Tag Archives: Money

Don’t enable your children’s sins!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Proverbs 29-30

Today’s devotional commentary focuses on one verse, Proverbs 29:3 and was first posted on this blog April 29, 2014.

As I was considering today’s devotional it occurred to me how little has changed in the world since Solomon’s writings nearly 3,000 years ago.  We share the same concerns in our day as those addressed by Solomon in his.  Granted, we are more sophisticated and enjoy the conveniences of modern technology; however, the problems of humanity are the same.  Poverty, rebellion, wickedness, oppression, heartache, sorrows and immorality are ever-present.  How can this be, you ask?

Times have changed, but the sinful nature of man is the same from generation to generation.  All humanity shares the bloodline of Adam and bear his nature and the curse of sin (“For since by man came death…For as in Adam all die” – 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).

Today’s proverb is timeless, as is all wisdom.

Proverbs 29:3  “Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.”

Solomon returns to contrasting a wise son with a foolish son.  Someone might mistake Solomon’s observation of a son who loves wisdom with the more recent phenomenon of what I will describe as “perpetual students”—young adults who make going to school and pursuing degrees a career rather than the means to a career.  No, this son who is a delight to his father is more than a learner—he loves and adheres to godly wisdom and counsel.   A wise son who “loveth wisdom” rejoices the heart of his father!

The contrast to a son who walks according to wisdom is the son who is a heartache to his father and walks an ungodly path where he wastes his inheritance [“his substance”] in the company of the immoral.   I believe this son was a child of privilege and grew up in a home of affluence.  Like the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), he has no appetite for wisdom and, once free of his parent’s constraints, follows sinful pleasures until all is spent.

Sound familiar?  I have observed this pattern far too often over the years.  It has become commonplace for well-meaning parents longing for their child’s affections and desiring to keep peace in the family, to become enablers of an adult child’s waste and wantonness.

There may be parents and grandparents reading today’s proverb who feel as though you are looking at the reflection of your home and family in a mirror.   I know the pain of disappointments hurt, but you must accept that no amount of “substance” will earn your rebellious son or daughter’s affection.   At the same time, you must weigh your stewardship of the material possessions God has entrusted to you as a sacred trust.

Don’t enable your children’s sins!  Love them, care for their basic needs, but don’t become an enabler of sin.

I challenge sons and daughters reading this devotional to love godly wisdom, obey your parents and heed godly counsel.

Ephesians 6:1-3 – “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

America: There is a Pay Day Someday!

October 3, 2017

Scripture reading – 2 Chronicles 11-15

Today’s scripture reading, 2 Chronicles 11-15, is not only filled with colorful historical facts, but is also bursting with opportunities of taking and applying spiritual principles that are as applicable in our day as they were nearly 3,000 year ago.

The setting of our study follows the death of king Solomon (2 Chronicles 9:30-31) and the ascension of his son Rehoboam to the throne of Israel (2 Chronicles 10).   Hearing Solomon was dead, Jeroboam, an old adversary of Solomon returned from exile in Egypt and led an uprising against young and inexperienced Rehoboam.

Rejecting the counsel of his father’s counselors, Rehoboam hearkened to the reckless counsel of his peers, provoking rebellion among the northern ten tribes who followed Jeroboam dividing the nation (2 Chronicles 10:8-19).   The northern ten tribes became known as Israel and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin became one nation known as Judah.  Rehoboam, son and successor of Solomon, thought to raise an army and seek the unification of Israel through war; however, the LORD sent a prophet named Shemaiah and deterred him from provoking war against his brethren (11:1-4).

2 Chronicles 11 illustrates how quickly a nation can depart from the LORD and turn to other gods.   We read “the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him [Rehoboam] out of all their coasts… and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the LORD” (11:13-14).

True to the character of a godless politician, Jeroboam consolidated the northern ten tribes not only politically, but spiritually, instituting a new religion worshipping calves, ordaining “priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made” (11:15).

