1120.) Jeremiah 52

August 16, 2013
"The Walls of Jerusalem"  by Israeli artist Dan Livni

“The Walls of Jerusalem” by Israeli artist Dan Livni

Jeremiah 52   (NLT)

The Fall of Jerusalem

The final chapter of Jeremiah is an appendix describing the fall of Jerusalem and reminding the reader that Jeremiah’s prophecies were fulfilled.  Despite its message of divine judgment for sin, the Book of Jeremiah ends (like 2 Kings) on a hopeful note by calling attention to the mercy shown to King Jehoiachin of Judah while in Babylonian exile.  (The Reformation Bible)

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah.

This is not Jeremiah the prophet, who was from Anathoth (Jeremiah 1:1).

But Zedekiah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Jehoiakim had done. These things happened because of the Lord’s anger against the people of Jerusalem and Judah, until he finally banished them from his presence and sent them into exile.

Read it and weep . . .

Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. So on January 15, during the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls. Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah’s reign.

By July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, the famine in the city had become very severe, and the last of the food was entirely gone. Then a section of the city wall was broken down, and all the soldiers fled. Since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians, they waited for nightfall. Then they slipped through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden and headed toward the Jordan Valley.

But the Babylonian troops chased King Zedekiah and caught him on the plains of Jericho, for his men had all deserted him and scattered. They took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath. There the king of Babylon pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. 10 He made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons and all the other officials of Judah. 11 Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. Zedekiah remained there in prison until the day of his death.

The Temple Destroyed

12 On August 17 of that year, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem. 13 He burned down the Temple of the Lord, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings in the city. 14 Then he supervised the entire Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side. 15 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, then took as exiles some of the poorest of the people, the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen. 16 But Nebuzaradan allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind in Judah to care for the vineyards and fields.

17 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars in front of the Lord’s Temple, the bronze water carts, and the great bronze basin called the Sea, and they carried all the bronze away to Babylon. 18 They also took all the ash buckets, shovels, lamp snuffers, basins, dishes, and all the other bronze articles used for making sacrifices at the Temple. 19 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, also took the small bowls, incense burners, basins, pots, lampstands, dishes, bowls used for liquid offerings, and all the other articles made of pure gold or silver.

J52 TempleBurning

Psalm 74:3-8 (New Living Translation)

Walk through the awful ruins of the city;
see how the enemy has destroyed your sanctuary.

There your enemies shouted their victorious battle cries;
there they set up their battle standards.
They swung their axes
like woodcutters in a forest.
With axes and picks,
they smashed the carved paneling.
They burned your sanctuary to the ground.
They defiled the place that bears your name.
Then they thought, “Let’s destroy everything!”
So they burned down all the places where God was worshiped.

20 The weight of the bronze from the two pillars, the Sea with the twelve bronze oxen beneath it, and the water carts was too great to be measured. These things had been made for the Lord’s Temple in the days of King Solomon. 21 Each of the pillars was 27 feet tall and 18 feet in circumference. They were hollow, with walls 3 inches thick. 22 The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1⁄2 feet high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around. 23 There were 96 pomegranates on the sides, and a total of 100 on the network around the top.

24 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took with him as prisoners Seraiah the high priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three chief gatekeepers. 25 And from among the people still hiding in the city, he took an officer who had been in charge of the Judean army; seven of the king’s personal advisers; the army commander’s chief secretary, who was in charge of recruitment; and sixty other citizens. 26 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took them all to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 And there at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them all put to death. So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land.

28 The number of captives taken to Babylon in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was 3,023. 29 Then in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year he took 832 more. 30 In Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year he sent Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who took 745 more—a total of 4,600 captives in all.

These verses record three deportations during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign:  (1) those taken in 597 B.C. (this number probably included only adult males, since the figures in 2 Kings 24 are significantly higher); (2) those deported, rather than killed, when Jerusalem fell in 586 B.C.; and (3) those exiled in 581 B.C.—perhaps as punishment for Gedaliah’s assassination (Jeremiah 41:1-3).  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

Hope for Israel’s Royal Line

31 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne. He was kind to Jehoiachin and released him from prison on March 31 of that year. 32 He spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and gave him a higher place than all the other exiled kings in Babylon. 33 He supplied Jehoiachin with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. 34 So the Babylonian king gave him a regular food allowance as long as he lived. This continued until the day of his death.

And thus, a prophetic book steeped in judgment and tears, ends on a kindly note.

–William MacDonald

_________________________

Music:

It must have seemed like the end of the world to these people.  Sometimes it almost feels like that in my life — perhaps in yours, too.  Then we make our choice:  to have faith in God, regardless of our circumstances.   HERE  is Plumb and “Need You Now.”

