Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17, 2012 … Waiting On God’s Deliverance

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 230 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Jeremiah 38-40 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 74 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 79 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 38: 4-6;11; 28 :[NLT] … 4 So these officials went to the king and said, “Sir, this man must die! That kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few fighting men we have left, as well as that of all the people, too. This man is a traitor!” 5 So King Zedekiah agreed. “All right,” he said. “Do as you like. I will do nothing to stop you.” 6 So the officials took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him by ropes into an empty cistern in the prison yard. It belonged to Malkijah, a member of the royal family. There was no water in the cistern, but there was a thick layer of mud at the bottom, and Jeremiah sank down into it. … 
11 So Ebed-melech [an Ethiopian palace official to King Jedekiah who stood for Jeremiah against the king’s order to have Jeremiah put in the cistern] took the men with him [ordered by the king] and went to a room in the palace beneath the treasury, where he found some old rags and discarded clothing. He carried these to the cistern and lowered them to Jeremiah on a rope. … 
28 And Jeremiah remained a prisoner in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured. 
Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 39: 1-2; 8-10; 15-17 :[NLT] … 1 It was in January during the ninth year of King Zedekiah’s reign that King Nebuchadnezzar and his army returned to besiege Jerusalem. 2 Two and a half years later, on July 18, the Babylonians broke through the wall, and the city fell. … 8 Meanwhile, the Babylonians burned Jerusalem, including the palace, and tore down the walls of the city. 9 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, sent to Babylon the remnant of the population as well as those who had defected to him. 10 But Nebuzaradan left a few of the poorest people in Judah, and he assigned them fields and vineyards to care for…. 
15 The LORD had given the following message to Jeremiah while he was still in prison: 16 “Say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will do to this city everything I have threatened. I will send disaster, not prosperity. You will see its destruction, 17 but I will rescue you from those you fear so much. 18 Because you trusted me, I will preserve your life and keep you safe. I, the LORD, have spoken!’” 
Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 40: 4; 6 :[NLT] … [Nebuzaradan, the Captain of Nebuchadnezzar’s guard to Jeremiah] 4 “ Now I am going to take off your chains and let you go. If you want to come with me to Babylon, you are welcome. I will see that you are well cared for. But if you don’t want to come, you may stay here. The whole land is before you — go wherever you like. … 
6 So Jeremiah returned to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah [in Mizpah, a town just north of destroyed Jerusalem, where a remnant of Jews remained under the control of Babylon] and lived in Judah with the few who were still left in the land.  
Highlight Passage: Psalm 74: 1-2; 8; 10-12; 20-21 [A Prayer Psalm of Asaph] :[NLT] … 1 O God, why have you rejected us forever? Why is your anger so intense against the sheep of your own pasture? 2 Remember that we are the people you chose in ancient times, the tribe you redeemed as your own special possession! And remember Jerusalem, your home here on earth. … 
8 Then they [enemies of Judah] thought, “Let’s destroy everything!” So they burned down all the places where God was worshiped. … 
10 How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to mock you? Will you let them dishonor your name forever? 11 Why do you hold back your strong right hand? Unleash your powerful fist and deliver a deathblow. … 12 You, O God, are my king from ages past, bringing salvation to the earth. … 
20 Remember your covenant promises, for the land is full of darkness and violence! 21 Don’t let the downtrodden be constantly disgraced! Instead, let these poor and needy ones give praise to your name  
Highlight Passage: Psalm 79: 6-7; 10 [A Prayer Psalm of Asaph]:[NLT] … 6 Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to recognize you — on kingdoms that do not call upon your name. 7 For they have devoured your people Israel, making the land a desolate wilderness. … 
10 Why should pagan nations be allowed to scoff, asking, “Where is their God?” Show us your vengeance against the nations, for they have spilled the blood of your servants. 

My Journal for Today: Historically, the people of Judah, in these passages from Jeremiah’s journal (i.e., Jeremiah 38-40) are caught in the midst of being consumed by the Babylonians; and that’s why the two Psalms from Asaph (i.e., numbers 74 & 79) are pertinent chronologically as pleas to God for His deliverance.

 I hope you read through the highlighted passages which I’ve copied above, understanding their historical context; because as God’s plan for His chosen peoples unfolded in Jeremiah’s day, it became hard for God’s chosen to see the “WHY” in having a pagan power, Babylon, consume the nation, destroy God’s temple/city (Jerusalem), and allow Babylon to disperse and divide the peoples of Israel.

Have you ever been in a set of circumstances where you have had trouble seeing the forest for the trees? Perhaps you look around today and you and ask why God would allow a nation, like ours, to abort over 60 million babies in the last 40+ years? Why would God allow the XXX [i.e., porn] industry to become the economic engine for the internet. WHY, WHY, WHY???

And Jeremiah, … poor Jeremiah …, had to be God’s voice of truth during all the times of purging, where God used the Babylonians as His purging agent. And as Asaph wrote in his two sorrowful Psalms in today’s study, we read of the pleas of God’s people to bring justice and deliverance – once again – for the Israelites. And surely by now, if you’ve read through these 229 days of the Old Testament this year, as I have, you’ve gotten the picture that God’s chosen were, quite simply, FOOLS. God gave them lesson after lesson of His love and mercy and forgiveness; and they saw lesson after lesson of His wrath and power; but they still kept falling back – over and over and over – into their own selfish ways.

And God finally had enough! So, we see Him allowing Babylon to come in and consume Judah, as they had Israel some years earlier, allowing Nebuchadnezzar and his hoards to destroy the City of David and the Temple of worship, built for God. But in the midst of all of this chaos and destruction, there were small signs that God was watching out for His remnant of faithful believers. Note in these chapters today how God used Nebuchadnezzar’s Captain, Nebuzaradan, to protect and provide for Jeremiah as the much more powerful Jewish King, Zedekiah, who would not stand up for God, was imprisoned. And then there was the small town, Mizpah, just north of Jerusalem, where Jeremiah went when he was released by Nebuzaradan, where a pocket of believers were allowed to flourish in the midst of the Babylonian captivity.

Yes, from this study, as we keep seeing over and over and over again in God’s word, our Lord will always provides for and protects those who believe in and stand for Him. Maybe it won’t be in this life; but God’s promise of protection for His children is a forever promise; and it’s that promise which brought God’s only Son to live, die, and return to heaven as our Protector, Provider, and Priest. And as we see what is transpiring in our times today, we must hold on to that promise and truth … no matter what

My Prayer Today: … Lord, You are always here with me, even when things seem hopeless. You are my Hope! Amen

No comments: