by Pastor Don Elmore
July 1, 2012
Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 30:10-11
We are living in very changing and dangerous times. The main law enforcer of our nation (Eric Holder) was found to be in contempt of Congress and the Supreme (?) Court of the United States ruled that Obamacare is a tax and therefore is constitutional by a vote of 5-4. Remember that the Secretary of the Treasury owed the I.R.S. $31,000 that he had to pay before he could take up that office. Does anyone still believe that the Constitution of the United States is divine?
A lot of the western United States is burning up with uncontrollable fires and the northern part of Florida is under flood conditions. About 2/3 of the United States is having temperatures between 95-108 degrees. June was LGBT month in the United States. In Israeli, they crowned their first “Miss Holocaust Survivor.” I don’t know how they got any contestants if it was a genocide camp as they claim. I think that our God is judging America and the rest of the Israel nations.
We will go back in time and study a time in history where we can gain some strength. We will go back almost 3,000 years when those who were Israel were living in just about as bad a situation as we are today. And it was when the LORD God asked Jeremiah a question that he answered with an emphatic No!
But before we get to this question that the LORD asked Jeremiah, let’s get a little background that deals with the conditions that Jeremiah faced.
Jeremiah was born in the last decade of King Manasseh’s rule. Manasseh ruled from the age of 12 to 67.
This is the world in which Jeremiah learned to walk and talk and play. No worse environment in which to raise a child can be imagined. It was a slum society: “On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the sons of men” (Psalms 2:8).
Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign (2 Chronicles 33:1). His father was King Hezekiah. Hezekiah was a good king, who was healed from a usually terminating illness (boil) by a miraculous saving event (placing of figs on boil); he was given fifteen more years of life. This meant that Manasseh would not have been born if Hezekiah’s life would not have been extended by God’s mercy.
Did King Hezekiah make a mistake? King Manasseh could be considered, and no doubt was, one of the worst kings the Hebrews ever had. That is quite a statement; for he was worse than many of the very bad rulers of the House of Judah and the House of Israel, which never had a good king—all bad. He reigned in Jerusalem for over half a century—fifty-five years. He was a thoroughly bad king presiding over a totally corrupt government.
What was it like in the government that he provided? A lot like it does now in the United States. Lust and greed were deified. Murders were commonplace. Manasseh dragged the people into the mire far more stinking than anything the world had yet seen. “Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than the nations (Canaanites) had done whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel” (2 Kings 21:9).
The Judahites did more evil than the Canaanites nations had done? The Judahites worshipped pagan gods that even whole communities were involved in sexual orgies. Manasseh installed cult prostitutes in shrines throughout the countryside. He had` supported and rewarded wizards, witches and sorcerers who enslaved the people in superstitions and manipulated them with their magick.
This wicked king observed times, used enchantments and witchcraft, and dealt with familiar spirits, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, so much evil that he provoke Him to anger. And Manasseh was so depraved that he caused some of his own children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom; just like the anti-God heathens had done before the Israelites came into the Promised Land. It sounds a lot like living in the United States.
King Manasseh murdered the prophets and believers in the God of the covenant. By tradition, one of the evils done by Manasseh was the murder of Isaiah the prophet. Many think that Hebrews 11:37 which says that Isaiah was “sawn in two” is a reference to the martyrdom of Isaiah.
King Manasseh did all the abominations of the heathen of the Canaanites who the LORD cast out before the children of Israel plus more. He set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the Holy Temple of God. He built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab King of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.
He blasphemed the Temple where God had told Israel that He would put His name for ever. King Manasseh built altars in the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem; he built more altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the Temple; and he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the Temple.
It was a tragic progression in Manasseh’s sin:
- First, idolatry was tolerated among God’s people
- Then idolatry was promoted.
- Then idolatry was supported and funded.
- Then the worship of the true God is undermined.
- Then the worshippers of the true God are persecuted and murdered.
- Then the judgment of God soon comes.
Manasseh was a very evil King; but do you know what happened to him right before he died? This very evil king, King Manasseh……….. repented!
God had said that he would NOT remove Israel from the land if they kept His commandments that He had given them. But King Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. The LORD spoke to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. Wherefore, the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the King of Babylon who captured Manasseh and kidnapped him to Babylon.
While there, King Manasseh was suffering in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto Him: and He was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom.
In The Antiquities of the Jews, written by Josephus, Book X, Chapter 3, Section 2: we are told that [Manasseh] “perceived what a miserable condition he was in, and esteeming himself the cause of it all, he besought God to render his enemy humane and merciful to him.
Accordingly, God heard his prayer, and granted him what he prayed for. So, Manasseh was released by the King of Babylon and escaped the danger he was in; and when he was come to Jerusalem, he endeavored, if it were possible, to cast out of his memory those his former sins against God, of which he now repented, and to apply himself to a very religious life. He sanctified the Temple, and purged the city, and for the remainder of his days he was intent on nothing but to return his thanks to God for his deliverance, and to preserve him all his life long.
He also instructed the multitude to do the same, as having very nearly experienced what a calamity he was fallen into by a contrary conduct. He also rebuilt the altar, and offered the legal sacrifices, as Moses commanded. And when he had re-established what concerned the Divine worship, as it ought to be, he took care of the security of Jerusalem: he did not only repair the old walls with great diligence, but added another wall to the former. He also built very lofty towers, and the garrisoned places before the city he strengthened, not only in other respects, but with provisions of all sorts that they wanted. And indeed, when he had changed his former course, he so led his life for the time to come that from the time of his return to piety towards God he was deemed a happy man, and a pattern for imitation. When therefore he had lived sixty-seven years, he departed this life, having reigned fifty-five years, and was buried in his own garden; and the kingdom came to his son Amon.”
There is hope for any Israelite! No matter how evil they may live, they can still repent. King Manasseh was one of the most evil of all men in Israel and he repented! Manasseh was raised by a godly father, yet he lived in defiance of his father’s faith for most of his life. Nevertheless, at the end of his days he truly repented and served God.
Yet, his repentance was too late to change the nation. His subsequent release and reform were apparently far too late to have much of an effect on the backslidden people. It was also not soon enough to change the destiny of the kingdom. Years later, when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, the writer would blame Judah’s punishment on the sins of Manasseh (2 Kings 24:3-4):
“Surely at the commandment of the LORD came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did;
And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon.”
How would his son, Amon, reign? As his father Manasseh reigned for most of his life; or after Manasseh repented at the very end of his days?
2Chronicles 33:21-25 gives us the answer.
“Amon was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem.
But he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them;
And humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more.
And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house.
But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon: and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.”
This story of conspiracy and assassination seems to belong among the kings of Israel, not Judah. Yet when the kings and people of Judah began to imitate the sins of their conquered northern brethren, they slipped into the same chaos and anarchy that marked the last period of Israel’s history.
The people who executed those who conspired against King Amon were a hopeful sign. The people of Judah had largely tolerated some 57 years of utterly wicked kings (except for the last few years of repentance from Manasseh) who led the nation in evil. Now it seems that they wanted righteousness and justice instead of the evil they had lived with for so long. Though King Amon was assassinated; God did not yet allow Judah to slip into the same pit of anarchy that Israel had sunk into.
Because of the righteous action of the people of the land, there was no change of dynasty, and the rightful heir to the throne of David received the throne. The only positive contribution of King Amon made to the history of Judah was to produce one of the best kings to reign on the throne of Jerusalem.
The Reign of Josiah
That King Manasseh had repented and commanded his people to serve the LORD God of Israel; this had no effect on Amon his son, the father of Josiah, but it may have influenced the young child, Manasseh’s grandchild, who came to the throne about two years after Manasseh’s death. For from the beginning of his reign, at eight years old, Josiah took the right road, doing what “was right in the sight of the Lord,” and walking “in the ways of David his father,” and declining “neither to the right hand, not to the left” (2Chronicles 34:1, 2).
