It’s January 1, 2022, and we’re all still here. The Rapture hasn’t happened yet! If you haven’t realized it, we are living in the end times and last days. That’s why studying the Old Testament Bible Prophets is important to help us understand what’s going on in the world today. I just updated the Top 10 Bible Prophecies that are Happening Now. That was the most popular blog post of all time on my blog. Go figure. In any rate, the whole purpose of this site is to help you start seeking a relationship with Jesus Christ for yourself. Hence the title of this post. That’s how it works! I’ll explain. Let’s dig in…
Jeremiah 29 – A Letter to the Exiles
Jeremiah wrote a letter from Jerusalem to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people who had been exiled to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. 2 This was after King Jehoiachin, the queen mother, the court officials, the other officials of Judah, and all the craftsmen and artisans had been deported from Jerusalem. 3 He sent the letter with Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah when they went to Babylon as King Zedekiah’s ambassadors to Nebuchadnezzar. This is what Jeremiah’s letter said:
4 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: 5 “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. 6 Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! 7 And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”
8 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let your prophets and fortune-tellers who are with you in the land of Babylon trick you. Do not listen to their dreams, 9 because they are telling you lies in my name. I have not sent them,” says the Lord.
10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
15 You claim that the Lord has raised up prophets for you in Babylon. 16 But this is what the Lord says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all those still living here in Jerusalem—your relatives who were not exiled to Babylon. 17 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “I will send war, famine, and disease upon them and make them like bad figs, too rotten to eat. 18 Yes, I will pursue them with war, famine, and disease, and I will scatter them around the world. In every nation where I send them, I will make them an object of damnation, horror, contempt, and mockery. 19 For they refuse to listen to me, though I have spoken to them repeatedly through the prophets I sent. And you who are in exile have not listened either,” says the Lord.
20 Therefore, listen to this message from the Lord, all you captives there in Babylon. 21 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about your prophets—Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah—who are telling you lies in my name: “I will turn them over to Nebuchadnezzar for execution before your eyes. 22 Their terrible fate will become proverbial, so that the Judean exiles will curse someone by saying, ‘May the Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned alive!’ 23 For these men have done terrible things among my people. They have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have lied in my name, saying things I did not command. I am a witness to this. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
A Message for Shemaiah
24 The Lord sent this message to Shemaiah the Nehelamite in Babylon: 25 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: You wrote a letter on your own authority to Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, the priest, and you sent copies to the other priests and people in Jerusalem. You wrote to Zephaniah,
26 “The Lord has appointed you to replace Jehoiada as the priest in charge of the house of the Lord. You are responsible to put into stocks and neck irons any crazy man who claims to be a prophet. 27 So why have you done nothing to stop Jeremiah from Anathoth, who pretends to be a prophet among you? 28 Jeremiah sent a letter here to Babylon, predicting that our captivity will be a long one. He said, ‘Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce.’”
29 But when Zephaniah the priest received Shemaiah’s letter, he took it to Jeremiah and read it to him. 30 Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: 31 “Send an open letter to all the exiles in Babylon. Tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Since he has prophesied to you when I did not send him and has tricked you into believing his lies, 32 I will punish him and his family. None of his descendants will see the good things I will do for my people, for he has incited you to rebel against me. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”Jeremiah 29 NLT
Keeping Faith Alive
Nebuchadnezzar took captive the best of the best of the Israelites in his first invasion in 597 BC. God said they were being punished and it would last 70 years. That’s a long time. He wants the people to settle comfortably in their new home away from home. He told them to build homes, start businesses, start families, and plant gardens, live. Nevertheless, even though they could no longer worship Him in the temple, they needed to meet regularly. That’s where the word “synagogue” comes from. It means “meeting”.
God wanted them to be in that foreign world, but not “of the world”. They were not supposed to adapt to the pagan worship customs of the Babylonians. Down the line, we’ll see how 4, devout, Jewish young men stay faithful and stand their ground in the Book of Daniel. Subscribe so you don’t miss out!
Jesus has a similar message for us today…
In the Parable of the 10 Talents in Luke 19, Jesus tells of a nobleman who trusted 3 of his servants with some money. In the KJV, he tells the first servant to “Occupy till I come”. The NKJV reads, “Do business till I come.” Others read, “Invest till I come.”
In other words, keep doing business as usual till I return. As Jesus talked a lot in parables, He’s describing Himself and His Kingdom. He is the nobleman and we are the servants. We are to hold on and live IN the world, not OF the world. We must live as Citizens of Heaven.
Here’s another scene…
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Acts 1:6-8 NLT
Lastly, the final book in the Bible, The Book of Revelation ends with…
20 He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! (Maranatha!)Revelation 22:20 NLT
Seek HIM Wholeheartedly
Verse 11 is a popular verse. Even though it was written for the Jews back then, it applies to us today…
- God has a plan for each and everyone of us. It’s up to us to…
- Seek HIM WHOLEHEARTEDLY and we will find Him. He want’s to be found!
- When you pray, He will listen.
Pastor Sandy Adams comments…
He’s not a God who likes the shadows. He loves to reveal. He enjoys being found. All He asks of us is to seek Him with “all our heart.” A.W. Tozer once wrote, “It’s not that we don’t want God, we do. We just want other things more.” This is why just seeking Him half-heartedly is not enough. We need to pursue Him with effort, and passion, and heart!Sandy Adams
Knowing your purpose in life is important. For years I went around trying this and that, looking for love, prosperity, and fame in all the wrong places. What a waste of time! (Check out my story at the bottom.)
Bad Figs are Punished
In the last part, this “Nehelamite” — that means “dreamer” — wants to get rid of Jeremiah. He will be punished as will all false prophets and “bad figs“. Bad figs refuse to listen to God. Are you a bad fig? Are you following Jesus wholeheartedly?
Do you want to follow Jesus wholeheartedly?
Then, here’s what you have to do….
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
Only Jesus – Casting Crowns
This is Not Where I Belong – Building 429
Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!
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