Daily Readings – May 2017

During 2015, at the evening services, I preached a series of sermons on the early chapters of the prophecy of Jeremiah. At the end of the series, I said that I would complete Jeremiah in these Easterly Bible readings. We began that series last month and continue through May.

Monday 1st May
Jeremiah 12:1-4
In these verses, Jeremiah asks serious questions about the justice of God. He knows that God is righteous (verse 1) and so he cannot understand why the wicked seem to prosper. He is not arguing with God, he is seeking humbly to find an answer to a great problem. It was the divine providence he couldn’t understand. The Psalmist addressed the same problem in Psalm 73 but later in the Psalm (verses 16-19), he came to understand: ‘When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me 17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. 18 Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. 19 How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!’ The prophet Habakkuk also reflected on this problem. See Habakkuk 1:1-4, 12-13; 3:16-19. The answer is for us to trust in God and in his final judgement.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Holiday Club at the end of July and for all the work being done now in preparation. Pray for the small team planning the event and for all those who have volunteered to help. Pray that God will use it to sow Gospel seeds in the lives of many children.

Tuesday 2nd May
Jeremiah 12:1-4
The question which Jeremiah asks in these verses is a real one. Why do Christians suffer if they are truly the people of God? This is a reasonable question and, as we saw yesterday, one which the Psalmist and the prophets were not afraid to tackle. It is a question we often ask ourselves, particularly in the face of suffering. There are various answers: We suffer because we live in a fallen world; we suffer because we are part of a fallen race; we suffer because of our own sin; we suffer because of God’s Fatherly disciple; and we suffer if God’s judgement falls on our nation, as it did with Israel. The apostle Peter offers another perspective. In 1 Peter 1:3-7 he explains why they are suffering: ‘These have come so that your faith… may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed’.

Prayer Point
Pray for Anne Fraser who has just completed her service as an officer in our Girls’ Brigade. Pray for her in her continued service of Christ.

Wednesday 3rd May
Jeremiah 12: 12:5-6
God’s answer begins with a challenge to Jeremiah. ‘If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?’ In other words, if human opposition worried him, how would he survive greater trials. There is a message here for us. We must show ourselves firm and faithful during small trials before we can cope with bigger ones. I remember hearing of someone who wanted to go overseas as a missionary. When he was interviewed, he was asked if he was actively evangelising among the people where he lived. He was not. He was told, ‘If you can’t be a missionary in Scotland, then you can’t be a missionary in Africa’.

Prayer Point
Thank God for the success of the new arrangement with two Prayer Meetings every Wednesday and pray that still more will come.

Thursday 4th May
Jeremiah 12:7-13
Jeremiah is told by God that the people of God are about to be judged because of their sin and disobedience. This is why they are suffering and it is going to get worse. We know, looking back, that this referred to the invasion by the Babylonians, when the people were taken captive and went into exile. The story of Daniel and his friends comes from that period. God is saying to Jeremiah: Don’t worry about why the wicked are apparently doing well, think about Israel and her impending judgment. The message here is that a nation which defies God, turns its back on God’s law and God’s Word, will suffer the judgement of God. Is there a message here for us?

Prayer Point
Pray for Scott McGowan and Rachel Jackson who are to be married in our church today. Ask that God will bless them in their wedding and in their married life together.

Friday 5th May
Jeremiah 12:14-17
It is clear from these verses that there will be a day of reckoning, not only for the Lord’s chosen people but also for their enemies. The message is clear: those who honour the Lord will be blessed and will live in peace and prosperity but those who resist him and worship other gods will be judged. This passage should encourage us to trust in God’s justice. Whatever we see around us now and however much we question God (as Jeremiah did) he will act and he will bring justice. He is the living God and all the earth must bow before him. That is to say, it is not only the Lord’s chosen people who must obey, there is only one living and true God and he is Lord of the whole earth. All that he has created must worship and obey him.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Elders and their responsibility for the pastoral care of the congregation. Pray for Kathleen Mackinnon and Agnes Chisholm as they develop a new Pastoral Care team to assist the Elders.

