December 9 Read Jeremiah 38
In spite of many objections and threats upon his life, Jeremiah continued to preach the word of the Lord. He was sentenced to death in an illegal court, but he was delivered by wicked king Zedekiah. This king then took the time to listen to Jeremiah, and even though Jeremiah’s words predicted a certain doom, Zedekiah allowed Jeremiah a certain freedom. This illustrates the verse in Proverbs that states “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord.” While we may see not much solace for God’s faithful prophet, he knew that in this way he would carry out Jehovah’s will. Is this our desire? Sing Psalter 391.
December 10 Read Jeremiah 39
A prophet was known to be a true prophet if the words of his prophecy came true. Every one in Jerusalem had to know that Jeremiah was a true prophet according to the words of this chapter. While the book is not finished, its purpose is. God used the faithful Jeremiah, who trusted in Jehovah, to warn and condemn those who did not walk in his law. The captives had seventy years to contemplate Jeremiah’s words. In those years God’s faithful were gathered unto him, and the reprobate were further condemned. May we heed God’s word as we look until the end prophesied in Scripture. Sing Psalter 379.
December 11 Read Jeremiah 40
Jeremiah’s work did not extend to his personally being in Babylon. Other prophets, such as Daniel and Ezekiel, would bring the word of Jehovah in that place. Jeremiah’s work was with those who were to be left in Judah to care for the land. We will see that they would rebel against the authority that God through Babylon placed over them. This rebellion would be punished, as they would end up in Egypt for the rest of their lives. Even in this, God cared for his faithful prophet, and he will care for us until the final day of judgment. Sing Psalter 107.
December 12 Read Jeremiah 41
This chapter tells the little-known story of some of those whoremained in Jerusalem after the main body of Judah was taken to Babylon. What we see is a group of people who had not learned the lesson of obedience. God through Jeremiah had instructed these people to stay in Judah and live peaceably under the rule of Babylon. Ishmael and others did not obey, killed the man Babylon had set over them, and then were going to leave the land. Do we know the lesson of obedience? If we live in obedience to God’s commands, we can rest assured of his blessing as we live our lives on this earth. Sing Psalter 105.
December 13 Read Jeremiah 42
The new leader, Johanan, and his friends came to Jeremiah requesting that he ask God what they should do. As the end of the chapter shows, they really did not care what God’s word was for them. They wanted to go to Egypt, and they were hoping that they could receive God’s blessing on their act of disobedience. Jeremiah tells them that God’s blessing would only rest upon them if they remained in Judah. In Egypt they would die and would lose all hope of returning. Do we want to tell God what to do? If we do, we should know that there will be no blessing in that way. Sing Psalter 106.
December 14 Read Jeremiah 43
The faithful prophet’s message from Jehovah was disregarded and a large group of people was taken to Egypt to the capital city. Jeremiah’s word about Babylon and now about Egypt was declared false, even with the destruction of Jerusalem all around them. God used this journey to bring a word of destruction to Egypt at Babylon’s hand. Nebuchadnezzar would punish Egypt for all of their idolatry and other sins. As we read this history, let us know that God is true, and his word will come to pass. Let us live in obedience to that word even when it is not our desire. In this way we will receive Jehovah’s blessings, which never fail. Sing Psalter 88.
December 15 Read Jeremiah 44
We might be wont to shake our heads as we read through this chapter. The Jews who had gone into Egypt brazenly shake their fists at Jehovah and his prophet for reproving them of idol worship. Jeremiah preaches a sermon against their wicked behavior and then leaves them with a concrete sign. Egypt’s king will be taken by Babylon, and only a very few would return to Judah. Are we any different? Are we part of the remnant? Sing Psalter 23.
