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« Reply #6300 on: October 15, 2018, 08:51:19 AM »

The Throne of David

“And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” (2 Samuel 7:16)

No other ordinary human being, not even the greatest of men, was ever given a promise like this promise to David. It can be understood, however, when one realizes that David is a type of Christ and that, in terms of His human genealogy, Christ did indeed inherit the right to David’s throne. As the angel Gabriel told Mary: “The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever” (Luke 1:32-33). The coming Messiah is identified as this promised Son of David in the Old Testament prophecies (e.g., Isaiah 9:6-7).

Without attempting to discuss the eschatological implications of these great prophecies, it is remarkable just to note the striking typological relation of David to Christ (and, correspondingly, of Saul to Adam). Saul, like Adam, had a wonderful physique and every natural advantage; he was given dominion over a new order of things under God; he received God’s Spirit and his seed would have reigned forever had he not failed by intruding into a forbidden sphere; he was then rejected by God because of his disobedience, and finally the Spirit of God departed from him.

David, however, is a beautiful type of the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ. Though anointed, he was not accepted by his brethren; he was a shepherd and performed great services for his people before becoming king, but he was rejected and condemned to death. God delivered him, but even then he was only accepted by a few, until suddenly all Israel accepted him and he was promised an eternal kingdom. Christ now claims: “I am the root and the offspring of David”—both Creator and heir of David—“and the bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16). HMM
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« Reply #6301 on: October 17, 2018, 09:26:40 AM »

The Valley of Blessing

“And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day.” (2 Chronicles 20:26)

The name Berachah means “blessing,” and the people of Judah surely had much reason to bless the Lord. The armies of the Moabites and Ammonites, and many others, had invaded their land, and King Jehoshaphat had no forces sufficient to oppose them.

But Jehoshaphat had already led his people back to the Lord, and now he prayed for their deliverance, acknowledging that the Lord was “God in heaven . . . so that none is able to withstand thee.” Therefore God replied, through the prophet Jahaziel, that “the battle is not yours, but God’s . . . stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 20:6, 15, 17). God then set the invading armies against each other until all were slain, and God’s people were delivered without even lifting a sword. No wonder the people “blessed the LORD”!

The Hebrew word berachah (“blessing”) is used some 68 times in the Old Testament, the first being God’s promise to Abraham when he followed the Lord: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2). God’s promise to Abraham has been abundantly kept, though there is much more to come. We, like the people in the valley of Berachah, have much for which to bless the Lord, for we also have seen the salvation of God: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12).

Therefore, “bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name” (Psalm 103:1). HMM
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« Reply #6302 on: October 18, 2018, 08:28:24 AM »

God's Final Word

“The Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” (Zechariah 14:9)

God cannot be defeated in His creative purpose for this earth and its people. In the beginning, there was only God. In the ending, there will be one Lord, and His name one.

In the meantime, He is working out His great plan of reconciliation, as revealed in His Word. In the magnificent book of Revelation, especially the last two chapters, we are carried forward in the Spirit into the never-ending glories of the renewed earth, with the great Creator and Redeemer dwelling there with His people eternally.

But in that final chapter, there are some final words from the Lord to guide and warn us until He returns. There is one final invitation, for example: “And let him that is athirst come” (Revelation 22:17). Then there is a final warning. This completed book of Scripture contains all that man will ever need to know concerning salvation, the Christian life, and God’s great plans, so let no man “add unto these things,” or “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy” (vv. 18-19). There is no salvation, except through His Word.

Next, there is a final promise. “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly” (v. 20). Of all the promises of God, there is none more “exceeding great and precious” than this (2 Peter 1:4). In response, there is a final prayer, teaching us that this should be the climax of every believing prayer: “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (v. 20). This is our greatest need!

Lastly, there is a final benediction, the same as the close of each of Paul’s epistles, and the most wonderful of all the words of a holy, yet loving, Creator, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (v. 21). It is fitting that God’s Word, which began with His creation, should end with His saving grace! HMM
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« Reply #6303 on: October 19, 2018, 08:42:24 AM »

The End
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)

As Peter wrote his first epistle, foremost in his mind was a desire to encourage the believers to stand firm in the face of suffering and trial. On four occasions he used the term “the end,” focusing his readers’ attention on the final resolution of all things. A study of these occurrences gives us a glimpse of the tenor of the entire book.

The first use followed an explanation of the nature and benefits of the various trials in a believer’s life. The result would be a pure, effective faith now, as well as “receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1:9), the final ultimate deliverance of our whole person.

Meanwhile, “gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:13). Our minds should be completely (“to the end”) ready for action, sober and expectant, focused on the ultimate resolution of all trials.

This ultimate resolution could come at any time: “The end of all things is at hand” (4:7). Our responses should be to “be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” To be sober is to be of sound judgment, making careful decisions, not based on emotion; especially watchful as we pray, with eternity in mind.

Our text gives us the last occurrence of “the end.” The time of final judgment on both Christian and non-Christian looms nearer and nearer. But God’s cleansing of His people has already begun, and it at times is not pleasant, although beneficial. His judgment on those outside “the house of God” will be much more severe, with no opportunity for reconciliation. This warning should motivate us in our ministry to the unsaved. JDM
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« Reply #6304 on: October 20, 2018, 08:24:06 AM »

The Father of Lights

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:1)

God, Himself, is both author and finisher of everything we have that is good. This, of course, is the testimony concerning His creation in the beginning, which was both “very good” and “finished” (Genesis 1:31; 2:1). The unique name “Father of lights” seems to suggest a remarkable scientific insight. Since light is the most basic form of energy, and yet is equivalent also to all other forms, and since literally everything in the physical universe is energy in some form, it is singularly appropriate to speak of the totality of all God’s good and perfect gifts in creation as “lights.” And, since all these energies are not now being created (only “conserved”), their original source can only be from the Father of lights!

There even seems to be a hint of both of the great laws of science, energy conservation as well as energy deterioration. The term “variableness,” used only here, means literally “transmutation.” Just as God is immutable, the total amount of His created “lights” is conserved—neither created nor destroyed. The Second Law states that, in all energy conversions (that is, in everything that happens), the entropy of the universe increases. “Entropy” means “in-turning,” coming from two Greek words, en and trope—the second of which is used in this verse. Entropy is a measure of disorganization, and its inexorable increase is a result of God’s curse on the creation following man’s rebellion. Thus, although the total energy of the universe is conserved (by the First Law), the available energy is decreasing (by the Second Law). Nevertheless, God Himself is not bound by this law that He has imposed, for a time, on His creation. With Him is not even a “shadow” of any “turning” (trope). God never changes, and His purposes can never be defeated! HMM
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« Reply #6305 on: October 21, 2018, 09:05:03 AM »

The Vine

“What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?” (Isaiah 5:4)

In Scripture we find many references to vines and vineyards, but there are three major passages that together reveal three aspects concerning the character of God and His love for His people.

The first, Isaiah 5:1-7, includes our text. Here we find that God, the owner, planter, and caretaker of the vineyard, cannot contain His disappointment, for despite the loving care showered upon the vine, it has brought forth improper, worthless fruit. In this parable, “the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant” (v. 7), the chosen people who had seen more clearly than anyone else His abundant provision, but who had chosen to reject Him and not bear Him fruit. To them, and to those of us who reject His cultivating grace, He says: “I will lay it waste” (v. 6).

Psalm 80:8-19 gives us a picture of the abject desolation of the unfruitful vineyard once it is abandoned by the vinedresser. It is ravaged by enemies, wild animals, and fire, utterly helpless. The “vine” (Israel) may cry for help and restoration, but there are consequences to be paid. What a graphic picture this is, and what a reminder to believers today that we cannot for long ignore His will for our lives.

The last and most precious passage is found in John 15:1-16 and concerns fruitbearing. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (v. 5). Here are found the secrets of the believer’s growth and fertility in glorious union with Christ. “Herein is my father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (v. 8). JDM
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« Reply #6306 on: October 22, 2018, 08:54:01 AM »

Carest Thou Not?

“And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38)

There are times when we have great problems and God seems to ignore our prayers, and finally we begin to wonder if He cares about us at all. There is no need to wonder. God cares about the sparrow, and He surely cares about His own dear children. If there is not some clear reason why He fails to answer (such as sin in our lives), then perhaps it is simply (as in Job’s case) a test of our faith.

When the disciples thought Jesus didn’t care, He rebuked them thus: “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). Mary and Martha sent word that their brother Lazarus was deathly ill, but then Jesus “abode two days still in the same place where he was” (John 11:6). When the sisters complained about His delay, He replied: “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).

One day a woman of Canaan cried out to Him for mercy on her for her demon-possessed daughter, “but he answered her not a word.” He seemed not to care, but she kept calling on Him and worshipping Him, until He finally said unto her: “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matthew 15:23, 28).

The disciples and the sisters of Lazarus and the Canaanite woman all wondered at His seeming lack of concern, but He did care. He finally calmed the storm, and raised Lazarus, and healed the daughter. His delay was in order to test and strengthen their faith.

Can He not also test us, “that the trial of your faith . . . though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7)? HMM
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« Reply #6307 on: October 23, 2018, 09:12:27 AM »

Confident Prayer

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John 5:14-15)

This is the classic conditional promise. Confidence in prayer is tied directly to the qualifier: “If we ask anything according to his will. . . .” It is, therefore, important that we understand “what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17).