When Josiah had reigned for 8 years, he was 16 years old, and he began to clean up the Temple and broke down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem (2Chronicles 34:3-7).
Ten years later, when Josiah was 26 years old, he began to repair the Temple of God. As the Temple was being renovated and repaired, they found a book that had been missing for many years—the scroll of Deuteronomy. They took this scroll and read it to Josiah; it was like a “thunderclap of conscience” in Josiah’s ears. It was a blueprint that gave direction and counsel; clear definitions of what are right and wrong and explicit directions on how to make moral decisions and conduct intelligent worship.
One of the greatest revivals in the history of Judah was about to take place. Josiah would live 18 more years—till he was 39 years old. But five years before Josiah discovered the missing book of God, the question was slipped in to Jeremiah: The question that God asked Jeremiah was: Do you want to be a prophet as I have ordained you?
Jeremiah refused when he answered: “Ah, LORD God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child” – Jeremiah 1:6.
We are practiced in pleading inadequacy in order to avoid living at the best that God calls us to. Jeremiah’s excuse was, that owing to his youth he did not possess that influence which so onerous an office required. But his objections were overruled, and his Divine commission renewed.
How tired the excuses sound! I am only a housewife; I am only a layman; I am only a poor preacher; I only have an ninth-grade education; I don’t have enough time; I don’t have enough training; I don’t have enough confidence; I don’t have enough eloquence, etc. But God called Jeremiah to be a prophet, before he was born, it wasn’t Jeremiah’s choice.
The LORD put forth His hand to Jeremiah’s mouth and told him that “I have put My words in thy mouth” (Jeremiah 1:9). Jeremiah would speak God’s words; not his own.
How did Jeremiah make the transition from the suffering, excuse-making young child to the “iron pillar” career of accepting the assignment as prophet? God equipped Jeremiah for life by showing him two visions. These two visions led Jeremiah from inadequacy to adrenalin-charged obedience.
A Rod of Almond
The first vision was that of a rod of almond—“Jeremiah, what do you see? And Jeremiah said, I see a rod of an almond tree. Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast seen well: for I will hasten My word to perform it” (Jeremiah 1:11-12). One of the first blossoms each spring was the almond blossoms. Soon after the blooms appear, one soon sees the leaves; the greening of the grass, the migratory birds, and the fruit will soon come, etc. The almond blossom, are promises, anticipations of what is about to take place. They become something.
The almond blossoms are God’s word that He would give to Jeremiah. God would make sure that His word would come to pass; just like summer followers the blooms of the almond tree.
There is no living the life of faith, whether by prophet or person, without some kind of sustaining vision like this. At some deep level we need to be convinced, and in some way or other we need periodic reminders, that no words are mere words. In particular, God’s words are not mere words. They are promises that lead to fulfillments. God performs what He announces. God does what He says.
In addition, the Old Testament description of the Lampstand constructed in the time of Moses showed that it was intimately connected with the almond tree motif. Note that the flowers and the bowls for the oil on each of the seven branches of the lampstand were designed to be like those of the almond tree.
This almond tree type of Lampstand was placed by Moses in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle just outside the Holy of Holies. But inside the inner sanction itself was deposited the rod of Aaron that budded. It too had the symbol of the almond tree associated with it. The rod brought forth almond flowers and even almonds themselves in a supernatural manner (Number 17:1-13).
The almond tree was important in Israel’s symbolic history. The almond rod made from the almond tree, which blossomed first and had it leaves remain on the tree was the longest in Palestine. The vision of the almond rod solidified in Jeremiah’s mind the God would bring to pass whatever words that He had Jeremiah preach. It was a significant emblem of the rapidity with which God would execute the prophetic judgment he was called to announce to the Judahites.