Saturday 6th May
Jeremiah 13
This chapter consists of five sections which are united by a common theme: the humiliation and doom which awaited Judah. We read the whole chapter today, to get the sense of it and then we shall look at each section in turn over the next few days. Verse 18 of this chapter speaks of the King and the Queen Mother and so it is generally reckoned that this comes from around 597 BC, during the reign of Jehoiachin. Certainly, he and his mother Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan, were taken into captivity in Babylon as we see in 2 Kings 24:8-12. In verse 9 of that passage we are given the reason for this: Jehoiachin ‘did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father had done’. Once again, sin and disobedience are met with judgement from God.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Sunday School and the Ark Sunday Club and those who lead them. Pray for new leaders to be found to run the Youth Fellowship. Pray that our children and young people will come to Christ and follow him.

Sunday 7th May
Jeremiah 13:1-11
The first section of the chapter is the acted parable of the linen belt. Sometimes a ‘dramatic’ representation can drive the point home in a way that words might not do. Jeremiah had to buy and wear a linen belt. He then had to hide it in a crevice among some rocks. When he went back and dug up the belt it was ruined and useless. What, then, is the meaning of this acted parable? First, the people of Israel were like a linen sash. That is to say, they were bound to God by covenant and they were to be an ‘ornament’ to God, for his greater glory. Second, the people of Judah had loosed themselves from God by their idolatry and other sins and had ‘mixed’ themselves with the pagan peoples; and so they were spoiled and corrupt. Third, God would separate them from himself by his judgments. Throughout this prophecy, God is warning his people and calling them back to himself.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Minister taking both services in church today and for Alex Stephen taking the service at Raigmore.

Monday 8th May
Jeremiah 13:12-14
Here we have the parable of the wineskins. One commentator (Matthew Henry) interprets it in this way, ‘those that by their sins have made themselves vessels of wrath fitted to destruction shall be filled with the wrath of God as a bottle is with wine.’ The key point of the parable is a representation of the wrath of God. Jeremiah uses this theme elsewhere, for example, in Jeremiah 25:15-16. In a similar time of judgement, Isaiah issues the same message in Isaiah 51:17: ‘Awake, awake! Rise up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, you who have drained to its dregs the goblet that makes men stagger’. The message is clear. Judah will soon drink the cup of God’s wrath.
Prayer Point
Pray for the Minister as he attends an all-day Council of Assembly Strategy Group meeting today in Perth.

Tuesday 9th May
Jeremiah 13:15-17
Here we have a warning against pride and arrogance. The picture here is of travellers overtaken by darkness before reaching a place of safety – there is no twilight in the Middle East. God is saying through Jeremiah that judgment will come suddenly and unexpectedly. The people of Judah were being told to expect a sudden, temporal judgement, being the invasion by the Babylonians with exile to follow. We are told to expect not a temporal judgement but a final judgement. In the New Testament, we are told that the return of Christ prior to the final Day of Judgement will be sudden and unexpected. We see this in Matthew 24:37-44. The people of Judah were not ready for that coming judgement. Are we ready for the return of Christ?

Prayer Point
Pray for Fraser and Dawn Jackson home from Nigeria and discussing with Mission Africa where their next area of service overseas might be.

Wednesday 10th May
Jeremiah 13:18-19
In this section of the chapter, the Prophet addresses the Royal House directly. There was a special word for the royal family of Judah, who were partly responsible for the state of the nation. Politicians and leaders of nations have a responsibility before God for the way they lead. In Romans 13:1, Paul goes so far as to say this: ‘Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God’. There is a day of reckoning for kings and queens and politicians as well as for everyone else. This is something that our politicians would do well to understand.

Prayer Point
Pray for our troubled world, with many places where there is war or civil war and other places where there is a heightening of tension. Pray for leaders who will act with wisdom and restraint and will seek peace.

Thursday 11th May
Jeremiah 13:20-27
We now come to the fifth and final section of the chapter. This is yet another warning. The city of Jerusalem is compared to a shepherd who had forsaken the flock. They had done this in a number of ways. As verse 21 says, they had cultivated alliances with those who were their enemies: ‘What will you say when the LORD sets over you those you cultivated as your special allies? Will not pain grip you like that of a woman in labour?’ This idea of an ‘unholy alliance’ may refer to what we read in 2 Kings 20:12-17. We also find in this final section of the passage, the famous words of verse 23: ‘Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.’ Notice, however, the last words of the chapter: ‘Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you be unclean?’ While there is life there is hope.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Senior Citizens’ lunch at Raigmore and for all the practical arrangements. Pray that the message might have an effect on those who come.

