The Downfall of a Princess

Bible:

How lonely sits the city
that was full of people!
How like a widow has she become,
she who was great among the nations!
She who was a princess among the provinces
has become a slave.

From the daughter of Zion
all her majesty has departed.
Her princes have become like deer
that find no pasture;
they fled without strength
before the pursuer.

Jerusalem remembers
in the days of her affliction and wandering
all the precious things
that were hers from days of old.
When her people fell into the hand of the foe,
and there was none to help her,
her foes gloated over her;
they mocked at her downfall. Lamentations 1:1, 6-7 ESV

Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,
which by your faithfulness you swore to David?
Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked,
and how I bear in my heart the insults of all the many nations,
with which your enemies mock, O Lord,
with which they mock the footsteps of your anointed. Psalm 89:49-51 ESV

Reflection:

Once there was a lovely princess whose mother, the queen, arranged for her to marry a handsome prince in a faraway kingdom. The queen sent her daughter away on a horse named Falada, who was magic and could talk, and a serving maid was sent with her on another horse. While they were traveling, the princess became thirsty and asked her serving maid to bring her a drink, but the serving maid said the princess should get it herself. “I don’t choose to serve you,” the maid said. This happened twice, and then the serving maid forced the princess to change clothes with her and to promise never to tell about the switch. The princess promised, and then she had to serve her maid, while the maid was treated like a princess. The princess mourned, saying, “What will become of me?” and Falada responded sadly, “If your mother knew this it would break her heart.”

When the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem, Jeremiah was freed from prison. He wasn’t taken away with the other exiles, but instead he stayed in his country. As he looked at the destroyed city of Jerusalem, he wrote a very sad poem called “Lamentations.” This poem is a long lament over the terrible things that had happened to Jerusalem. Jeremiah compared the ruined city to a princess who had lost all her majesty and been made into a slave, and to a lovely bride who had lost her husband and become lonely and sad. The prophet said that Jerusalem remembered the good and precious times of her past as she experienced trouble and sorrow in her wandering. Her enemies laughed and mocked at her downfall and didn’t have any pity on her or help her at all.

We all had fallen under the power of sin and death. We were made in God’s image to be his royal children, but instead we fell into sin and became slaves of evil. Then God came to us in Jesus, and Jesus laid aside his kingly power and became a servant for us. He loved and served his people in many ways. His loving service took him all the way to the cross to die for us. Jesus let his enemies put him to death on the cross, and they laughed at him and mocked him as he was dying. But Jesus destroyed our enemies, sin and death, by his own death and by rising from the dead. Because of Jesus, we are once again God’s royal children and will live forever in his heavenly kingdom.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for becoming a servant for us so that we could become God’s royal children again. Amen.

Plundering the Temple

Bible:

And the pillars of bronze that were in the house of the Lord, and the stands and the bronze sea that were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried all the bronze to Babylon. And they took away the pots and the shovels and the snuffers and the basins and the dishes for incense and all the vessels of bronze used in the temple service; also the small bowls and the fire pans and the basins and the pots and the lampstands and the dishes for incense and the bowls for drink offerings. What was of gold the captain of the guard took away as gold, and what was of silver, as silver. Jeremiah 52:17-19 ESV

[Jesus said:] “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24 ESV

Reflection:

While Martha was out having dinner with her friends one evening, someone broke into her house. He had forced a window open and climbed in through it, and he quickly went through the house and took everything he could carry that was valuable. Most of the things he took, such as a laptop, a camera, and some cash, could be replaced, but there were some things he took that could never be replaced. He took some rings, necklaces, and brooches that had belonged to Martha’s mother and her grandmother. They weren’t even worth very much money, but the robber took them for whatever he might be able to get for the gold or silver they were made of. He didn’t care at all about what this jewelry meant to Martha, or the memories it gave her. Martha’s heart was broken when she found that the jewelry that had belonged to her mother and grandmother was gone.

The same kind of thing happened when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem. They burned down all the important buildings, but before they burned the temple they took everything of value that had been left in it. When Nebuchadnezzar had first conquered Jerusalem, he had taken some of the temple vessels, but now his army took everything that was left. They didn’t care that these beautiful things had been used in the worship of God, or that the temple was where the Lord’s presence had been for his people in a special way. They only thing they cared about was the gold and the silver, and how it would make them richer to have these things. God’s people might have felt heartbroken to see their temple plundered like that, but they had already turned away from the Lord and had not followed his ways, and had worshiped false gods and goddesses. God allowed his temple to be plundered as a judgment on his people’s sins.

God’s people who turned to him in this terrible situation would find that the Lord’s presence isn’t tied to any place or building. He would be with them even if they were taken into exile in faraway Babylon, and he would be with the poorest people who were left in the land without a temple. God is a spirit who is everywhere, all the time, and he is always available to hear the prayers of his people. In the past he came to his people in a special way in the temple, but the most important way God has come to all people everywhere is in Jesus. Jesus came into our world as a human person to bring people back to God, their Heavenly Father. Jesus died on the cross so that all our sins could be forgiven, and through him we can come to God in prayer, no matter where we are, and be sure that he is there for us to hear us and answer us.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to us to bring us back to our Heavenly Father. Please hear our prayers and help us every day. Amen.

Burning the City

Bible:

In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month—that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who served the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. And he burned the house of the Lord, and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. And all the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. And Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive some of the poorest of the people and the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon, together with the rest of the artisans. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and plowmen. Jeremiah 52:12-16 ESV

Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep. Psalm 127:1-2 ESV

Reflection:

On September 11, 2001, a terrible things happened to the United States. Enemies of the United States got on some airplane flights and took over the planes. They flew two of the planes into the World Trade Center in New York, causing its towers to explode into flames and collapse, while many people died. A third plane crashed into the U. S. Pentagon, the headquarters of the American military. There was some serious damage to the building and some people died there, as well. A fourth plane was probably going to crash into the White House, where the President of the United States lives, but some people on the plane were able to stop it, although the plane crashed and all its people died. It was a horrifying day for the American people and for their friends around the world. The enemies of the country were attacking the big buildings representing American power in money, the military, and the government. We don’t know why God let such a terrible thing happen. He doesn’t always give us all the answers.

When the Babylonian army broke through the walls of Jerusalem, the soldiers burned down all the great houses of the city. They burned the palace of the king, and the temple of the Lord, and all the houses of the great and rich people of the city. This was their way of destroying all the buildings that stood for the power of Jerusalem and of the kingdom. The people were almost all taken into exile to Babylon. Some years earlier the rightful king and the noble people had been taken, but now the rest of the people, even the poor people who had been left alone the first time, were taken away from their homes. Only a very few of the poorest people were left to work the land around the ruined city. God had warned the people again and again that his judgment was going to fall on his people because they had turned away from him.

Any time something terrible happens, it’s a warning of God’s judgment against sin. That doesn’t mean that every disaster that happens is a punishment for some particular sin, but it does mean that people who respect God and want to walk in his ways should take the warning. No disaster will ever be as great as the final judgment to come, when the Lord brings the whole world to an end. Other disasters remind us to turn from our sins and to turn to God. We know that we can turn to God every day for the forgiveness of our sins, because Jesus took all of God’s judgment onto himself when he died on the cross. We don’t have to fear any disaster in this world, and we don’t need to be afraid of the final judgment, because we have God’s complete forgiveness in Jesus. We can be sure that because of Jesus, even the most terrible disaster will never separate us from God’s love.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus, our Savior, to save us from your judgment. Please forgive our sins and keep us close to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks

No Hope for the Future

Bible:

In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it. In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city. Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and sat in the middle gate: Nergal-sar-ezer of Samgar, Nebu-sar-sekim the Rab-saris, Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, with all the rest of the officers of the king of Babylon. When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled, going out of the city at night by way of the king’s garden through the gate between the two walls; and they went toward the Arabah. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. And when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, at Riblah, in the land of Hamath; and he passed sentence on him. The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah at Riblah before his eyes, and the king of Babylon slaughtered all the nobles of Judah. He put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains to take him to Babylon. Jeremiah 39:1-7 ESV

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. Romans 5:6-9 ESV

Reflection:

In October of 1929, the United States stock market crashed. What this meant was that people who put their money into stocks of different businesses suddenly lost a lot of their money, perhaps even all of it. The problem was, the stock market had been growing before this, and many people thought that they should put as much money as possible into stocks. Some people took out mortgages on their houses, which meant that they didn’t own the houses anymore, but instead their banks owned the houses, and the people took the money the banks gave them and put it into the stock market. Other people took the money they had been saving for their future and put it into the stock market. When the stock market crashed, many people lost all their hope for the future. Other things happened to make life even worse. Many people lost their jobs and couldn’t find new ones, and many banks failed. People who had money in the bank lost all the money they had saved. It was a sad and hopeless time for many people.

When Jerusalem fell, it was also a sad and hopeless time. Jeremiah had warned King Zedekiah more than once that he should surrender to the Babylonians and Nebuchadnezzar, but Zedekiah was afraid to do that. He stayed inside the walls of Jerusalem until the Babylonian army broke through the walls, and then the king and his soldiers ran away and tried to escape. But soon the Babylonian army caught up with them and arrested Zedekiah and the leaders of the people who were with him, and brought them to Nebuchadnezzar. All the noble leaders of Jerusalem were killed, and all of Zedekiah’s sons were killed while he watched. This was a very cruel action, but Nebuchadnezzar’s purpose was to make Zedekiah understand that there would be no son to sit on the throne after him. Watching his sons die was one of the last things Zedekiah saw. Nebuchadnezzar put out his eyes and took him as a prisoner to Babylon. By making Zedekiah blind, Nebuchadnezzar intended to make him weak and helpless. Without his sons and his noble leaders, there was no hope that Zedekiah would be able to start a rebellion and regain his kingdom in the future.

We were also weak and helpless, prisoners of sin and death with no hope for the future. But God sent Jesus to be our Savior, and Jesus gave us a wonderful hope for the future. He died on the cross for us when we were helpless to save ourselves, and because of Jesus all our sins are forgiven and we have life forever with God. We don’t have to worry about the future, and not even about the judgment of God, because Jesus’ took God’s judgment on himself. Nothing will ever separate us from God’s love, now or ever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the great love you show us in Jesus, and for giving us a wonderful hope for our future with you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

https://www.britannica.com/event/stock-market-crash-of-1929

Keeping a Secret

Bible:

Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Let no one know of these words, and you shall not die. If the officials hear that I have spoken with you and come to you and say to you, ‘Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you; hide nothing from us and we will not put you to death,’ then you shall say to them, ‘I made a humble plea to the king that he would not send me back to the house of Jonathan to die there.’” Then all the officials came to Jeremiah and asked him, and he answered them as the king had instructed him. So they stopped speaking with him, for the conversation had not been overheard. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken. Jeremiah 38:24-28 ESV

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. Psalm 91:1-6 ESV

Reflection:

Jeannie’s father was dead, and her mother wasn’t able to take care of all of her children during the cold winter. So Jeannie went to live with Mr. and Mrs. Alden, who were very kind to her. After awhile, Jeannie found out that the Aldens had a very important secret. The Aldens were a stop on the underground railroad. Slaves who escaped from southern states came to stay with them for a short while, and then were moved on to another place, until they reached Canada and freedom. It was urgent that Jeannie keep this secret once she found out about it. If she let anyone know, the people that the Aldens were sheltering would be returned to slavery and to terrible punishment.

King Zedekiah told Jeremiah to keep their talk a secret also. If other people knew what they had talked about, Jeremiah might be punished. The king also didn’t want others to know that he had talked about the possibility of surrendering to the Babylonians. He knew that the leaders of the people would be angry and upset if they found out. So he told Jeremiah what to say if people asked him what he had talked about with the king. When the officials asked Jeremiah what they had talked about, he did what the king said and told them that he had begged the King Zedekiah not to send him back to the house of Jonathan, where he had been so badly mistreated before. They believed him, and the conversation stayed a secret because no one had overheard it.

God helps and protects his people when they are in trouble, and he helps them know how to act wisely. God acted with his wonderful wisdom when we were in trouble because of our sins. He came to us in Jesus to save us, and Jesus died on the cross to break the power of sin and death in our lives. Because of Jesus, we are free from sin and children of our Heavenly Father. We can always go to him for help when we are in need, and he keeps us safe and keeps us his, now and always.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thanks for your love and for you help in time of trouble. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Bacmeister, Rhoda Voices in the Night Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill, 1965.

A Fearful King

Bible:

King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah the prophet and received him at the third entrance of the temple of the Lord. The king said to Jeremiah, “I will ask you a question; hide nothing from me.” Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I tell you, will you not surely put me to death? And if I give you counsel, you will not listen to me.” Then King Zedekiah swore secretly to Jeremiah, “As the Lord lives, who made our souls, I will not put you to death or deliver you into the hand of these men who seek your life.”

Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If you will surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand.” King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans, lest I be handed over to them and they deal cruelly with me.” Jeremiah said, “You shall not be given to them. Obey now the voice of the Lord in what I say to you, and it shall be well with you, and your life shall be spared. Jeremiah 38:14-20 ESV

Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
all day long an attacker oppresses me;
my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many attack me proudly.
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me? Psalm 56:1-4 ESV

Reflection:

Lucy was pretending to be a doctor who helps people with problems in their mind, and her brother Linus was telling her his problems. He said that he was afraid all the time, and Lucy said that she wanted to figure out what he was afraid of. Was he afraid of responsibility, or cats, or staircases, or the ocean, or of crossing bridges? Or maybe he had a problem called pantophobia. Lucy asked Linus if he thought he might have pantophobia–the fear of everything! Linus decided that that was his problem. He was fearful and worried about everything.

King Zedekiah was also fearful and worried about everything. He was worried about the Babylonian army that was threatening Jerusalem. He was afraid to surrender to them because he was worried about his own people who had deserted to the Babylonians. He was afraid of the leaders of the people in Jerusalem. King Zedekiah didn’t know what to do, so he talked to the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah told him that it was the Lord’s will for him to surrender to the Babylonians, and that God would protect him and spare his life if he did that. Zedekiah wouldn’t have to be afraid if he would only trust God and follow his will.

We also often worry and are afraid of many things. We don’t always know what to do or where to turn. But we can always go to God, our Heavenly Father, for help, and he will guide us and take care of us in the way that is best. He guides us through his word, the Bible, to know what pleases him. When we faced the worst of troubles, sin and death, he sent Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and we could be God’s children. Because of Jesus, we can be sure that God is always with us, and always hears our prayers and helps us in our troubles.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, please help us and take care of us in our troubles. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Shultz, Charles M. The Complete Peanuts, 1961-1962 Seattle: Fantagraphics Books, 2006, p. 67.

Rescued from the Cistern

Bible:

When Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern—the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate—Ebed-melech went from the king’s house and said to the king, “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern, and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.” Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, “Take thirty men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.” So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe in the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes. Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.” Jeremiah did so. Then they drew Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. Jeremiah 38:7-13 ESV

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5 ESV

Reflection:

Many years ago a little girl named Jessica, 18 months old, fell down into an old well in her aunt’s backyard. This old well was very deep, and little Jessica was trapped far down in the earth for 58 hours. Rescue workers brought machinery like a backhoe, jackhammers, and a drill used to dig holes for telephone poles. People kept calling down to the little girl, worried that she’d die before they rescued her. They talked to her and sang to her and listened for her cries. They dug a shaft parallel to the well, then carefully dug over to where Baby Jessica was, and they were able to bring her out alive. Every one was very happy when Baby Jessica was rescued.

Jeremiah was also rescued from the muddy cistern where some of the angry leaders of his people had thrown him. A court official from Ethiopia named Ebed-melech pleaded for Jeremiah to the king, and the king allowed Ebed-melech to pull Jeremiah out of the cistern. Ebed-melech was a very kind man. He didn’t want to see Jeremiah die, and he was careful not to hurt him when he got thirty men to help pull him out of the cistern. They got some worn-out clothes and rags and sent them down to Jeremiah along with the ropes they used to pull him out. Jeremiah used these old clothes and rags to pad his armpits from the rough ropes that hauled him up. Soon the prophet was free from the terrible pit. God had seen to his rescue.

We were also helplessly trapped in something much worse than an old well or a muddy cistern. We were stuck in sin and death, and there was no way we could ever have rescued ourselves. But God loves us, and he came down to us in Jesus to rescue us. Jesus died on the cross to defeat all the sin and death that had held us captive. Because of Jesus, we are free from all the forces of evil that had us trapped, and we are able to live our lives in love and service to the God who loves us and rescued us, now and always.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to our rescue when we were trapped in sin and death. Help us to live for you always. Amen.

Source:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/baby-jessica-rescued-from-a-well-as-the-world-watches

Sinking in the Mud

Bible:

Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people: “Thus says the Lord: He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans shall live. He shall have his life as a prize of war, and live. Thus says the Lord: This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken.” Then the officials said to the king, “Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.” King Zedekiah said, “Behold, he is in your hands, for the king can do nothing against you.” So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud. Jeremiah 38:1-6 ESV

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
protect me from those who rise up against me;
deliver me from those who work evil,
and save me from bloodthirsty men.

For behold, they lie in wait for my life;
fierce men stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,
for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.
Awake, come to meet me, and see!
You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel.
Rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Psalm 59:1-5 ESV

Reflection:

In the United States, people who are in prison are sometimes put into what is called solitary confinement. This means that a person is put into a small cell by him or herself, and not allowed to come out or to see anyone except maybe for one hour a day for exercise or a shower. People in solitary confinement aren’t allowed to do the work that other prisoners do, or take classes, or even sometimes to read books or listen to the radio or watch TV. People are put into solitary confinement for a number of reasons, sometimes because they don’t behave well in prison,  or sometimes because prison guards become angry with them and want to give them extra punishment. When people are kept in solitary confinement for a long time, they often have some terrible problems with their minds and with their health. Many people want to have prisons stop using solitary confinement or to cut down on its use.

When Jeremiah was in prison, many of the leaders of the people were very angry with him because of the way he kept saying that God’s judgment was falling on them and that Jerusalem would fall to the Babylonians. He had been saying that if people would surrender to Nebuchadnezzar’s army, they would live. Some powerful men decided that they wanted Jeremiah to be punished, and so they took him out of prison and lowered him with ropes into a cistern, which was a pit for storing water. The cistern was running dry, so there was only mud at the bottom, and Jeremiah sank into the mud. It was a way to give Jeremiah even more punishment than being in jail, but if they left him in the cistern for a long time he would have serious problems with his health and would probably die. Jeremiah suffered terribly because of his enemies who didn’t want to hear God’s words to them.

Jesus also suffered terribly because some people became angry with him and didn’t want to hear the words God had sent him to say. They had him beaten and whipped and put on a cross, where he died a horrible death. But God worked through Jesus’ suffering and death to bring us all back to himself. Because of Jesus, God forgives our sins every day and calls us his own people. If we ever suffer the way Jeremiah did because of our love and loyalty for Jesus, he will be with us to help us. The Lord will never leave us alone, but will keep us as his people now and forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, please help us when we are in trouble, and give us your strength and courage always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://solitarywatch.com/facts/faq/

Bad News and Good News

Bible:

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army and all the kingdoms of the earth under his dominion and all the peoples were fighting against Jerusalem and all of its cities: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. You shall not escape from his hand but shall surely be captured and delivered into his hand. You shall see the king of Babylon eye to eye and speak with him face to face. And you shall go to Babylon.’ Yet hear the word of the Lord, O Zedekiah king of Judah! Thus says the Lord concerning you: ‘You shall not die by the sword. You shall die in peace. And as spices were burned for your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so people shall burn spices for you and lament for you, saying, “Alas, lord!”’ For I have spoken the word, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 34:1-5 ESV

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:18-21 ESV

Reflection:

There is a joke about some business executives who were having a meeting, and one of them was making a report. He said, “I have bad news and good news. Which do you want to hear first?” Everyone one said that they wanted to hear the bad news first. The business executive said, “The bad news is that we’ve lost almost all of our customers.” The other people asked, “What’s the good news?” He answered, “The number of complaints has gone way down!”

The good news really wasn’t very good for that business, was it? The prophet Jeremiah had some bad news and good news for King Zedekiah, and the bad news was very bad. The siege of Jerusalem would end in defeat for him, and the city of Jerusalem would be burned down. The king would be taken captive and be taken to Babylon. This was terrible news, not news that would make a king at all happy. But God did have a little bit of good news for Zedekiah. He would not be killed in battle, but instead he would die in peace, as kings had died before him. People would burn spices to honor him and mourn his death. Through all the hard times the king would have to live through, God would take care of him and help him. That really was good news.

The worst bad news of all for everyone is that we are under the power of sin and death, and we have no way to free ourselves. We would have been lost forever, but God sent Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus obeyed God’s law perfectly for us, and his righteousness covers our sin. God looks at us through Jesus and sees us as righteous because of what Jesus has done for us. He died on the cross to defeat the power of sin and death in our lives, and God forgives all our sins every day. We are God’s children forever, and will live forever in his heavenly kingdom. That’s the best good news there ever will be!

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being our good news, and for loving and forgiving us. Amen.

I Will Be Their God

Bible:

“Now therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine, and by pestilence’: Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.” Jeremiah 32:36-41 ESV

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand. Psalm 95:6-7a ESV

Reflection:

King Christian X of Denmark was a good king who worked to improve the lives of his people, and they respected and loved him. Every day he would ride a horse through the streets of the capital city of Copenhagen without having any bodyguards to protect him. He wanted to be close to his people, so he went out among them to meet them and talk to them. There’s a story that once a visitor asked someone why the king didn’t have a bodyguard, and the person replied, “All Denmark is his bodyguard.” King Christian was their king, and they were his people, and there was nothing to come between them.

Jeremiah spoke words of God that promised that the same kind of thing would one day be true of God and his people. They were experiencing war and famine and exile, and the future looked grim. But the Lord promised that he would someday bring them back to their own land and give them safety. The people and their children after them would have new hearts, and would obey his covenant. He would be their God, and they would be his people. This is the most wonderful promise the Lord could give. Nothing would come between him and his people, but instead they would live in God’s love and protection every day.

This promise was most beautifully fulfilled when God came to us in Jesus. Jesus lived among his people and taught them God’s ways, and showed his love and compassion to people who were sick and hurting. He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and to make us God’s people and bring us back to our heavenly Father. Because of Jesus, God is with us always, every day, and we can always go to him in prayer and know that he hears us and will help us in the way that is best. There is nothing in the world that can separate us from God’s love, now or ever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending our Savior, Jesus, to make us your people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.peachtree-online.com/yellowstar/Christian.html