_________________________

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:
Livni.    http://www.oilpaintingsgallery.com/ProdImages/The-Walls-of-Jerusalem.jpg
Temple burning.    http://graceelgin.org/images/Eze_TempleDestroyed.jpg

1119.) Jeremiah 51:36-64

August 15, 2013
"How the mighty have fallen!"  Babylon and its Wonder of the World Hanging Gardens -- to be destroyed.

“How the mighty have fallen!” Babylon and its Wonder-of-the-World Hanging Gardens — to be destroyed.

Jeremiah 51:36-64   (NLT)

The Lord’s Vengeance on Babylon

36 This is what the Lord says to Jerusalem:

“I will be your lawyer to plead your case,
    and I will avenge you.
I will dry up her river,
    as well as her springs,
37 and Babylon will become a heap of ruins,
    haunted by jackals.
She will be an object of horror and contempt,
    a place where no one lives.
38 Her people will roar together like strong lions.
    They will growl like lion cubs.
39 And while they lie inflamed with all their wine,
    I will prepare a different kind of feast for them.
I will make them drink until they fall asleep,
    and they will never wake up again,”
    says the Lord.
40 “I will bring them down
    like lambs to the slaughter,
    like rams and goats to be sacrificed.

41 “How Babylon is fallen—
    great Babylon, praised throughout the earth!
Now she has become an object of horror
    among the nations.
42 The sea has risen over Babylon;
    she is covered by its crashing waves.
43 Her cities now lie in ruins;
    she is a dry wasteland
    where no one lives or even passes by.
44 And I will punish Bel, the god of Babylon,
    and make him vomit up all he has eaten.
The nations will no longer come and worship him.
    The wall of Babylon has fallen!

J51 Babylon walls

Babylon was renown for its secure walls.  The ruins of ancient Babylon, 53 miles south of Baghdad in modern Iraq, encompass approximately 2,100 acres.  Excavations have revealed the glory of the city constructed by Nebuchadnezzar II, particularly that of its fortification system.  An inner city of around 1,140 acres was built up along both sides of the Euphrates River.  This was surrounded by a wall 5.5 miles long, incorporating an inner wall 21 feet wide and an outer wall 12 feet wide, with a 24-foot space between them filled with earth—resulting in a total defense depth of 57 feet.  Outside the outer wall was a moat, fed by the Euphrates, ranging in width from 60 to 250 feet.  To the east of the city were two more double walls totaling 4.5 miles in length.  To provide additional protection against invasion from the north, Nebuchadnezzar constructed an enormous wall 20 miles north of Babylon.  It was 16 feet thick and extended from the Euphrates to the Tigris River, a distance of approximately 25 miles.  Within the city Nebuchadnezzar’s magnificent palace occupied an area of about 50 acres.  Along with this were over 50 temples, as well as numerous shrines and other buildings.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

A Message for the Exiles

45 “Come out, my people, flee from Babylon.
    Save yourselves! Run from the Lord’s fierce anger.
46 But do not panic; don’t be afraid
    when you hear the first rumor of approaching forces.
    For rumors will keep coming year by year.
Violence will erupt in the land
    as the leaders fight against each other.
47 For the time is surely coming
    when I will punish this great city and all her idols.
Her whole land will be disgraced,
    and her dead will lie in the streets.
48 Then the heavens and earth will rejoice,
    for out of the north will come destroying armies
    against Babylon,” says the Lord.
49 “Just as Babylon killed the people of Israel
    and others throughout the world,
    so must her people be killed.
50 Get out, all you who have escaped the sword!
    Do not stand and watch—flee while you can!
Remember the Lord, though you are in a far-off land,
    and think about your home in Jerusalem.”

51 “We are ashamed,” the people say.
    “We are insulted and disgraced
because the Lord’s Temple
    has been defiled by foreigners.”

52 “Yes,” says the Lord, “but the time is coming
    when I will destroy Babylon’s idols.
The groans of her wounded people
    will be heard throughout the land.
53 Though Babylon reaches as high as the heavens
    and makes her fortifications incredibly strong,
I will still send enemies to plunder her.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

The Jewish captives were forewarned to leave the city before the attack and to return to Jerusalem as soon as possible.

–William MacDonald

Babylon’s Complete Destruction

54 “Listen! Hear the cry of Babylon,
    the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians.
55 For the Lord is destroying Babylon.
    He will silence her loud voice.
Waves of enemies pound against her;
    the noise of battle rings through the city.
56 Destroying armies come against Babylon.
    Her mighty men are captured,
    and their weapons break in their hands.
For the Lord is a God who gives just punishment;
    he always repays in full.
57 I will make her officials and wise men drunk,
    along with her captains, officers, and warriors.
They will fall asleep
    and never wake up again!”
says the King, whose name is
    the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

58 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“The thick walls of Babylon will be leveled to the ground,
    and her massive gates will be burned.
The builders from many lands have worked in vain,
    for their work will be destroyed by fire!”