Friday 12th May
Jeremiah 14:1-6
This chapter of Jeremiah was written on the occasion of a serious drought. This took place towards the close of Josiah’s reign or perhaps a little later, into the reign of Jehoiakim. In verses 1-6 this drought is described, as well as its consequences. The rainfall in Palestine is not high and a dry year can cause much suffering. Recently we had a collection for the drought in East Africa and perhaps the television pictures we have seen recently of that area help us to understand what a drought can do to a nation. This drought affected the city (verses 2-3) and also the farmers (verse 4). Even the wild animals (verses 5-6) were affected by it. God can use even natural calamity to bring people to their senses.

Prayer Point
Pray for Open Doors, asking that many people would come in off the street and meet people willing to share their faith. May our hospitality be a good witness to our Lord.

Saturday 13th May
Jeremiah 14:7-9
Here Jeremiah prays for the people. There is confession of sin and an appeal for mercy. There is an appeal to their relationship with God: ‘O Lord, do something for the sake of your name’. The suggestion here is that the pagans would laugh at Israel’s God if the people of Judah were destroyed by the famine. In this prayer, we find Jeremiah describing God in three ways. First, like a ‘stranger in the land’. God’s hand has not been seen in action for many a long day. Second, like a ‘traveller who stays only a night’. This reflects the view that God has been a mere passing presence. The traveller who looks in on his way somewhere else. Third, like a ‘man taken by surprise, like a warrior powerless to save’. From suggesting that God was not present to help, the prophet asks if he is unable to help, powerless to help. What do we think of God when our prayers seem to go unanswered?

Prayer Point
Pray for the work of Tear Fund, Christian Aid and the other agencies working to deal with the consequences of the famine in East Africa.

Sunday 14th May
Jeremiah 14:10-12
God responds to all of this by suggesting that the people are unrestrained wanderers whose repentance has more to do with the lack of water than with recognition of sin. The most striking point is that God forbids Jeremiah to pray for them. Perhaps the key point in this section is what it says in verse 10 about God ‘remembering’ their wickedness. This stands in contrast to Jeremiah 31:34, later quoted in Hebrews 8:12, which describes God’s ‘forgetting’ of sins, his refusing to remember them. That is a work of grace. In these verses, however, God makes it clear (verse 12) that nothing can prevent the impending doom of Judah. He is utterly determined to punish them. ‘with the sword, famine and plague’, an expression which covered the various disasters which could befall a nation. God has over-ruled Jeremiah’s plea. The people have broken the covenant and made themselves no people. They have cut themselves loose from God.

Prayer Point
Pray for the services today in the church, including the Gaelic Service and for the service at Raigmore. Ask that God would speak through his Word.

Monday 15th May
Jeremiah 14:13-18
Jeremiah then goes on in verse13 to make another plea or excuse on behalf of the people, namely, that they have been misled by the false prophets. Undoubtedly this was true but the people were being judged for their sin, which was their own. The false prophets and priests would receive their own punishment, as we see in verses 14-18.
This teaches us that it is never a valid excuse before God to say that you were misled, or to blame someone else for your condition. Similarly, the judgment of God will be hardest upon those who, in God’s name, have not spoken the truth. The preacher who sugar-coats the message may have an easier and happier life now but one day he will face God. The heretic may be feted by the world as a great scholar and original thinker but one day he must face his Maker.

Prayer Point
Pray for the sick, the housebound and the elderly in our congregation, especially any in hospitals or care homes. Pray that God would watch over them and that their faith would be strengthened and encouraged.

Tuesday 16th May
Jeremiah 14:19-22
Jeremiah’s prayer in these verses has much of interest. The prophet reflects God’s own tears over Judah (verse 17) and yet takes up the people’s cause. He declares the sovereignty of God (verse 19), acknowledges the sin of the nation (verse 20), pleads God’s name and God’s covenant (verse 21) and speaks of the providence of God (verse 22). He recognises that there is no-one else to whom they can turn. This is a model which we can use in our own praying. We come before a sovereign God, confessing our sin and make our plea for mercy on the basis of the covenant which God has made with his people. This is a dark chapter but provides us with insights into the character of God, as well as the spiritual and pastoral concern of the Prophet.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Girls’ Brigade, asking that the officers and leaders might enjoy a summer break and come back refreshed and prepared for the next session. Pray that the girls would encourage their friends to come.

