Friday, May 12, 2017
Daily reading assignment: Jeremiah 32-36
In our last devotion from Jeremiah 27-31, the old prophet had obeyed the LORD and wearing a yoke about his neck, entered the Temple declaring Jerusalem’s fate and the nation would be taken into captivity by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar whom the LORD declared to be “My servant” (Jeremiah 27:6).
In spite of the nation’s sins, Jeremiah assured the people the LORD would not forget them (Jeremiah 29:11-13); however, they were to accept the consequences of their sins would be 70 years of captivity in Babylon (29:10).
What became of Jeremiah, the LORD’s messenger, and his prophecy?
The answer to that question is found in the opening verses of Jeremiah 32. Rather than heed Jeremiah’s admonition, king Zedekiah “shut him up” (32:3), literally and physically! When the army of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, laid siege to Jerusalem, Jeremiah was “shut up in the court of the prison” (32:2). Rather than heed the message, the king of Judah treated the prophet with disdain and silenced his voice by imprisoning him.
As an act of faith while Jerusalem was under siege, Jeremiah purchased a field in Judah from his cousin Hanamel. Purchasing the land while the city was under siege appeared foolish; however, Jeremiah’s actions served as a testimony he believed the Word of the LORD and the people would be restored to the land after the Babylonian captivity (32:6-25).
The LORD rehearsed with Jeremiah the sorrow that was to come upon the people because of the sins of Israel and Judah (32:26-44). Nebuchadnezzar would destroy the city of Jerusalem with fire and the people would suffer disease and famine (32:26-29). The wickedness and idolatry of the people had become so grave they had sacrificed their sons and daughters as burnt offerings to Molech (32:30-35). In spite of their wickedness, the LORD promised He would not forget or forsake His people (32:27-44) and would restore them to the land (Jeremiah 33:1-26).
The LORD comes to Jeremiah again in chapter 34 and tasks the prophet with the responsibility of prophesying to king Zedekiah the destruction of Jerusalem (34:1-2), his imprisonment in Babylon (34:3), but also assuring him he would not die by the sword and would die in peace in Babylon (34:4-5).
The LORD demanded there be no slaves in the kingdom and all were to be set free by their master before the captivity (34:8-9). The people covenanted with king Zedekiah to obey and be bound by the covenant (34:10); however, the people turned, broke the covenant (34:11), enslaving their brethren and invited God’s judgment for their disobedience (34:12-21).
I close with a reminder of the disdain king Zedekiah and the people had for Jeremiah and how they persecuted the LORD’s prophet. Such is the fate of many who dare serve as God’s messengers and declare His Word to a people, church, society, or nation that rejects the Word of the LORD.
Be forewarned, though times have changed, man has not. The tragedy of 21st century American Christianity is not that there are few men who boldly declare the Word of the Lord, which is the case, but that there are so many professing Christians who shun the unapologetic declaration of God’s Word which, when wielded by the man of God is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Warning: Slay the Messenger, But Do So At Your Peril!
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith