Consider your path…

Jeremiah Crossroad

Wednesday 08/18/21 

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – Consider your path…

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Consider your path…

Jeremiah 5:1-3, 

“(1) The LORD said, “Go up and down through the streets of Jerusalem. Look around and see for yourselves. Search through its public squares. See if any of you can find a single person who deals honestly and tries to be truthful. If you can, then I will not punish this city.  

(2)  These people make promises in the name of the LORD. But the fact is, what they swear to is really a lie.”  

(3)  LORD, I know you look for faithfulness. But even when you punish these people, they feel no remorse. Even when you nearly destroy them, they refuse to be corrected. They have become as hardheaded as a rock. They refuse to change their ways.”

As I’ve told you, Isaiah was a prophet BEFORE this time. He was the son of Amoz and was a member of the royal family. He made his first public prophecies in the year of Uzziah’s affliction with leprosy, and he ministered to the people for about ninety years, during the reigns of kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of which all were kings of relative godliness except Ahaz.

Isaiah had seen the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to the Assyrians and Judea alone remained. He brought the message of God’s holiness to the kings and the people at a time before the hearts of those in Judah were seduced away into idolatry.

Isaiah’s name means God is Salvation and his was a timely invitation to holiness…as a warning being offered nearly 100 years before Jeremiah was anointed and commissioned to prophesied judgment.   

Isa. 1:1-4,

“(1) The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.  

(2)  Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me;  

(3)  The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.”  

(4)  Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward.”

and 

Isa 55:1-13, 

“(1) Hey, all who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come! Buy and eat! Come! Buy wine and milk without money and without cost!  

(2)  Why pay money for something that will not nourish you? Why spend your hard-earned money on something that will not satisfy? Listen carefully to me and eat what is nourishing! Enjoy fine food!  

(3)  Pay attention and come to me! Listen, so you can live! Then I will make an unconditional covenantal promise to you, just like the reliable covenantal promises I made to David.  

(4)  Look, I made him a witness to nations, a ruler and commander of nations.”  

(5)  Look, you will summon nations you did not previously know; nations that did not previously know you will run to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he bestows honor on you.  

(6)  Seek the LORD while He makes himself available; call to Him while He is nearby!  

(7)  The wicked need to abandon their [way] lifestyle and unrighteous man his thoughts. 

They should return to the LORD, and He will show mercy to them, and to their God, for He will freely forgive them.  (8)  “Indeed, my thoughts are not like your thoughts, and my ways are not like your ways,” says the LORD,  (9)  “for just as the sky is higher than the earth, so my ways are superior to your ways and my thoughts superior to your thoughts.”

“(10)  The rain and snow fall from the sky and do not return, but instead water the earth and make it produce and yield crops, and provide seed for the planter and food for those who must eat.  

(11)  In the same way, the promise that I make does not return to Me, having accomplished nothing. No, it is realized as I desire and is fulfilled as I intend.”  

(12)  Indeed you will go out with joy; you will be led along in peace; the mountains and hills will give a joyful shout before you, and all the trees in the field will clap their hands.  (13)  Evergreens will grow in place of thorn bushes, firs will grow in place of nettles; they will be a monument to the LORD, a permanent reminder that will remain.”

I want you to notice three things, one of which I mentioned last time in Jeremiah chapter 4. 

1st – God is telling Israel that if they will listen to His words and make His thoughts theirs He will cause people to run to them and their God for salvation – just like Jeremiah said in chapter 4.

2nd – God’s grievance against His people was their idolatry and their idolatry was due to their thoughts. Meaning, that just as Paul warned us in Romans 8:5-8 that a man’s deeds are produced from their thoughts and just as Jesus told us when He said it is what comes out of a man that defiles him in word and action – here Isaiah tells us that what makes a man unrighteous is his thoughts and what makes his ways twisted is his self-willed actions. Which is why God tells them to forsake the way they think and exchange it for HIS thoughts. To forsake their ways, for His – for both of these are superior to man’s thoughts and ways.

