God has something to say about that…

Something to say

Wednesday 10/20/21 

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – God has something to say about that…

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God has something to say about that…

Jeremiah 30:1-24, 

“(1) The LORD spoke to Jeremiah.  

(2)  “The LORD God of Israel says, ‘Write everything that I am about to tell you in a scroll.  (3)  For I, the LORD, affirm that the time will come when I will reverse the plight of My people, Israel and Judah,’ says the LORD. ‘I will bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors and they will take possession of it once again.’”  

(4)  So here is what the LORD has to say about Israel and Judah. (5)Yes, here is what He says: 

“You hear cries of panic and of terror; there is no peace in sight. (6) Ask yourselves this and consider it carefully: 

Have you ever seen a man give birth to a baby? Why then do I see all these strong men grabbing their stomachs in pain like a woman giving birth? And why do their faces turn so deathly pale?  

(7)  Alas, what a terrible time of trouble it is! There has never been any like it. It is a time of trouble for the descendants of Jacob, but some of them will be rescued out of it.  (8)  When the time for them to be rescued comes,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will rescue you from foreign subjugation. I will deliver you from captivity. Foreigners will then no longer subjugate them.  (9)  But they will be subject to the LORD their God and to the Davidic ruler whom I will raise up as king over them.”  

Prophetic words with a triple meaning

“(10)  So I, the LORD, tell you not to be afraid, you descendants of Jacob, My servants. Do not be terrified, people of Israel. For I will rescue you and your descendants from a faraway land where you are captives. The descendants of Jacob will return to their land and enjoy peace. 

They will be secure and no one will terrify them.  (11)  For I, the LORD, affirm that I will be with you and will rescue you

I will completely destroy all the nations where I scattered you. But I will not completely destroy you. I will indeed discipline you, but only in due measure. I will not allow you to go entirely unpunished.”  

(12)  Moreover, the LORD says to the people of Zion, “Your injuries are incurable; your wounds are severe.  (13)  There is no one to plead your cause. There are no remedies for your wounds. There is no healing for you.  (14)  All your allies have abandoned you. They no longer have any concern for you. For I have attacked you like an enemy would. I have chastened you cruelly. For your wickedness is so great and your sin is so much.  

(15)  Why do you complain about your injuries, that your pain is incurable? I have done all this to you because your wickedness is so great and your sin is so much.  (16)  But all who destroyed you will be destroyed. All your enemies will go into exile. Those who plundered you will be plundered. I will cause those who pillaged you to be pillaged.  

(17)  Yes, I will restore you to health. I will heal your wounds. I, the LORD, affirm it! For you have been called an outcast, Zion, whom no one cares for.”  

(18)  The LORD says, “I will restore the ruined houses of the descendants of Jacob. I will show compassion on their ruined homes. Every city will be rebuilt on its former ruins. Every fortified dwelling will occupy its traditional site.  (19)  Out of those places you will hear songs of thanksgiving and the sounds of laughter and merriment. 

I will increase their number and they will not dwindle away. I will bring them honor and they will no longer be despised.  (20)  The descendants of Jacob will enjoy their former privileges. Their community will be reestablished in My favor and I will punish all who try to oppress them.  

(21)  One of their own people will be their leader. Their ruler will come from their own number. I will invite him to approach Me, and he will do so. For no one would dare approach Me on his own. I, the LORD, affirm it!  

(22)  Then you will again be My people and I will be your God.  (23)  Just watch! The wrath of the LORD will come like a storm. Like a raging storm it will rage down on the heads of those who are wicked.  

(24)  The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has fully carried out His intended purposes. In days to come you will come to understand this.”

As in all Old Testament prophecy, this had an immediate application, but it also pointed 600+ years down the road when Messiah would come and the New Covenant would be in force – when both Jews and Gentiles would become His sons and daughters. Finally it has a distant fulfillment when after the time of the Gentiles has finished, and God judges the world – He will establish His throne in physical Jerusalem and gather His people to Himself and they will know peace and worship Him as God for a thousand years.

Encounters with God

Jeremiah 31:1-40, 

“(1) At that time I will be the God of all the clans of Israel and they will be My people. I, the LORD, affirm it!”  

(2)  The LORD says, “The people of Israel who survived death at the hands of the enemy will find favor in the wilderness as they journey to find rest for themselves.  (3)  In a far-off land the LORD will manifest Himself to them

As we have seen since the garden, God desires to have encounters with His people. Also, encounters with God are pivotal events, where one is never quite the same.

