Perhaps one of the most quoted verses in modern day evangelicalism is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” It’s often quoted by those in the pulpits and the pews alike to say – God has a plan for your life; walk in it; it’s a good plan. It may be found in a picture frame in someone’s home or on a professional athlete’s shoes. It might be sent from one person to another via text or shared on Facebook time after time for encouragement. But while the verse is often shared, the context is often left behind, making it probably one of the misinterpreted passages of Scripture.
Category: Jeremiah (Page 3 of 8)
Have you ever had someone tell someone else that you said something you never actually said? If so, you’ve probably found that your level of appropriate frustration was greater or smaller depending on how serious the misrepresentation was. But regardless, most of us (if not all of us) do not like the idea of somebody putting words in our mouth that were never actually there. And if you find that irritating you are catching a tiny glimpse of how God feels when fallen man does that very thing to Him. It’s one of the reasons why not many ought to be teachers (Jas. 3:1). It is a high and hefty responsibility to divide God’s word accurately (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15) and refrain from giving a message that God never gave (cf. Jer. 23:21b). But the latter was just the kind of thing that Hananiah was doing.
We have a rare occasion here in Jeremiah 26. No, not Jeremiah being persecuted by the people of Judah. That has become standard fare. And no, it’s not the fact that Jeremiah was preaching a sermon in temple courts – we saw that in Jeremiah 7 (and this may be an amplified narrative of that event). Here we have an exceptional occurrence where the people and princes of Judah ‘go to bat’ on behalf of God’s prophet. In Israel’s history you can say that times like this came around ‘once in a blue moon,’ i.e. very rarely. Let’s create some context and then jump into our text.
If I were to ask you, “Where do we hear the expression, ‘take this cup’, in the Bible?” Your mind might be drawn to the night were Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. Well, on that night we know that Jesus “took the cup,” and after giving thanks, He gave it to His disciples and said, “Drink from it, all of you” (Mt. 26:27). Besides being words that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mk. 14:36; Lk. 22:42), you might be surprised to find that the expression, ‘Take this cup,’ is essentially what God told Jeremiah to do. And when you see the cup that Jeremiah was called to take and offer to both Jerusalem and the nations, let’s just say it should cause you to appreciate afresh the cup that God calls His own to drink from in the Lord’s Supper. Let’s get into the text and see how it develops. It was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer. 25:1) that the LORD God of Israel spoke to Jeremiah saying,