2231.) Jeremiah 46

November 20, 2017
Prophecies against Egypt.

Prophecies against Egypt.

Jeremiah 46   (NLT)

Messages for the Nations

The following messages were given to Jeremiah the prophet from the Lord concerning foreign nations.

In chapters 46-51, Jeremiah delivers warnings of destruction and judgment—poetically and beautifully. He prophesies against nine nations:  Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Damascus, Arabia (Kedar and Hazor), Elam, and Babylonia. The nations are listed geographically, i.e., from west to east. These prophecies were fulfilled after the fall of Jerusalem. Babylon will be destroyed and desolate, while Israel will be redeemed.

–William MacDonald (and other notes in red)

Jeremiah the prophet against the nations: It is an important reminder that though the Book of Jeremiah deals mostly with the judgment God would bring against Judah, God did not neglect or ignore the Gentile nations. He would also righteously judge them.

“God knows who he is. He is not a regional supervisor. He is not a tribal deity. He is the God of all nations. His sovereignty is not limited to a single culture, nation, or ethnic group.” (Ryken)

–David Guzik

Messages about Egypt

This message concerning Egypt was given in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, the king of Judah, on the occasion of the battle of Carchemish when Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, and his army were defeated beside the Euphrates River by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

In the summer of 605 BC, the Battle of Carchemish was fought by the Babylonian army of Nebuchadnezzar II and that of Pharaoh Necho II of Egypt and the remnants of the Assyrian army. The aim of Necho’s campaign was to contain the westward advance of the Babylonian Empire and cut off its trade route across the Euphrates. However, the Egyptians were defeated by the unexpected attack of the Babylonians and were eventually expelled from Syria.

“It was on his way there [Carchemish] that Pharaoh Neco had slain King Josiah of Judah in 609 when Josiah tried to turn him back.” (Kidner) Pharaoh kept his army in Carchemish four years, dominating the area and waiting for the inevitable confrontation with rising Babylon. When it came, the Egyptians were routed.

–David Guzik

Noted biblical scholar J. A. Thompson said of this following section, Jeremiah 46:3-12, “The poetry is among the most vivid in all the OT and is certainly unsurpassed in the book of Jeremiah.” 

“Prepare your shields,
    and advance into battle!

Harness the horses,
    and mount the stallions.
Take your positions.
    Put on your helmets.
Sharpen your spears,
    and prepare your armor.

J46 horses at war

On the Western Front during the First World War: Battle of Ypres, 1917 (The First World War Poetry Digital Archive)

Around 6 million horses served in World War One and a huge number of them died as a result.

In 1914 the RSPCA set up a fund for sick and wounded war horses to help alleviate suffering on the front line. Some 725,000 horses were treated in France alone. 

Horses were used to perform essential tasks such as pulling ambulances and field guns, as well as carrying supplies and ammunition. The use of horses at the front was vital as they could cope with the deep mud far more effectively than vehicles.

But what do I see?
    The Egyptian army flees in terror.
The bravest of its fighting men run
    without a backward glance.
They are terrorized at every turn,”
    says the Lord.

Jeremiah describes the Egyptian army in full flight. Although they were numerous and formidable, the battle seems to be over as soon as it begins. In his prophetic vision Jeremiah now sees (verses 6-8) the captains of the Babylonian army calling out orders, commanding all their soldiers to pursue and utterly defeat the retreating Egyptians.

“The swiftest runners cannot flee;
    the mightiest warriors cannot escape.
By the Euphrates River to the north,
    they stumble and fall.

“Who is this, rising like the Nile at floodtime,
    overflowing all the land?
It is the Egyptian army,
    overflowing all the land,
boasting that it will cover the earth like a flood,
    destroying cities and their people.

9  “Charge, you horses and chariots;
    attack, you mighty warriors of Egypt!
Come, all you allies from Ethiopia, Libya, and Lydia
    who are skilled with the shield and bow!
10 For this is the day of the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    a day of vengeance on his enemies.
The sword will devour until it is satisfied,
    yes, until it is drunk with your blood!
The Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will receive a sacrifice today
    in the north country beside the Euphrates River.

11 “Go up to Gilead to get medicine,
    O virgin daughter of Egypt!
But your many treatments
    will bring you no healing.
12 The nations have heard of your shame.
    The earth is filled with your cries of despair.
Your mightiest warriors will run into each other
    and fall down together.”

An army is seen preparing for battle, then making a hasty retreat. The army is Egypt’s, but it is composed mainly of mercenaries—Ethiopians, Libyans, and Lydians. 

Nebuchadnezzar defeated Pharaoh Neco at the battle of Carchemish on the upper Euphrates River in 605 B.C. and brought to a close Egypt’s political and military influence over Palestine and Syria. Egypt is no longer a great power; Babylon is ascending.

13 Then the Lord gave the prophet Jeremiah this message about King Nebuchadnezzar’s plans to attack Egypt.

Next Egypt is warned to prepare for invasion and exile. When Nebuchadnezzar invades the land, the valiant mercenary soldiers will fall against one another, then decide to go back home. Pharaoh will be renamed “Empty Sound,’ for he is just so much noise. Babylon’s commanding presence will spell captivity for the Egyptians.

14 “Shout it out in Egypt!
    Publish it in the cities of Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes!
Mobilize for battle,
    for the sword will devour everyone around you.
15 Why have your warriors fallen?
    They cannot stand, for the Lord has knocked them down.
16 They stumble and fall over each other
    and say among themselves,
‘Come, let’s go back to our people,
    to the land of our birth.
    Let’s get away from the sword of the enemy!’
17 There they will say,
    ‘Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is a loudmouth
    who missed his opportunity!’

18 “As surely as I live,” says the King,
    whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
“one is coming against Egypt
    who is as tall as Mount Tabor,
    or as Mount Carmel by the sea!

Tabor and Carmel are two prominent mountains in Israel. From J. A. Thompson again:  “Both seemed to Jeremiah to depict Nebuchadnezzar, who towered over Egypt in his might like lofty mountains towering over a plain.” 

19 Pack up! Get ready to leave for exile,
    you citizens of Egypt!
The city of Memphis will be destroyed,
    without a single inhabitant.
20 Egypt is as sleek as a beautiful young cow,
    but a horsefly from the north is on its way!
21 Egypt’s mercenaries have become like fattened calves.
    They, too, will turn and run,
for it is a day of great disaster for Egypt,
    a time of great punishment.
22 Egypt flees, silent as a serpent gliding away.
    The invading army marches in;
    they come against her with axes like woodsmen.
23 They will cut down her people like trees,” says the Lord,
    “for they are more numerous than locusts.
24 Egypt will be humiliated;
    she will be handed over to people from the north.”

25 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “I will punish Amon, the god of Thebes, and all the other gods of Egypt.

J46 Amon

The Lord will punish Amon (the sun god of ancient Thebes and the chief god of Egypt during much of its history), Pharaoh, and Egypt with their gods and their kings. But afterward there will be restoration for Egypt and for Israel, too.

I will punish its rulers and Pharaoh, too, and all who trust in him.

J48 trust in Jesus' name

26 I will hand them over to those who want them killed—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his army. But afterward the land will recover from the ravages of war. I, the Lord, have spoken!

Now, a word of comfort to the people of God. “In the midst of wrath God remembers mercy. Though Judah shall be destroyed, Jerusalem taken, the temple burnt to the ground, and the people carried into captivity, yet the nation shall not be destroyed. A seed shall be preserved, out of which the nation shall revive.”

–Adam Clarke

27 “But do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant;
    do not be dismayed, Israel.
For I will bring you home again from distant lands,
    and your children will return from their exile.
Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet,
    and no one will terrorize them.
28 Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
    for I am with you,” says the Lord.
“I will completely destroy the nations to which I have exiled you,
    but I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you, but with justice;
    I cannot let you go unpunished.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Hillsong Chapel and “Cornerstone.” The lyrics are partly words from the old hymn “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less.”

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)  Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
pyramids.    http://cdn2.list25.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/www.digital.bg-2c3affdc20eabf13db93ea162ef0bcf1.jpg
map of the battle of Carchemish.   http://slideplayer.com/slide/4880664/16/images/14/Battle+of+Carchemish+(609+BC).jpg
horses at war.    http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/11_01/horsedrawnDM0811_468x461.jpg
Amon.    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2760/4369621962_53a48208e1.jpg
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2230.) Habakkuk 3

November 17, 2017

Habakkuk 3   (NIV)

Habakkuk’s Prayer

Habakkuk now prays to the Lord. He had heard of the Lord’s dealings in the past with the enemies of His people; now he asks Him to revive His work by punishing His foes and saving his people.

–William MacDonald

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet.

Lord, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.

God came from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran.
His glory covered the heavens
and his praise filled the earth.

The prophet pictures God marching forth against His foes, crushing them by His power and triumphing gloriously.

His splendor was like the sunrise;
rays flashed from his hand,
where his power was hidden.
Plague went before him;
pestilence followed his steps.
He stood, and shook the earth;
he looked, and made the nations tremble.
The ancient mountains crumbled
and the age-old hills collapsed—
but he marches on forever.
I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,
the dwellings of Midian in anguish.

Were you angry with the rivers, Lord?
Was your wrath against the streams?
Did you rage against the sea
when you rode your horses
and your chariots to victory?
You uncovered your bow,
you called for many arrows.
You split the earth with rivers;
10  the mountains saw you and writhed.
Torrents of water swept by;
the deep roared
and lifted its waves on high.

11 Sun and moon stood still in the heavens
at the glint of your flying arrows,
at the lightning of your flashing spear.

Click  HERE  to read in Joshua 10 of the mighty miracle God worked in the sky to help Joshua win a battle.

12 In wrath you strode through the earth
and in anger you threshed the nations.
13 You came out to deliver your people,
to save your anointed one.
You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,
you stripped him from head to foot.
14 With his own spear you pierced his head
when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,
gloating as though about to devour
the wretched who were in hiding.
15 You trampled the sea with your horses,
churning the great waters.

Click  HERE  to read the story of God marching the people through the Red Sea in Exodus 14.

16 I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The literal is “I will jump for joy in the Lord; I will spin around for delight in God.” Here is the hilarity of faith!–joy at its best with circumstances at their worst! What a victory! May it be ours!

–J. Sidlow Baxter

I CHOOSE to praise God for being God, no matter what my situation may be! 

I CHOOSE to bless him not just for his gifts to me every day, but for what he wisely withholds as well! 

I CHOOSE to take a moment today and thank him particularly for rescuing me from darkness and bringing me into the light through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.

For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Yet Will I Praise Thee”  by Kent Henry.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
faith in a sovereign God.   http://www.damascusroadchurch.org/sermon-series-habakkuk
walls of water at the Red Sea.   http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/ascroll/moses_parting_the_red_sea.jpg
jump for joy.   http://images.psxextreme.com/wallpapers/ps3/jump_for_joy_910.

2229.) Habakkuk 2

November 16, 2017

Habakkuk 2   (NIV)

I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.

Habakkuk retires to his watchtower to wait for the Lord’s answer. He knew he needed to have some time alone to get God’s perspective. 

“They who watch for the providence of God will never lack the providence of God to watch for.”

The Lord’s Answer

Then the Lord replied:

“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come
and will not delay.

Habakkuk is a prophet of comfort who is to strengthen and support the people, to prevent them from despairing of the coming of Christ, however strangely things may go. This is why he uses every device that can serve to keep strong in their hearts the faith in the promised Christ. He says:  It is indeed true that because of the people’s sins the lands shall be destroyed by the king of Babylon. But Christ and his kingdom shall not fail to come on that account. On the contrary, the destroyer, the king of Babylon, shall have little good out of his conquest, for he too shall perish. For it is God’s nature and work to help when there is need and to come in the midst of the proper season.

–Martin Luther

In order to accomplish exploits for God, you have to keep on believing and not give up. I dedicate this verse to all believers who are trusting the Lord for a particular thing that seems to have been delayed: “The vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3)

–Christine Darg

“See, the enemy is puffed up;
his desires are not upright—
but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—

In Hebrew, the important part of the verse has only three words: “the justified man,” “by his faith,” and “will live.” Every word in Habakkuk 2:4 is important, and the Lord quotes it three times in the New Testament just to bring out the fullness of the meaning

  • Romans 1:17 is the commentary on the justified man – “The just shall live by faith”
  • Hebrews 10:38 is the commentary on faith – “The just shall live by faith” 
  • Galatians 3:11 is the commentary on the Christian life – “The just shall live by faith” 

Before his bold declaration of the truth of the gospel, Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk. As a monk he went on a pilgrimage to Rome and as he crossed the Alps he fell deathly ill.  As he lay sick he felt great turmoil, both physical and spiritual, and a verse that had previously touched him came to mind: The just will live by his faith, from Habakkuk 2:4. When Luther recovered he went on to Rome and did the tourist things that all the pilgrims did. One day he came to the church of Saint John’s Lateran, where there is a staircase (pictured above) said to be from Pilate’s judgment hall. It was the custom of pilgrims to climb this staircase, but never on their feet — they painfully climbed a step at a time on their knees, saying prayers and kissing the steps where is was thought the blood of Jesus fell. Luther came to this place and starting doing just as all the pilgrims, because the pope promised an indulgence to all who climbed the steps on their knees and said the prayers. As he did this, Luther remembered the words from Habakkuk: The just will live by his faith. It is said that when he remembered this he stopped, stood up, walked down and went straight home to Germany. Some say the Reformation began on those stairs.

Luther wrote, “Before those words broke upon my mind I hated God and was angry with him because, not content with frightening us sinners by the law and by the miseries of life, he still further increased our torture by the gospel. But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood those words — ‘The just shall live by faith!’ ‘The just shall live by faith!’ — then I felt born again like a new man; I entered through the open doors into the very Paradise of God.”

–David Guzik

indeed, wine betrays him;
he is arrogant and never at rest.
Because he is as greedy as the grave
and like death is never satisfied,
he gathers to himself all the nations
and takes captive all the peoples.

Now five woes directed at the king of Babylon and similarly sinful people — aggressors (vs. 6-8), the greedy (vs. 9-11), the violent (vs. 12-14), the drunk (vs. 15-17), and the idolater (vs. 18-19).

“Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying,

“‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods
and makes himself wealthy by extortion!
How long must this go on?’
Will not your creditors suddenly arise?
Will they not wake up and make you tremble?
Then you will become their prey.
Because you have plundered many nations,
the peoples who are left will plunder you.
For you have shed human blood;
you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain,
setting his nest on high
to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin of many peoples,
shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.
11 The stones of the wall will cry out,
and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.

12 Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed
and establishes a town by injustice!
13 Has not the Lord Almighty determined
that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire,
that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

15 Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors,
pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk,
so that he can gaze on their naked bodies!
16 You will be filled with shame instead of glory.
Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed!
The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you,
and disgrace will cover your glory.
17 The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,
and your destruction of animals will terrify you.
For you have shed human blood;
you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

18 “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman?
Or an image that teaches lies?
For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation;
he makes idols that cannot speak.
19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’
Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’
Can it give guidance?
It is covered with gold and silver;
there is no breath in it.”

Through it all, the point is proven.  Habakkuk couldn’t understand why God would judge a sinful nation (Judah) by an even more sinful nation (Babylon).  Yet God reminds Habakkuk of His own wisdom and strength, and of His ultimate triumph over the wicked.  God knew that Babylon was filled with the proud, the greedy, the violent, the drunk, and the idolater — and the LORD knew how to deal with them all.

–David Guzik

20 The Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.

I remember this verse from my earliest childhood. We went to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Williams, Iowa, pop. 500 or so. As Daddy parked the car at church on Sunday morning, Mother would lead the family (three daughters and one son) in saying this verse.  The Lord is in his holy temple.  Let all the earth keep silence before him. We kids knew what we should do next:   quietly get out of the car and walk into church, quietly sit through the service on hard wooden pews (we were not allowed even to chew gum), and quietly return to the car. It was a good plan.

And it is not my parents’ fault that it was so seldom truly successful!

(The picture above is of a different St. Paul’s — Cathedral, Melbourne, Australia.)

_________________________

Music:

“The vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal and will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come,
it will not be late.” 

We can trust the Lord to fulfill his promises!  “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” by Selah.  Click  HERE.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
live by faith.   http://gavinortlund.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/habakkuk-picture.jpg
verse 3.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/habakkuk2verse3a.jpg
stairs of St. John Lateran.   http://www.romaviva.com/San-Giovanni-in-Laterano/scala-santa.jpg
Woe.   http://damancd.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/110224-woe.jpg
St. Paul’s Cathedral.   http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3239/3082509607_7f0f068c11.jpg

2228.) Habakkuk 1

November 15, 2017

Habakkuk 1   (NIV)

The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.

We don’t know much about the prophet Habakkuk from any other book in the Bible. Since he prophesied the coming Babylonian army and its destruction of Judah, he prophesied some time before that invasion. Many think that Habakkuk ministered sometime during the reign of King Johoiakim, perhaps around the year 607 B.C.

It’s hard to say with certainty when Habakkuk prophesied. Since he speaks of God raising up the Babylonians (Habakkuk 1:6), we can guess that he wrote in the 25-year period between the time when Babylon conquered Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire (612 b.c.) and the time when Babylon conquered Jerusalem (587 b.c.).

We don’t know how old Habakkuk was when he gave this prophecy, but it is likely that he lived during the time of godly king Josiah (640 to 609 b.c.) and then gave this prophecy during the reign of one of Josiah’s successors. Habakkuk knew what it was like to live during a time of revival, and then to see God’s people and the nation slip into lethargy and sin. “Habakkuk had a problem. He had lived through a period of national revival followed by a period of spiritual decline.” (Boice)

–David Guzik

Habakkuk loved his nation, and he knew it was moving ever closer to the precipice of destruction by continuing to break the laws of God. Therefore two anguished questions burst forth from his lips:  How long?  and  Why?

–Robert W. De Haan

Habakkuk’s Complaint

How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.

How often we feel like Habakkuk! “Lord, look at the mess my life/my church/my country/this world is in now! So much is wrong! What’s taking you so long? Why don’t you come and help?”

The Lord’s Answer

“Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
I am raising up the Babylonians,
that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to seize dwellings not their own.
They are a feared and dreaded people;
they are a law to themselves
and promote their own honor.
Their horses are swifter than leopards,
fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their cavalry gallops headlong;
their horsemen come from afar.
They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;
9 they all come intent on violence.
Their hordes advance like a desert wind
and gather prisoners like sand.
10 They mock kings
and scoff at rulers.
They laugh at all fortified cities;
by building earthen ramps they capture them.
11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—
guilty people, whose own strength is their god.

God says, “Don’t worry. I know what I will do to bring judgment and punishment where it is needed. I will send the fierce and wicked Babylonians against Judah.”

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

12 Lord, are you not from everlasting?
My God, my Holy One, you will never die.
You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment;
you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish.
13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
Why are you silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
14 You have made people like the fish in the sea,
like the sea creatures that have no ruler.
15 The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks,
he catches them in his net,
he gathers them up in his dragnet;
and so he rejoices and is glad.
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net
and burns incense to his dragnet,
for by his net he lives in luxury
and enjoys the choicest food.
17 Is he to keep on emptying his net,
destroying nations without mercy?

But Habakkuk is not happy with God’s plans. He is appalled that God would use an even more wicked nation, Babylon, against his own chosen people. He argues, “Yes, God, the problem is bad, but your solution seems worse!”

_________________________

Music:

For Habakkuk and all of us who want to see God working NOW! — a faith building song, asking God to work now in us. John Waller and “Calling for a Flood.” Click  HERE  to hear it.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
from frustration to faith.   http://www.gracechurchwi.org/images/logos/HabakkukGranite%20copy_1.jpg
How long?    http://img2.imagesbn.com/images/102510000/102517810.jpg
under control.   http://rlv.zcache.com/trust_me_all_under_control_magnets-p147841158269003951b2gru_400.jpg
What?    http://itsblackcurrent.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/what-hi.png

2227.) Jeremiah 26

November 14, 2017

Jer26 Proverbs-1_33

Jeremiah 26   (NLT)

Jeremiah’s Escape from Death

Jeremiah — life on the edge!

This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah. “This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard in front of the Temple of the Lord, and make an announcement to the people who have come there to worship from all over Judah. Give them my entire message; include every word. Perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways. Then I will change my mind about the disaster I am ready to pour out on them because of their sins.

“Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you will not listen to me and obey my word I have given you, and if you will not listen to my servants, the prophets—for I sent them again and again to warn you, but you would not listen to them— then I will destroy this Temple as I destroyed Shiloh, the place where the Tabernacle was located. And I will make Jerusalem an object of cursing in every nation on earth.’”

The priests, the prophets, and all the people listened to Jeremiah as he spoke in front of the Lord’s Temple. But when Jeremiah had finished his message, saying everything the Lord had told him to say, the priests and prophets and all the people at the Temple mobbed him. “Kill him!” they shouted. “What right do you have to prophesy in the Lord’s name that this Temple will be destroyed like Shiloh? What do you mean, saying that Jerusalem will be destroyed and left with no inhabitants?” And all the people threatened him as he stood in front of the Temple.

Jer26 dont-mess

Jeremiah has raised their hackles!

It is no surprise that the priests and false prophets were infuriated by Jeremiah’s message that the temple would be destroyed. The temple was important to them because the people’s reverence for it brought them power. By saying that the temple would be destroyed, Jeremiah undermines their authority. Jesus also infuriated the religious leaders of his time by foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple (Matthew 24:2).  (The Life Application Bible)

10 When the officials of Judah heard what was happening, they rushed over from the palace and sat down at the New Gate of the Temple to hold court. 11 The priests and prophets presented their accusations to the officials and the people. “This man should die!” they said. “You have heard with your own ears what a traitor he is, for he has prophesied against this city.”

12 Then Jeremiah spoke to the officials and the people in his own defense. “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this Temple and this city,” he said. “The Lord gave me every word that I have spoken. 13 But if you stop your sinning and begin to obey the Lord your God, he will change his mind about this disaster that he has announced against you. 14 As for me, I am in your hands—do with me as you think best. 15 But if you kill me, rest assured that you will be killing an innocent man! The responsibility for such a deed will lie on you, on this city, and on every person living in it. For it is absolutely true that the Lord sent me to speak every word you have heard.”

16 Then the officials and the people said to the priests and prophets, “This man does not deserve the death sentence, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.”

17 Then some of the wise old men stood and spoke to all the people assembled there. 18 They said, “Remember when Micah of Moresheth prophesied during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah. He told the people of Judah,

‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
Mount Zion will be plowed like an open field;
    Jerusalem will be reduced to ruins!
A thicket will grow on the heights
    where the Temple now stands.’

19 But did King Hezekiah and the people kill him for saying this? No, they turned from their sins and worshiped the Lord. They begged him for mercy. Then the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had pronounced against them. So we are about to do ourselves great harm.”

Jer26 micah

So, on the advice of some wise old men, they consider sparing Jeremiah’s life, as King Hezekiah spared Micah’s life. But it doesn’t seem to occur to them to turn from their sins and worship the Lord, which is what both Micah and Jeremiah preached.

20 At this time Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim was also prophesying for the Lord. And he predicted the same terrible disaster against the city and nation as Jeremiah did. 21 When King Jehoiakim and the army officers and officials heard what he was saying, the king sent someone to kill him. But Uriah heard about the plan and escaped in fear to Egypt. 22 Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt along with several other men to capture Uriah. 23 They took him prisoner and brought him back to King Jehoiakim. The king then killed Uriah with a sword and had him buried in an unmarked grave.

