An Assurance, An Instruction, A Reminder, A Warning

Posted on September 16, 2020

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By David Ettinger

A Look Back
Now and then, I like glancing through Bibles I once read, looking at the “notes” pages to see what I wrote.

Examining a Bible I used 10 to 15 years ago, I found several passages I wrote down from the Book of Jeremiah. These passages are gems indeed, rich in wisdom and insight, and can be aptly placed into four categories: An Assurance, An Instruction, A Reminder, and A Warning.

Let’s take a brief look at these gems from Jeremiah and see what we can learn from them.

An Assurance
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

One of the key words here is “when,” as in “when heat comes.” Jeremiah is telling us that “heat,” i.e., trials, will come into our lives, but we are not to fret. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are strong trees with deep, deep roots. Because of this, we are assured that the trials of life cannot harm us – ultimately.

big tree

Why “ultimately?” Of course life’s trials – particularly sickness and disease – affect us greatly, and even kill us, but the meaning of this assurance goes far beyond this life. This passage’s ultimate meaning is eternal life. No matter what horrible things happen to us in this life, they cannot touch our eternal souls. If you belong to Christ, your eternal destination is secure.

A great New Testament companion verse is John 5:24 (italics added): “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

An Instruction
“‘Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 22:15-16).

The wicked Israelite king being addressed is Jehoiakim. Among his many sins was using his position to build wealth for himself. This was in dramatic contrast to his noble father King Josiah. Though there were many attributes Josiah could have been lauded for, Jeremiah targeted his protecting the “poor and needy.” One can only do this if he truly cares about them, which Josiah did.

collar bills

What a great instruction today to the believer regarding money. This passage tells us to not hoard our earnings, but to be generous in our giving, especially when it comes to the unfortunate among us. It was good enough for Josiah; it should be good enough for us.

A great New Testament companion verse is James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

A Reminder
“For the Lord is a God of retribution; he will repay in full” (Jeremiah 51:56).

This is a great and necessary reminder for all believers. Yes, the Lord is a God of love, compassion, and great patience, but He is also a God of wrath who must judge evil. This is something we must never forget as it relates to the unsaved. It also reminds us of God’s many varied attributes, some “lighter,” some “darker,” from a human perspective.

A great New Testament companion verse is Romans 1:18: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”

do not enter

A Warning
“They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’ Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good” (Jeremiah 5:24-25, italic added).

This passage serves as a warning to believers today. Though as believers we cannot lose our salvation, we certainly can forfeit blessings. Sin hampers our relationship with God and closes the door on the “good” God would otherwise bestow upon us. If you have had a time of prolonged sin in your life, you know what I mean.

A great New Testament companion verse is Romans 8:8: “Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”

May God use these four gems of Jeremiah to bless you richly in the challenging days ahead!