3rd – God is announcing how His plan will be accomplished one way or another. If they respond to this warning they will be a light to the gentiles and God will cause them to go out with Joy and be led in peace. If not they will be judged, but even still eventually they will come back around and repent of their evil and be restored to Joy and Peace. We know they did NOT respond, so their disobedience has caused salvation to come to the gentiles so that we might provoke them to jealousy. Then they will repent and return to the Lord during the time we call the millennial reign of Christ. 

Now, what I have NOT talked about is Micah and how his ministry coincided with that of Isaiah.

The beginning of the book containing his prophecies goes like this,

Micah 1:1-12,  

“(1) This is the LORD’s message that came to Micah of Moresheth during the time of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.  

(2)  Listen, all you nations! Pay attention, all inhabitants of earth! The Sovereign LORD will act as a witness against you; the Lord will accuse you from His majestic palace.  

(3)  Look, the LORD is coming out of His dwelling place! He will descend and march on the earth’s mountaintops!  

(4)  The mountains will crumble beneath Him; and the valleys will split apart, like wax before a fire, like water dumped down a steep slope.  

(5)  All this is because of Jacob’s rebellion and the sins of the nation of Israel. And just what is Jacob’s rebellion? Isn’t it Samaria’s doings? And what is Judah’s sin? Isn’t it Jerusalem’s doings?”

I am not sure how these two prophets may or may not show up in our chapters in Jeremiah though I am pretty certain they will and I am almost sure that we will look more at Micah regarding Samaria when we get to Jeremiah chapters 23-41.

Now we pick back up with Jeremiah’s thoughts about how many people he may find who deal honestly and try to be truthful…

Jeremiah 5:4-22,

“(4)  I thought, “Surely it is only the ignorant poor who act this way. They act like fools because they do not know what the LORD demands. They do not know what their God requires of them.  

(5)  I will go to the leaders and speak with them. Surely they know what the LORD demands. Surely they know what their God requires of them.” 

Yet all of them, too, have rejected his authority and refuse to submit to Him.  

(6)  So like a lion from the thicket their enemies will kill them. Like a wolf from the rift valley they will destroy them. Like a leopard they will lie in wait outside their cities and totally destroy anyone who ventures out. For they have rebelled so much and done so many unfaithful things.  

(7)  The LORD asked, “How can I leave you unpunished, Jerusalem? Your people have rejected Me and have worshiped gods that are not gods at all. Even though I supplied all their needs, they were like an unfaithful wife to me. They went flocking to the houses of prostitutes.  (8)  They are like lusty, well-fed stallions. Each of them lusts after his neighbor’s wife.  (9)  I will surely punish them for doing such things!” says the LORD. 

“I will surely bring retribution on such a nation as this!”  

(10)  The LORD commanded the enemy, “March through the vineyards of Israel and Judah and ruin them. But do not destroy them completely. Strip off their branches for these people do not belong to the LORD.  (11)  For the nations of Israel and Judah have been very unfaithful to me,” says the LORD.  

(12)  “These people have denied what the LORD says. They have said, ‘That is not so! No harm will come to us. We will not experience war and famine.  (13)  The prophets will prove to be full of wind. The LORD has not spoken through them. So, let what they say happen to them.’”  

(14)  Because of that, the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, said to me, “Because these people have spoken like this, I will make the words that I put in your mouth like fire. And I will make this people like wood which the fiery judgments you speak will burn up.”  

(15)  The LORD says, “Listen, nation of Israel! I am about to bring a nation from far away to attack you. It will be a nation that was founded long ago and has lasted for a long time. It will be a nation whose language you will not know. Its people will speak words that you will not be able to understand.  

(16)  All of its soldiers are strong and mighty. Their arrows will send you to your grave.  (17)  They will eat up your crops and your food. They will kill off your sons and your daughters. They will eat up your sheep and your cattle. They will destroy your vines and your fig trees. Their weapons will batter down the fortified cities you trust in.  

(18)  Yet even then I will not completely destroy you,” says the LORD.  

[This is God watching over His word to perform it AND in sovereignty assuring His purposes are accomplished in the earth!]

“(19)  “So then, Jeremiah, when your people ask, ‘Why has the LORD our God done all this to us?’ tell them, ‘It is because you rejected Me and served foreign gods in your own land. So you must serve foreigners in a land that does not belong to you.’  

(20)  “Proclaim this message among the descendants of Jacob. Make it known throughout Judah.  (21)  Tell them: 

‘Hear this, you foolish people who have no understanding, who have eyes but do not discern, who have ears but do not perceive:  (22)  “You should fear Me!” says the LORD. “You should tremble in awe before Me! I made the sand to be a boundary for the sea, a permanent barrier that it can never cross. Its waves may roll, but they can never prevail. They may roar, but they can never cross beyond that boundary.”  

Why is God bringing this up? Well it may simply be a reference to His power and sovereignty in Creation such as Solomon testified to in Proverbs 8:27-29,

“(27) When He prepared the heavens, I was there, When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,  (28)  When He established the clouds above, When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,  (29)  When He assigned to the sea its limit, So that the waters would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth”

Or it may be because God is here, pronouncing judgment on His people and the last great judgment was a world-wide flood. It was due to the merciful decree of God, that such would never happen again.

Genesis 9:1-17,

“(1) So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.  (2)  And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.  (3)  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.  (4)  But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.  (5)  Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man.  (6)  “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.  (7)  And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; Bring forth abundantly in the earth And multiply in it.”  (8)  Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying:  (9)  “And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you,  (10)  and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth.  (11)  Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”  (12)  And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:  (13)  I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.  (14)  It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud;  (15)  and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.  (16)  The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”  (17)  And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

We can be grateful that God CANNOT be tempted by evil, for the devil has sought to tempt God to break His word by taking God’s symbol of mercy in judgment as a symbol for defiling His image in sexual perversion.

At any rate it was at this point that God commanded that the waters never cover the earth again.

Jeremiah 5:23-

“(23)  But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts. They have turned aside and gone their own way.  (24)  They do not say to themselves, “Let us revere the LORD our God. It is He Who gives us the autumn rains and the spring rains at the proper time. 

It is He Who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.”  

(25)  Your misdeeds have stopped these things from coming. Your sins have deprived you of My bounty.’  

(26)  “Indeed, there are wicked scoundrels among my people. They lie in wait like bird catchers hiding in ambush. They set deadly traps to catch people.  

(27)  Like a cage filled with the birds that have been caught, their houses are filled with the gains of their fraud and deceit. That is how they have gotten so rich and powerful.  (28)  That is how they have grown fat and sleek. There is no limit to the evil things they do. They do not plead the cause of the fatherless in such a way as to win it. They do not defend the rights of the poor.  

(29)  I will certainly punish them for doing such things!” says the LORD. “I will certainly bring retribution on such a nation as this!  

(30)  “Something horrible and shocking is going on in the land of Judah:  (31)  The prophets prophesy lies. The priests exercise power by their own authority. And my people love to have it this way. But they will not be able to help you when the time of judgment comes!”

Jeremiah 6:1-30, 

“(1) Run for safety, people of Benjamin! Get out of Jerusalem! Sound the trumpet in Tekoa! Light the signal fires at Beth Hakkerem! For disaster lurks out of the north; it will bring great destruction.  (2)  I will destroy Daughter Zion, who is as delicate and defenseless as a young maiden.  

(3)  Kings will attack it with their armies. They will encamp in siege all around it. Each of them will devastate the portion assigned to him.  

(4)  They will say, ‘Prepare to do battle against it! Come on! Let’s attack it at noon!’ But later they will say, ‘Woe to us! For the day is almost over and the shadows of evening are getting long.  (5)  So come on, let’s go ahead and attack it by night and destroy all its fortified buildings.’  

(6)  All of this is because the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has said

‘Cut down the trees around Jerusalem and build up a siege ramp against its walls. This is the city which is to be punished. Nothing but oppression happens in it.  

(7)  As a well continually pours out fresh water so it continually pours out wicked deeds. Sounds of violence and destruction echo throughout it. All I see are sick and wounded people.’  

(8)  So take warning, Jerusalem, or I will abandon you in disgust and make you desolate, a place where no one can live.”  

