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Friday

August 27th - A Prophet Persecuted

A Prophet Persecuted

(Jeremiah 37:3-21; 38:1-28)


Jeremiah in the Cistern

Artist Unknown


Have you ever been asked for advice, only to have the hearer reject your counsel?


I know I surely have. As a parent with teens, I can testify! The most heartfelt truths may echo in unwilling ears. Our earnest pleas may fetch no response, or even opposition. Is this not the basic plea in many parents' prayers for young people?


The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah knew this frustration well. In fact, Jeremiah found himself imprisoned and then tossed into a cistern, simply for speaking the words of the Lord. The king’s officials did not like his counsel, so they persecuted the prophet.


Finally, King Zedekiah himself summoned the prophet and asked him for the truth. But Jeremiah was skeptical of the king’s possible response.


Jeremiah said to Zedekiah,

"If I give you an answer,

will you not kill me?

Even if I did give you counsel,

you would not listen to me."

(Jeremiah 38:15, NIV)


Of what use is it to offer a prophetic word, if the listeners will merely cast the Lord’s words aside? What if the words fall upon deaf ears, and those for whom the word seems intended fail to respond? Should the prophet still speak?


Perhaps the point is not the listeners’ response – as much as the prophet’s own obedience in carrying forth the message the Lord has given to him. For each of us may only be held responsible for our own attitudes and actions, faithful or faithless.


Will you pray with me?


Lord,

Make us faithful,

Where we are faithless.

Teach us to take our guidance

From You alone.

Guard our hearts

From seeking

The approval of men,

Rather than Your favor.

Your acceptance

Is all that counts.

Amen.


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Saturday

August 26th - A Flat Tyre

A Flat Tyre

(Ezekiel 26:1-21; 27:1-36; 28:1-26)


Flat Tire

By FunnyChill.com


Around 586 B.C., the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel spoke of the destruction of Tyre, a mighty maritime metropolis in the ancient Middle Eastern region. The description of Tyre’s toppling and the downfall of the King of Tyre, in particular, was not only a regional event to come. This account proved to be prophetic historically, but it also points to the downfall of Satan, a one-time heavenly angel, and to his ultimate eternal destruction.


Ezekiel painted a portrait of Tyre’s wicked king that paralleled the profile of the serpent Satan, the already-defeated arch enemy of the Lord God.


This account appears in Ezekiel 28:11-19.


The word of the Lord came to me:

"Son of man, take up a lament

concerning the king of Tyre

and say to him:

'This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
"'You were the model of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

You were in Eden,
the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
ruby, topaz and emerald,
chrysolite, onyx and jasper,
sapphire, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold;
on the day you were created they were prepared.

You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.

You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.

Through your widespread trade
you were filled with violence,
and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
and I expelled you, O guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.

Your heart became proud
on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
I made a spectacle of you before kings.

By your many sins and dishonest trade
you have desecrated your sanctuaries.
So I made a fire come out from you,
and it consumed you,
and I reduced you to ashes on the ground
in the sight of all who were watching.

All the nations who knew you
are appalled at you;
you have come to a horrible end
and will be no more.' "


Although many may fear this foe, the faithful need not tremble. For our Champion Christ has already defeated the enemy of eternity at Calvary’s cross. The devil has been deflated by the nails that pierced the Savior’s own flesh.

May we rejoice in the promise of peace and power … for our glorious Lord has already won the victory!


Will you pray with me?


Lovely Lord,

You hold all eternity

In Your strong hands.

Hold our hearts,

Calm our fears,

And give us a glimpse of Your glory.

Build our faith.

Teach us to trust

Your Word,

As You lead us

To the finish line,

For You have already stayed the course

And won the race.

Amen.


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August 25th - Pride on Parade

Pride on Parade

(Ezekiel 25:1-17; 29:1-21; 30:1-26; 31 1-18)


Haughty Eyes

Artist Unknown – from Project Gutenberg


Throughout the Holy Scriptures, God comes down pretty hard on haughtiness. On the other hand, He seems to adore the abased and the abused. The Lord delights in delivering the downtrodden, but He easily grows exasperated at those who exalt themselves.


In today’s Bible readings, we find the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel proclaiming the Word of the Lord, declaring judgment against the oppressors of His people. God calls out these pagan nations, who have held themselves haughtily against the truth, proclaiming their pride in themselves and their own strength and refusing to humble themselves before the one true God.


These few chapters of Scripture contain an astonishing amount of citings of a single phrase, pointing to the purpose of the Lord’s chastisement of these nations:


“Then they will know that I am the Lord.”


This statement appears in many spots of Scripture. In today’s readings, it appears here:


Ezekiel 25:11

Ezekiel 25:17

Ezekiel 29:9

Ezekiel 29:21

Ezekiel 30:8

Ezekiel 30:19

Ezekiel 30:25

Ezekiel 30:26


Depending upon the Bible translation you use, you may even find additional references using these and similar wordings.


Clearly, the Lord is interested in gaining and retaining the attention of those He has created. And is He not worthy of our devotion and dedication? Will God not go to whatever lengths are required to draw our eyes to Himself? What will it take to refocus our eyes upon the One who merits our mettle?


Why does our pride block our praise of the One true God? If we honestly look upon the Lord, we may see clearly that only the Lion of Judah deserves a pride.


Will you pray with me?


Great God,

Only You are the all-sufficient One,

Who warrants our wonder,

Deserves our devotion

And worthily wants our worship.

Draw us ever closer

To You,

So all lesser things fall away.

Amen.


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Thursday

August 24th - The Best Branch

The Best Branch

(Jeremiah 23:1-8; 33:14-40)


Best Branches

Photographer Unknown – Public Domain


"The days are coming," declares the Lord,
"when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.

In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The Lord Our Righteousness.

(Jeremiah 23:5-6, NIV)


The Lord revealed to the prophet Jeremiah that He would restore His people by raising up a righteous branch from the house of David. Perhaps God spoke metaphorically, referring to the family tree of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who would come from the royal lineage of Israel’s King David (in the tribe of Judah).


Indeed, the tree branch image also foreshadows the way the Lord would reach out beyond the original lines to bring life to all who would belong to Him. For this reason, the Apostle Paul would later point out how Gentiles might be grafted into the Lord’s own family tree (see Romans 11:22).


May God’s name be praised, and may the righteous Branch of the house of David point us to the very heart of God.


Will you pray with me?


Righteous Ruler,

Strong Deliverer,

Lord of Hosts

And Wonderful One,

We praise Your Name.

Thank You for making us

And remaking us,

So that we may belong

Forever to You.

Amen.


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