Read the Bible in 2011–2021* ◊ Week 14: Friday
but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth;
for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me,” saith the Lord.
If you’re familiar with John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, the phrase, valiant for the truth, will sound familiar. Derek Kidner tells us:
“The fine character in Pilgrim’s Progress, Mr Valiant-for-truth, was named in robust contrast to the men of 9:3 who, in AV‘s phrase, ‘are not valiant for the truth upon the earth.”1
Robust contrast is putting it mildly. Friday’s Bible reading is Jeremiah 7–11. Notice the many times you see deceptive, deceit, and lies describe the people and their leaders. Watch for their attitudes toward God, their actions, and what they trust and rely upon contrasted with what they refuse.
Pray and ask God to give you understand of who He is as you read these chapters. If you’re not familiar with the historical background, go back to Jeremiah 1–6: Broken Cisterns & Living Waters. Don’t be apprehensive of doing the reading even if you don’t know all of the background; God’s Word is always profitable. When reading the prophets I have found over and over that they bring me to a better understanding of who God in His holiness and right judgment of sin. I better understand my own heart, sin and need of forgiveness when I read of the litany of sins of Israel or Judah. I am always amazed when in the midst of reading about the horrific things done by His people to find passages on God’s great compassion for a nation saturated in rebellion and wickedness.
Chapter 7 opens with Jeremiah at the Temple:
“In Isaiah’s day, people had trusted in a ‘refuge of lies’, telling themselves that the worst could never happen (Is. 28:15, 17). Here was something more blatant: treating the temple as a ‘safe house’ against not just the enemy, but the Lord.
“God’s answer to the parrot-cry The temple of the Lord begins with an appeal to conscience (3–7), to reason (8–11) and to history (12–15).”2
Jeremiah’s proclamation at the Temple ends in 8:1–3. Kidner aptly describes what is coming as, In death dishonour, in life despair. As you continue reading, note what Judah has done and how God will judge them.
They are dismayed and caught;
Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord,
And what kind of wisdom do they have?
Therefore I will give their wives to others,
Their fields to new owners;
Because from the least even to the greatest
Everyone is greedy for gain;
From the prophet even to the priest
Everyone practices deceit.
They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
But there is no peace.
Were they ashamed because of the abomination they had done?
They certainly were not ashamed,
And they did not know how to blush;
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
At the time of their punishment they shall be brought down,”
Says the Lord.
God condemns their worship of idols, its detestable acts, and their superstitious delusion that the blocks of wood they carve and gild are gods (7:8–10, 17–18, 30–31; 8:1–2, 19; 10:1–11, 14–15; 11:9–13, 17. My pastor, Mike Braun, in his teaching said when there is idol worship there is always violence and sexual immorality. Derek Kidner has this to say about the appeal of the delusion of idols:
“Why did so easy a target as idolatry need so many attacks in the Old Testament? [Chapter 10] Verse 9 suggests one reason: the appeal of the visually impressive; but perhaps verse 2 goes deeper, in pointing to the temptation to fall in step with the majority. What ‘everybody’ does may be solemn nonsense (3ff., 14–15), and the fashionable thinkers stupid and foolish (8) theologically (which is where it matters); but it may take God to say so, and the godly to see it. This perception, incidentally, is one of the blessings of thoughtful worship, as seen in the psalm of verses 6–16. As it dwells on the incomparable Lord and his writ that runs world-wide (6-10); on his creatorship, as the one who formed all things (16); and on his commitment to his people, who mean everything to him, and he (by rights) to them (16b, a); so the glamour of the gods who are made to measure disappears, and the reproach of belonging to a minority becomes an honour.”3
Finally, write down what you learn about who God is. The psalm in chapter 10 is one place to look, but you learn about who God is throughout today’s reading. Chapter 9 contains one of my favorite passages, and I include it time and again when I am teaching women about why we study the Bible.
Jeremiah 7–11 are rich chapters. I know they’re lengthy, but don’t read them dispassionately or in haste. Take time to ponder Jeremiah’s words, and ask God to teach you what you need to know and do.
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications. (Site has been deleted since posting).
Architectural model of the temple of King Solomon in Jerusalem, 1883. After a design by Thomas Newberry, Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public domain. Click the image to enlarge. Here is a video close-up.
AV: Authorized (King James) Version
1,2,3Derek Kidner, The Message of Jeremiah: Against wind and tide (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1987) 54–55, 49, 56.
*In 2011 I started a year-long series of posts, “Read the Bible in 2011.” You can find the other posts in the navigation menu in the header. If a day doesn’t have a link to a post, the post was simply a brief reminder about the reading. I’m filling in some of those gaps with new posts with “Read the Bible in 2011 Redux” as a category.
Original content: Copyright ©2011–2021 Iwana Carpenter