Reading through the Bible together

Friday, May 30, 2014

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How would you like to receive an email from a prophet of God? In this chapter we read about the prophet Jeremiah sending a letter to the captives in Babylon. In our day we could be receiving an “email.” If you are a captive in a modern Babylon, you too may profit by this advice: “For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the LORD” (vv. 8-9).

Do you have false prophets around you in our day? My daughter Lauretta and I were standing on the ancient Procession Way at ancient Babylon. Saddam Hussein restored 180 meters of this famous street. While there we rehearsed the history when the exiles of Jerusalem entered the Ishtar Gate and walked to their disastrous 70 years of exile. Right there the comforting messages of Jeremiah 29 jumped to our minds: “For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return [back home] here. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (vv.10-11).

If you harbor negative thoughts about the future, please replace them with God’s future thought for you. While my daughter and I walked through the huge gates of the partially reconstructed Babylon towards the throne room of Nebuchadnezzar we thought of the rest of this inspiring promise: “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive”(vv.12-14).

We are all exiled from our sinless home in Eden and are living, not only in a sinful world, but in our sinful fallen natures. Who will rescue us? As my daughter and I left the throne room where Daniel explained to the king that a stone is coming soon to crush the kingdoms of this world and set up an everlasting kingdom, we stepped into the huge hall where Belshazzar and his thousand lords were destroyed by Cyrus.

Daniel predicted the Lord’s coming and His deliverance of His exiled people many years before His birth. As we looked at the throne room, we were not certain where the bloodless hand wrote the doom of Babylon and the fulfillment of the 70 year exile. With the promises of Jeremiah 29, Lauretta and I went to Pasargadae in Iran where we paid a visit to the tomb of Cyrus–a type of Christ.

Isaiah 44 and 45 calls him a shepherd, a deliverer and an anointed. His title is a type which is connected to the antitype, the heavenly Cyrus. But as we meditated on this great deliverer we thought of the tremendous comforting message of Isaiah 45:13: “I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; He shall build My city and let My exiles go free, not for price nor reward, says the LORD of hosts.”

Prayer

“Our dear loving heavenly Father, thank You for explaining Your salvation through the history of Cyrus. Thank you for delivering us from this Babylon world of pain and death to the bliss of heaven. And thank You that Your grace is not only about fairness, but about love. We pray this in the name of Jesus, our heavenly Cyrus. Amen”

 

Francois du Plessis

Former Pastor of Helderberg College Church

Currently, Evangelist in South African Union