December 16 Read Jeremiah 45
Baruch had to bring Jeremiah’s words of condemnation to the royalty in Jerusalem. He too was of the royal family and had an important position of being a scribe. God does not forget his faithful servant. This short missive is meant to comfort Baruch and all of God’s people who endure affliction as they carry out the word of the Lord. We must not be weary in doing God’s work. We must not quail before wicked men. We must persevere, knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for all of his people. Sing Psalter 216.
December 17 Read Jeremiah 46
In 1 Peter 4 the apostle states that judgment will begin in the house of God. He goes on to wonder how the wicked will stand. The three large prophecies, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, all report on the judgment of the wicked. In this chapter we see two parts to that judgment on Egypt. The chapter ends with a word of comfort to the faithful. We must not gloat over the wicked’s condemnation; that is what they do. Rather we must know that in the way of their judgment comes our redemption. Sing Psalter 206.
December 18 Read Jeremiah 47
Sometime God uses the heathen for his purposes. In this chapter the sword of the Lord is Babylon and its king Nebuchadnezzar. God sends him to Philistia and Phoenicia. These two nations had troubled God’s people in different ways. Philistia had long been a thorn in Israel’s flesh, and Phoenicia had influenced Israel with Baal worship. The chapter is short, but its message of judgment is sure. The captives could hear the prophecy, see its fulfillment, and know that God would deliver them from Babylon. We too must see in this prophecy the truths that Scripture holds to be true. Sing Psalter 201.
December 19 Read Jeremiah 48
In this prophecy, which foretells in great detail the destruction of Moab, the telling verse is verse 7. Moab and all wicked peoples trusted in their own works. They thought that in their power, riches, and gods they would find salvation. We must be instructed not to fall into that trap. As a hymn states, “Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul.” As we live in this world that is becoming riper for judgment each day, we must see that our only help is in Jehovah’s name. As soon as we rest upon our accomplishments, we will fall. May God give to us the grace to rest in his name forever. Sing Psalter 160.
December 20 Read Jeremiah 49
The nations that are mentioned in this chapter and the preceding chapter are all close neighbors of Israel and Judah. Moab, Ammon, and Edom are also related to Israel by blood. They also have one more thing in common. They have participated in extreme wickedness, and they have persecuted the people of God. Jeremiah makes these prophecies not to gloat, but rather he makes them at God’s command to comfort and to show Israel that they will be redeemed by the judgment of God upon the wicked. God’s people do not deserve deliverance, but by Jehovah’s grace they and we will be delivered. Sing Psalter 151.
December 21 Read Jeremiah 50
This chapter and the one that follows contain a prophecy concerning Babylon’s destruction. There are several things to note in this chapter. First, Babylon is only a picture of antichrist. In Revelation some of the ideas in this prophecy are used to portray the final manifestation of antichrist. Second, we see God’s sovereignty. Babylon would not stay as the world power; it would be destroyed by another kingdom yet to come. Finally, we see comfort for God’s people, for in Babylon’s destruction would come their release. May we look for the destruction of antichrist’s kingdom as the way of our deliverance into our eternal glory. Sing Psalter 152.
December 22 Read Jeremiah 51
When Jeremiah finished making this prophecy, he gave instructions that the prophecy was to be read in Babylon, both to the Babylonians and to the people of God. For the people of God the prophecy served as comfort as their release was foretold. For Babylon they would know that their earthly kingdom would not last, but would fade away just as the prophecy, weighted by a stone, sank into the waters of the Euphrates. People of God, read the word of God and know that all that is contained in it will come to pass. In this way we will be comforted as we live in this evil world. Sing Psalter 361.
December 23 Read Jeremiah 52
The book of Jeremiah ends with grace. Some might say, How? If you compare Jeremiah 52 with Matthew 1, you will find Jehoiachin (Jechonias). This man was in the line of David and therefore of Christ. The sovereign God moved Babylon’s king to take Jechoiachin from prison and give him the freedom to marry and bring forth a child. That is grace shining through the wickedness of the world. That is the grace that gives to us the blessed salvation that we have. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift! Sing Psalter 198.
