Be A Berean, Acts 17:11

This is the Bible verse of the day on the “Daily Bible” app I use to read daily devotions.

”  The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV) #Bible

It’s a wonderful scripture from God’s Word and Kent Henry wrote the beautiful song below that ties this verse with the verse from My Testimony, “With A Mighty Hand and A Stretched Out Arm.” The song is a little long because in it he speaks word’s that minister to those who need to be touched by our Heavenly Father’s Love. Poor choices, poor parenting and suffering from those things as children of God might make us question or form the wrong ideas of the kind of Father God is.

Some ministers of God’s Word present Father God to us using verses along a single train of thought to form the whole image of Him or build a doctrine. Always about health, or wealth, or law, or grace or love. That is not a wise thing to do because it’s easy to get the wrong impression of God and His ways in our mind.

The bible was not written with the chapter divisions in them when originally written. Sometimes you have to go back into a previous chapter to get the context of a verse to understand what that verse is saying. Today’s Bible verse is a perfect example of that. It’s easy to catch in this situation because it’s verse 3 and verse 1 starts out with, ““At that time,” declares the Lord.” Obviously we should know what happened before “that time” to understand where this thought is coming from to know where it is going.

I will use the NASB version to show this mainly because it uses modern English. It takes KJV (I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents,) to NASB (I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob). In plain English, God is bringing back the captives from captivity.

Jeremiah 30:18-24 NASB – Restoration of Jacob

18 “Thus says the Lord,
‘Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob
And have compassion on his dwelling places;
And the city will be rebuilt on its ruin,
And the palace will stand on its rightful place.
19 ‘From them will proceed thanksgiving
And the voice of those who celebrate;
And I will multiply them and they will not be diminished;
I will also honor them and they will not be insignificant.

20 ‘Their children also will be as formerly,
And their congregation shall be established before Me;
And I will punish all their oppressors.
21 ‘Their leader shall be one of them,
And their ruler shall come forth from their midst;

And I will bring him near and he shall approach Me;
For who would dare to risk his life to approach Me?’ declares the Lord.
22 ‘You shall be My people,
And I will be your God.’”

23 Behold, the tempest of the Lord!
Wrath has gone forth,
A sweeping tempest;
It will burst on the head of the wicked.
24 The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back
Until He has performed and until He has accomplished
The intent of His heart;
In the latter days you will understand this.

Jeremiah 31:1-8   Israel’s Mourning Turned to Joy

1 “At that time,” declares the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.”

Thus says the Lord,
The people who survived the sword
Found grace in the wilderness—
Israel, when it went to find its rest.”
The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying,
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.

“Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt,
O virgin of Israel!
Again you will take up your tambourines,
And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers.
“Again you will plant vineyards
On the hills of Samaria;
The planters will plant
And will enjoy them.
“For there will be a day when watchmen
On the hills of Ephraim call out,
‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
To the Lord our God.’”

For thus says the Lord,
“Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
And shout among the chief of the nations;
Proclaim, give praise and say,
‘O Lord, save Your people,
The remnant of Israel.’
8 “Behold, I am bringing them from the north country,
And I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth,
Among them the blind and the lame,
The woman with child and she who is in labor with child, together;
A great company, they will return here.

How do we know God and the Word of God can be trusted? Because many things spoken as prophecies in the Word of God have already come to pass, exactly as Written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit to Write them. God placed His Thoughts into their mind and was recorded and preserved over thousands of years. (God Exists Outside & Inside of Time).

Today some of the wisest minds and advancements in technology comes out of Israel, a country the size of New Jersey with similar sized populations. Hardly does a day go by without Israel impacting world news. Sadly, Israel’s story told in Jeremiah chapters 29-31 is like a revolving door Israel keeps going through. During its long history, Jerusalem has been attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times, and destroyed twice. Prophecy says they will go through this door another time before it’s ultimate fulfillment and they accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah and King.

Israel has had multiple chances to learn this lesson and “get it right.” In this nuclear age, America may have but one shot at getting it right and should take that to heart. The nation of Israel didn’t exist for almost 2,000 years but look at these numbers.

Jewish Population of Israel 1880 - 2009

Jewish Core Population per Country

The prophecies of the Bible will all be fulfilled, exactly as written, even to the day and hour. God through His Holy Spirit even uses a “play on words” easily missed in English but caught in the original Hebrew that relates to His Words coming to fruition.

Jeremiah 1:11-12 KJV   11 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond (H8247 –shâqêd) tree.

12 Then said the Lord unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten (H8245 -shâqad -to wake, watch, awake, be alert) my word to perform it.

Almond – shâqêd phonetic (shaw-kade’)     Hasten – shâqad phonetic (shaw-kad)

Back to my main thought and reason for this post. Verse 3 in Jeremiah 31, taken alone can have a totally different interpretation from that gained by the context of the “whole counsel of God.” If we get a lopsided view of God, like some lopsided teachers of God’s Word present, we become confused and disillusioned when our life “in Christ” isn’t matching up with the “health, wealth, prosperity, and live your best life today” doctrines they center their ministries on. You start to think, “God’s Word doesn’t work for me” or “maybe I’m not a child of God” because my situation doesn’t look like what they are professing. All the while, you are exactly where God wants you to be or has allowed you to be. God Is Sovereign over Everything. Not only does God know when a hair falls off our head, He knows it’s number too!!!

Years ago a verse from Jeremiah really opened my eyes to the need to get the “whole counsel of God” and  not cherry picking a single verse to “name it and claim it.” It was this one.

Jeremiah 29:11 NASB  For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Sounds lovely and nobody would resist “naming and claiming” this verse, right? But read before this singled out verse, probably not understood by lazy Christians that don’t read the Word of God for themselves. Read Jeremiah 29 or start with verse 1 of chapter 29 to get God’s complete thought,

1 Now these are the words of the letter which Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders of the exile, the priests, the prophets and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

God is sending a word of Love and Encouragement to His people who have just been taken captive and hauled off to Babylon. They will spend 70 years under bondage, as servants to another king, in another country, not their own. God is putting them in “time out” hoping they can learn the lessons they refused to learn.  Like a good parent, God is telling them “I Love You” and must correct you to teach you how to live correctly as My People.  Jeremiah had warned Israel for 40 (626BC – 587BC) years, “you need to listen, daddy’s coming home,” to follow God’s ways or judgment would come but they chose to listen to the “many” false prophets. Even when God honored and fulfilled the words spoken by Jeremiah against the false prophets as in Jeremiah 28.

The Apostle Paul praised the Bereans and preached the Whole Counsel of God,

Acts 17:11 NKJV  These (Bereans) were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Acts 20:27 NKJV  For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.

Jesus preached the “Whole Counsel of God”

Matthew 5:17-19 NASB   17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Isaiah 55:11 KJV  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

God said, “What I told you I will do. You can count on it. You can put it in the bank. That what I promised you I will do. And He said, no matter what it seems like on the outside, it’s beautiful on the inside.” TMV (TonyMenge Version – Words Spoken to me)

Being “In Christ” and “Christ In Us” is what Really Matters. These are scriptures about that

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