Jeremiah’s Message Sent to Babylon

59 The prophet Jeremiah gave this message to Seraiah son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah, a staff officer, when Seraiah went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah. This was during the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. 60 Jeremiah had recorded on a scroll all the terrible disasters that would soon come upon Babylon—all the words written here. 61 He said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, read aloud everything on this scroll. 62 Then say, ‘Lord, you have said that you will destroy Babylon so that neither people nor animals will remain here. She will lie empty and abandoned forever.’ 63 When you have finished reading the scroll, tie it to a stone and throw it into the Euphrates River. 64 Then say, ‘In this same way Babylon and her people will sink, never again to rise, because of the disasters I will bring upon her.’”

This final symbolic act reinforced the last word of Jeremiah, that Babylon would fall.  (The Reformation Bible)

This is the end of Jeremiah’s messages.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a piece of Sacred Harp folk music:  “Babylon Is Fallen.”  I like this arrangement; the disharmony evokes the ruin of the former order.

Hail the day so long expected,
Hail the year of full release.
Zion’s walls are now erected,
And her watchmen publish peace.
Through our Shiloh’s wide dominion,
Hear the trumpet loudly roar,
Babylon is fallen to rise no more.

All her merchants stand with wonder,
What is this that comes to pass:
Murm’ring like the distant thunder,
Crying, “Oh alas, alas.”
Swell the sound, ye kings and nobles,
Priest and people, rich and poor;
Babylon is fallen to rise no more.

Blow the trumpet in Mount Zion,
Christ shall come a second time;
Ruling with a rod of iron
All who now as foes combine.
Babel’s garments we’ve rejected,
And our fellowship is o’er,
Babylon is fallen to rise no more.

_________________________

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:
Hanging Gardens.    http://cdn2.planetminecraft.com/files/resource_media/screenshot/1230/c_3005819.jpg
Babylon’s walls.    http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/images/Middle%20East/factfile/Babylon_600BC_Painting.jpg

1118.) Jeremiah 51:1-35

August 14, 2013

J51 stretched out the heaven

Jeremiah 51:1-35    (NLT)

This is what the Lord says:
“I will stir up a destroyer against Babylon
    and the people of Babylonia.
Foreigners will come and winnow her,
    blowing her away as chaff.
They will come from every side
    to rise against her in her day of trouble.

The “destroyer” of verse 1 will be an alliance of the Medes and the Persians. 

Isaiah 21:2   (CEV)

What a horrible vision
    was shown to me—
a vision of betrayal
    and destruction.
Tell Elam and Media
to surround
and attack
    the Babylonians.
The Lord has sworn to end
    the suffering they caused.

Don’t let the archers put on their armor
    or draw their bows.
Don’t spare even her best soldiers!
    Let her army be completely destroyed.
They will fall dead in the land of the Babylonians,
    slashed to death in her streets.
For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    has not abandoned Israel and Judah.
He is still their God,
    even though their land was filled with sin
    against the Holy One of Israel.”

Flee from Babylon! Save yourselves!
    Don’t get trapped in her punishment!
It is the Lord’s time for vengeance;
    he will repay her in full.
Babylon has been a gold cup in the Lord’s hands,
    a cup that made the whole earth drunk.
The nations drank Babylon’s wine,
    and it drove them all mad.
But suddenly Babylon, too, has fallen.
    Weep for her.
Give her medicine.
    Perhaps she can yet be healed.

J51 balm_of_gilead

The word for “medicine” is “balm.”  Balm was an odoriferous resin perhaps obtained in Gilead and exported from the region now known as Palestine.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

We would have helped her if we could,
    but nothing can save her now.
Let her go; abandon her.
    Return now to your own land.
For her punishment reaches to the heavens;
    it is so great it cannot be measured.
10 The Lord has vindicated us.
    Come, let us announce in Jerusalem
    everything the Lord our God has done.

11 Sharpen the arrows!
    Lift up the shields!
For the Lord has inspired the kings of the Medes
    to march against Babylon and destroy her.
This is his vengeance against those
    who desecrated his Temple.
12 Raise the battle flag against Babylon!
    Reinforce the guard and station the watchmen.
Prepare an ambush,
    for the Lord will fulfill all his plans against Babylon.
13 You are a city by a great river,

The Euphrates flows through Turkey, Iraq, and Syria.  Photo by Cory Smith.

The Euphrates flows through Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, emptying into the Persian Gulf. Photo by Cory Smith.

Babylon was renown for its magnificent system of irrigation canals, fed by the Euphrates River.  (The Reformation Bible)

    a great center of commerce,
but your end has come.
    The thread of your life is cut.
14 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has taken this vow
    and has sworn to it by his own name:
“Your cities will be filled with enemies,
    like fields swarming with locusts,
    and they will shout in triumph over you.”

A Hymn of Praise to the Lord

15 The Lord made the earth by his power,
    and he preserves it by his wisdom.
With his own understanding
    he stretched out the heavens.

God Created Heavens and Earth

Genesis 1:1  (NIV)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

16 When he speaks in the thunder,
    the heavens are filled with water.
He causes the clouds to rise over the earth.
    He sends the lightning with the rain
    and releases the wind from his storehouses.

Psalm 135:7   (NIV)

He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
he sends lightning with the rain

    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

_________________________

Music:

God is always to be praised for his wonderful works, especially the marvels of his creation!  HERE  is “All Creatures of our God and King”  sung by David Crowder.

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17 The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge!
    The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make,
for their carefully shaped works are a fraud.
    These idols have no breath or power.
18 Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies!
    On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed.
19 But the God of Israel is no idol!
    He is the Creator of everything that exists,
including his people, his own special possession.
    The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!

God’s greatness is contrasted with the worthlessness of idols.

Babylon’s Great Punishment

20 “You are my battle-ax and sword,”
    says the Lord.
“With you I will shatter nations
    and destroy many kingdoms.
21 With you I will shatter armies—
    destroying the horse and rider,
    the chariot and charioteer.
22 With you I will shatter men and women,
    old people and children,
    young men and maidens.
23 With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks,
    farmers and oxen,
    captains and officers.

J51 babylonian-empire-606-536-bc

God uses Babylon as an iron fist to punish the nations which have risen up against Him.

24 “I will repay Babylon
    and the people of Babylonia
for all the wrong they have done
    to my people in Jerusalem,” says the Lord.

25 “Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth!
    I am your enemy,” says the Lord.
“I will raise my fist against you,
    to knock you down from the heights.
When I am finished,
    you will be nothing but a heap of burnt rubble.
26 You will be desolate forever.
    Even your stones will never again be used for building.
You will be completely wiped out,”
    says the Lord.

Then Babylon will experience the vengeance of the Lord.

27 Raise a signal flag to the nations.
    Sound the battle cry!
Mobilize them all against Babylon.
    Prepare them to fight against her!
Bring out the armies of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
    Appoint a commander,
    and bring a multitude of horses like swarming locusts!
28 Bring against her the armies of the nations—
    led by the kings of the Medes
    and all their captains and officers.

29 The earth trembles and writhes in pain,
    for everything the Lord has planned against Babylon stands unchanged.
Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant.
30     Her mightiest warriors no longer fight.
They stay in their barracks, their courage gone.
    They have become like women.
The invaders have burned the houses
    and broken down the city gates.
31 The news is passed from one runner to the next
    as the messengers hurry to tell the king
    that his city has been captured.
32 All the escape routes are blocked.
    The marshes have been set aflame,
    and the army is in a panic.

J51 marsh

The marshes were set on fire to destroy the reeds in order to prevent fugitives from hiding among them.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

I, who come from rural Iowa and flat fields of corn and soybeans, have learned to love the marshes of the low country on the southeastern coast of the United States.  One of our favorite vacation spots is St. Simons Island, Georgia.  The one hundred miles of Georgia’s coast has approximately one-half million acres of salt marshland, each marsh ranging from 4 to 8 miles wide. The peacefulness of the marsh, as well as its colors and sounds, are quite restful and beautiful.

33 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    the God of Israel, says:
“Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor,
    about to be trampled.
In just a little while
    her harvest will begin.”

34 “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has eaten and crushed us
    and drained us of strength.
He has swallowed us like a great monster
    and filled his belly with our riches.
    He has thrown us out of our own country.
35 Make Babylon suffer as she made us suffer,”
    say the people of Zion.
“Make the people of Babylonia pay for spilling our blood,”
    says Jerusalem.

_________________________

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:
Jeremiah 51:15.    http://www.bahaiwritingsasart.com/img/s4/v65/p1098834144-3.jpg
balm of Gilead.    http://www.williameamon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/balm_of_gilead.jpg
Euphrates River.   http://www.onewater.org/uploads/story_images/CorySmith_Euphrates_Iraq.jpg
the heavens and the earth.    http://angelstarspeaks.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/gods-heavens.jpg
map of Babylonian Empire.    http://sharinhislove.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/babylonian-empire-606-536-bc.jpg
marsh.    http://www.seapalms.com/files/145/tree%20marsh.jpg

1117.) Jeremiah 50:21-46

August 13, 2013
The Lord of Heaven's Armies!

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies!

Jeremiah 50:21-46   (NLT)

The Lord’s Judgment on Babylon

21 “Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim
    and against the people of Pekod.
Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them,
    as I have commanded you,” says the Lord.
22 “Let the battle cry be heard in the land,
    a shout of great destruction.
23 Babylon, the mightiest hammer in all the earth,
    lies broken and shattered.
    Babylon is desolate among the nations!
24 Listen, Babylon, for I have set a trap for you.
    You are caught, for you have fought against the Lord.
25 The Lord has opened his armory
    and brought out weapons to vent his fury.
The terror that falls upon the Babylonians
    will be the work of the Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
26 Yes, come against her from distant lands.
    Break open her granaries.
Crush her walls and houses into heaps of rubble.
    Destroy her completely, and leave nothing!

