A friend of mine and I recently embarked together on a study through Jeremiah and Ezekiel, two of the Major Prophets of the Old Testament. We were immediately alarmed by what was going on in ancient Israel, back about 2600 years ago. If God had judged His own unique people so severely, and they were in a protected covenant relation with Yahweh, what about us gentile nations, including the United States, are we actually ungodly and obsessed by a myriad of idols? Here in the USA we don't enjoy a protected status among the nations as Israel does.
Jeremiah the prophet (c.650 − c.570 BC), the "weeping prophet," was one of the major prophets of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament). According to Jewish tradition, Jeremiah authored the Book of Jeremiah, the Books of Kings and the Book of Lamentations, with the assistance and under the editorship of Baruch ben Neriah, his scribe and disciple.
See Jeremiah: Wikipedia. He was chosen by God from his mother’s womb to be a prophet, not allowed to marry, and called to an enormous assignment which would change the course of all history:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Then said (Jeremiah) I:
“Ah, Lord GOD!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
But the LORD said to me:
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you,” says the LORD.
Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me:
“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To root out and to pull down,
To destroy and to throw down,
To build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:5-10)
The nation of Israel had fallen far from God at that time--terrible judgments from God were about to fall. They did indeed fall! Jeremiah was to remain identified with his people in Jerusalem while Ezekiel, Daniel and others were taken captive to Babylon for seventy years.
Jerusalem was leveled, Solomon's Temple was destroyed and a horrific loss of life took place. See Tish b'Av.
O my soul, my soul! I am pained in my very heart!
My heart makes a noise in me;
I cannot hold my peace,
Because you have heard, O my soul,
The sound of the trumpet,
The alarm of war.
Destruction upon destruction is cried,
For the whole land is plundered.
Suddenly my tents are plundered,
And my curtains in a moment.
How long will I see the standard,
And hear the sound of the trumpet?
“For My people are foolish,
They have not known Me.
They are silly children,
And they have no understanding.
They are wise to do evil,
But to do good they have no knowledge.”
I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void;
And the heavens, they had no light.
I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled,
And all the hills moved back and forth.
I beheld, and indeed there was no man,
And all the birds of the heavens had fled.
I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness,
And all its cities were broken down
At the presence of the LORD,
By His fierce anger.
For thus says the LORD:
“The whole land shall be desolate;
Yet I will not make a full end.
For this shall the earth mourn,
And the heavens above be black,
Because I have spoken.
I have purposed and will not relent,
Nor will I turn back from it.
The whole city shall flee from the noise of the horsemen and bowmen.
They shall go into thickets and climb up on the rocks.
Every city shall be forsaken,
And not a man shall dwell in it.
“And when you are plundered,
What will you do?
Though you clothe yourself with crimson,
Though you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold,
Though you enlarge your eyes with paint,
In vain you will make yourself fair;
Your lovers will despise you;
They will seek your life.
“For I have heard a voice as of a woman in labor,
The anguish as of her who brings forth her first child,
The voice of the daughter of Zion bewailing herself;
She spreads her hands, saying,
‘Woe is me now, for my soul is weary
Because of murderers!’ (4:19-31)
Terrible disasters have fallen on Israel more than once, (remember, they are the only people on earth who have enjoyed a Covenant with God--since Abraham c. 2200 BC). A new and way better covenant was put in place with Israel by Jesus at the Last Supper. That New Covenant allows us pagan gentiles to be grafted into the family tree of Abraham! See Romans 9, 10, 11.
Tiny Israel is actually a model nation for us gentile nations to learn from. If someone wants to know how God deals with individuals and peoples, check out the Tanach, (which is our Old Testament.) Down through history, nations, cities, civilizations have risen from the ash heaps of history, attaining great wealth, power and often internal freedoms under a benevolent king. But most have not responded to God's call to know Him personally.
Ruined cities are so numerous that scores of archaeologists spend their lives digging--and writing books about the glory days that once were. Sadly our generation is ignorant of history, even U.S. History, (which us old-timers learned about in school when we were young.)
Major nations, such as Russia, China, Greece, Rome (restored), England, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Turkey, etc.,--and Israel of course--are mapped in the prophecies of Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah. We can know what to expect God to do, especially now that we are near the end of world history. It is not a good idea to ignore Jesus. He has inherited everything.
About half of the 15 million Jews in the world now live in the United States! They all will all be called to move home to Israel soon, according to Ezekiel 39!
