase! But don’t let all this disturbing news discourage you, for Jesus already warned us against it. There will be many false teachers and prophets coming to tell us things, we must always be discerning. Jesus points to the eventual Great Tribulation. And then Jesus will return (vs. 30), hallelujah! Though we don’t know the hour or day, let us be ever ready!
Regarding application…Be Ready! Vs. 44, “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Question: Are you ready? We would be wise to stop procrastinating when it comes to being ready for our Lord! Bascially Jesus is warning us to stop living in such a way that does not reflect the reality that Jesus could come anytime. It’s like a parent telling us our rooms better be clean when they get home later on. But as a child, we play and think we have all the time in the world. But, the parent decides to come home much earlier than the child realizes. Now, the child finds themselves not ready because they were goofing off the whole time. Trust me, you don’t want to not be ready, just read the last two verses in our chapter. Let’s be ready! For the glory of our Lord, let’s be ready!
Vs. 1, “After Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the craftsmen and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the LORD showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the LORD.” The deportation to Babylon had begun. Like any of us…I’m sure Jeremiah had been very saddened by the turn of events. So, God would bring him a vision! This would be a very vivid vision of two fig baskets, one very tasty the other one rotten. Naturally, we would keep the good ones and throw away the rotten. God would give Jeremiah hope in that He would preserve the good ones and remind us that His promises are true. It’s never easy being reminded of the consequences of those that turn away (vs. 8-10), but we need to remember.
Regarding application…Heart for God. Vs. 7, “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” God was able to look at the heart of those who had been taken captive and see the potential they had for Him. God disciplines those He loves and this is a perfect example. Question: Do you have a heart for God? If so, what are you doing about it? If we are called God’s people, than we must act like God’s people in our lives. So often we go about our daily lives with no mind or heart for God. Brothers & sisters this should not be. That is why His word is so important because it turns the wayward heart back to God. It did for Jeremiah and it will do it for you if you read & listen to His promises!