J50 cyrus-the-great
In 539 B.C., Babylon was conquered by Cyrus, leader of the Medo-Persian alliance. Herodotus says that the army of Cyrus diverted the Euphrates River and then marched up the  riverbed under the city walls. Babylon fell without a fight — a political change, but not a physical destruction.  The Persian attack seems to have caught the city completely by surprise.  Afterwards, the city of Babylon began to slowly decay. Xerxes plundered it. Alexander the Great thought to restore it, but the cost proved prohibitive. The city soon thereafter fell into ruins and was re-taken by the desert. Babylon was never to be revived.

–Mark Mayberry

27 Destroy even her young bulls—
    it will be terrible for them, too!
Slaughter them all!
    For Babylon’s day of reckoning has come.
28 Listen to the people who have escaped from Babylon,
    as they tell in Jerusalem
how the Lord our God has taken vengeance
    against those who destroyed his Temple.

"The Desctruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar"  by William Brassey Hole

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

The burning of the temple was the definitive destruction of Jerusalem.  The Lord ties His vengeance on Babylon specifically to that. 
(The Reformation Bible)

29 “Send out a call for archers to come to Babylon.
    Surround the city so none can escape.
Do to her as she has done to others,
    for she has defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.
30 Her young men will fall in the streets and die.
    Her soldiers will all be killed,”
    says the Lord.

31 “See, I am your enemy, you arrogant people,”
    says the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“Your day of reckoning has arrived—
    the day when I will punish you.
32 O land of arrogance, you will stumble and fall,
    and no one will raise you up.
For I will light a fire in the cities of Babylon
    that will burn up everything around them.”

THE DAY IS COMING . . . when all opposition to the Lord will end.

33 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“The people of Israel and Judah have been wronged.
    Their captors hold them and refuse to let them go.
34 But the one who redeems them is strong.
    His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
He will defend them
    and give them rest again in Israel.

THE DAY IS COMING . . . when the Lord will redeem His people.

But for the people of Babylon
    there will be no rest!

J50 Ishtar Gate
The Ishtar Gate, now housed in the Berlin Museum.

When Cyrus entered the city of Babylon through the Ishtar Gates, it is said, the city’s inhabitants laid branches in his path.  Cyrus proved a tolerant conqueror:  he ordered his troops to show respect for the city’s temples and religious customs.

35 “The sword of destruction will strike the Babylonians,”
    says the Lord.
“It will strike the people of Babylon—
    her officials and wise men, too.
36 The sword will strike her wise counselors,
    and they will become fools.
The sword will strike her mightiest warriors,
    and panic will seize them.
37 The sword will strike her horses and chariots
    and her allies from other lands,
    and they will all become like women.
The sword will strike her treasures,
    and they all will be plundered.
38 The sword will even strike her water supply,
    causing it to dry up.
And why? Because the whole land is filled with idols,
    and the people are madly in love with them.

39 “Soon Babylon will be inhabited by desert animals and hyenas.
    It will be a home for owls.
Never again will people live there;
    it will lie desolate forever.
40 I will destroy it as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah
    and their neighboring towns,” says the Lord.
“No one will live there;
    no one will inhabit it.

J50 ruins of Babylon
Ruins of the ancient city of Babylonia in the foreground with one of Saddam Hussein’s many palaces in the background.

41 “Look! A great army is coming from the north.
    A great nation and many kings
    are rising against you from far-off lands.
42 They are armed with bows and spears.
    They are cruel and show no mercy.
As they ride forward on horses,
    they sound like a roaring sea.
They are coming in battle formation,
    planning to destroy you, Babylon.
43 The king of Babylon has heard reports about the enemy,
    and he is weak with fright.
Pangs of anguish have gripped him,
    like those of a woman in labor.

44 “I will come like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan,
    leaping on the sheep in the pasture.
I will chase Babylon from its land,
    and I will appoint the leader of my choice.
For who is like me, and who can challenge me?
    What ruler can oppose my will?”

Psalm 2:1-6   (ESV)

Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”

45 Listen to the Lord’s plans against Babylon
    and the land of the Babylonians.
Even the little children will be dragged off like sheep,
    and their homes will be destroyed.
46 The earth will shake with the shout, “Babylon has been taken!”
    and its cry of despair will be heard around the world.

_________________________

Music:

In the book of Jeremiah, God is called “the Lord of Heaven’s Armies” over 70 times.  That phrase brought to mind another powerful phrase and Chris Tomlin’s song, “God of Angel Armies.”  HERE  it is for your encouragement and confidence!

_________________________

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:
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies.    http://www.eborg2.com/Revelation/Rev19/Jesus%20Horse%20Army.jpg
Cyrus the Great.    http://www.humanrights.com/sites/default/files/cyrus-the-great.jpg
Hole.    http://www.orientalism-in-art.org/The-destruction-of-Jerusalem-by-nebuzar-adan-large.html
Ishtar Gate.    http://iloapp.waalmdiplomacy.org/blog/journal?ShowFile&image=1253004523.jpg
ruins.    http://drongos.com/images/i_babylon.jpg

1116.) Jeremiah 50:1-20

August 12, 2013
Lions symbolize both Assyria and Babylon.  The Assyrians destroyed Israel (the northern kingdom) first (722/721 B.C.), and the Babylonians sacked Judah (the southern kingdom) last (586 B.C.).

Lions symbolize both Assyria and Babylon. The Assyrians destroyed Israel (the northern kingdom) in 722/721 B.C., and then the Babylonians sacked Judah (the southern kingdom) in 586 B.C.  See verse 17.

Jeremiah 50:1-20   (NLT)

A Message about Babylon

The Lord gave Jeremiah the prophet this message concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians.

Babylon is mentioned 164 times in Jeremiah, more than in the rest of God’s Word combined.

–William MacDonald

The prophecy against Babylon is the climax of the book.  The previous prophecies have served Jeremiah’s purpose of showing that Babylon would prevail over “all the nations” (27:7) for a period.  Babylon has appeared up to this point as the instrument of God’s wrath.  Finally, however (as in 25:17-26), “the word of the Lord” is uttered against Babylon itself, to show that its own time of judgment must come.   (The Reformation Bible)

This is what the Lord says:

“Tell the whole world,
    and keep nothing back.
Raise a signal flag
    to tell everyone that Babylon will fall!
Her images and idols will be shattered.
    Her gods Bel and Marduk will be utterly disgraced.

J50 Marduk_and_pet
Marduk was the chief deity of the Babylonian Empire during the period of Jewish exile in Babylon (sixth-fifth centuries B.C.E.). It was Marduk whom Cyrus the Great of Persia credited with the inspiration to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple of Yahweh.  Marduk’s association with the solar system’s largest planet led indirectly to its being named Jupiter, after the Roman god who occupied Marduk’s place in the pantheon. — wikipedia

For a nation will attack her from the north
    and bring such destruction that no one will live there again.
Everything will be gone;
    both people and animals will flee.

Hope for Israel and Judah

“In those coming days,”
    says the Lord,
“the people of Israel will return home
    together with the people of Judah.
They will come weeping
    and seeking the Lord their God.
They will ask the way to Jerusalem
    and will start back home again.
They will bind themselves to the Lord
    with an eternal covenant that will never be forgotten.

THE DAY IS COMING . . . when people ask for Zion because they are seeking the Lord.

“My people have been lost sheep.
    Their shepherds have led them astray
    and turned them loose in the mountains.
They have lost their way
    and can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold.
All who found them devoured them.
    Their enemies said,
‘We did nothing wrong in attacking them,
    for they sinned against the Lord,
their true place of rest,
    and the hope of their ancestors.’

“But now, flee from Babylon!
    Leave the land of the Babylonians.
Like male goats at the head of the flock,
    lead my people home again.
For I am raising up an army
    of great nations from the north.
They will join forces to attack Babylon,
    and she will be captured.
The enemies’ arrows will go straight to the mark;
    they will not miss!
10 Babylonia will be looted
    until the attackers are glutted with loot.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

Babylon’s Sure Fall

11 “You rejoice and are glad,
    you who plundered my chosen people.
You frisk about like a calf in a meadow
    and neigh like a stallion.
12 But your homeland will be overwhelmed
    with shame and disgrace.
You will become the least of nations—
    a wilderness, a dry and desolate land.
13 Because of the Lord’s anger,
    Babylon will become a deserted wasteland.
All who pass by will be horrified
    and will gasp at the destruction they see there.

THE DAY IS COMING . . . when evil will be exposed for what it is.

14 “Yes, prepare to attack Babylon,
    all you surrounding nations.
Let your archers shoot at her; spare no arrows.
    For she has sinned against the Lord.
15 Shout war cries against her from every side.
    Look! She surrenders!
    Her walls have fallen.
It is the Lord’s vengeance,
    so take vengeance on her.
    Do to her as she has done to others!

THE DAY IS COMING . . . when God will deal with all injustice.

16 Take from Babylon all those who plant crops;
    send all the harvesters away.
Because of the sword of the enemy,
    everyone will run away and rush back to their own lands.

Hope for God’s People

17 “The Israelites are like sheep
    that have been scattered by lions.
First the king of Assyria ate them up.
    Then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon cracked their bones.”
18 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    the God of Israel, says:
“Now I will punish the king of Babylon and his land,
    just as I punished the king of Assyria.

