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Competing Prophecies

In that same year, at the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the Lord’s house, which King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. I will also bring back to this place King Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim of Judah, and all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon, says the Lord, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord; and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord fulfill the words that you have prophesied, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. But listen now to this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.” Then the prophet Hananiah took the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, and broke it. And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: This is how I will break the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon from the neck of all the nations within two years.” At this, the prophet Jeremiah went his way. Sometime after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: Go, tell Hananiah, Thus says the Lord: You have broken wooden bars only to forge iron bars in place of them! For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put an iron yoke on the neck of all these nations so that they may serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and they shall indeed serve him; I have even given him the wild animals. And the prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you made this person trust in a lie. Therefore thus says the Lord: I am going to send you off the face of the earth. Within this year you will be dead, because you have spoken rebellion against the Lord.” In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died. (Jeremiah 28:1-17, NRSV)

Can we change the will of God by definitely going against it?

That is what Hananiah is doing. By proclaiming peace in a time of suffering and breaking the yoke of wood to forge a yoke of iron. One that can not be broken.

Sometimes we do not like the way our lives are going and want to change them. Maybe this is a time for growing and learning that God has for us to be in. We can rest assured that God is always with us even when it seems like He has left us.

So do not try to change God’s will, walk through it with Him.

 

 

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Hezekiah is Saved from an Illness

In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.”Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord: “Remember now, O Lord, I implore you, how I have walked before you in faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and defend this city. “This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he has promised: See, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps.” So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined. (Isaiah 38:1-8, NRSV)

Hezekiah was dying and Isaiah went to him to tell him that he would not recover. And Hezekiah wept and called upon the Lord. And because Hezekiah had followed after God and tried to do what was good int he eyes of God God heard him and had pity on him and gave him more time. Does this mean that if we ask God to extend our life He will?

Or if we do not follow after God He will strike us down quicker?

This means that God loves as we do and sees our hurts and our struggles and understands when we scream at Him.

God gets our emotions because our emotions come from God.

So ask, and seek. Follow after God all of your days, not because it might get you a second chance, but because it will allow you to share what He has given you so that others might come to know Him through you.

 

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Prayer for Deliverance

Lord, let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight. Surely everyone stands as a mere breath. Surely everyone goes about like a shadow. Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; they heap up, and do not know who will gather. (Psalm 39:4-6, NRSV)

Have you ever just wanted something to be over? Here David is writing a psalm of wisdom and forgiveness.

He is pondering life and his sin.

David is reflecting on how fleeting his life and all life is. We are nothing but a breath in the time of God, and we move around only as He gives us life.

Help me not to be a fleeting breath but help my life to make a difference God.

Use me to show your love in a world that needs to see you!

 

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Naomi and Ruth

But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.” Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. They said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has turned against me.” Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. (Ruth 1:8-14, NRSV)

Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to stay in their homeland so they might be provided for. Naomi was headed back to her homeland where her daughters-in-law would be outsiders and may not be accepted and may make it harder on Naomi to find a family member that will take her with an extra mouth or two to care for. She tells them that she will not provide them sons, and Orpah listens to her and goes back to her family, but Ruth, Ruth sees the hope that lies ahead with Naomi. She clings to Naomi and knows that by clinging to Naomi she is clinging to God.

Have you ever felt the hope that Ruth did here?

Knew that you had to hold on to something for dear life because God was working in and through this situation?

Remember there is always hope.

 

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Elimelech’s Family Goes to Moab

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. (Ruth 1:1-5, NRSV)

It seems like life for Naomi has gone from bad to worse. She was moved from her homeland because of famine and then after her husband died, her two sons marry, but then they died also. Now she has daughters-in-law to care for and no one to provide for her. Remember in this time, the men were the providers, so without a husband or sons, Naomi had no one to care for her. Add to that she is in a place where she has lived for many years but is still considered an outsider.

What will she do?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation like Naomi’s where it seems you have come to the end of hope?

What can we do?

Remember that God is always with us, there is never an end to hope…

 

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Ruth and Naomi

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had considered his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law, and they went on their way to go back to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.” Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. They said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has turned against me.” Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. So she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die— there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!” When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her. So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them; and the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them, “Call me no longer Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty; why call me Naomi when the Lord has dealt harshly with me, and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” So Naomi returned together with Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, who came back with her from the country of Moab. They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest. (Ruth 1:1-22, NRSV)

Here is the first chapter of the book of Ruth a wonderful little story of an outsider who becomes an insider and saves her family.

The story starts, “In the days when the judges ruled…” The story of Ruth comes right after the book of Judges in the Hebrew Scriptures, at least the way we Christians have them ordered, and Judges ends with, “In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes.” So whatever a person did was ok because it looked good to them…

But Ruth had different ideas.

There is so much pain and anguish in our lives and we sometimes struggle to see the hope. That is where this chapter takes us, you see Elimelech took his wife, Naomi, and his two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, from their home in Bethlehem because there was a famine and he had to do something to take care of his family. So he packed them up and moved them to Moab where there was obviously more provision than in Bethlehem. Here in Moab, Elimelech’s sons found women they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with and got married, or Elimelech arranged the marriages, but either way, the sons took wives, and then all of the men died. It is as if it went from bad to worse. They moved away from home and then the providers for the family all die. Then Naomi tries to send the daughters-in-law back to their kinsmen so they can be cared for. Naomi is returning to Bethlehem and the Moabite women will not be accepted or at least Naomi thinks that. Plus she will have to find family to take her in and she is not sure if they will take her daughters-in-law also. Naomi urges them to care for themselves and return to their family. And Orpah does. But Ruth does not. She has found love in a mother-in-law and a hope that God will protect them.

You see in all of the darkness, famine, and death, there is hope. Ruth says to Naomi, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die— there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!” I will not leave you. You are my kin and I will be with you. And Naomi returned to Bethlehem with Ruth.

And then the last glimmer of hope, it was the beginning of the barley harvest. It was the beginning of the gathering of the food. The famine was over and the harvest has begun! Even in the darkness, there is always hope!

 

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Epilogue

And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him. If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask, and God will give life to such a one—to those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal. (1 John 5:14-17, NRSV)

Sin is any wrongdoing that separates us from God. There are sins that lead to death, mortal sins, and sins that do not lead to death. And if a sin is not mortal you can pray to God for help for those you see committing these sins. And that will give life to others.

So request that God give life to those you see that are separated from Him.

By praying for others you are also bringing life to yourself.

 

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