December 24 Read Lamentations 1
Each chapter of Lamentations is written in acrostic form. Notices the multiples of twenty-two—the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. In this first chapter Judah bewails her misery. We see the sad condition into which Jehovah has led them because of their sin. Notice the words of verse twelve. Not only do they portray the deep sorrow of Jerusalem, but also they portray the sorrows that would be ours if Christ had not taken our sins upon him. The final verses of the chapter are a prayer that we would do well to take on our lips. Sing Psalter 141.
December 25 Read Lamentations 2
The prophet continues his lamentation over the devastation Babylon has wrought in Judah and especially Jerusalem. However, Jeremiah knows that Babylon was only an agent in God’s hand. God sovereignly used Babylon to carry out the chastisement of his people. Noticed the number of verses that begin, “The Lord hath…” Once again the chapter ends with a prayer of deliverance from the evils that brought the church into this state. May we make this prayer ours every day. Sing Psalter 386.
December 26 Read Lamentations 3
In this chapter the prophet adds his own sufferings to the nations as he carried out Jehovah’s work. In the midst of the darkness of the first third of the chapter, the sun breaks forth in verses 21–23. Jeremiah and the church can know by grace through faith that God’s mercies are sure. Every morning we can call those mercies ours and rest assured that Jehovah will keep us throughout the day. No matter what God brings upon us, in his mercy he will deliver us from all trouble. Sing Psalter 241.
December 27 Read Lamentations 4
There are three parts to this acrostic. In the first eleven verses, Jeremiah recounts the severe miseries that Judah suffered. In the next nine verses the cause of the suffering is stated. Israel has sinned, and these sufferings are the chastisement on account of that sin. The final two verses state that without a doubt Judah would be restored to the promised land. The nation that mocked her while going into captivity, Edom, would be punished. Once again we see the beautiful grace of God showered forth upon his people. Sing Psalter 83
December 28 Read Lamentations 5
This chapter does not follow the acrostic style of the first four, but the thought and arrangement is similar. Judah’s sad condition is shown as Babylon troubled them. The reason—their sin—for the sad condition is exposed. Finally, a prayer for their restoration is lifted up to almighty God. Notice verse twenty-one, in which the prophet says that the work of restoration is wholly God’s. Like Judah we can do nothing to deliver ourselves from the misery of our sins. Like Judah we depend wholly upon the grace of God for such a great salvation. Sing Psalter 220.
December 29 Read Ezekiel 1
While Jeremiah was prophesying to the people of God in Judah, Ezekiel had been carried away captive with the first group of captives along with Jehoiachin. God called him to his work near the river Chebar, which is in northern Mesopotamia. His work was to prepare the early group of captives for the seventy years that they would have to endure in Babylon. The fantastic vision that he saw was not only the announcement of his call, but also an indication that his prophecy would concern more than just the immediate future, for from this vision and others we have a glimpse of what the new heaven and earth will be like. Sing Psalter 373.
December 30 Read Ezekiel 2
In this chapter and the one that follows we find the prophet’s commission to his work. He is given the name “Son of man.” The name Ezekiel means “strength of God.” Son of man would remind him that he is but a man. That fact makes the encouragement found in the chapter necessary. All office bearers must remember not to be afraid. Their work is from God who will strengthen them in it. All of the congregation must know that their work is from God and must be accepted as such. Sing Psalter 223.
December 31 Read Ezekiel 3
Even though the roll that Ezekiel was compelled to eat was sweet, it would bring bitterness into his life. The people to whom he was instructed to go would not accept him or the prophecies that he would bring. However, God encourages him in the days before his announcement to those people who were already languishing as captives. That encouragement is for all of us as we live in this Babylon awaiting our deliverance into the new Jerusalem, which is not of this earth, Sing Psalter 376.
January 1 Read Ezekiel 4
The captives in Babylon still looked for Jerusalem to throw off Babylon, so that they could return. God commanded Ezekiel in a very graphic way to show that Judah would fall even as Israel did, and that conditions in the city would be very bad. God gives to us signs of Christ’s return. Some of them are becoming extremely graphic. Are we paying heed to those signs? Or, as Lot’s wife, do we look back upon an earth that pleases our flesh? Sing Psalter 407.
January 2 Read Ezekiel 5
Ezekiel continues to bring the word of Jehovah to the captives along the river Chebar. That word continues to be, “Jerusalem will be destroyed, and its inhabitants will be carried away captive.” The captives who saw Ezekiel cut and destroy his beard knew what these signs meant, but in the last verse we see that God makes sure they know it when he adds, “I the Lord have spoken it.” God has spoken what will happen before Christ returns. We know what the signs mean; are we paying attention to them? Sing Psalter 397.
January 3 Read Ezekiel 6
There are three items of note in this chapter, and they are all related. First, Ezekiel prophesies the final destruction of all of Israel because of her idolatrous ways. Second, God’s grace is shone to a remnant that will return to the promised land. Finally, all of this is done because “I am the Lord.” As we view events in this world’s history, we too must know that Jehovah is God. It is quite easy to see causes for things in the news and forget that our sovereign God rules every act of every man and nation. “I am the Lord” is comforting to the believer because he can know that nothing can separate him from the love of God. Sing Psalter 392.
January 4 Read Ezekiel 7
This is a continuation of the previous chapter. The description of Israel’s destruction is very graphic. The call is to repentance. It is a call that would go unheeded by most in Israel, but by God’s grace there would be a remnant whowould heed the call and return to Jehovah. There are many signs that Christ is coming as judge. There is a call to repentance today as well. Will we heed that call? Will we pray for grace to return unto the Lord, knowing that in him and only in him we will find that grace to repent? Sing Psalter 143.
January 5 Read Ezekiel 8
The book of Ezekiel now turns to a different description of Judah. In the previous chapters Judah’s miseries are shown to Ezekiel, and he makes them known to his fellow exiles. Those listeners seem unwilling to hear God’s prophet. Now in the audience of these exiles, God gives to him a vision that shows him why Judah would be taken into captivity. The sin portrayed here is idolatry in many forms. Judah had sought other gods and had forsaken Jehovah. Whom do we worship? God’s fury would be upon us except for the blood of the lamb. Sing Psalter 308.
January 6 Read Ezekiel 9
After seeing the multitude of evils in Jerusalem, Ezekiel now sees God’s judgment upon those who committed such sins. Yet we see grace for those who had been chosen from eternity. They were spared the executioner’s weapons. The mark of grace saved them from destruction. This mark of grace could only come from God, because even Ezekiel’s plea for mercy is ignored. The two classes of people in the world are shown, and the respective ends of those classes are sure. Pray for grace, people of God, and pray for it unceasingly. Sing Psalter 365.
January 7 Read Ezekiel 10
The vision of God’s judgment upon Jerusalem continues in this chapter. Ezekiel sees what should be a horrifying sight to God’s people. The glory of the Lord as pictured in the Shechinah cloud leaves the temple. God’s presence is gone out from a sinful nation, especially for their disregard of the proper worship of Jehovah. We could properly title this chapter Ichabod, “The glory is departed.” As we worship from week to week in God’s house, let us remember to worship him in spirit and in truth, and not after our own our any other man’s designs. Sing Psalter 313.
January 8 Read Ezekiel 11
While yet in the vision in Jerusalem, Ezekiel is told to prophesy against certain leaders of the nation. He knows two of those leaders, and one of them dies during the prophecy. The event fills Ezekiel with concern for the entire nation. God assures him that there is a remnant that he will save by giving them a new heart. Those people will he save and redeem even as he as condemned the others. This is the heart for which we must pray for ourselves and for those whom we know are walking in an evil way. Sing Psalter 310.