When Jesus removes His people out of our country at the Rapture, what will be left behind? Revival can't be ruled out because God is merciful, but God can revive indifferent, apathetic apostates who have heard about Jesus and want nothing to do with Him. Quite a few good scholars have pointed out that the USA does not seem to be a player at the end of the age just before Jesus and His Bride, the true church,, return to Jerusalem to drive back foreign armies who will then be rushing in to destroy the Jews once and for all. Millions around the world will be saved, though martyred in the process. Meanwhile those who know, follow, obey Jesus are surely only a small remnant in America today.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?
And not one of them is forgotten before God.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
All is not lost just because God is about to remove all men, women, and children who now know Jesus personally. We are being invited to watch the last years of history and the rebirth of Israel--from the mezzanine. Please don't be left behind! You are loved and accepted by God because of the cosmic reconciliation work of Jesus when He was killed by His own people.
Our planet is an increasingly violent and dangerous place to live. Even our usual American vicarious escapes into affluence and pleasure are fading fast. It would have been unthinkable a few years ago to suppose the demise of the United States as a nation, but now that seems to me to be a very definite possibility. A few suitcase nuclear weapons or bio-weapons released in half a dozen of our major cities could well mean our sudden demise. Or, a continued decline in the economy and increasing corruption in high places could do us in more gradually, but just as effectively. Like now--a huge collapse of our accustomed ways of living
Nations rise and fall in world history. The key to the actual strength of a people under God is found in the state of health of God's remnant people within that nation. Mere church attendance does not tell the tale, because small and vigorously godly pockets of real Christians have a pervasive salt-and-light effect on the whole.
Wisdom builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. He who walks in uprightness fears the LORD, but he who is devious in his ways despises him God scorns the wicked, but the upright enjoy his favor The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish. There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death in the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death. The wicked is overthrown through his evil-doing, but the righteous finds refuge through his integrity. Wisdom abides in the mind of a man of understanding, but it is not known in the heart of fools. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. (Proverbs 14)
The daily news tells us of new plans for peace in the Middle East each of which sounds less plausible than the last. The entire region is poised for a war which could easily escalate and quickly become world wide. Peace on earth will come but not until God's Messiah arrives to bring it about by force. Psalm 2 gives us a wonderfully succinct picture of how God sees the seething violence of the nations as they rage against God and one another:
Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed, saying, "Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens laughs; the LORD has them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, "I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill." I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, with trembling kiss his feet, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
It is a clearly stated fact in the Scriptures that Jesus Christ is now the ruling Lord of the universe. It is also clear that His sphere of influence will increase. There will come a day when all men everywhere acknowledge Him--either willingly, or by force if need be.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
"God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 19:11-16)
It is not unusual to encounter the view that if only Jesus would make Himself visibly known here and now, crowds would flock to Him eagerly. From the gospels this popular appeal happened when Jesus was with us on the earth the first time. But eventually, virtually all have turned away when they saw the implications of his lordship in their personal lives. When we take into account the fact that ignoring someone important is one of the most obvious signs of hatred and resentment, it becomes clear that the majority of people on earth are enemies of Jesus and hate the very thought of His return. On top of that, legions of fallen angels have entrenched themselves in our social institutions for centuries and they will only be dislodged by violent cosmic warfare.
Jesus now, today, reigns over the entire universe, but He does not yet rule on earth. Recently I read once again through C.S. Lewis great science fiction trilogy which describes our earth as the "dark planet" ruled over by a "bent angel." Lewis saw clearly that the return of Jesus as earth's absent landlord would involve the near destruction of most of mankind and the fall of world civilizations everywhere.
C.S. Lewis said,
God is going to invade this earth in force. But what's the good of saying you're on his side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else, something it never entered your head to conceive comes crashing in. Something so beautiful to us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left. This time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love, or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down, when it's become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realize it or not. Now, today, in this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever; we must take it or leave it.
Like Isaiah and the prophets before him, Jesus would be rejected, ignored, incarcerated, reviled by his own people. Jeremiah is considered a “type” or model of Yeshua the Messiah. That uniquely qualified Man, Jesus, who would break into history 500 some years later, and be railed against, beaten and murdered. Yet He was actually carrying all of sins of Israel—and all of mankind—out of the universe in the cosmic event of His crucifixion. It is because of these realities that everyone who names the name of Jesus as Lord should live one day at a time as if it were his or her last day, staying separated from the satiating and numbing spirit of the age and lures of the world which press in upon us with increasing intensity every day we live.
The book of Lamentations depicts the heartbroken distress of Jeremiah when the temple of Solomon and Jerusalem were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
One of Jeremiah’s most public speeches was recorded (pen and ink on a parchment scroll) by his scribe Baruch, Chapter 7:
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, “Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the LORD!’ ”Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. “Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘
The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.’
“For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, “if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, “then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. “Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. “Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know “and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’ “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the LORD.
