God Centered Bible – Daily Devotions

October 13: God Keeps His Promises

October 13, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 32-34, Ecclesiastes 10, John 4:27-42, 1 Peter 1:1-9 Jeremiah 32-34: Jeremiah, like many a faithful preacher since (cf. Paul and John Bunyan), was in prison for faithfully proclaiming God’s word (32:2-3). His message has been that Jerusalem will fall to the Babylonians. But now, surprise, surprise, God tells Jeremiah to buy a field (32:6-8). Why would God ask Jeremiah to invest in the property market of Jerusalem when he knew full well that the city was about to be sacked? Jeremiah is certain this word comes from God (32:8), and so he goes ahead and buys the field (32:9-15). But he does not understand why. So he prays and asks God why it is that he has been asked to do such a thing (32:16-25). It is no sin to ask for understanding from God. Jeremiah’s prayer is a masterpiece of theological understanding of the big story of God’s…

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October 12: New Covenant

October 12, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 30-31, Ecclesiastes 9, John 4:15-26, James 5:13-20 Jeremiah 30-31: Jeremiah is now told that God will restore Israel (30:3). So certain is this restoration to come that he is to make sure that he writes the words of his prophecy “in a book” (30:2). The words of God’s prophets were meant to be recorded for our use. So, the yoke that has been put around their shoulders will, in time to come, be broken (30:8), for God is with them to “save” them (30:11). He will “discipline” them, but in “just measure” (30:11), and there will be a restoration: “For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord….” (Jeremiah 30:17) There will be again “songs of thanksgiving” (30:19). The reason for all this is finally God’s love: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”…

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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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