Many surveys have verified that most people pray. All of those studies, however, note that a good portion of the prayers are directed toward an unknown “higher power.” It may seem obvious, but the first requirement for coming under the will of God is to “believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 3:23). Before God will respond to our “petitions,” we must be “born again” (John 3:3).

Jesus was once asked what the greatest command was. His response, quoting from Deuteronomy 6, was: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37). That internal and invisible love of the heart is expressed by obedience to the commandments that God has given. John records it this way: “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).

Thus, a simple formula appears. If we obey what God has commanded us (starting with faith in the saving work of Christ), then we are assured that God will hear us when we pray. Once our confidence is secured, we can know that God will respond to what we desired from Him. The psalmist states the formula this way: “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4). HMM III
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« Reply #6308 on: October 24, 2018, 09:23:54 AM »

Jephthah's Daughter

“Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” (Judges 11:31)

The story of Jephthah has been a stumbling block to many who interpret it as teaching that Jephthah sacrificed his daughter to God as a burnt offering. As he prepared to face the Ammonite armies, he made the vow recorded in our text, if God would only give him the victory. His only child, a beloved daughter, was then first to meet him at his return, and so it was she who had to be offered.

It should be remembered, however, that Jephthah was a man of true faith (Hebrews 11:32-33), and he would never have vowed to disobey God’s prohibition against human sacrifice. The problem is that the Hebrew conjunction waw (translated “and” in our text) is very flexible in meaning depending on context. Here, “or” is better than “and.”

That is, Jephthah vowed that whatever first came out to meet him would be dedicated to the Lord: If a person came out (Jephthah was probably thinking of a servant), he or she would be dedicated to God’s service at the tabernacle, as Hannah later dedicated Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11). Or if an animal from his flock came out, it would be sacrificed.

His daughter, out of love for her father and gratitude to God for His deliverance from the Ammonites, insisted her father keep his vow. Since that meant that she, as a perpetual servant at the tabernacle, could never have a husband and children, she “bewailed her virginity” (not her impending death) and then “returned to her father” so that he could keep his vow, and throughout her life “she knew no man” (Judges 11:38-39). Instead of a strange tale of human sacrifice, this is the story of the love of a God-fearing father and daughter for each other and for their Lord. HMM
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« Reply #6309 on: October 25, 2018, 08:47:45 AM »

Deadly Sin

“If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” (1 John 5:16)

Many pastors and other godly leaders have been asked about this verse. Usually, the question is asked from a very personal perspective: “Have I committed this kind of sin?”

This reference does not seem to apply to the famous “unforgivable sin” (Matthew 12:31), since that sin is the final rejection of God’s truth transmitted to all humanity by the Holy Spirit (John 3:19; 16:7-11). In the context of today’s text, John is clearly writing and warning believers that it is possible to commit a sin that is worthy of physical death—a sin so obvious to others that the brethren are not told to “pray for it.”

There are a few such examples in the Scripture.

• The sons of Eli dishonoring the priesthood (1 Samuel 2)
• Korah’s rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16)
• Ananias and Sapphira lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5)
• An incestuous church member delivered over to Satan for his destruction (1 Corinthians 5)
• Those who have known the “good things” of God but have withdrawn after having “tasted” them (Hebrews 6:4-6)
• Willful sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth (Hebrews 10:26)
• Returning again to bondage after knowing the freedom in Christ (2 Peter 2:20-22)

All sin produces “death” (James 1:15), and all of us will die because of sin (Genesis 3:19; Hebrews 9:27). But this deadly sin brings about the premature “execution” of a believer when he or she consciously refuses to follow known righteousness and instead chooses open ungodliness. May it never be so among us. HMM III
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« Reply #6310 on: October 26, 2018, 08:48:36 AM »

Persecuted for Righteousness' Sake

“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” (Luke 6:22)

“Blessed” means “happy,” and it would seem paradoxical to try to find happiness by being persecuted. Most Christians are extremely reluctant to do anything that might make them less popular with their peers, let alone anything that might lead to social ostracism or even physical suffering. Yet, Jesus said that this is the way to find true happiness.

He did not say that blessing comes through suffering for foolishness’ sake, or for carelessness’ sake, or for sinfulness’ sake. “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Matthew 5:10). The principle is amplified by Peter: “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye. . . . But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1 Peter 4:14-16).

It hurts, of course, to be “cast out—as evil” when one is sincerely seeking to do right and to honor God. This was the experience of the blind man to whom Jesus gave sight. The religious authorities responded to his testimony with: “Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out” (John 9:34). Nevertheless, he now could see! Likewise, the religious leaders “raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.” Nevertheless, “the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 13:50, 52).