“But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. “And now, because you have done all these works,” says the LORD, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer, “therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. “And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren--the whole posterity of Ephraim. “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. “Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? “The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger. “Do they provoke Me to anger?” says the LORD. “Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?”
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place--on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground. And it will burn and not be quenched.” Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat meat.
“For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.
“But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’
“Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.
“Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you. You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you. “So you shall say to them, ‘This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the LORD their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth. ‘Cut off your hair and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on the desolate heights; for the LORD has rejected and forsaken the generation of His wrath.’ “For the children of Judah have done evil in My sight,” says the LORD. “They have set their abominations in the house which is called by My name, to pollute it. “And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, (Gehenna) to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart. “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “when it will no more be called Tophet, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; for they will bury in Tophet until there is no room. “The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth. And no one will frighten them away. “Then I will cause to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. For the land shall be desolate.“
Ray Stedman comments on Jeremiah Chapter 7:
In order to understand what had happened at this time, turn to 2 Chronicles, chapters 34 and 35, to get the historical background of this moment in Judah. Young king Josiah, in his attempt to turn this nation back to God, had just given orders to clean up the temple. The temple had been turned into a warehouse, a storage place, and had begun to accumulate a lot of junk. as do our attics and garages today.
It was during this clean-up operation that the high priest Hilkiah unearthed the old scroll of the Law, probably of Moses' Book of Deuteronomy. In it they read about the Passover, and discovered that no one in that nation had celebrated the Passover since the days of Hezekiah, a hundred years earlier. So orders were given for a great celebration of the Passover. Scripture tells us that never before had there been a Passover in Israel like this one. This king went all out! He ordered sacrifices according to the Levitical commandments, and had the priests prepare themselves to conduct the ceremony.
The great day arrived when the sacrifices were to be offered in the temple. The companies of singers and chanters were prepared, and the great procession, headed by the king himself, was on its way to the temple to worship there and to obey the command of God to perform the Passover supper. The priests were swinging their incense pots, chanting as they went, and the choir was singing a hymn which included these words: "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord." People were heaving a sigh of relief and thinking, "Now God is satisfied. Now he will save us. Now the nations around will not take us over, because at last we are settling our religious accounts with God." And on the way, as they were chanting this chorus, suddenly to everyone's astonishment a young man climbed up to a prominent place on the steps of the temple and yelled out, "HOLD IT!" And everybody stopped. He began to speak: Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: 'This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord'" (Jeremiah 7:2-4).
The gist of his message was, "Whom do you think you're kidding? Do you really think God is like this, that all he is interested in is religious games and rituals? Do you really think that if you merely get all this religion going, God will be fooled and will spare this land? Don't you know that God knows what is going on?" And he went on to describe their actions:
Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely [commit perjury], burn incense to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, 'We are delivered!'--only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes?" (Jeremiah 7:8-11)
That sounds very much like what happened some centuries later when another young man stood up in the temple and, fashioning a whip of cords, began to drive the moneychangers out of the temple, saying, "You have turned my Father's house into a den of robbers." But here, Jeremiah has dramatically interrupted the proceedings, he delivers the message which God has for this people. They were counting on two things: the fact that the temple was now clean, and the discovery of the Law:
How can you say, 'We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us'?
But, behold, the false pen of the scribes has made it into a lie.
The wise men shall be put to shame,
they shall be dismayed and taken;
lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord,
and what wisdom is in them?" (Jeremiah 8:8-9).
Here is a people who were trusting in performance, in outward ritual, and they did not realize that God knows the heart, and that he knew what was going on. Therefore the only thing left to this people was that they be judged. When people get so blind that they cannot see what they are doing, and they really think that God cannot see any further than the outward appearance of their lives, the only thing that will open their eyes is judgment. So the prophet said these words to them:
Go now to my place that was in Shiloh [in the Northern kingdom, Israel], where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. [They had been led into captivity.] And now, because you have done all these things, says the Lord, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, therefore I will do to the house which is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim" (Jeremiah 7:12-15)
It was at this point that Jeremiah was told not to pray for this people any longer, for God had decided to visit them with judgment. Now, do you think that what God is really saying is, "Look, I've had it! I can't stand this any longer. I'm going to get rid of these people. I'm going to smash them and destroy them. I'm through with them!"? If you do, you have missed what this is all about. But that is evidently what Jeremiah understood God to mean, and as a result he was deeply grieved. He did not understand what God was doing. Chapter 8 gives us the prophet's personal reaction:
My grief is beyond healing,
my heart is sick within me.
Hark, the cry of the daughter of my people
from the length and breadth of the land:
"Is the Lord not in Zion?
Is her King not in her?" (Jeremiah 8:18-19).
He was looking forward to what was coming-visualizing it, feeling heartsick and anguished, in agony over what was about to happen, especially to the women and the beautiful girls of Judah. It is interesting that in chapter 16 God told this prophet, "I don't want you ever to get married. I don't want you to have a wife and children." go Jeremiah remained unmarried, and he was greatly concerned that these beautiful maidens of Judah would suffer this way. He is crying out on their behalf. And God answers, in verse 19: "Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with their foreign idols?" But Jeremiah continues his questioning:
The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
and we are not saved."
[This is the cry of the people.]
For the wound of the daughter of my people
is my heart wounded, I mourn,
and dismay has taken hold on me.
Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored? (Jeremiah 8:20-22).
Do you see what he is saying? Jeremiah feels so intensely what is going to happen that he cries out, "God, where are you? Where is the healer? Where is the one who can restore this people? Where is the balm in Gilead, the physician who can make a sick person well?" Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever suffered over some loved one, and cried out, "God, where is the Great Physician?" So Jeremiah cries out, "Why don't you heal this people?" He simply doesn't understand what God is doing.
In order to get all this together, we need to look back to chapter 7 and see the list of actions God says he takes when a nation or an individual begins to turn away from him. Verse 13: "And now, because you have done all these things, says the Lord, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen. . ." The first thing God does when you begin to drift is to warn you what the consequences are going to be. He is faithful to tell you that if you "sow to the flesh you will of the flesh reap corruption." There is no way to escape it. Even forgiveness for it does not remove that. If you sow to the flesh, you will of the flesh reap corruption. Sin will leave its scars even though the wound is healed. God warns that there is going to be hurt in your life, hurt in your heart, hurt for the loved ones around you.
There is no way to escape it. But then he says, "...and when I called you, you did not answer..." The call of God is a picture of love seeking a response, reminding you of who he is, and how much he loves you, trying in various ways to awaken a response of love and gratitude, to call you back. He is like the father in the story of the prodigal son, watching the horizon for that son to return, longing for him to come back. This is the picture of God, patiently looking after men and women, boys and girls, being faithful to them, longing to have them back, calling them again and again.
This may go on for years in the case of an individual. And all this time he asks us to pray for those like this, to hold them up, to reach out to them by the power of prayer.
But when that does not work, he has one step left in the program: judgment. You see, judgment is not God's way of saying, "I'm through with you." It is not a mark of the abandonment of God; it is the last loving act of God to bring you back. It is the last resort of love. C. S. Lewis put it very beautifully when he said, "God whispers to us in our pleasures; he speaks to us in our work; he shouts at us in our pain." Every one of us knows that there have been times when we would not listen to God, would not pay any attention to what his Word was saying until one day God put us flat on our backs or allowed us to be hurt badly. Then we began to listen. This is what Jeremiah had to learn. He did not understand that this nation had reached the place where the only thing that would heal it, the only chance it had left, was the judgment of God--the hurt and the pain of invasion, and the loss of its national status. God's love insisted that that happen.
Now you can see why he commanded that prayer cease, but that preaching continue. If you read through the Scriptures you see that prayer delays judgment, but preaching hastens it. And what this nation needed to restore it and heal it was judgment. So God said, "Don't delay it; don't hold me back. This is what will do the work. Radical surgery is all that is left, so stop praying." You can see that prayer holds off judgment in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham held off the hand of God, steadily reducing the minimum number of righteous men by which that region could be saved, and almost saved the area from the destruction of God. But preaching hastens judgment, because the Word is true. And when truth is revealed to us, and God calls things what they really are, as he does here--adultery, stealing, murder, perjury--instead of accepting the polite names the people themselves were using, and yet they would heed, then judgment is hastened. Jesus said of the Pharisees, "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin" (John 15:22). Thus preaching hastens judgment.
It was at this point that Jeremiah broke down and wept before God. I do not think you can read these passages expressing the anguish of the prophet's heart without hearing an echo of the sobs of God. For God was still working through this man, and weeping over this people himself, as expressed in the sobs of Jeremiah. In the midst of Jeremiah's despair, God, in tenderness and beautiful concern, speaks to the prophet and says something to help him.
Thus says the Lord: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practice steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, says the Lord" (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
What a revelation of the greatness of God! Far beyond the greatness of men, a God of wisdom and knowledge is at work. And the prophet's heart was directed to think of that. Man's wisdom is not enough. "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom. . ." Why not? Well, because man's wisdom is always partial wisdom. It never sees the whole story, never is wide enough to take in all the factors involved. It is tunnel vision, narrow and limited. And that is why we are always thinking we have arrived at solutions to problems only to find in a few years that the "solution" has only made the problem worse. Pollution is a case in point, is it not? And so is warfare, and all the other great problems that confront us today. Man's wisdom is not enough. T. S. Eliot put it so beautifully when he said,
"All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance, All our ignorance brings us nearer to death, But nearness to death no nearer to GOD. Where is the Life we have lost in living?" (From "The Rock" in T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland and Other Poems New York: Harvest Book, Harcourt, Brace, & World, 1934).
Where is the life we have lost in living? No, you cannot trust in the wisdom of man, can you? Nor can you trust in the might of man: ". . . let not the mighty man glory in his might. . ." Why not? Look at a man with great power and authority, such as a dictator, with a great force at his command. Why does he not have the right to glory? Because his force is directed only at material things. It has no power to oppose an idea or a moral value. That is what we learned in those last few bitter years in Viet Nam, is it not? We thought, at the end of World War II, that in the atom bomb we had the most powerful force history had ever known, and we could be the leading nation in all the world. Who could oppose us? But atom bombs are no good against ideas. They can only obliterate people, and when they are all through smashing and destroying, the ideas remain.
No, "...let not the mighty man glory in his might, and let not the rich man glory in his riches..." Why not? Because riches can buy only a very limited number of things. Jesus spoke of the deceitfulness of riches. Riches give man a feeling of power that he does not really have. They give him a feeling of being loved when he really is not, and of being respected when he is not respected at all. Riches cannot buy love and joy and peace and harmony.
Then what should you glory in? "Ah, glory in this, Jeremiah, that you know me, and you have available to you the wisdom of God. True wisdom is the wisdom of God, and you can correct your own faulty, frail human wisdom with my wisdom. You have the might of God at your disposal, greater than anything the world knows about, a mighty moral force which is irresistible. And you have riches beyond all comparison, the simple riches of love and peace and joy and grace and mercy and truth, which no money can buy. Glory in this, Jeremiah." And so, as the prophet comes to the end of this discourse you find him reflecting on what God has taught him: "I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10: 23). Have you found that out? What a fantastic lesson that is! The way of man is not in himself. It is not in man to direct his steps. You do not have what it takes to live life by yourself.”
The tragedy of Judah, as it unfolds in the pages of the Book of Jeremiah, is the tragedy of nations today. This Book of Jeremiah, though written thousands of years ago, is still as relevant, up-to-date and pertinent to our day as it was when first written. The tragedy is that when people forsake God they lose the sense of their own worth. Without exception, when someone turns from God he also loses himself. When the people of Judah turned from the living fountain of God they became like animals, Jeremiah said. They began to act brutishly, and thus to hate themselves. This is always the consequence of a heart which rejects or turns from the living God. When you lose God, you no longer can love yourself. And if you cannot love yourself, you cannot love your neighbor. That reflects the wisdom of the great commandment Jesus gave us: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you have no sense of who you are as a person, then you will not look at anyone else as a person, either. So the tragedy of this nation was that it had begun to lose its sense of God, and thus had begun to lose its sense of self.
The Book of Jeremiah is set in a time of crisis and moral decline of the nation. It reveals what is behind the death of a nation. In many ways, we are facing the parallel of Judah's experience in our day. In 1976 our nation celebrated its two-hundredth birthday. Many feel that as we celebrated our Bicentennial we also may be witnesses to the beginning of the end of the United States of America. I hope it is not true. But the forces which are destroying our nation are the same forces which destroyed the nation to which Jeremiah witnessed. We can learn a great deal about what is going on in our nation by studying this great prophecy of Jeremiah. We can learn here how to behave in a time of national and personal crisis. What should a believer do when things are falling apart around him in his home, his community, his nation, and the world in which he lives? The answers are here. And from this prophecy we will also learn what is the word of hope in an hour of despair and darkness, and how God plants the seeds of new life in the midst... Jeremiah is not the greatest of the prophets. Isaiah, I think, would be awarded that distinction. Nor is Jeremiah the most difficult of the prophets to understand. Ezekiel would probably qualify there. But of all the prophets, surely Jeremiah is the most heroic. This young man began his ministry in the days of Josiah the king of Judah, and for forty-two years he preached in Judah, trying to awaken the nation to what was about to happen to it. He tried to get them to turn around, to save them from the judgment of God. But in all those forty-two years he never once saw any sign of encouragement. His preaching in no way deterred the headlong rush of this nation toward its own destruction. Never did he see any sign that what he was saying had any impact at all upon these people. And yet, he was faithful to his task. Through much personal sorrow, struggle, heartache, difficulty and danger, he performed what God had sent him to do. And in so doing, he left a tremendous record of the greatness of God, of his power over nations and his control of history, and of the hope which arises out of darkness.
Please read Ray Stedman’s entire commentary on Jeremiah from 1976. I find it more relevant now than it was four decades ago. Here is a snippet:
You see, judgment is not God's way of saying, "I'm through with you." It is not a mark of the abandonment of God; it is the last loving act of God to bring you back. It is the last resort of love. C. S. Lewis put it very beautifully when he said, "God whispers to us in our pleasures; he speaks to us in our work; he shouts at us in our pain." Every one of us knows that there have been times when we would not listen to God, would not pay any attention to what his Word was saying until one day God put us flat on our backs or allowed us to be hurt badly. Then we began to listen. This is what Jeremiah had to learn. He did not understand that this nation had reached the place where the only thing that would heal it, the only chance it had left, was the judgment of God--the hurt and the pain of invasion, and the loss of its national status. God's love insisted that that happen. Now you can see why he commanded that prayer cease, but that preaching continue. If you read through the Scriptures you see that prayer delays judgment, but preaching hastens it. And what this nation needed to restore it and heal it was judgment. So God said, "Don't delay it; don't hold me back. This is what will do the work. Radical surgery is all that is left, so stop praying." You can see that prayer holds off judgment in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham held off the hand of God, steadily reducing the minimum number of righteous men by which that region could be saved, and almost saved the area from the destruction of God. But preaching hastens judgment, because the Word is true. And when truth is revealed to us, and God calls things what they really are, as he does here--adultery, stealing, murder, perjury--instead of accepting the polite names the people themselves were using, and yet they would heed, then judgment is hastened. Jesus said of the Pharisees, "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin" (John 15:22). Thus preaching hastens judgment.
It was at this point that Jeremiah broke down and wept before God. I do not think you can read these passages expressing the anguish of the prophet's heart without hearing an echo of the sobs of God. For God was still working through this man, and weeping over this people himself, as expressed in the sobs of Jeremiah. In the midst of Jeremiah's despair, God, in tenderness and beautiful concern, speaks to the prophet and says something to help him:
Thus says the Lord: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practice steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, says the Lord" (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
In spite of the devastation and destruction of Jerusalem culminating in the destruction of Solomon's Temple on the 9th of Av, 586 BC, God gave the prophet a breathtaking prophecy of Israel's future restoration, Chapters 30, 31. The downhill slippery slide of Israel is to be seen at every step of her long history, since Abraham, since Moses, since Jesus. Ignorance of the Bible is not a good excuse. But "mercy triumphs over judgment."
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Thus speaks the Lord God of Israel, saying: ‘Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you. For behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the Lord. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’ ”
Now these are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah.
“For thus says the Lord:
‘We have heard a voice of trembling,
Of fear, and not of peace.
Ask now, and see,
Whether a man is ever in labor with child?
So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins
Like a woman in labor,
And all faces turned pale?
Alas! For that day is great,
So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble,
But he shall be saved out of it.
‘For it shall come to pass in that day,’
Says the Lord of hosts,
‘That I will break his yoke from your neck,
And will burst your bonds;
Foreigners shall no more enslave them.
But they shall serve the Lord their God,
And David their king,
Whom I will raise up for them. ‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the Lord,
‘Nor be dismayed, O Israel;
For behold, I will save you from afar,
And your seed from the land of their captivity.
Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet,
And no one shall make him afraid.
For I am with you,’ says the Lord, ‘to save you;
Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you,
Yet I will not make a complete end of you.
But I will correct you in justice,
And will not let you go altogether unpunished.’
“For thus says the Lord:
‘Your affliction is incurable,
Your wound is severe.
There is no one to plead your cause,
That you may be bound up;
You have no healing medicines.
All your lovers have forgotten you;
They do not seek you;
For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy,
With the chastisement of a cruel one,
For the multitude of your iniquities,
Because your sins have increased.
Why do you cry about your affliction?
Your sorrow is incurable.
Because of the multitude of your iniquities,
Because your sins have increased,
I have done these things to you.
‘Therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured;“Thus says the Lord:
And all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity;
Those who plunder you shall become plunder,
And all who prey upon you I will make a prey.
For I will restore health to you
And heal you of your wounds,’ says the Lord,
‘Because they called you an outcast saying:
“This is Zion;
No one seeks her.” ’
‘Behold, I will bring back the captivity of Jacob’s tents,
And have mercy on his dwelling places;
The city shall be built upon its own mound,
And the palace shall remain according to its own plan.
Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving
And the voice of those who make merry;
I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish;
I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.
Their children also shall be as before,
And their congregation shall be established before Me;
And I will punish all who oppress them.
Their nobles shall be from among them,
And their governor shall come from their midst;
Then I will cause him to draw near,
And he shall approach Me;
For who is this who pledged his heart to approach Me?’ says the Lord.
‘You shall be My people,
And I will be your God.’ ”
Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord
Goes forth with fury,
A continuing whirlwind;
It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.
The fierce anger of the Lord will not return until He has done it,
And until He has performed the intents of His heart.
In the latter days you will consider it.
“At the same time,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.”
Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword, found grace in the wilderness— Israel, when I went to give him rest.”
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, And shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice. You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria; The planters shall plant and eat them as ordinary food. For there shall be a day When the watchmen will cry on Mount Ephraim, ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, To the Lord our God.’ ”
For thus says the Lord: “Sing with gladness for Jacob, And shout among the chief of the nations; Proclaim, give praise, and say, ‘O Lord, save Your people, The remnant of Israel!’ Behold, I will bring them from the north country, And gather them from the ends of the earth, Among them the blind and the lame, The woman with child And the one who labors with child, together; A great throng shall return there.
They shall come with weeping, And with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, In a straight way in which they shall not stumble; For I am a Father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn. “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, And declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’ For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, And ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, Streaming to the goodness of the Lord— For wheat and new wine and oil, For the young of the flock and the herd; Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, And they shall sorrow no more at all. “Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old, together; For I will turn their mourning to joy, Will comfort them, And make them rejoice rather than sorrow. I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance, And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord.”
Thus says the Lord: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.” Thus says the Lord: “Refrain your voice from weeping, And your eyes from tears; For your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord, And they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future, says the Lord, That your children shall come back to their own border. “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself: ‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised, Like an untrained bull; Restore me, and I will return, For You are the Lord my God. Surely, after my turning, I repented; And after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh; I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated, Because I bore the reproach of my youth.’
Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still; Therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says the Lord. “Set up signposts, Make landmarks; Set your heart toward the highway, The way in which you went. Turn back, O virgin of Israel, Turn back to these your cities. How long will you gad about, O you backsliding daughter? For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth— A woman shall encompass a man.”
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “They shall again use this speech in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I bring back their captivity: ‘The Lord bless you, O home of justice, and mountain of holiness!’ And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all its cities together, farmers and those going out with flocks. For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.” After this I awoke and looked around, and my sleep was sweet to me.
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. And it shall come to pass, that as I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to throw down, to destroy, and to afflict, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord. In those days they shall say no more: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.
A New Covenant
31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day, The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, And its waves roar (The Lord of hosts is His name): “If those ordinances depart From before Me, says the Lord, Then the seed of Israel shall also cease From being a nation before Me forever.” Thus says the Lord: “If heaven above can be measured, And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel For all that they have done, says the Lord. “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that the city shall be built for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. The surveyor’s line shall again extend straight forward over the hill Gareb; then it shall turn toward Goath. And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields as far as the Brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be holy to the Lord. It shall not be plucked up or thrown down anymore forever.”
Israel is being invaded by the Babylonians who are actually agents of God commissioned to chasten His people severely because of their idolatry. Jeremiah is a lone prophet in Jerusalem called by God to warn the people. He is called “the Weeping Prophet” because he takes the sins of the people as his own. He prefigures Jesus who would weep over Jerusalem 600 years later. The book of Jeremiah contains frequent remarks from Jeremiah and his reactions concerning his daily experiences with God.
1 “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron;Jeremiah responds
With the point of a diamond it is engraved
On the tablet of their heart,
And on the horns of your altars, 2 While their children remember
Their altars and their wooden images
By the green trees on the high hills. 3 O My mountain in the field,
I will give as plunder your wealth, all your treasures,
And your high places of sin within all your borders.
4 And you, even yourself,
Shall let go of your heritage which I gave you;
And I will cause you to serve your enemies
In the land which you do not know;
For you have kindled a fire in My anger which shall burn forever.”
5 Thus says the LORD:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the LORD. 6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it? 10 I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.
11 “As a partridge that broods but does not hatch,
So is he who gets riches, but not by right;
It will leave him in the midst of his days,
And at his end he will be a fool.”
12 A glorious high throne from the beginningThe LORD responds to Jeremiah
Is the place of our sanctuary. 13 O LORD, the hope of Israel,
All who forsake You shall be ashamed.
“Those who depart from MeJeremiah then prays
Shall be written in the earth,
Because they have forsaken the LORD,
The fountain of living waters.”
Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed;Jeremiah is now given a teaching assignment by God
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise. Indeed they say to me,
“Where is the word of the LORD?
Let it come now!”
As for me, I have not hurried away from being a shepherd who follows You,
Nor have I desired the woeful day;
You know what came out of my lips;
It was right there before You. Do not be a terror to me;
You are my hope in the day of doom.
Let them be ashamed who persecute me,
But do not let me be put to shame;
Let them be dismayed,
But do not let me be dismayed.
Bring on them the day of doom,
And destroy them with double destruction!
Thus the LORD said to me: “Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, by which the kings of Judah come in and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem; “and say to them,
‘Hear the word of the LORD, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter by these gates. ‘Thus says the LORD: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; “nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. “But they did not obey nor incline their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction. “And it shall be, if you heed Me carefully,” says the LORD, “to bring no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work in it, “then shall enter the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, accompanied by the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city shall remain forever. “And they shall come from the cities of Judah and from the places around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin and from the lowland, from the mountains and from the South, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, bringing sacrifices of praise to the house of the LORD. “But if you will not heed Me to hallow the Sabbath day, such as not carrying a burden when entering the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.”
Summary of Jeremiah by Ray Stedman
Death of a Nation, Expositional sermons on Jeremiah, by Ray C. Stedman.
"I have chosen this series of studies because it is set in a time of crisis and of the moral decline of a nation. It reveals what is behind the death of a nation. In two years the United States of America will celebrate its two hundredth birthday. And it may be that in these very days, as we celebrate our Bicentennial as a nation, we also may be witnesses to the beginning of the end of the United States of America. There are some who feel this is so. I hope it is not true. But the forces which are destroying our nation are the same forces which destroyed the nation Jeremiah witnessed to. We can learn a great deal about what is going on in our nation's life by studying this great prophecy of Jeremiah. We can learn here how to behave in a time of national and personal crisis. What should a believer do when things are falling apart around him in his home, his community, his nation, and the world in which he lives? The answers are here. And from this prophecy we will also learn what is the word of hope in an hour of despair and darkness, and how God plants the seeds of new life in the midst of death and destruction all around."
The Mystery of History (Studies in Matthew 13), by Ray C. Stedman:
"...Why, for instance, has Great Britain lost its empire and been reduced to a second rate power in our day after being the leading nation of the world for many decades? The answer is that the English people knew truth which they failed to act on. They did not incorporate into their economic and national life the truth which they admitted widely as a people. They were false to principles they knew to be true, and, as a result, their scepter of power has been removed and they have sunk into relative obscurity. There is no other explanation for it. You can talk about economics, about politics, and other such things, but those are merely the processes by which this principle is worked out. Why did the Roman Empire fall before the barbarian hordes after it had been queen of the world for centuries? The answer is that, when its paganism was confronted with the truth of the cross of Christ, it rejected that truth and fought back with fire and sword and wild beasts and cruel tortures. And the empire crumbled from within. All the wisdom of the Senate and all the experience garnered in centuries of world dominion was unable to hold that empire together. Why are the Russian people now deprived of the right to worship, and of freedom of speech and of the press, and forbidden to travel abroad or even to read of other cultures? Because, when the truth of the gospel was widespread in Russia, as once it was, it was canonized and ritualized and evacuated of its content until it became a hollow shell of pretense and religious hypocrisy. When that happened the nation was rendered ripe for revolution. What do you think is happening in the United States today? This nation is facing exactly that same possibility. The open rejection of the truth about Jesus Christ on the part of the American people, truth which they have known and seen, and the hollow pretense of obeying it when they really do not believe it, is dimming the light in this land and removing the barriers to savagery and violence -- and the barbarians are at the doors again. And evangelicals can be as guilty as anyone else in this respect."
My tastes in over my lifetime are very diverse! I can’t sing on key, and to my deep regret I can’t even play the piano.
Part I. Earliest Memories
Back in the summer of 1939 my father Lambert Sr. (Dolph) and my mother Audrey—along with my sister Susanne and me in the backs seat of our new Ford—drove us from Shoshone, Idaho to Butte, Montana so my dad could sell Wichita School Company school supplies. His salary at Shoshone High School was only $100 a month and the country was then climbing slowly out of the Great Depression (1929-1941).
Dad sang outrageous songs all way to Montana which distressed our mother no end! I was 7 years old and Susanne was 4-1/2. On the way back from Montana we visited Yellowstone. Seems like yesterday! Memory sharp and clear now.
Susanne and I giggled and cheered to our dad singing tunes such as:
The Carter Family: You've Been a Friend to Me
Bob Dylan: The Times They Are A-Changin' (Audio) 1964
Stanley Brothers: Long Journey Home
Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms - Gloryland
Norman Blake and Nancy Blake - All the Good Times are Over
This World is Not My Home
Aric Leavitt BlueGrass Banjo
My Lord knows the way through the Wilderness
Christ the Lord is Risen Today | Charles Wesley
Onward, Christian Soldiers arr. by Samuel Metzger
Lambert Dolphin's Place
Santa Clara, CA, December 24, 2002. Revised May 24, 2020.April 21, 2022