Most notably we’ve seen this with Abraham at Ur, Jacob when he wrestled with God, Joseph in His dreams, Moses at the bush, Joshua at his bush, Samuel in the tent of Eli, David in the shepherds field and the prophets directly. It isn’t learning about God that changes a life, it is an encounter with Him. This is just as true under the New Covenant, because it is part of the way we are made – it isn’t a covenant issue specifically.

All the disciples had an encounter with Him – even Judas, whose response was to retreat from intimacy – like the Israelites at the mountain. Paul had his encounter and some subsequent to that.

The point is clear, for any of us to not only live a changed life, but to be changed people we need to know Him…not just about Him. Our relationship cannot be a vicarious one!

He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.  (4)  I will rebuild you, My dear children Israel, so that you will once again be built up. 

Once again you will take up the tambourine and join in the happy throng of dancers.  

(5)  Once again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria. Those who plant them will once again enjoy their fruit.  

(6)  Yes, a time is coming when watchmen will call out on the mountains of Ephraim, “Come! Let us go to Zion to worship the LORD our God!”’”  

God envisions and predicts a future of joy, gladness, dancing, harvest and communion with His people. Even the way God tells Jeremiah this, it is clear that God delights in the well-being, prosperity and joy of His people.

“(7)  Moreover, the LORD says, “Sing for joy for the descendants of Jacob. Utter glad shouts for that foremost of the nations. Make your praises heard. 

Then say, ‘LORD, rescue your people. Deliver those of Israel who remain alive.’  (8)  Then I will reply, ‘I will bring them back from the land of the north. I will gather them in from the distant parts of the earth. 

Blind and lame people will come with them, so will pregnant women and women about to give birth. 

A vast throng of people will come back here.  

(9)  They will come back shedding tears of contrition

I will bring them back praying prayers of repentance. 

I will lead them besides streams of water, along smooth paths where they will never stumble.

I will do this because I am Israel’s Father; Ephraim is My firstborn son.’”  

Ephraim was Joseph’s second born son, whom God said was to be the Spiritual firstborn, and received the blessing of the firstborn from his grandfather Israel.

So the child had significance due to whose child he was – the son of Joseph who loved, worshipped and served God and through whom the future nation of Israel was saved and preserved until their deliverance. Also, his name means doubly fruitful. God LOVES fruitfulness!

Additionally, Ephraim WAS the most fruitful, and therefore the largest of the tribes and was sometimes used as a name covering the whole of Israel. For what does it mean to wrestle with God, if as a result one is not more fruitful?

“(10)  Listen to the LORD’s message, O nations. Proclaim it in the faraway lands along the sea. Say, “The One Who scattered Israel will regather them. He will watch over His people like a shepherd watches over his flock.”  

“(11)  For the LORD will rescue the descendants of Jacob. He will secure their release from those who had overpowered them.  (12)  They will come and shout for joy on Mount Zion. They will be radiant with joy over the good things the LORD provides, the grain, the fresh wine, the olive oil, the young sheep and calves He has given to them. They will be like a well-watered garden and will not grow faint or weary any more.”

In particular this is talking of the Kingdom of God under Messiah Jesus. We know that following this exile, many return to Jerusalem and they have a time of autonomy, but only for about 300 years. Then the maccabean period where God forsakes His temple and Israel goes through a spiritual drought until the time of Messiah came which Daniel had predicted.

“(13)  The LORD says, “At that time young women will dance and be glad. Young men and old men will rejoice. I will turn their grief into gladness. I will give them comfort and joy in place of their sorrow.  (14)  I will provide the priests with abundant provisions. My people will be filled to the full with the good things I provide.”  

“(15)  The LORD says, “A sound is heard in Ramah, a sound of crying in bitter grief. It is the sound of Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are gone.”  

(16)  The LORD says to her, “Stop crying! 

Do not shed any more tears! 

For your heartfelt repentance will be rewarded. 

Your children will return from the land of the enemy. I, the LORD, affirm it!”  

“(17)  Indeed, there is hope for your posterity.”

This is another proof of the multi-generational nature of God’s family and kingdom. Though one generation may suffer His judgment, all hope is not lost for a generation to come will know restoration, freedom, prosperity and Joy.

“Your children will return to their own territory. I, the LORD, affirm it!  

(18)  I have indeed heard the people of Israel say mournfully, ‘We were like a calf untrained to the yoke. You disciplined us and we learned from it. Let us come back to You and we will do so, for you are the LORD our God.  

(19)  For after we turned away from You we repented. After we came to our senses we struck our thigh in sorrow. We are ashamed and humiliated because of the disgraceful things we did previously.’  

(20)  Indeed, the people of Israel are My dear children. They are the children I take delight in. For even though I must often rebuke them, I still remember them with fondness. So I am deeply moved with pity for them and will surely have compassion on them. I, the LORD, affirm it!”  

(21)  I will say, ‘My dear children of Israel, keep in mind the road you took when you were carried off. Mark off in your minds the landmarks. Make a mental note of telltale signs marking the way back. Return, my dear children of Israel. Return to these cities of yours.  

(22)  How long will you vacillate, you who were once like an unfaithful daughter? For I, the LORD, promise to bring about something new on the earth, something as unique as a woman protecting a man!’”  

(23)  The LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel says, “I will restore the people of Judah to their land and to their towns. When I do, they will again say of Jerusalem, 

‘May the LORD bless you, you holy mountain, the place where righteousness dwells.’  

(24)  The land of Judah will be inhabited by people who live in its towns as well as by farmers and shepherds with their flocks.  (25)  I will fully satisfy the needs of those who are weary and fully refresh the souls of those who are faint.  

(26)  Then they will say, ‘Under these conditions I can enjoy sweet sleep when I wake up and look around.’”  

(27)  “Indeed, a time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will cause people and animals to sprout up in the lands of Israel and Judah.  

(28)  In the past I saw to it that they were uprooted and torn down, that they were destroyed and demolished and brought disaster. But now I will see to it that they are built up and firmly planted. I, the LORD, affirm it!”  

(29)  “When that time comes, people will no longer say, ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but the children’s teeth have grown numb.’  (30)  Rather, each person will die for his own sins. The teeth of the person who eats the sour grapes will themselves grow numb.”  

I am not 100% certain about this passage’s meaning other than at least in some ways, the children under the old covenant would reap the harvest of their parent’s sin, for two reasons.

  1. No one sins unto themself. If parents go into exile, their children go with them and grow up in exile.
  2. The Old Covenant was a covenant with a NATION, a nation made up of individuals to be sure, but when the sins are the sins of an entire nation, the nation is judged – not just the individual
  3. Under the New Covenant – many of these things are still true. Meaning if a nation in which a child of God lives goes into bondage to another nation or evil ruler – so does God’s child who lives in that nation. However, we are a “foolish nation” – a spiritual nation without physical boundaries. So    God is dealing with His church as both individuals and as a whole, but national judgments are at least on some level, a different matter now than they were then. 

(31)  “Indeed, a time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah.  (32)  It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,” says the LORD.  

(33)  “But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land,” says the LORD. “I will put My law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be My people.  

(34)  “People will no longer need to teach their neighbors and relatives to know Me. For all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know Me,” says the LORD. “For I will forgive their sin and will no longer call to mind the wrong they have done.”  

Here is a very clear reference to the New Covenant and what it will produce and while this is spoken regarding the Jews, it also extends to the Gentiles who enter into the New Covenant with God through faith and obedience to Jesus Christ.

Paul uses nearly these same words in Rom 2:1-16, regarding the Gentiles…  

“(1) Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  (2)  But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.  (3)  And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?  (4)  Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?  (5)  But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,  (6)  who “WILL RENDER TO EACH ONE ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS”:  (7)  eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;  (8)  but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,  (9)  tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;  (10)  but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  (11)  For there is no partiality with God.  (12)  For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law  (13)  (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;  (14)  for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,  (15)  who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)  (16)  in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”

“(35)  The LORD has made a promise to Israel. He promises it as the One Who fixed the sun to give light by day and the moon and stars to give light by night. He promises it as the One Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roll. His name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.  

(36)  The LORD affirms, “The descendants of Israel will not cease forever to be a nation in My sight. That could only happen if the fixed ordering of the heavenly lights were to cease to operate before Me.”  

(37)  The LORD says, “I will not reject all the descendants of Israel because of all that they have done. That could only happen if the heavens above could be measured or the foundations of the earth below could all be explored,” says the LORD.  

(38)  “Indeed a time is coming,” says the LORD, “when the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt as my special city. It will be built from the Tower of Hananel (God has favored) westward to the Corner Gate.  (39)  The boundary line will extend beyond that, straight west from there to the Hill of Gareb and then turn southward to Goah.  (40)  The whole valley where dead bodies and sacrificial ashes are thrown and all the terraced fields out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far north as the corner of the Horse Gate will be included within this city that is sacred to the LORD. The city will never again be torn down or destroyed.”

I am not certain what significance these places or names might have. I looked them up and other than Hananel, which means God has favored, none of them have a significant name and are the only times they are even mentioned in the whole of the Bible. So, at least for me, I can extract no reason for their significance. Gareb was an Ithrite who was a mighty man in David’s army, but he is only mentioned in a list of other names twice with no connection to location.

Jeremiah 32:1-44, 

“(1) In the tenth year that Zedekiah was ruling over Judah the LORD spoke to Jeremiah. That was the same as the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.  

(2)  Now at that time, the armies of the king of Babylon were besieging Jerusalem. The prophet Jeremiah was confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse attached to the royal palace of Judah.  (3)  For King Zedekiah had confined Jeremiah there after he had reproved him for prophesying as he did. 

He had asked Jeremiah, “Why do you keep prophesying these things? Why do you keep saying that the LORD says, ‘I will hand this city over to the king of Babylon? I will let him capture it.  

(4)  King Zedekiah of Judah will not escape from the Babylonians. He will certainly be handed over to the king of Babylon. He must answer personally to the king of Babylon and confront him face to face.  

(5)  Zedekiah will be carried off to Babylon and will remain there until I have fully dealt with him. I, the LORD, affirm it! Even if you continue to fight against the Babylonians, you cannot win.’”  

(6)  So now, Jeremiah said, “The LORD’s message came to me,  (7)  ‘Hanamel, the son of your uncle Shallum, will come to you soon. He will say to you, “Buy my field at Anathoth because you are entitled as my closest relative to buy it.”’  

(8)  And then my cousin Hanamel did come to me in the courtyard of the guardhouse in keeping with the LORD’s message. He said to me, ‘Buy my field which is at Anathoth in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. Buy it for yourself since you are entitled as my closest relative to take possession of it for yourself.’ 

When this happened, I recognized that the LORD had indeed spoken to me.  (9)  So I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel. I weighed out seven ounces of silver and gave it to him to pay for it.  

I don’t want to read a lot into this, but I think it is significant that when the Lord gives words to Jeremiah to speak of the nation or when He gives him words to write in a scroll so that an historical account of all that God said and did could be saved for all time, Jeremiah seems completely confident that He has heard the Lord. When it comes to hearing God for himself, it seems he is somewhat less certain.

The uncertain point I am making here is that it is very likely that his power of “spiritual sight” was regarding the nation of Israel, but not for personal use, much like the gifts we seem to have under the New Covenant. I do NOT want to be dogmatic on this point, it is simply a passing observation which may or may nor prove itself out.

“(10)  I signed the deed of purchase, sealed it, and had some men serve as witnesses to the purchase. I weighed out the silver for him on a scale.  

(11)  There were two copies of the deed of purchase. One was sealed and contained the order of transfer and the conditions of purchase. The other was left unsealed.  

(12)  I took both copies of the deed of purchase and gave them to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah. I gave them to him in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed of purchase, and all the Judeans who were housed in the courtyard of the guardhouse.  (13)  In the presence of all these people I instructed Baruch,  

(14)  ‘The LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel says, “Take these documents, both the sealed copy of the deed of purchase and the unsealed copy. Put them in a clay jar so that they may be preserved for a long time to come.”’  (15)  For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel says, “Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land.”’  

(16)  “After I had given the copies of the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the LORD,  

(17)  ‘Oh, Sovereign LORD, You did indeed make heaven and earth by Your mighty power and great strength. Nothing is too hard for You!  (18)  You show unfailing love to thousands. But You also punish children for the sins of their parents. You are the great and powerful God Whose name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.  

(19)  You plan great things and you do mighty deeds. You see everything people do. You reward each of them for the way they live and for the things they do.  

(20)  You did miracles and amazing deeds in the land of Egypt which have had lasting effect. By this means you gained both in Israel and among humankind a renown that lasts to this day.  

(21)  You used Your mighty power and Your great strength to perform miracles and amazing deeds and to bring great terror on the Egyptians. By this means You brought Your people Israel out of the land of Egypt.  

(22)  You kept the promise that You swore on oath to their ancestors. You gave them a land flowing with milk and honey.  (23)  But when they came in and took possession of it, they did not obey You or live as You had instructed them. They did not do anything that You commanded them to do. So You brought all this disaster on them.  

(24)  Even now siege ramps have been built up around the city in order to capture it. War, starvation, and disease are sure to make the city fall into the hands of the Babylonians who are attacking it. 

LORD, You threatened that this would happen. Now You can see that it is already taking place.  

(25)  The city is sure to fall into the hands of the Babylonians. Yet, in spite of this, You, Sovereign LORD, have said to me, “Buy that field with silver and have the transaction legally witnessed.”’”  

(26)  The LORD’s message came to Jeremiah.  

(27)  “I am the LORD, the God of all humankind. There is, indeed, nothing too difficult for Me.  

(28)  Therefore I, the LORD, say: ‘I will indeed hand this city over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the Babylonian army. They will capture it.  (29)  The Babylonian soldiers that are attacking this city will break into it and set it on fire. They will burn it down along with the houses where people have made me angry by offering sacrifices to the god Baal and by pouring out drink offerings to other gods on their rooftops.  

(30)  This will happen because the people of Israel and Judah have repeatedly done what displeases Me from their earliest history until now and because they have repeatedly made Me angry by the things they have done. I, the LORD, affirm it!  

(31)  This will happen because the people of this city have aroused My anger and My wrath since the time they built it until now. They have made Me so angry that I am determined to remove it from My sight.  (32)  I am determined to do so because the people of Israel and Judah have made Me angry with all their wickedness – they, their kings, their officials, their priests, their prophets, and especially the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem have done this wickedness.  

(33)  They have turned away from Me instead of turning to Me. I tried over and over again to instruct them, but they did not listen and respond to correction.  (34)  They set up their disgusting idols in the temple which I have claimed for My Own and defiled it.  

(35)  They built places of worship for the god Baal in the valley of Ben Hinnom so that they could sacrifice their sons and daughters to the god Molech. Such a disgusting practice was not something I commanded them to do! It never even entered my mind to command them to do such a thing! So Judah is certainly liable for punishment.’  

(36)  “You and your people are right in saying, ‘War, starvation, and disease are sure to make this city fall into the hands of the king of Babylon.’ But now I, the LORD God of Israel, have something further to say about this city:  

(37)  ‘I will certainly regather My people from all the countries where I will have exiled them in My anger, fury, and great wrath. I will bring them back to this place and allow them to live here in safety.  

(38)  They will be My people, and I will be their God.  

(39)  I will give them a single-minded purpose to live in a way that always shows respect for Me. They will want to do that for their own good and the good of the children who descend from them.  

(40)  I will make a lasting covenant with them that I will never stop doing good to them. I will fill their hearts and minds with respect for Me so that they will never again turn away from Me.  

(41)  I will take delight in doing good to them. I will faithfully and wholeheartedly plant them firmly in the land.’  

(42)  “For I, the LORD, say: ‘I will surely bring on these people all the good fortune that I am hereby promising them. I will be just as sure to do that as I have been in bringing all this great disaster on them.  

(43)  You and your people are saying that this land will become desolate, uninhabited by either people or animals. 

You are saying that it will be handed over to the Babylonians. 

But fields will again be bought in this land.  (44)  Fields will again be bought with silver, and deeds of purchase signed, sealed, and witnessed. This will happen in the territory of Benjamin, the villages surrounding Jerusalem, the towns in Judah, the southern hill country, the foothills, and southern Judah. For I will restore them to their land. I, the LORD, affirm it!’”

Jeremiah 33:1-26, 

“(1) The LORD’s message came to Jeremiah a second time while he was still confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse.  

(2)  “I, the LORD, do these things. I, the LORD, form the plan to bring them about. I am known as the LORD. I say to you,  (3)  ‘Call on Me in prayer and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious things which you still do not know about.’  

This is just a passing thought, but I find it important that though God spoke these things, He also tells either Jeremiah or Israel (probably both) to call on Him in prayer and then He will answer. It is as if He is dangling a carrot in front of them which He is inviting them to come get. I will Answer…but You must ask!

(4)  For I, the LORD God of Israel, have something more to say about the houses in this city and the royal buildings of Judah which have been torn down for defenses against the siege ramps and military incursions of the Babylonians:  

(5)  ‘The defenders of the city will go out and fight with the Babylonians. But they will only fill those houses and buildings with the dead bodies of the people that I will kill in My anger and My wrath. 

That will happen because I have decided to turn My back on this city on account of the wicked things they have done.  

(6)  But I will most surely heal the wounds of this city and restore it and its people to health. I will show them abundant peace and security.  (7)  I will restore Judah and Israel and will rebuild them as they were in days of old.  

(8)  I will purify them from all the sin that they committed against Me. I will forgive all their sins which they committed in rebelling against Me.  

(9)  All the nations will hear about all the good things which I will do to them. This city will bring Me fame, honor, and praise before them for the joy that I bring it. 

The nations will tremble in awe at all the peace and prosperity that I will provide for it.’  

(10)  “I, the LORD, say: ‘You and your people are saying about this place, 

“It lies in ruins. There are no people or animals in it.” 

That is true. The towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem will soon be desolate, uninhabited either by people or by animals. But happy sounds will again be heard in these places.  

(11)  Once again there will be sounds of joy and gladness and the glad celebrations of brides and grooms. Once again people will bring their thank offerings to the temple of the LORD and will say, 

“Give thanks to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. For the LORD is good and His unfailing love lasts forever.” 

For I, the LORD, affirm that I will restore the land to what it was in days of old.’  

(12)  “I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, say: ‘This place will indeed lie in ruins. There will be no people or animals in it. But there will again be in it and in its towns sheepfolds where shepherds can rest their sheep.  

(13)  I, the LORD, say that shepherds will once again count their sheep as they pass into the fold. They will do this in all the towns in the hill country, the foothills, the Negev, the territory of Benjamin, the villages surrounding Jerusalem, and the towns of Judah.’  

(14)  “I, the LORD, affirm: ‘The time will certainly come when I will fulfill my gracious promise concerning the nations of Israel and Judah.  

(15)  In those days and at that time I will raise up for them a righteous descendant of David. “‘He will do what is just and right in the land.  (16)  Under His rule Judah will enjoy safety and Jerusalem will live in security. At that time Jerusalem will be called “The LORD has provided us with justice.”  

(17)  For I, the LORD, promise: “David will never lack a successor to occupy the throne over the nation of Israel.  (18)  Nor will the Levitical priests ever lack someone to stand before Me and continually offer up burnt offerings, sacrifice cereal offerings, and offer the other sacrifices.”’”  

(19)  The LORD’s message came to Jeremiah another time.  (20)  “I, the LORD, make the following promise: 

‘I have made a covenant with the day and with the night that they will always come at their proper times. Only if you people could break that covenant  (21)  could my covenant with my servant David and my covenant with the Levites ever be broken. 

So David will by all means always have a descendant to occupy his throne as king and the Levites will by all means always have priests who will minister before Me.  

(22)  I will make the children who follow one another in the line of My servant David very numerous. I will also make the Levites who minister before Me very numerous. I will make them all as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sands which are on the seashore.’”  

(23)  The LORD’s message came to Jeremiah another time.  

(24)  “You have surely noticed what these people are saying, haven’t you? 

They are saying, ‘The LORD has rejected the two families of Israel and Judah that He chose.’ 

So they have little regard that My people will ever again be a nation.  (25)  But I, the LORD, make the following promise: 

I have made a covenant governing the coming of day and night. I have established the fixed laws governing heaven and earth.  

(26)  Just as surely as I have done this, so surely will I never reject the descendants of Jacob. Nor will I ever refuse to choose one of my servant David’s descendants to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

Indeed, I will restore them and show mercy to them.”


Spirit of the Age

~Michael Card


I thought that I heard crying coming through my door

Was it Rachel weeping for her sons who were no more

Could it have been the babies crying for themselves

Never understanding that they died for someone else

A voice is heard of weeping and of wailing

History speaks of it on every page

Of innocent and helpless little babies

Offerings to the spirit of the age

No way of understanding this sad and painful sign

Whenever Satan rears his head, there comes a tragic time

If He could crush the cradle, then that would stop the cross

He knew that once the Light was born, his every hope was lost

A voice is heard of weeping and of wailing

History speaks of it on every page

Of innocent and helpless little babies

Offerings to the spirit of the age

Now every age has heard it, this voice that speaks from Hell

Sacrifice your children and for you it will be well

The subtle serpent’s lying, his dark and ruthless rage

Behold, it is revealed to be the spirit of the age

A voice is heard of weeping and of wailing

History speaks of it on every page

Of innocent and helpless little babies

Offerings to the spirit of the age

Soon all the ones who seemed to die for nothing

Will stand beside the ancient of days

With joy we’ll see that Infant from a manger

Come and crush the spirit of the age

We’ll see Him crush the spirit of the age



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

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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!