Wednesday 17th May
Jeremiah 15:1-2
In this chapter, we see the full horror of Judah’s sin. In particular, we see the effect of that sin upon a holy God. We also see the results of this in terms of the judgment soon to fall on the nation of Judah. The passage begins by telling us that God is no longer going to listen to the people of Judah, such was their sin. The holiness of God is a much-neglected subject today. The pictures of God which are promoted today speak much of his love and compassion but say little or nothing of his holiness and judgement. This merely serves to reassure sinners that all will be well in the end. It was Jonathan Edwards who, in the 18th century preached a famous sermon, ‘Sinners in the hands of an angry God’. That side of God’s character cannot be airbrushed out. As we read in verse 1, this holy God is so set upon his purpose of bringing judgement on Judah that even if Moses and Samuel were to intercede for them it would be useless.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Gathering tomorrow. Ask that a good number would come and that they would be blessed in the fellowship.

Thursday 18th May
Jeremiah 15:1-2
We read these verses again today, to further reflect on the character of God. Only when we understand what sin does to a holy God can we begin to understand why God would close his ears to a sinful people. When we think about sin and its effects, we sometimes underestimate the damage that sin does. In particular, we underestimate the effect that sin has on God. Sometimes people excuse their sin by saying that no-one was hurt by their actions. Immorality is sometimes excused on the grounds that it involved two consenting adults. In general, in our society, wrongdoing is regularly justified and those who object are accused of holding to Victorian values or to an outdated moral system. We live in the modern world, they say, and must adjust our moral values accordingly. All of this ignores one vital point, namely, that moral standards are set by a holy God who does not change. Those who would ‘update’ morality to fit in with the changing times in which we live, do not understand the unchanging nature of God’s law. Nor do they understand the effect that sin has on a holy God. It has been said that sin is like a magnet which attracts the wrath and judgement of God.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Deacons’ Court meeting tonight. Pray for Duncan Fraser, the treasurer, Calum Campbell, the fabric convener, and Marlene MacRae, the new clerk.

Friday 19th May
Jeremiah 15:2-9
The judgement which will soon fall on Judah is here described. We should notice that all of this goes back to Manasseh. The nation of Judah is going to be destroyed by the Babylonians because of what he did. As we read in verse 4: ‘I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem’. If we ask what it was that Manasseh did that was so deserving of judgement, we must turn to 2 Kings 21:1-9. Manasseh broke God’s law but he did two particular things that were unacceptable. First, he worshipped false gods. Second, he worshipped the true God in false ways. The one is as bad as the other. The result of Manasseh’s action was to lead the people away from God. That is the strength of the word used in verse 6, the word ‘backsliding’. God says through Jeremiah, ‘“You have rejected me,” declares the LORD. “You keep on backsliding”’. The word means to turn away from God or to weaken in faith and commitment. Are we in danger of backsliding from an earlier strong commitment to Christ?

Prayer Point
Pray for the Macdonalds in Zambia. Pray for their safety and for the effectiveness of their work in the service of Christ.

Saturday 20th May
Jeremiah 15:10-18
In these verses, we have a conversation between God and Jeremiah. It begins with Jeremiah’s lament in verse 10, in which he complains to God of his many discouragements. He was facing opposition and reproach from the people of Judah. The real cause of their quarrels with Jeremiah, of course, was due to his faithfulness to God. In verses 11-14, God replies to Jeremiah’s complaint and assures him of deliverance. The language of verse 12 concerning iron and bronze are a reminder to Jeremiah of the words God spoke to him when he was first called (1:18-19). In verses 15-18, Jeremiah again speaks to God. These verses give us a real insight into his life, not least verse 16. This was the key to Jeremiah’s faithfulness, he delighted in the Word of God. The only way to be faithful to God is to hold fast to his Word. It is sufficient for all our needs. We must also use the Word in order to speak out, as Jeremiah and the prophets did, calling both church and nation to repentance.

Prayer Point
Pray for the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland which begins today.

Sunday 21st May
Jeremiah 15:19-21
The final words in the conversation belong to God, who addresses Jeremiah again in the verses we have read today. In the light of the many problems we face in the church today I think that the words of verse 19 are particularly striking: ‘Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them’. In other words, we must not forsake the truth of God’s Word by compromising with those who would weaken, or undermine or compromise on the truth. Many have argued that, for the sake of the peace and unity of the church, we must all learn to live together and to compromise on the plain teaching of Scripture. That is a mistake that many have made but one which we must avoid. It is not our Word, that we might change it or weaken it. It is God’s Word and it is unchangeable and permanent. May God help us to be faithful to his Word, like Jeremiah, so that we can call the church and the nation back to God.