The situation exists today in many countries—soon perhaps in America. If so, may the Lord enable us to honor His name in suffering with joy and without compromise, for “Christ also suffered for us” (1 Peter 2:21). HMM
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« Reply #6311 on: October 27, 2018, 09:46:06 AM »

Knowing Him

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20)

John uses two words for “know” in this short letter, both of which are used in the final instruction to his readers. The Greek word ginosko is used 25 times throughout this epistle, stressing knowledge that is gained through personal experience. The other word, ei’do (or oi’da), is used an additional 17 times, emphasizing mental understanding and comprehension.

The Intellectual Confidence

We “know [ei’do] that he was manifested to take away our sins” (1 John 3:5). We “know that we have passed from death unto life” (1 John 3:14). We “know that [we] have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). We “know that we are of God” (1 John 5:19). We “know that the Son of God is come” (1 John 5:20). All of this “head knowledge” is, of course, straight from the Word of God. These are the basics of our belief in the work of Christ.

The Personal Experience

We “know [ginosko] that we know [ginosko] him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3). “There [are] many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:18). “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments” (1 John 5:2).

Thus, our intellectual “knowledge” of God’s Word is “experienced” as we “work out [our] own salvation” (Philippians 2:12). Being “born again” is just the beginning. We should “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). HMM III
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« Reply #6312 on: October 28, 2018, 08:51:38 AM »

Satan's Strategic Plan

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3)

The magnificent book of Genesis sets the foundation for Scripture, revealing the “Roman numerals” upon which the rest of the Bible’s message is built. Apart from the actual events of the creation week, the fall of Adam and Eve, and the subsequent horrific growth of sin and the awful judgment of the Flood, the gospel message would make little sense.

Paul’s warning showcases the importance of Satan’s strategy to ensnare humanity in the same trap. The Devil’s tactics change with time and culture, but the strategy remains the same.

First, Satan always attempts to make us doubt the Word of God (Genesis 3:1). If we question the accuracy, the meaning, the authenticity, the historicity, or any other shade of “all scripture” (2 Timothy 3:16), then we begin edging onto a slippery slope that will only lead to the next stage.

Second, Satan always confronts the doubter with a denial of the Word of God (Genesis 3:4). When one begins to deny the authority, the capability, or the will of God to carry out His Word, the slide into the final phase is inevitable.

Third, Satan ultimately heaps denigration on the Person of God Himself (Genesis 3:5). Once one embraces the thought that the Word of God is not trustworthy and that God either will not or cannot do what He says, it absolutely follows that God is either a liar, a hypocrite, or a capricious and whimsical ogre.

May God protect us from the “wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). HMM III
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« Reply #6313 on: October 29, 2018, 08:58:01 AM »

Prayer for All Men

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.” (1 Timothy 2:1)

The book of 1 Timothy consists of various charges (1:18- 19) to Paul’s disciple Timothy. The first charge (2:1-8) concerns prayer in the church. The fact that Paul mentions it “first of all” (v. 1) indicates that he felt it of primary importance. Note the four types of prayer in our text verse.

Supplications, or perhaps petitions, referring to one’s personal needs: We must recognize our continued dependence on God’s provision. “The effectual fervent prayer [same word] of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

Prayers: This is a general term with a number of applications, but foremost it indicates reverence for and worship of the one to whom the prayers are offered. “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8).

Intercessions: This word implies a personal bequest on an intimate basis, as child to father. The only other occurrence of the word regards the eating of food that “is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:5).

Giving of thanks: When we give thanks, we recognize that our blessings are undeserved. “Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever” (Revelation 7:12).

These types of prayers, which should probably be understood as representing all types of prayers, should be made “for all men,” specifically those in authority (v. 2) and for the unsaved (v. 4). Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will present our prayers to the Father (v. 5) and ensure that He will answer them as He sees best. JDM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #6314 on: October 30, 2018, 09:43:33 AM »

Man's Grief and God's Compassion

“For the LORD will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” (Lamentations 3:31-33)

The five chapters of the unique book of Lamentations, written by Jeremiah in his grief over the destruction of Jerusalem, are all written as acrostics, with each verse of each chapter beginning with successive letters of the 22-letter Hebrew alphabet. That is, verse 1 of each chapter begins with the letter aleph, verse 2 with beth, etc. (like A, B, etc. in English). The middle chapter is written in acrostic triplets (the first three verses beginning with aleph, and so on). Thus, chapter 3 contains 66 verses instead of 22.

The three verses of our text are right at the midpoint of this middle chapter, comprising the final triplet of the first half of the book, and thus uniquely constituting its central theme. As such, it could well also be the heart cry of every saint in any age experiencing God’s chastening hand.

Although Jeremiah himself had not sinned, his nation had grievously sinned, and thus all Israel had finally come under the rod. Nevertheless, the prophet could assure his people that God still loved them and would renew His compassion even in the midst of their grief. God does not willingly send affliction, for He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

When we suffer, or our nation suffers (as it surely will if it continues its present rebellion against God), it is well to remember His promise. “He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever” (Psalm 103:9). It is true that “no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11). HMM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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