(9)  This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies said to me: “Those who remain in Israel will be like the grapes thoroughly gleaned from a vine. So go over them again, as though you were a grape harvester passing your hand over the branches one last time.”  

(10)  I answered, “Who would listen if I spoke to them and warned them? Their ears are so closed that they cannot hear! Indeed, the LORD’s message is offensive to them. They do not like it at all.  

(11)  I am as full of anger as you are, LORD, I am tired of trying to hold it in.” 

The LORD answered, “Vent it, then, on the children who play in the street and on the young men who are gathered together. 

Husbands and wives are to be included, as well as the old and those who are advanced in years.  (12)  Their houses will be turned over to others as will their fields and their wives. For I will unleash my power against those who live in this land,” says the LORD.  

(13)  “That is because, from the least important to the most important of them, all of them are greedy for dishonest gain. 

Prophets and priests alike, all of them practice deceit.  (14)  They offer only superficial help for the harm my people have suffered. They say, ‘Everything will be all right!’ But everything is not all right!  

(15)  Are they ashamed because they have done such shameful things? No, they are not at all ashamed. They do not even know how to blush! So they will die, just like others have died. They will be brought to ruin when I punish them,” says the LORD.  

(16)  The LORD said to his people: “You are standing at the crossroads. So consider your path. Ask where the old, reliable paths are. Ask where the path is that leads to blessing and follow it [Deut. 28-29]. If you do, you will find rest for your souls.”

This is the same words Jesus used as is recorded in Matthew 11 and they too connect with the words we read earlier in Isaiah 55 where God called to Israel saying, “Ho everyone who is thirst come to Me!”

Matt. 11:28-30, “(28) Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  (29)  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  (30)  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Jeremiah 6:16b-30,

“But they said, “We will not follow it!”  

(17)  The LORD said, “I appointed prophets as watchmen to warn you, saying: ‘Pay attention to the warning sound of the trumpet!’” 

But they said, “We will not pay attention!”  

(18)  So the LORD said, “Hear, you nations! Be witnesses and take note of what will happen to these people.  (19)  Hear this, you peoples of the earth: ‘Take note! I am about to bring disaster on these people. It will come as punishment for their scheming. For they have paid no attention to what I have said, and they have rejected My law.  (20)  I take no delight when they offer up to Me frankincense that comes from Sheba or sweet-smelling cane imported from a faraway land. I cannot accept the burnt offerings they bring Me. I get no pleasure from the sacrifices they offer to Me.’  

(21)  So, this is what the LORD says: ‘I will assuredly make these people stumble to their doom. Parents and children will stumble and fall to their destruction. Friends and neighbors will die.’  

(22)  “This is what the LORD says: ‘Beware! An army is coming from a land in the north. A mighty nation is stirring into action in faraway parts of the earth.  (23)  Its soldiers are armed with bows and spears. They are cruel and show no mercy. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride forth on their horses. Lined up in formation like men going into battle to attack you, Daughter Zion.’”  

(24)  The people cry out, “We have heard reports about them! We have become helpless with fear! Anguish grips us, agony like that of a woman giving birth to a baby!  (25)  Do not go out into the countryside. Do not travel on the roads. For the enemy is there with sword in hand. They are spreading terror everywhere.”  

(26)  So I said, “Oh, my dear people, put on sackcloth and roll in ashes. Mourn with painful sobs as though you had lost your only child. For any moment now that destructive army will come against us.”  

(27)  The LORD said to me, “I have made you like a metal assayer to test my people like ore. You are to observe them and evaluate how they behave.”  

(28)  I reported, “All of them are the most stubborn of rebels! They are as hard as bronze or iron. They go about telling lies. They all deal corruptly.  (29)  The fiery bellows of judgment burn fiercely. But there is too much dross to be removed. The process of refining them has proved useless. The wicked have not been purged.  (30)  They are regarded as ‘rejected silver’ because the LORD rejects them.”

 

I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. If you do not know Him, please use our ‘Contact Us‘ page and reach out so we may have the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will be mentioned.

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Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!