The Boiling Pot
The second vision was of a boiling pot, “What do you see? And I said, I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north” (Jeremiah 1:13). The pot was tipped so that the scalding water was being spilled to the south. The village of Anathoth, where Jeremiah had lived in his youth, and the Jerusalem streets and courtyards were directly in the path of its flow. The people of Judah and Jeremiah did not need a vision to tell them that danger was gathering in the north. The Babylonian armies were on the move and no person in all of Judah could fail to be aware of it. It did, however, take the vision of a boiling pot to let them know that the evil of the Babylonians had limits.
We underestimate God and we overestimate evil. We don’t see what God is doing and conclude that he is doing nothing. We see everything that evil is doing and think it is in control of everyone.
But have you heard what the little island country of Iceland has done? Most of Christianity until around 400 years ago, forbid the charging of usury to them from the banks. This has been a major sin that the Israelites have committed. No one, except the Icelanders, has been the only culture on the planet to carry this out successfully. Not only have they been successful, at overthrowing the corrupt Government, they’ve drafted a Constitution, that will stop this from happening ever again. That’s not the best part. The best part, is that they have arrested ALL Rothschild/Rockefeller banking puppets, responsible for the Country’s economic Chaos and meltdown. The bankers are fleeing the country in fear. But you haven’t heard what Iceland is doing on the national or local news.
And did you hear of the state of Mississippi? Tomorrow they may have no abortion clinics in all of the state! No legal abortions can be done!
By means of the blossoming almond and the boiling pot we are trained to live with a keen edge of hope and to never be intimidated by evil. For if we are going to live in God’s image, we must trust in His word, trust what we do not see. And if we are going to live in the world, attentive to each particularity, loving it through all the bad times without being repelled by it or afraid of it or conformed to it, we are going to have to face its immense evil, but know at the same time that it is a limited and controlled evil.
“From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year” Jeremiah 25:3a. That was 18 years to the end of Josiah’s reign; the 3 months of King Jehoahaz’s reign; and in the 5th year of the reign of King Jehoiakim’s 11 year reign; “the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken persistently unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened” Jeremiah 25:3b.”
The word “persistently” is not only at the center of Jeremiah’s book and his life; it is spread out across his ministry. We know that Jeremiah suffered an enormous amount of abuse across his years of ministry. He faced mockery and rejection and imprisonment.
He wrestled with stretches of discouragement and pits of despair and thought of quitting. What difference did it make anyway? Why not adjust to the mediocrities of the age?
At one of those times God confronted Jeremiah: “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend (race) with horses?” Jeremiah 12:5a. What do you want, Jeremiah? A tame, domesticated life? A Sunday stroll with these bloated people who are living like parasites? Or will you compete with horses?
The confrontation galvanized Jeremiah out of his despair: “I want to race against horses.” The next morning he was again up before dawn, living persistently and urgently.
“But,” Jeremiah said, “you have not listened…You never listened or paid the slightest attention” (Jeremiah 25:3-4). Here then is the clue to our erratic life patterns, our inconstancy, our unfaithfulness, our stupid inability to distinguish between fashion and faith: we don’t rise up early and listen to God. We don’t daily find a time apart from the crowd, a time of silence and solitude, for preparing for the day’s journey.
Jeremiah, as a child, denied God’s request. He quickly changed his mind as being shown the rod of almond and the boiling pot. He went on to be set over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build and to plant. He was charged with treason by his own countrymen and placed in prison. But Jeremiah did not go into captivity to Babylon.
He eventually went to Egypt with several of the daughters of the King of Judah and later took one of them to the island of Ireland; where Princess Tamar-tephi of Pharez/Judah, became married to the King Eochaidh of Zarah/Judah in Ireland; which came many of the Irish, Scottish and English Royalty.
Jeremiah said many of God’s words:
“Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.
For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished” Jeremiah 30:10-11.
And, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them , saith the LORD:
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts and will be their God, and they shall be my people” Jeremiah 31:31-33.
Blessed be the LORD God of Israel.