For three years, Rehoboam exercised wisdom and discernment; however, it was his father’s proclivity to lust and immorality that proved to be his own destructive pattern of sin (11:7-23).   Comfortable in his palace and enjoying the blessing of the LORD, Rehoboam “forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him” (12:1-2).  Because Rehoboam turned his heart and the nation from the LORD, the LORD brought Shishak, king of Egypt against Judah to turn the heart of the king and nation back to Him (12:1-5).

The LORD sent Shemaiah, his prophet, to confront the king and leaders of Judah (12:5) who, hearing the warning of the LORD’s displeasure, humbled themselves before the LORD (12:5-8).  In His mercy, the LORD spared Judah from destruction, however, He allowed Shishak to put Rehoboam and Judah under servitude.   Adding to the nation’s humiliation, Shishak removed from the walls of Rehoboam’s palace “shields of gold which Solomon had made” (12:9).  Rehoboam, rather than repent of his sins and turn back to the LORD, “made shields of brass, and committed them to the hands of the chief of the guard, that kept the entrance of the king’s house” (12:10).

What a tragedy!  Rather than humble himself and repent of his sinful ways, Rehoboam substituted a counterfeit, shields of brass, to adorn the walls of his palace.  Where shields of gold once reflected God’s glory and blessings upon Israel, shields of brass, cheap imitations made of tin and copper, concealed the miserable state of the nation!

America, her leaders, her churches and Christians would be wise to take a lesson from 2 Chronicles 11-12.   Emerging from the late 19th century, America was a rural, agricultural nation of family farms and Christian values; however, the industrial revolution of the late 19th and early 20th centuries transformed our nation into a power that was the envy of the world by the end of World War II.

Like Judah of old, our wealth and prosperity as a nation has deceived us and America has turned from the LORD.   Our homes, churches and schools are no longer strongholds of moral virtue and, in the same way Rehoboam counterfeited the loss of “shields of gold” with brass shields, the leaders of our United States have enslaved our nation to a $20 trillion debt carried largely by enemies committed to our demise.

Our federal government can print dollar bills night and day and Americans can pursue possessions and sinful pleasures veiled in a mounting, crippling debt; however, in the words of the old evangelists… There is a pay day someday!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Hurricane Harvey and Hillsdale’s Opportunity to Serve Others

 

Dear Heart of a Shepherd Readers,

Like most of you, I have been watching the unfolding disaster in the Houston, Texas region and the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.

As many of you know, Hillsdale is blessed to have people with construction skills and talents who often go to the mission field to work beside missionaries and their church members on construction projects.   In the past, we have had teams go to help others in times of disasters.  I would like to see Hillsdale send at least one construction team to Texas within the next two weeks and work side by side with a pastor and his church in the disaster area.

I believe we will need to raise at least $10,000-12,000.00 to send a team of 15 for a week,  purchase construction materials, and pay expenses for housing, food supplies, water for the team and the communities in which our team will be going.  What funds are not used by the Team will be donated to Operation Renewed Hope.  Of course, your financial gifts are tax-deductible through the church.

If you are interested in helping financially, please go to Hillsdale’s website and look for the Donation button and beside “Other Designated Fund” type Hurricane Relief [https://www.hillsdalebaptist.org]

If you are interested in participating on a Construction Team please email Pastor Justin Jarrett at jjarrett@hillsdalebaptist.org

The following is a letter I sent to our church leadership regarding an opportunity of teaming with Dr. Jan Milton of Operation Renewed Hope and sending construction teams to Texas to assist 5 churches, their members and their communities in this time of devastation.

All,

I just got off the phone with Dr. Jan Milton of Operation Renewed Hope (ORH). So far there are 5 churches in the midst of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey that he has heard from and whose pastors need help for their church and homes of their church families. There is one church he has yet to hear from in the flood zone.