Ninevah, the proud Assyrian capital, fell in 612 B.C., and Assyria herself was conquered by a coalition of Medes and Babylonians in 609.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

19 And I will bring Israel home again to its own land,
    to feed in the fields of Carmel and Bashan,
and to be satisfied once more
    in the hill country of Ephraim and Gilead.

These are the most fertile parts of Israel, known for their lush pasturelands.   (The Reformation Bible)

20 In those days,” says the Lord,
    “no sin will be found in Israel or in Judah,
    for I will forgive the remnant I preserve.

THE DAY IS COMING . . . when God’s people will be guiltless and sinless.

_________________________

Music:

The false gods Bel and Marduk will be utterly disgraced.  But Jesus, the Lamb of God, is worthy of all our praise forever and ever!  HERE  is Bob Fitts and “You Are My All in All.”

_________________________

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:
lion.    http://theterramarproject.org/thedailycatch/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/africa-lion-in-grasss-725730-1024×772.jpeg
Marduk and pet.    http://nlife.ca/sermons/OTbooks/Isaiah/Isaiah46/Marduk_and_pet.jpg

1115.) Jeremiah 49:23-39

August 9, 2013
Cars burn in Damascus -- February 2013

Cars burn in Damascus — February 2013

Jeremiah 49:23-39   (NLT)

A Message about Damascus

23 This message was given concerning Damascus. This is what the Lord says:

Really, one could imagine this is a current news report from Damascus:

“The towns of Hamath and Arpad are struck with fear,
    for they have heard the news of their destruction.
Their hearts are troubled
    like a wild sea in a raging storm.
24 Damascus has become feeble,
    and all her people turn to flee.
Fear, anguish, and pain have gripped her
    as they grip a woman in labor.
25 That famous city, a city of joy,
    will be forsaken!
26 Her young men will fall in the streets and die.
    Her soldiers will all be killed,”
    says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
27 “And I will set fire to the walls of Damascus
    that will burn up the palaces of Ben-hadad.”

A Message about Kedar and Hazor

28 This message was given concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor, which were attacked by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

J49 black goat hair tent

Kedar, a region in northern Arabia, was known for its flocks, tents and tent curtains, which were woven by hand from black goat hair.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

This is what the Lord says:

“Advance against Kedar!
    Destroy the warriors from the East!
29 Their flocks and tents will be captured,
    and their household goods and camels will be taken away.
Everywhere shouts of panic will be heard:
    ‘We are terrorized at every turn!’
30 Run for your lives,” says the Lord.
    “Hide yourselves in deep caves, you people of Hazor,
for King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has plotted against you
    and is preparing to destroy you.

31 “Go up and attack that complacent nation,”
    says the Lord.
“Its people live alone in the desert
    without walls or gates.
32 Their camels and other livestock will all be yours.
    I will scatter to the winds these people
    who live in remote places.
I will bring calamity upon them
    from every direction,” says the Lord.
33 “Hazor will be inhabited by jackals,
    and it will be desolate forever.
No one will live there;
    no one will inhabit it.”

While Kedar and Hazor may no longer exist, many places like them, with nomadic Arab herders, still dot the desert regions of the Middle East and northern Africa.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

A Message about Elam

34 This message concerning Elam came to the prophet Jeremiah from the Lord at the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah.

Elam was located in the southern part of modern Iran.  The Elamites, perpetual enemies of both Assyria and Babylon, became part of the Persian army that conquered Babylon under Cyrus in 539 B.C. (The Archaeological Study Bible)

35 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:

“I will destroy the archers of Elam—
    the best of their forces.

J49 Elamite archers

The Elamites were known as skilled archers.

36 I will bring enemies from all directions,
    and I will scatter the people of Elam to the four winds.
    They will be exiled to countries around the world.
37 I myself will go with Elam’s enemies to shatter it.
    In my fierce anger, I will bring great disaster
    upon the people of Elam,” says the Lord.
“Their enemies will chase them with the sword
    until I have destroyed them completely.
38 I will set my throne in Elam,” says the Lord,
    “and I will destroy its king and officials.

God will set His throne in Elam in the sense that He will rule there in judgment.

–William MacDonald

39 But I will restore the fortunes of Elam
    in days to come.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

_________________________

Music:

When the world seems to be such a dangerous place, then and now, we do well to remember that “God Is in Control.”  HERE  is Twila Paris with a timeless message.

_________________________

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:
cars burn in Damascus.    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/audio/video/2013/2/21/1361447647326/Cars-burn-in-Damascus-aft-016.jpg
modern-day black goat hair Bedouin tent.   http://www.alhakaya.net/img/p/115-387-large.jpg
Elamite archers.    http://theminiaturespage.com/news/pics/2012/apr/716807175a.jpg

1114.) Jeremiah 49:1-22

August 8, 2013
I visited my Uncle Curt and Aunt Harriet years ago when he was based in Amman for Boeing Aircraft.  I asked my aunt what her most lasting memory of Amman would.  She answered, "Beige."

