Week 33 Devotion
So, we are getting back to jumping around this week and that means that we have a lot to choose from in this devotion. The bulk of our reading is still coming from the prophet Jeremiah so let’s major on that but let’s also talk about the context of what is going on in Jerusalem during this time. When we first started reading the book of Kings Solomon was on the throne in Jerusalem and things were better than they had ever been.
The wars had ended and the people had peace. The economy was stronger than it had ever been and all the people were sharing in the wealth of Israel. Their king was the wisest and most respected leader in the world. And the temple that Solomon built for God was one of the great wonders of the world. The book opened on a high note.
But as we come to end of the book we can say, “My how the mighty have fallen.” The book ends with the present king of Jerusalem being taken captive to Babylon. The people have also been carried into captivity as slaves to a pagan king. Jerusalem has been destroyed, its walls torn down and its city in ruin. The temple of God has been plundered, defiled and burned to the ground.
This didn’t happen overnight. We have seen it coming for weeks. The leaders of the people did what was evil in the sight of God and the people followed their ways. Idolatry became normal in Israel. The Word of God was ignored or even lost to each generation. There were a few bright spots, leaders who sought to honor God and lead the people to do the same, but the slide into complete apostasy was steady and now it is final.
The people have turned away from God. They have broken the covenant that God made with them.
Jeremiah 11:6 And the Lord said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: Hear the words of this covenant and do them. 7 For I solemnly warned your fathers when I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, warning them persistently, even to this day, saying, Obey my voice. 8 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone walked in the stubbornness of his evil heart. Therefore I brought upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.”
This exile is the result of Israel’s sin. They have sinned against God and they are experiencing His just judgment on account of their sin. And from the looks of things there is no coming back from this…or is there?
Something to meditate on…
God is not the only One who warned the people, Jeremiah is doing that as well. Chapters 23-28 reveal to us the conflict that the prophet faced while standing up and speaking for the Lord. He confronted kings, false-prophets, and the people who were following wicked leaders down the wrong path. Jeremiah was young. He was surrounded by opposition. The people didn’t head his warnings, but he was faithful.
In our own day we see wickedness and corruption at every turn. The political leaders, religious leaders, cultural leaders and the people around us are following a wicked path. We should mourn over this but we shouldn’t be shocked by it. Much of the world has rejected God and here we stand in a similar position as Jeremiah. The odds are stacked against us but the question is, “will we be faithful?”
We need to see that in many ways we walk in Jeremiah’s shoes but we need also to remember that it is not our strength that we must rely on, but the strength that Christ supplies. When we fail or when the culture continues to march to the drum of the wicked we need to remember that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe. God will accomplish His purpose, Christ will receive the reward of His suffering, our calling is not to success but to faithfulness.
Something to discuss…
Jeremiah 25 coincides with the last chapters of the book of Kings and the book of Chronicles. In Jeremiah we see God prophesy about the destruction that is coming and in Kings and Chronicles, we see that prophecy come to pass. These are hard chapters to read but in them we see something that reveals the nature of God to us…His justice.
Our God is a just God and His own righteousness is the standard of measure. When the wrath of God is poured out upon Judah it is an extension of the justice of God. He is pouring out upon the people exactly what they deserve from His perfectly righteous hand. It is not a comfort to us but it is something we need to understand about our God. He is just and He will pour out justice on the world, even upon His own people.
For those who are in Christ we also need to remember that the justice that we deserve, the punishment that our sin rightly deserves, was poured out completely upon Jesus. The cup of the Lord’s wrath which we deserved was drained to the dregs by Christ upon the cross. Every sin, every wrong, every lie, every selfish thought, every evil deed came at a cost and Jesus paid that cost. Every sin of every believer for all time was stored up and poured out upon Jesus. The wrath of God for us was exhausted upon Christ so that we would be set free.
Take some time to discuss the justice and wrath of God. Also think on and discuss the role of the cross in the execution of divine justice.
Something to pray about…
In Psalm 79 we read about the aftermath of God’s judgment upon Jerusalem. The nations have taken over, the temple has been defiled, the city lay in ruins and the people of God have been slain. The psalmist feels the grief and pain of the situation and cries out to God in verse 5, “How long, o Lord? Will you be angry forever?”
The days we live in show a world corrupted by sin and idolatry. We are surrounded on every side by the same type of wickedness that ruled Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day, but the wrath of God has not yet been unleashed. We cry out, “How long, O Lord?” but for a different reason.
We long for Christ’s return. We long for our King to be revealed and we long for this world to be set right. But having read through these images of Jerusalem in those days from long ago perhaps we should cry out in a different way. We should long for Christ’s return but we should also long to see God’s grace poured out in revival among our nation. We should long to see people saved from sin, to see people repent of their sin and turn to Christ. We should long to have a ministry of gospel success where men, women and children would come to see their need of a Savior and trust in Christ to be saved.
Let’s pray for our hearts to be shaped by both of these motivations: a longing for Christ to come and a longing for others to be saved.