Dr. Milton told me the devastation is on a par with Hurricane Katrina. ORH will be working with pastors and their churches to minister to their communities. The timeline for sending teams is at least 2 weeks out (that would be the earliest given the standing water, electricity lines down, sewers flooded, etc.)—Because of the flood waters, the earliest date to send a team is probably the week of September 10, 2017.

The immediate need would be for teams that could haul all their own tools (battery operated would be especially needed). The team will need to prepare to:

1) Do demolition in the churches and homes…tearing down to the studs
2) Purchase Drywall locally (or on the way) and haul to Texas (he suggested 40 pieces)
3) Hang drywall
4) Inspect and Repair electrical damages

I believe we should plan on using Hillsdale’s newest Van which can carry 15 adults…and will need a trailer for luggage. We would also need someone with a pickup truck large enough to pull a large trailer filled with supplies, tools, etc.

The first teams will need to take cases of water for their own use. Housing in the area may be limited to sleeping in the church or in gyms (you will need to take cots or inflatable mattresses). If hotels are available in driving distance, we will look at funding that expense.

Until the churches are able to help with meals, the team will need to either drive out of the devastated areas to purchase meals or have food prep with them.

We will need to begin raising funds for supporting the team, paying for gas, food, hotel, truck or trailer rental expenses and purchasing construction materials. I am guessing $10,000-12,000…if there is a balance, leave the $$$ with the churches to minister to their neighbors.

Please make Pastor Justin Jarrett the key contact person:
jjarrett@hillsdalebaptist.org

With the heart of a shepherd,

Pastor Travis Smith

You Can’t Take It With You!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Leviticus 25-27

Today’s scripture reading brings us to the closing chapters of the Book of Leviticus.  For those who persevered in their reading through this book of the Bible that was perhaps foreign to your knowledge of God’s Word, congratulations!   I stated in my introductory devotional commentary to Leviticus (June 12, 2017) that this book began where the Book of Exodus concluded.

Our study focused on: 1) detailed instructions regarding offering sacrifices (Leviticus 1-7); 2) the consecration of the Aaronic priesthood (Leviticus 8-10); 3) the law of God concerning animals deemed clean and unclean by God (Leviticus 11-15); 4) and the holiness God demands of those who approach Him in worship and offer sacrifices (Leviticus 17-25).

Leviticus 25 instructed the children of Israel in matters concerning the land He had promised would be a perpetual inheritance for Abraham and his lineage (Genesis 12:1; 13:14-15; 17:8).   Two occasions are discussed in this chapter, the seventh year Sabbath and the fiftieth year of “Jubile” (25:2 -4, 8-13).   I will take the liberty to discuss both occasions briefly.

The “Sabbath year” occurred every seven years and was, as its name implies, a year of rest for both the farmers and their lands.   The people were to labor in their fields for six years, but on the seventh year they were not to sow seed, prune their vineyards, or harvest any fruits or vegetables that “groweth of its own accord” (25:3-7).

Seven “Sabbath years” were to pass (numbering forty-nine years) and the fiftieth year would be to the people a year of “Jubilee” (25:8-13).  The year of Jubilee was an additional Sabbath, meaning the lands and vineyards were idle for two years, the forty-ninth and fiftieth years (25:11).   The year of Jubilee was a year of celebration when families who sold their allotted lands, more often due to poverty, were permitted to purchase their family lands and restore them to their families (25:23-28).

The same opportunity of liberty was given to those who, because of poverty became indentured servants (25:39-43).   The children of Israel were not to enslave their brethren, but treat them as hired servants.  However, all indentured servants were set at liberty to return to their families in the year of Jubilee.

The Sabbath and Jubilee years are foreign to us in our 21st century economy; however, there are principles found in Leviticus 25 that we should not pass over lightly.  The Sabbath year was “a Sabbath unto the LORD” (25:2) and was more than a year of rest from laboring in the fields; it was also an acknowledgement that the LORD blesses and prospers His people.  The LORD promised to so bless the harvest of the sixth year that there would be plenty for the Sabbath year (25:20-22).  The Sabbath year served was an opportunity to reflect on the goodness and provision of the LORD for His people.

