God Centered Bible – Daily Devotions

October 11: Seek the Peace of the City

October 11, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 26-29, Ecclesiastes 8, John 4:1-14, James 5:7-12 Jeremiah 26-29: Speaking truth in love—tough words, however gently delivered—is no easy task. But it is one to which Jeremiah is called. But he must stand in the court of the LORD’s house (26:2), in a public place, right in the holy realm, and declare God’s judgment against that house. This, of course, did not go down well. In fact, he is told “you shall die!” (26:8). So unpopular are Jeremiah’s words that there is some danger of a lynch mob. Fortunately, or rather providentially, some of the elders remember faithful prophets from the past who similarly prophesied judgment (26:18), causing God’s people to repent (26:19). To underline the very real and present danger facing Jeremiah, another prophet, called Uriah, prophesied similarly to Jeremiah and was killed for it (26:23). But Jeremiah has a powerful friend close to the king, and so Jeremiah…

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October 10: Listen to God’s Word

October 10, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 23-25, Ecclesiastes 7:15-29, John 3:22-36, James 5:1-6 Jeremiah 23-25: Jeremiah begins this section by exposing the immorality, hypocrisy, and downright laziness of the false shepherds and false prophets at the time. “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! (23:1). Instead, he will, in the future, set over them “shepherds who will care for them” (23:4), and will raise up for them “David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely” (23:5). And “he will be called: the LORD is our righteousness” (23:6). Looking ahead, through the clouds, across the mountain range, Jeremiah spies the coming of the LORD, the great David’s Greater Son. But, the prophets and priests are then “ungodly” (23:11). So “do not listen to them” (23:16). “They speak visions of their own minds.” God “did not send the prophets” (23:21). Instead, “Let the prophet who has…

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October 9: A Broken Pot

October 09, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 19-22, Ecclesiastes 7:1-14, John 3:16-21, James 4:11-17 Jeremiah 19-22: Jeremiah has a sermon with a visual aid—a “potter’s earthenware flask” (19:1). As he preaches against the idolatry of God’s people, including human sacrifice of their children (19:5), he is commanded to “break the flask” (19:10). The point is that in the same way the flask is broken, so shall God’s people be broken (19:11). It must have been a dramatic moment. I remember one missionary stacking a pile of ceramic plates next to his lectern, and while he was talking about all those who did not know Jesus throughout the world, picking up the plates and smashing them to the ground. His point was a missionary one: we should take seriously our responsibility to global mission. But Jeremiah’s point is a prophetic one: God’s people need to take seriously their responsibility to worship and serve God and him alone.…

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October 8: Potter and Clay

October 08, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 16-18, Ecclesiastes 6, John 3:1-15, James 4:1-10 Jeremiah 16-18: Jeremiah, this weeping prophet, speaking judgment against God’s people, is at the same time being protected by God. Don’t have children here, Jeremiah (16:2); don’t settle down and make a home here, Jeremiah. Disaster is coming. Such is the story of the first part of chapter 16. But why? Because they have “forsaken” God (16:11). But, the good news is that there will be a return from the exile that is being predicted. As God brought his people out of Egypt, so again he will bring them out of exile (16:14-15). God still has a plan for his people. This plan is all to exalt the name of God: “they shall know that my name is the LORD” (16:21). God’s rescue shows God to be a rescuing, gracious, merciful, compassionate God. That he can rescue sinners, rebels, amplifies God’s amazing…

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October 7: Wall of Bronze

October 07, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 14-15, Ecclesiastes 5, John 2:12-25, James 3:13-18 Jeremiah 14-15: The section begins with a problem. There is an economic downturn, a serious recession, brought on this agrarian society by that terror of the ancient world: “drought” (14:1). What is the cause of it? Because the Israelites know that God is the cause, ultimately, of all, they turn to God and ask him to have mercy on them, improve their economy, and send rain again on their land (14:7-9). But it is too late (14:10-11). “He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins” (14:10). In fact, Jeremiah, “Do not pray for the welfare of this people” (14:11). It is too late. Jeremiah is astonished—as any of us would be when being told that a certain church, for instance, simply needs to closed down. He says that the other prophets are telling the Israelites that all will be well (14:13).…

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October 6: Swimming Against the Stream

October 06, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 12-13, Ecclesiastes 4, John 2:1-11, James 3:1-12 Jeremiah 12-13: Jeremiah has a question for God, a question that many of us have asked on occasion too. This question (12:1) is essentially, “Why do the wicked prosper?” In particular, he has in mind those who are “treacherous.” Why is it that people who betray you, who stab someone in the back, who take good deeds and make foul rumors of them, why is it that people who are bad do well in life? This is a common question that many people have asked. Some people seem to think that the Bible teaches that the reason why people are to be good is that if we are good, we will do well in life. Certainly, in some instances and on some occasions there is a one-to-one correlation between upright, moral behavior and financial and other forms of prosperity. But in many…

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October 5: Old and New

October 05, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 10-11, Ecclesiastes 3:16-22, John 1:43-51, James 2:14-26 Jeremiah 10-11: All true spirituality begins with an open ear to what God is saying. “Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you” (10:1). Are we listening to what God is saying? Are our ears attentive to the Scriptures? Do we set aside time not simply to skim across the surface, or learn a few Bible verses, or check a daily devotional time off our list of to-dos, but actually to listen to what God is saying to us through his Word? Many times it is surprising to people how often God’s Word does actually address the questions that they are facing in their daily lives. God’s Word is not simply an ancient word, it is also a contemporary word, a word that speaks today. Israel, in particular, needed to “Learn not the way of the nations” (10:2), which meant not…

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October 4: Knowing and Doing

October 04, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 7-9, Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, John 1:35-42, James 2:1-13 Jeremiah 7-9: Jeremiah is told to make a public pronouncement—to stand “in the gate of the LORD’s house” (7:2). He is publishing a press release in the religious media; he is hammering his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg. What is it that he must so publicly announce? Throughout these two chapters two points are being made, here introduced at the start: 1) If they repent, in practice and in deed and not merely in theory, then God will relent from his punishment: “Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place” (7:3). 2) They are to beware of taking their confidence from a mere formal allegiance to the things of God, the notional reliance on the ceremony and ritual of Old Testament piety: “Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of…

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October 3: Proclaim God’s Word

October 03, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 5-6, Ecclesiastes 2:17-26, John 1:29-34, James 1:19-27 Jeremiah 5-6: The prophet depicts a running to and fro on the streets of the city looking for just one person who is doing what is right (5:1). But none can be found! For surely they use the religious jargon (“As the LORD lives”), but they swear falsely (5:2). How common it is for countries and churches, which have long lived on the abundance of God, to learn to take his name upon the lips but without living out the reality of his name in their lives. We can too easily go through the motions, become Christians in name only, and not “do justice” or “seek truth” (5:1). It was the priest and the Levite who passed by the man in need, while it was the good Samaritan (from a despised raced) who fulfilled the law of God to love his neighbor…

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October 2: Unmasking Delusion

October 02, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 3-4, Ecclesiastes 2:1-16, John 1:19-28, James 1:12-18 Jeremiah 3-4: We begin to see why he was called the weeping prophet! One controlling metaphor goes through these chapters, a picture that is common to the prophets in general, a picture of the rebellion of God’s people: adultery, prostitution, sexual immorality. “You have played the whore with many lovers” (Jeremiah 3:1) This picture is used of the idolatry of God’s people. They were: “…committing adultery with stone and tree.” (Jeremiah 3:9) That is, the adultery is not literal physical adultery—though many of the idolatrous practices may have involved adulterous liaisons—but a spiritual adultery of idols of rock and tree. The reason for this metaphor is the intimacy of the relationship that is intended between God and his people: “Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah…

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