lighthouse on a rocky shore August 4 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Jeremiah 36:1-7; Jeremiah 45:1-5; Jeremiah 25; Jeremiah 46:1-28; 2Kings 24:7

Last Warnings

Lighthouses serve to warn boats and ships to stay away from rocky shores which could destroy them and injure crew and passengers. This is similar to what a parent or teacher does with children—he will try to shine a light on things which might harm or destroy their lives. Some, however, do not listen. Parents and teachers will repeat their warnings over and over again. Like sirens, some will even yell their threats and warnings. If that doesn't work, they know they will have to take action.

As we have seen in recent Bible readings, God has been extremely patient with Israel and Judah. Along with discipline, He has sent many prophets to warn them of ultimate judgment in hopes they might repent, and then He will not have to punish them.

They said, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the LORD gave to you and your fathers for ever and ever. Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not provoke me to anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you” (Jeremiah 25:5-6, NIV).

God's patience and warnings have almost run out; He has had enough of her continual wickedness! First, He punishes Israel (the northern kingdom). Although Judah sees Israel, her sister nation, destroyed and her people taken into exile, she pays no heed and becomes worse than her and the nations surrounding her. Now, 100 years later God has had just about enough of Judah's wickedness—just a few more warnings before He exercises His justice on her as well.

Judah sees Babylonian forces advancing toward her land and conquering all the nations in their path, but she deludes herself into thinking, “Not us—we won't be destroyed—we are the people of God! Besides that, God's temple is here” (Jeremiah 7:4). But they are like a ship in danger of being dashed against the rocks because they pay no attention to the warnings from the lighthouse.

Is our life in danger, too? We must pay attention to the light of God's Word, warning us to turn to God before it is too late. He blesses those who heed His warnings. He offers us salvation and safety from dashing our lives against the rocks (more...).

Jeremiah is like a lighthouse, warning Judah of danger. He was not captured and exiled to Babylon like Daniel and his friends. He is still in Jerusalem, telling people to turn away from their sins so God will save their nation from total annihilation by this powerful army. We might think that a nation under siege (Jeremiah 10:17) would consider her ways, but the people are obstinate. They will not repent, so their judgment is final—they will suffer the same fate as other nations around them. They will die by the sword or famine from the siege. Their cities will be destroyed, their treasuries stolen, and those who are left will be exiled. Like a ship dashed against the rocks, the destruction of Jerusalem and all the nations around them will be terrible.

Jeremiah's aid, Baruch, does not like this message of judgment. He does not want to read a message of judgment to the king. Baruch is discouraged— He has a desire for greatness and does not want to suffer. Perhaps, he thinks this is the time for him to take what he can get or seek a position of importance before all opportunities are gone. God tells him it is of no use, however; Judah will be destroyed. However, for his faithfulness, the LORD will protect him wherever he goes, and he will escape with his life.

Judah will soon be devastated, but in God's grace, He will later extend mercy to her. Because Israel and Judah are God's covenant people, after seventy years of captivity in Babylon and nationwide repentance, they will be allowed to return to their land. Disobedience to the LORD brings punishment, but even in judgment, there is mercy for those who have a special relationship with Him. Do we have a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ? (more...)

Lessons to Live By

  • We should not think because we are Christians, God will not punish us for bad behavior.

  • Because God delays His punishment, many people think He will not do it. We should remember that God's delay in judgment is to lead people to repentance (Romans 2:4).

  • Let's listen to God's warnings in His Word and heed them before judgment comes. Let's not wreck our lives.

  • God exercises mercy on those with whom He has a special relationship. If we don't have one, we should seek Him today! (more...)

Focus Verse

Isaiah 55:7 (NIV) “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”

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A Look Ahead: When Babylon comes to conquer, not only Judah will suffer, but God will use Nebuchadnezzar for The Punishment of Nations in all areas of the Middle East. Will it all be judgment without mercy? No. See more in our Next Lesson.

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