Years ago I visited my Uncle Curt and Aunt Harriet when he was based in Amman for Boeing Aircraft. I asked my aunt what her most lasting memory of Amman would be. She answered, “Beige.”

Jeremiah 49:1-22   (NLT)

A Message about Ammon

This message was given concerning the Ammonites. This is what the Lord says:

“Are there no descendants of Israel
    to inherit the land of Gad?
Why are you, who worship Molech,
    living in its towns?
In the days to come,” says the Lord,
    “I will sound the battle cry against your city of Rabbah.
It will become a desolate heap of ruins,
    and the neighboring towns will be burned.
Then Israel will take back the land
    you took from her,” says the Lord.

Ammon was located north of Moab and east of the Jordan River.  The chief god of the Ammonites was Molech, the god to whom child sacrifices were tragically offered in Judah (see Leviticus 20:2-5; 2 Kings 23:10).  Rabbah was the capital of Ammon.  Its remains form part of the impressive citadel at the heart of modern Amman, Jordan.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

“Cry out, O Heshbon,
    for the town of Ai is destroyed.
Weep, O people of Rabbah!
    Put on your clothes of mourning.
Weep and wail, hiding in the hedges,
    for your god Molech, with his priests and officials,
    will be hauled off to distant lands.
You are proud of your fertile valleys,
    but they will soon be ruined.
You trusted in your wealth,
    you rebellious daughter,
    and thought no one could ever harm you.

J48 trust in Jesus' name

But look! I will bring terror upon you,”
    says the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“Your neighbors will chase you from your land,
    and no one will help your exiles as they flee.
But I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites
    in days to come.
    I, the Lord, have spoken.”

J49 map

Messages about Edom

This message was given concerning Edom. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:

“Is there no wisdom in Teman?
    Is no one left to give wise counsel?
Turn and flee!
    Hide in deep caves, you people of Dedan!
For when I bring disaster on Edom,
    I will punish you, too!
Those who harvest grapes
    always leave a few for the poor.
If thieves came at night,
    they would not take everything.
10 But I will strip bare the land of Edom,
    and there will be no place left to hide.
Its children, its brothers, and its neighbors
    will all be destroyed,
    and Edom itself will be no more.
11 But I will protect the orphans who remain among you.
    Your widows, too, can depend on me for help.”

J49 protect fatherless

12 And this is what the Lord says: “If the innocent must suffer, how much more must you! You will not go unpunished! You must drink this cup of judgment! 13 For I have sworn by my own name,” says the Lord, “that Bozrah will become an object of horror and a heap of ruins; it will be mocked and cursed. All its towns and villages will be desolate forever.”

14 I have heard a message from the Lord
    that an ambassador was sent to the nations to say,
“Form a coalition against Edom,
    and prepare for battle!”

15 The Lord says to Edom,
“I will cut you down to size among the nations.
    You will be despised by all.
16 You have been deceived
    by the fear you inspire in others
    and by your own pride.
You live in a rock fortress
    and control the mountain heights.
But even if you make your nest among the peaks with the eagles,
    I will bring you crashing down,”
    says the Lord.

J49 Pride

17 “Edom will be an object of horror.
    All who pass by will be appalled
    and will gasp at the destruction they see there.
18 It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
    and their neighboring towns,” says the Lord.
“No one will live there;
    no one will inhabit it.
19 I will come like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan,
    leaping on the sheep in the pasture.
I will chase Edom from its land,
    and I will appoint the leader of my choice.
For who is like me, and who can challenge me?
    What ruler can oppose my will?”

Psalm 2:1-6   (ESV)

Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”

20 Listen to the Lord’s plans against Edom
    and the people of Teman.
Even the little children will be dragged off like sheep,
    and their homes will be destroyed.
21 The earth will shake with the noise of Edom’s fall,
    and its cry of despair will be heard all the way to the Red Sea.
22 Look! The enemy swoops down like an eagle,
    spreading his wings over Bozrah.
Even the mightiest warriors will be in anguish
    like a woman in labor.

_________________________

Music:

Ammon and Edom learned it.  Do we live as if we believe it?  HERE  is Chris Tomlin and “Our God Is Greater.”

_________________________

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:
Amman, Jordan.   http://travel.roro44.com/middle-east/jordan/The_city_Amman_Jordan.jpg
I dare not trust the sweetest frame.    http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/i/i-dare-not-trust-the-sweetest-frame-but-wholly-trust-in-jesus-name.png
map showing Ammon and Edom.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6a/Kingdoms_of_the_Levant_Map_830.png
I will protect the fatherless.    http://www.365promises.com/picture/23junp174ba800x600.jpg?pictureId=5606770&asGalleryImage=true
Pride goeth before destruction.    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-EETGb5CKWrE/UBgEhNgKTqI/AAAAAAAABHw/-70WG0uXmy4/s640/Pride-Prov+16;18.jpeg