How many faithful people through the centuries are known now only to the Lord! Uriah is an otherwise unknown prophet who counted obedience to God worth more than his life. In many parts of the world today, following Jesus is a dangerous, even life-threatening, decision. Such facts make me resolve to be more intentional and less casual in my witness to Christ!

24 Nevertheless, Ahikam son of Shaphan stood up for Jeremiah and persuaded the court not to turn him over to the mob to be killed.

So overall, not a bad day for Jeremiah!

Psalm 118:24-25   (ESV)

This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Save us, we pray, O Lord!
    O Lord, we pray, give us success!

_________________________

Music:

I love the utter confidence Jeremiah has in the Lord, such that death does not frighten him at all. As Proverbs 1:33 says in the top picture, he was able to “be at ease” even when the crowd was threatening him. To inspire us to a similar trust:   HERE  is Selah and “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”

__________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Proverbs 1:33.    http://cdn2.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Proverbs-1_33_7-300×247.jpg
Don’t mess.   http://wallpoper.com/images/00/00/67/69/dont-mess-with-me_00006769.jpg
Micah 6:8.    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jsYIl5iCxis/T99QeRuHcHI/AAAAAAAAKqM/YexCmIA5Txk/s1600/micah6-8.gif

2226.) 2 Chronicles 36

November 13, 2017

“The Destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar” by William Brassey Hole

2 Chronicles 36   (NLT)

These last four kings are treated almost as a single unit, and indeed they have much in common. During their reigns, Judah was effectively under the control first of Egypt and then of Babylon. And, of course, they are all rebellious against the Lord.

Jehoahaz Rules in Judah

1Then the people of the land took Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him the next king in Jerusalem.

2 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months.

2 Kings 23:20 records that “he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”

3 Then he was deposed by the king of Egypt, who demanded that Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold as tribute.

Jehoiakim Rules in Judah

4The king of Egypt then installed Eliakim, the brother of Jehoahaz, as the next king of Judah and Jerusalem, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Then Neco took Jehoahaz to Egypt as a prisoner.

5 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God.

One of the main sources of information about Jehoiakim is the book of Jeremiah, which deals in much more detail with what is quickly covered here.

6 Then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and captured it, and he bound Jehoiakim in bronze chains and led him away to Babylon. 7 Nebuchadnezzar also took some of the treasures from the Temple of the Lord, and he placed them in his palace in Babylon.

8 The rest of the events in Jehoiakim’s reign, including all the evil things he did and everything found against him, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. Then his son Jehoiachin became the next king.

Jehoiachin Rules in Judah

“The Submission of Jehoiachin to Nebuchadnezzar” by William Brassey Hole

9Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. Jehoiachin did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.

10 In the spring of the year King Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin to Babylon. Many treasures from the Temple of the Lord were also taken to Babylon at that time. And Nebuchadnezzar installed Jehoiachin’s uncle, Zedekiah, as the next king in Judah and Jerusalem.

It was under this king that the first major deportation to Babylon took place.

Zedekiah Rules in Judah

11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. 12 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and he refused to humble himself when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to him directly from the Lord. 13He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, even though he had taken an oath of loyalty in God’s name. Zedekiah was a hard and stubborn man, refusing to turn to the Lord, the God of Israel.

The book of Jeremiah depicts Zedekiah as an insecure, weak, hunted man, under pressure from his political “hawks” to resist Babylon, yet not unwilling to appeal to Jeremiah and hear his message of non-resistance.

Jeremiah 38:19-26   (NIV)

King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews who have gone over to the Babylonians, for the Babylonians may hand me over to them and they will mistreat me.”

“They will not hand you over,” Jeremiah replied. “Obey the LORD by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well with you, and your life will be spared.  But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the LORD has revealed to me:  All the women left in the palace of the king of Judah will be brought out to the officials of the king of Babylon. Those women will say to you:

   “‘They misled you and overcame you—
   those trusted friends of yours.
Your feet are sunk in the mud;
   your friends have deserted you.’

“All your wives and children will be brought out to the Babylonians. You yourself will not escape from their hands but will be captured by the king of Babylon; and this city will be burned down.”

Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Do not let anyone know about this conversation, or you may die.  If the officials hear that I talked with you, and they come to you and say, ‘Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you; do not hide it from us or we will kill you,’ then tell them, ‘I was pleading with the king not to send me back to Jonathan’s house to die there.’”

14 Likewise, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful. They followed all the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, desecrating the Temple of the Lord that had been consecrated in Jerusalem.

15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. 16 But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.

This is beyond the pale — that they would do wrong in defiance of the clear knowledge of what is right.

Luke 16:31   (ESV)

He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'”

The Fall of Jerusalem

17 So the Lord brought the king of Babylon against them. The Babylonians killed Judah’s young men, even chasing after them into the Temple. They had no pity on the people, killing both young men and young women, the old and the infirm. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. 18 The king took home to Babylon all the articles, large and small, used in the Temple of God, and the treasures from both the Lord’s Temple and from the palace of the king and his officials. 19 Then his army burned the Temple of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces, and completely destroyed everything of value. 20The few who survived were taken as exiles to Babylon, and they became servants to the king and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power.

Illustration by Marie Odile de Laforcade, 1991

21 So the message of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled. The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest, lying desolate until the seventy years were fulfilled, just as the prophet had said.

“The Deportation to Babylon” by Eric de Saussure, 1968.

The ax falls! The final devastation of Judah by Babylon is one of the decisive events in the whole history of Israel, surpassing any of the other “exiles” which the Chronicler has reported in the course of his account. It was, indeed, one of the stimuli which resulted ultimately in modern Judaism, because it taught the Jews how to live without Temple or political status. Independence would not be theirs again (with the exception of the remarkable Maccabean renaissance between the decline of Greece and the rise of Rome), even though Temple and religious liberty would be regained after the return from Babylon.

The Chronicler is well aware of all this. He has allowed as much by virtue of the place given to Huldah’s prophecy (34:23ff) and to the telescoping of this final chapter, which gives to the Babylonian captivity the intensity of a climax. For his readers in the post-exilic community, all his previous demonstrations of the possibility of restoration from the utmost ignominy and distress are now brought to bear upon their own experience. The Chronicler’s desire for his people is that they rise above defeatism and see that the securing of a glorious future is within their grasp if they will only take the road of obedience.

So in the reference to the land “enjoying its Sabbaths,” the exile is interpreted as a “catching-up” period. And the decree of Cyrus permitting the Jews in Babylon to return to their homeland ends the book on a high note.

–J. G. McConville

Cyrus Allows the Exiles to Return

22In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom:

23 “This is what King Cyrus of Persia says:
“The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are the Lord’s people may go there for this task. And may the Lord your God be with you!”

There has been discussion of the question whether the Chronicler has a messianic message. Some have said that it is intended to preserve a Temple-centred status quo. It can be no accident, however, that the Chronicler has made his chief models of obedience and open-ended possibility the greatest kings of Israel, David and Solomon. He leaves us no hint that he had “inside information” about a coming son of David. Yet it is clear, with hindsight, that all he promised of blessing, wealth, wisdom and the presence of God—not in a Temple but in the human heart—has been finally and dramatically realized in Jesus Christ.

–J. G. McConville

2 Corinthians 6:16   (ESV)

What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

   “I will make my dwelling among them
and walk among them,

   and I will be their God,
   and they shall be my people.”

THE END OF 2 CHRONICLES

_________________________

Music:

Why must the Jews return to Jerusalem? Because the prophecy says that the Messiah will be born — not in Babylon — but in Judea! Grace is never far away!

HERE is a beautiful piece. From Vespers (All-Night Vigil), by Sergei Rachmaninoff, “Lord, Now Lettest Thou.”  A joyful funeral song, if you will.  Sung by the USSR State Academic Russian Choir; listen to the low basses on their descending scale at the end!

As written in the Book of Common Prayer, 1662:

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace : according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen : thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared : before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles : and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Hole, Destruction.    http://www.orientalism-in-art.org/The-destruction-of-Jerusalem-by-nebuzar-adan-large.html
Hole, Submission.    http://www.orientalism-in-art.org/The-submission-of-Coniah-to-Nebuchadnezzar-large.html
Laforcade.    http://www.carpescriptura.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2-Chronicles-36-The-Exile-of-Babylon-by-Marie-Odile-de-Laforcade.jpg
de Saussure.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/de-saussure-jer-deportation.jpg

2225.) Nahum 3

November 10, 2017
Nineveh was the last capital of the Assyrian Empire. It was located on the east side of the Tigris River directly opposite the modern city of Mosul in northern Iraq. The site has been extensively excavated and boasts a long and rich history.

Nineveh was the last capital of the Assyrian Empire. It was located on the east side of the Tigris River directly opposite the modern city of Mosul in northern Iraq. The site has been extensively excavated and boasts a long and rich history.

Nahum 3   (NIV)

Woe to Nineveh

Woe to the city of blood,
    full of lies,
full of plunder,
    never without victims!

Suddenly the reader is in the middle of the battle! Such vivid sights and sounds! 

The crack of whips,
    the clatter of wheels,
galloping horses
    and jolting chariots!
Charging cavalry,
    flashing swords
    and glittering spears!
Many casualties,
    piles of dead,
bodies without number,
    people stumbling over the corpses—

The Assyrian king Shalmaneser III boasted of having erected a pyramid of chopped-off heads in front of an enemy’s city. Other Assyrian kings stacked corpses like cordwood by the gates of defeated cities.   (The Archaeological Study Bible)

all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute,
    alluring, the mistress of sorceries,
who enslaved nations by her prostitution
    and peoples by her witchcraft.

“I am against you,” declares the Lord Almighty.
    “I will lift your skirts over your face.
I will show the nations your nakedness
    and the kingdoms your shame.
I will pelt you with filth,
    I will treat you with contempt
    and make you a spectacle.
All who see you will flee from you and say,
    ‘Nineveh is in ruins—who will mourn for her?’
    Where can I find anyone to comfort you?”

Are you better than Thebes,
    situated on the Nile,
    with water around her?
The river was her defense,
    the waters her wall.

In the ancient city of Thebes, the sprawling Temple of Karnak covers more than 200 acres

In the ancient city of Thebes, the sprawling Temple of Karnak covers more than 200 acres.

Thebes (Upper Egypt) was another wealthy, mighty city that was destroyed completely. The Assyrians in Nineveh knew this well, because it was their armies that destroyed Thebes in 663 B.C. Nahum says, “Remember what you did to Thebes? The same is coming on you.”

–David Guzik

Cush and Egypt were her boundless strength;
    Put and Libya were among her allies.
10 Yet she was taken captive
    and went into exile.
Her infants were dashed to pieces
    at every street corner.
Lots were cast for her nobles,
    and all her great men were put in chains.
11 You too will become drunk;
    you will go into hiding
    and seek refuge from the enemy.

12 All your fortresses are like fig trees
    with their first ripe fruit;
when they are shaken,
    the figs fall into the mouth of the eater.

Nah3 ripe fig
13 Look at your troops—
    they are all weaklings.
The gates of your land
    are wide open to your enemies;
    fire has consumed the bars of your gates.

History and archaeology confirm that Nineveh was burned. Assyria’s king (see verse 18) died in the flames of his own palace.   (The Archaeology Study Bible)

14 Draw water for the siege,
    strengthen your defenses!
Work the clay,
    tread the mortar,
    repair the brickwork!
15 There the fire will consume you;
    the sword will cut you down—
    they will devour you like a swarm of locusts.
Multiply like grasshoppers,
    multiply like locusts!
16 You have increased the number of your merchants
    till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky,
but like locusts they strip the land
    and then fly away.
17 Your guards are like locusts,
    your officials like swarms of locusts
    that settle in the walls on a cold day—
but when the sun appears they fly away,
    and no one knows where.

18 King of Assyria, your shepherds slumber;
    your nobles lie down to rest.
Your people are scattered on the mountains
    with no one to gather them.
19 Nothing can heal you;
    your wound is fatal.
All who hear the news about you
    clap their hands at your fall,
for who has not felt
    your endless cruelty?

Bass Relief of Royal Lion Hunt from Nineveh Palace

Bas-Relief of a Royal Lion Hunt from Nineveh Palace

Ninevah’s destruction in 612 B.C. was so complete that the decimated city was never rebuilt. In the days of the Greek historian Herodotus, 400 B.C., Nineveh had become a thing of the past. It was covered with windblown sand, leaving no trace except a mound that was known as Tell Kuyunjik, “the mound of many sheep.”  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

For centuries no one knew where ancient Nineveh lay buried. Its remains were finally uncovered by archaeologists in 1845. Excavations began on the site and over the next century and a half, wonderful things have been uncovered:  a vast arrangement of royal palaces, hundreds of sculptures and bas-reliefs, thousands of cuneiform tablets. But the recent war in Iraq has not been kind to Nineveh. In an October 2010 report titled Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, the Global Heritage Fund named Nineveh one of 12 sites most “on the verge” of irreparable destruction and loss, citing insufficient management, development pressures, and looting as primary causes.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “The King Shall Come,” a hymn which is often sung in Advent. But as I thought about the end of Nineveh, I started also thinking about the end of the world as we know it. When Christ returns, we as believers will not face the enemy with accompanying destruction, as the Ninevites did. Instead, we will see his face — light, glory, love divine. No fear.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light triumphant breaks;
When beauty gilds the eastern hills,
And life to joy awakes.

Not as of old a little child
To bear, and fight, and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights the morning sky.

O brighter than the rising morn
When He, victorious, rose,
And left the lonesome place of death,
Despite the rage of foes.

O brighter than that glorious morn
Shall this fair morning be,
When Christ, our King, in beauty comes,
And we His face shall see.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And earth’s dark night is past;
O haste the rising of that morn,
The day that aye shall last.

And let the endless bliss begin,
By weary saints foretold,
When right shall triumph over wrong,
And truth shall be extolled.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light and beauty brings:
Hail, Christ the Lord! Thy people pray,
Come quickly, King of kings.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Nineveh.    http://s3.amazonaws.com/rapgenius/nineveh.jpg
Karnak Temple of ancient Thebes.    http://www.destination360.com/africa/egypt/karnak-temple
ripe fig.    http://foodblogandthedog.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/sm-fig.jpg
bas relief.    http://s1.hubimg.com/u/4960730_f520.jpg