Prayer Point
Pray for all who will preach God’s Word tomorrow, especially in those churches known to us. Pray that God will move by his Spirit across Scotland.

Monday 22nd May
Jeremiah 16:1-4
Perhaps the way to sum up this chapter of Scripture is to say that sometimes actions speak louder than words. Here we see God’s Word communicated, not just in words but through the actions Jeremiah is told to take. The people of Judah would not listen to Jeremiah but his actions in this chapter were symbolic of God’s message to the nation. Jeremiah was forbidden to marry or have a family. For the Jew, an early marriage and many children were very important. For Jeremiah to stand out against this social pressure would have been very noticeable. But in the light of his message it made perfect sense. If the nation was to be invaded and destruction to be wreaked upon its people then to have a wife and family would only compound the suffering. Why bring children into the world only to suffer or die? So many will die (verse 4) that burial will be impossible and bodies will be scattered like refuse. This was a powerful message.

Prayer Point
Pray for all those involved in the distribution of Scripture, especially the Scottish Bible Society and the Gideons. Pray that the Word of God would have an effect on all who read it and that many might come to faith in Christ.

Tuesday 23rd May
Jeremiah 16:5-9
We saw yesterday that Jeremiah was commanded not to marry or have a family. Today we see two more actions which were forbidden, as a sign to the people. First, he must not go to a house of mourning. It was usual to go to such a house, even as it is today and no doubt Jeremiah would have been considered disrespectful and ill-mannered for refusing to go but this was God’s command. As Matthew Henry puts it, ‘His sorrow for the destruction of his country in general must swallow up his sorrow for particular deaths.’ Second, Jeremiah must not go to a feast or celebration. All their feasting and celebrations were soon to be over. There would be no reason for feasting when the enemy came from the north and poured into Judah. By these actions, Jeremiah’s message was conveyed to the people of Judah.

Prayer Point
Pray for the persecuted Christians in many countries, asking that God would bring an end to their suffering. Pray for the witness of Christians in these countries, asking that their faith might shine through their suffering.

Wednesday 24th May
Jeremiah 16:10-13
In answer to a question from the people of Judah (verse 10), God explains his impending judgment. The very fact that the people of Judah should ask such a question is a sign of their condition. Instead of humility, confession and repentance we have a people standing on their dignity and questioning the justice of God in the forthcoming judgment. God’s answer is to the point (verses 11-12). For the sins of their Fathers and for their own, even more serious, sins, God says, ‘Therefore I will throw you out of the land’. We ought to pause for a moment and consider something God says in the second part of verse 13, ‘for I will show you no favour’. There are times of favour and blessing just as there are times when these are absent or are withdrawn. God is sovereign in all of this. Have you ever wondered why revival suddenly breaks out in a place, and yet other places may remain shrouded in darkness for years or centuries? Revival is dependent upon God showing his unmerited grace and favour. This is why prayer is the most important aspect of Christian evangelism.

Prayer Point
Pray for the reports today in the General Assembly, asking that the many good things the church is doing up and down the land may be highlighted.

Thursday 25th May
Jeremiah 16:14-18
Having seen a great deal about impending judgement, in these verses God does promise a time of favour and blessing after the exile in Babylon. We might say that the return to the land is the sign of God’s favour, just as the giving of the land in the first place was a sign of his grace. We see this also in Jeremiah 23:7-8. Nevertheless, judgement would come first, before that restoration. Seventy years in exile in Babylon was the judgement of God upon Judah. In verses 16-18, the judgment is described in the imagery of hunting and fishing. The Chaldean Army would be like hunters and fishermen, thoroughly sifting until everyone was caught or killed. No-one would escape the net. Yet there was hope in the future. Perhaps we might hope that God would bless our land in the future, after a period of judgement for the disobedience of both church and state.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Church of Scotland, meeting in General Assembly in Edinburgh. Pray too for all the Presbyteries of the Church and all the congregations across the land. Pray that God would revive and revitalise the Church by his Spirit through his Word.

Friday 26th May
Jeremiah 16:19-21
In our passage today, Jeremiah looks even further forward. Beyond the exile in Babylon, beyond the restoration to their land, beyond the remainder of the Old Testament. Indeed, he looks forward to the time when the heathen world (the Gentiles) would put their faith in the living God. In other words, he looks forward to the coming of Messiah. Jeremiah says, in verse 19, ‘the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good”’. In this perspective of salvation in Christ for Jew and Gentile alike we can better understand the work of God in history. In other words, God here speaks of a day when they would all know that God is the Lord. Everything which God had ever done, since the Fall in Genesis 3, was looking forward to that day, when the eternal Son of God would come to deal with sin and to save sinners.

Prayer Point
Pray for the final day of the General Assembly. Pray for all the commissioners as they begin to travel home. Ask that God would give wisdom to ministers and elders as the decisions of the Assembly are taken back to Presbyteries and Kirk Sessions.

Saturday 27th May
Jeremiah 17:1-4
The guilt of Judah did not have to be proven, it was ‘inscribed with a flint point on the tablets of their hearts and on the horns of their altars’. In other words, their guilt was clear to everyone and it ought to have been clear to themselves. They were protesting their innocence. We saw that in 16:10: ‘Why has the LORD decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the LORD our God?’ Many people today have the same attitude. They do not believe themselves to be sinners and cannot imagine that God should stand in judgement over them. Any sins or faults which they admit they regard as minor offences which can be overlooked. God says differently. He sees and he knows, he has witnessed their sin.

Prayer Point
Pray for Neil and Rachel Rae with OMF in the Philippines. Pray that God will bless them in their work and in their family life.

Sunday 28th May
Jeremiah 17:5-11
The Lord offers a contrast here. On the one side, we have the one ‘who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord’. On the other side, we have ‘the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him’. The one is cursed and the other is blessed. Jeremiah is passing on a message from God that to trust in human beings and the things of this world is futile. Security, peace and meaning is only found if we trust in God. The problem is (as we see in verse 9) that ‘The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?’ In other words, sometimes we even deceive ourselves into thinking that all is well and that we are trusting God.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Minister as he takes the morning service and the Raigmore service and for Alex Stephen as he takes the evening service.

Monday 29th May
Jeremiah 17:12-18
Jeremiah cries out to God for protection, for deliverance and for salvation. He is conscious of the forces ranged against him and recognises that only God is able to help him. This is a heartfelt cry of the prophet in the midst of the most extreme circumstances. He acknowledges the goodness of God in his dealings with his people, and also acknowledged the sin of Judah which truly deserved God’s judgement. Nevertheless, he cries out for healing and for refuge. He testifies that he has not neglected his calling as a shepherd for the people and recognises that God knows him and knows every word that comes from him. He asks that God put his persecutors to shame. All in all, this is an emotional appeal from the heart of a man who is in the middle of terrible times and yet is the spokesman for the living God.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Minister as he takes a School Assembly at Raigmore Primary this morning.

Tuesday 30th May
Jeremiah 17:19-27
Here God calls for obedience to the sabbath laws. He explains the rewards for obedience and the punishments for disobedience. In a sense this is reflective of much of the book of Jeremiah, as God calls the people of Judah to obey God and to worship him alone. The sabbath laws were a practical evidence as to whether or not the people really did love and serve God. Jeremiah gives specific instructions as to how they were to obey the sabbath laws. He also gives an indication of how their fathers had broken these sabbath laws. The great promise of blessing for observing God’s law (verses 24-26) is followed by a statement of what will happen if they fail to do so (verse 27). These ‘blessings and curses’ remind us of Moses teaching in Deuteronomy 28, where he laid out the two ways for the people of God to live (good and evil) and demonstrated the consequences of each way.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Word at One service today, asking that the Word of God would be heard and that the fellowship over a meal would be enjoyed by all who come.

Wednesday 31st May
Jeremiah 18:1-10
The prophet is instructed to go to the potter’s house. When he does, he watches the potter at work. Sometimes a pot was ruined and discarded and the potter had to begin afresh with the same lump of clay. God tells Jeremiah that he is the Lord and says: ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does? declares the LORD. Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel’. The message is that God can do as he pleases. If he promises blessing to a people who then do evil, he will turn away from his intention and bring judgement instead. Similarly, if he is about to judge a nation and they turn back to him, he will turn away from his intention and bring blessing on them instead.

Prayer Point
Pray for Inverness City Centre and for the great need among many, especially those living in hostels. Pray for the work of Street Pastors and others who reach out a caring hand in Christ’s name.