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,
Tag: Grace (Page 1 of 2)
Today we have a first – this will be the first devotional that covers an entire chapter in the book of Jeremiah. But this isn’t the first time the LORD has shown one of His prophets a basket of fruit (cf. Amos 8:1-3). As an aside, if you keep your eyes peeled for all the figs references found in Scripture (cf. Nah. 3:12; Mt. 21:18-20; 24:32; Jas. 3:12; etc.), it may change the way you look at a trip to grocery store. Maybe not. But let’s first see what Jeremiah saw; namely, “two baskets of figs set before the temple of the LORD” (vs.1b).
Was the breach irreparable? Was the relationship irreconcilable? Had Israel, to use language from chapter three, backslid so far past the point of no return that any previous promises that God had made towards them or any future plans that God had for them were annulled? Not according to Jeremiah chapter three. Amidst the calls to repent and the promises of forthcoming judgment came a declarative promise of future restoration.
From an outside perspective it might have seemed as though Satan was going to be successful in his attempt to frustrate God’s plan to have the seed of the woman crush his seed (Gen. 3:15). However one splices the relationship between the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” of Genesis 6:2, it clearly was not a good thing and it did not produce worshippers (see also 2 Pet. 2:4-5; Jd. 6); brutal men (i.e. the nephilim) were the “men of renown” (cf. vs.4); every thought of men’s hearts were continually wicked (vs.5); and so, not surprisingly, the earth was corrupt and filled with violence (vs.11). It was indeed a world made well-rotten by sin and Satan.
Desperate situations can lead to desperate measures. They can also lead to counterfeit repentance. That essentially appears to be the idea behind the latter portion of Jeremiah thirty-four. Now, at first glance, the counterfeit had some of the external markings of the true. After all, when you beginning reading verses 8 through 10 you hear what appears to be a bit of good news. “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD” (vs.8a) came “after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them” (vs.8b). That’s a positive. But to be clear, this wasn’t a general declaration of freedom spoken to an already free people; this was an overdue announcement to people whose liberty was long overdue. Per Exodus 21:2, a reference God would implicitly remind the people of through Jeremiah (Jer. 34:13-14), slaves were only supposed to serve for six years and in the seventh year they were to go free (Ex. 21:2). But when we look at the words that come later on in the chapter (vs.14-15) it looks like Zedekiah and the people of Jerusalem had not followed that command up until this point. So Zedekiah, the people of the land, and just about everyone in between (vs.19), likely induced to a point of desperation because of the surrounding Babylonians, sought to make amends for their dismissal of God’s Law. With the pomp and circumstance of a covenant ceremony, they cut a calf in two, walked through the halves (vs.18-19), and issued the following proclamation: