Reading through the Bible together

Monday, May 26, 2014

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The intensity in this chapter builds! God is sending His Word to the entire nation of Judah. Jeremiah says that he has been delivering the Word of God to the people for years. And though he has risen early to speak to them, they have refused to listen!

 

The rising early part interests me. Apparently Jeremiah is at the city gates as each day begins pleading with the people on God’s behalf. Could it be that early in the morning, the minds of the people were not yet filled with the business and activities of the day and would be most open to His Words?

 

God’s message is simple and clear. Notice His “Three Point Plan” for spiritual survival! Repent of your evil ways and evil doings. Don’t chase after other gods to serve and worship them. And don’t force Me to take action by the works of your hands. The Scripture records the sad truth. They refused to listen. Not just once, the context indicates a continual refusal to listen.

 

A few years ago, I attended a convention in New York City. Wanting to see the sights, several of us ended up in Times Square in the early evening. Thousands of people were going like waves into Broadway shows, nightclubs, restaurants, and shops. There was a street preacher in the back of pickup truck with a loudspeaker preaching his heart out. As he quoted John 3:16 and pleaded with the people to repent and turn to God, he was totally ignored. Even though the sound was loud enough, it was as if he were not even there!

 

Reading this chapter, it reminds me of Jeremiah trying to get people’s attention at the gate of the city. The people did not listen to God’s Words. These Words would have saved them, if only they had taken them seriously. Jeremiah details the devastating results, not only for Judah but also for the surrounding nations. The Babylonians became His instrument of judgment and those they did not take captive, they utterly destroyed. The sounds of life are silenced and the lights go out. Even though separated by time and space, I can’t help but feel a gnawing in the pit of my stomach just reading this.

 

But the tide begins to turn. We find in Jeremiah’s prophecy that the captives would be in Babylon for 70 years. Do you realize that this is the same prophecy that Daniel was studying near the end of the captivity as recorded in Daniel 9. Don’t miss this! You have one prophet studying the Words of another prophet trying to understand what God is saying! How important are the Words of God!

 

The rest of the chapter is almost as if Jeremiah is carried away in vision that goes past the 70 years of captivity, past the punishment of Babylon for her sins, and into the larger conflict between good and evil at the end time. These issues that have brought His judgments on His own people are now expanding to the entire world. God says, “Take this wine cup of wrath from My hands and cause all nations, to whom I send you to drink it.” Bible students will recognize a strong similarity to words in Revelation describing the final conflict of the ages.

 

God has a controversy not only with His people but with the nations. The devastation of sin and evil will not continue. And at the end of this chapter, reference is made to the leaders and shepherds in the Day of Judgment. It is not a pretty picture. It looks more like a time of terror and horror. I would not want to bear the responsibility of having led one of God’s children astray.

 

The good news is that there is an end to the foolishness of rejecting God’s Words. My prayer is that each member of the “Revived By His Word Family” will listen carefully to His Words and hide them in their heart. Each one of us has the privilege of being fully restored to God’s ultimate plan for us. When that happens, it will be because of how we related to His Words. God be with you as our journey together continues!

   

Dan Houghton 

Hart Research Center

California