Reminding us we are at best temporal owners of the things we possess, the LORD instructed the people,  The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me” (Leviticus 25:23).

While we do not follow the pattern of Sabbath years and the year of Jubilee, the principle found in Leviticus 25:23 is nonetheless true!  Whether you live in a mansion or a shanty, count your millions or your pennies; you are at best a temporal owner of your possessions.  I am often struck by that reality when visiting garage sales, attending estate sales or hearing of an auction of family possessions.

Friend, we are “strangers and sojourners” in this world and you and I would be wise to make sure we focus our affections on the eternal and not the temporal.   After all, you will go to your grave and others will eventually claim everything you possess.

Matthew 6:20-21 – But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Two Things God Hates: A Covetous Heart and Lying Lips

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Daily reading assignment – 2 Kings 1-5

Today’s scripture reading contains stories that have enriched the hearts, lives and imagination of children in Sunday School for centuries.  The book of 2 Kings picks up where 1 Kings finished with no introduction.  The old prophet Elijah is in the last days of his earthly ministry and his protégé Elisha is prepared to take up the “mantle” of Elijah, literally and figuratively (2 Kings 2:13).

Due to the length of today’s reading, I will content myself with a few highlights.  Ahaziah, king of Israel, became deathly ill after falling through the lattice-work of his upper chamber.  Wondering if he would recover from his fall, the wicked king sent servants to enquire of the pagan god Baalzebub (2 Kings 1:2).  God, however, intervened and sent Elijah to send word to the king that his decision to enquire of Baalzebub would result in his death (1:3-4).  The king’s messengers described Elijah as the bearer of the news concerning the king’s death (1:5-8).

Three occasions the king sent a captain and fifty soldiers demanding Elijah come to the king.  The first two times the captain and the soldiers arrogantly demanded the prophet come to the king, and each time the captain and soldiers were slain (1:9-12).  The third captain and his soldiers humbled themselves before God’s prophet and requested their lives be spared (1:13-14).

2 Kings 2 records the momentous occasion God sent a fiery chariot to take Elijah to heaven.  Elijah promised Elisha he would receive a double portion of the old prophets spirit if he saw him taken up (2:9-11).  A “double portion” was that amount of inheritance that would be allotted to a firstborn son.  In that sense, it was Elisha’s longing that he would be the inheritor of Elijah’s ministry, and indeed he was!

God promotes the ministry of Elisha as God’s prophet before three kings in 2 Kings 3.  The king of Israel, Judah, and Edom all learned God had a prophet in the land and that prophet was Elisha.

Elisha performed four miracles in 2 Kings 4.  The first, multiplying a widow’s oil to pay her debts and save her sons from becoming bond slaves (4:1-7).  The second miracle, blessing a childless, elderly woman and her husband with a son as a reward for serving as Elisha’s benefactors (4:8-17).  The third miracle was raising that same elderly couples’ son from the dead (4:18-37).  The fourth miracle was turning a poison pottage into one that nourished the “sons of the prophets” (4:38-44).

I close with Elisha directing the healing of a leper named “Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria” (2 Kings 5:1).   The description of Naaman’s character aids us in understanding why his welfare was so important to his king.  We read, he “was a great man [noble; but perhaps great is size as well] with his master, and honourable [exalted; respected]…a mighty [heroic; valiant; champion] man in valour [virtuous; strong], but he was a leper” (5:1).

Every man has his flaws and challenges; however, for Naaman his was an illness…leprosy.  There was no cure for leprosy and a leper would eventually face exclusion from the living as the disease slowly took hold on the face, limbs and extremities of the body.

Providentially for Naaman, a slave girl from Israel waited upon his wife and shared with her there was a great prophet in Samaria who could heal her husband (5:2-3).  When the king of Syria heard there was hope for Naaman’s healing in Israel, he sent a letter with Naaman and gifts requesting his captain would be healed of leprosy (5:4-6).  Knowing the request was impossible for him to fulfill, the king of Israel “rent his clothes” fearing the king of Syria was provoking a conflict with Israel (5:7).  At his request, the king sent Naaman to Elisha (5:8).

Naaman, feeling slighted by Elisha’s refusal to greet him and perhaps expecting some great, ceremonial act of healing, was instead directed by Elisha’s servant to wash himself in the Jordan River seven times (5:9-10).  The thought of the great warrior of Syria humbling himself to wash in Israel’s small river infuriated Naaman who at first refused (5:11-12).  Fortunately, his servants prevailed upon him and persuaded him to obey the prophet.  When Naaman came forth from the Jordan “his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (5:13-14).

Following his healing, Naaman offered to reward Elisha for his service; however, the prophet refused his gifts (5:15-16).  Naaman responded to the prophet and his miraculous healing with a moving statement of his faith that his sacrifices would forever be only unto the LORD, Jehovah, the Self-existent, Eternal God of Israel (5:17-18).

Reminding us a spirit of covetous (Exodus 20:17) might take root in the hearts of those who serve the LORD, “Gehazi, the servant of Elisah” set his heart on a portion of the reward Naaman offered to Elisha (5:20-22).

With a greeting of shalom, “Is all well?” (5:21) and Gehazi responding with shalom, “All is well” (5:22), Gehazi lied suggesting Elisha had sent him for a portion of the reward.  When Naaman granted his request, Gehazi hid the gifts (5:23-24) and took his place before Elisha (5:25).

When Elisha asked Gehazi where he had gone, he lied (5:25); whereupon, Elisha cursed his covetous heart and his unfaithful servant was smitten with the leprosy that had plagued Naaman (5:26-27).  Leprosy marked the end of his ministry to Elisha and became Gehazi’s lifelong reminder God hates covetousness and lying lips.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Imagine A Pastor Saying: “Stop Giving…You’ve Given Too Much!”

Monday, May 29, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Exodus 33-36

God called Moses to go up to the Mount and gave him His Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, His governing Laws in Exodus 22:22-24:8 and His assurance He would be with His chosen people when they went up to the land He had promised them for an inheritance (Exodus 23:20-33).  God also gave instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle, the Ark and the altar for sacrifices (Exodus 25-27).   God established the Aaronic priesthood (Exodus 28:6-30), consecrated Aaron and his sons as priests (Exodus 29:1-37; 30:22-33) and defined the robes and ornaments the priests were to wear. 

While Moses was in the mount with the LORD and away from the tribes of Israel, the people rebelled, returning to the ways of Egypt, they demanded for Aaron to make a golden calf for them to worship in Moses’ absence (Exodus 32).  Angered by the sin of the people, God vowed to judge them in His wrath (Exodus 32:7-8), but Moses interceded for them (Exodus 32:9-14).   There were consequences for the sin of the people and God did judge them; however, in answer to Moses’ prayer, the Lord did not destroy them altogether (Exodus 32:12-34:28).

With God’s judgment past, Moses directed the construction of the Tabernacle, the temporal dwelling that symbolized God’s presence in the midst of His people, according to all the plans God had given him (Exodus 35:4-36:38).

I close this brief devotional commentary with an observation concerning the manner of people enlisted to construct the Tabernacle, the Ark and its implements and the spirit with which the people gave and served.

The condition and attitude of the hearts of the people was important to the Lord.  Those who gave of their possessions and those who labored in the construction of the Tabernacle were “wise hearted…stirred…willing…willing hearted” (Exodus 35:10-29).

Exodus 35:10 – 10  And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the LORD hath commanded;

Exodus 35:20-22 – 21  And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD’S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.
22  And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the LORD.

Exodus 35:25-26 – 25  And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen.
26  And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair.

Exodus 35:29 – 29  The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the LORD had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.

God called, inspired and employed the most skilled workers in Israel to build the place He would meet with His people (Exodus 35:30-36:2).

Exodus 35:30-35 – 30  And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;
31  And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;
32  And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
33  And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.
34  And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.
35  Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.

Exodus 36:1-2 – 1  Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the LORD had commanded.
2  And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the LORD had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it:

The offerings the people gave so exceeded the need that Moses “restrained” them from bringing any more (36:5-6).  We read; the people gave “too much” (36:7).

Imagine being a part of a congregation where the hearts of the people is so stirred to give and serve the LORD that the pastor tells the people, “Please, stop giving! You have given too much already!”  Such is the manner of a people when they are “wise hearted…stirred…willing…and willing hearted” (Exodus 35:10-29).

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

“Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek Them Not!”

May 26, 2017

Scripture reading – Jeremiah 42-46

Today’s reading assignment in our “Read-Through-the Bible” is possibly the longest so far and it is my desire to spare you from an equally long devotional commentary.  I will highlight several prophecies found in Jeremiah 42-46 and make a few observations.

As you may remember, Jeremiah’s ministry has been to warn Judah and her kings that the time for repentance had past and the destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the army of Nebuchadnezzar was certain.  Rather than heed the prophets warning, the people abused, persecuted and imprisoned the old prophet.  God, in an exercise of His grace, did not leave the people hopeless and Jeremiah assured the people the nation would one day be restored to the land and Jerusalem rebuilt.

The fate of the nation was sealed; however, the LORD assured the people, “Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand. 12  And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land.” (Jeremiah 42:11-12)

Because some of the people would be tempted to flee south into Egypt, the LORD warned the nation, “hear the word of the LORD, ye remnant of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there; 16  Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die.” (Jeremiah 42:15-16)

Knowing some of the people would not heed the LORD’s admonition, Jeremiah warned them, “Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant11  And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt…and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt” (Jeremiah 43:10-12). Jeremiah’s warning to the remnant that retreated into Egypt continues in Jeremiah 44.

Jeremiah 44:11-14, 23 – “11 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah. 12  And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach. 13  For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: 14  So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape…23  Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day.”

Rather than the safety they sought, the remnant of Judah that fled from Nebuchadnezzar’s army to Egypt perished in that land (Jeremiah 44:26-30).  In His grace, God promised a “small number” would “escape the sword” and return to Judah (44:28).  The prophecy against Egypt continues in Jeremiah 46.

I invite you to consider Jeremiah 45 as I conclude my highlights of chapters 42-46.  Jeremiah 45 is a brief, but fascinating passage.  Consisting of only five verses and addressed specifically to Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch (45:1), the LORD lovingly and directly addressed the man who stood by the prophet Jeremiah as he faithfully declared God’s Word to the people.  The prophecies of God’s judgment deeply affected Baruch (45:2-3) as he faced the same hardships, persecutions and imprisonment as the old prophet.

Jeremiah admonished Baruch, his faithful friend and scribe,  warning him: “seekest [require; beg; strive after] thou great things [high; greater; proud thing] for thyself? seek [require; beg; strive after] them not: for, behold, I will bring [come in; enter; give; advance] evil [bad; adversity; affliction; distress] upon all flesh [person; mankind; bodies], saith the LORD: but thy life [soul; person; heart] will I give [deliver; commit; give up; abandon] unto thee for a prey [spoil; possessions; booty; plunder] in all places whither thou goest [walk; depart; follow].”

Friend, I close today’s devotional commentary with the same questions and challenge for you:  Why are you never satisfied?  Why is your heart and affections set upon temporal riches, possessions and titles, knowing all those things will perish?  Why do you sacrifice the spiritual walk of your family for the carnal?  Seek Them Not! 

Matthew 6:19-21 19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith