Jeremiah 37:1-38:28, 1 Timothy 6:1-21, Psalms 89:38-52, Proverbs 25:28
Today is the 21st day of October. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It’s good to be here with you today as we move ourselves into our workweek and start living into this shiny, sparkly, new week that we have before us as we begin to make our decisions and choices and think about things. And we have come here to allow God’s word to inform us on that and to transform our thoughts, that we might have the mind of Christ on things. And, so, we’re reading from the English Standard Version this week and we’re continuing our journey through the book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament. Today we’ll read chapters 37 and 38.
Okay. So, in the book of Jeremiah things…things are pretty dire in Jerusalem and life-threatening for Jeremiah. Like, there are people that want him dead now because he keeps prophesying surrender, right? And you understand that. It would be like a person prophesying in front of the White House in the United States of impending doom and that we should surrender to this country that is threatening. And that is actually what God was telling Jeremiah to say. That is actually what His will was. He was going to wipe the slate clean and a lot could have been spared, including the king’s life and including the city of Jerusalem, but they would have to walk out and surrender to the Chaldeans. So, just putting ourselves in that position, especially from like a national perspective, we’re talking about the king here. We understand the complications involved in all of that. And, so, as the factions were developing inside the city and the starvation that was ensuing in the mayhem of the city being strangled to death by this blockade, we see how things are disintegrating. So, even when people were after Jeremiah’s life, what did the king do? He said, “like, how am I going to be able to stand against you? He’s in your hands”, right? Because at this point it’s all falling apart. The only thing between the Babylonian army and the people inside Jerusalem was a wall. Like, that’s the only thing. But inside those walls, as was the plan, like this is…this is the strategy of taking this city, society is falling apart, right? So, there’s anarchy happening. So, there isn’t any unity to fight and there’s a lack of food. So, they’re growing weaker and weaker and weaker to fight. And we remember back when we began this book and all of the events that were happening at that time from the beginning of the book, there were prophets, in fact all the prophets were saying, “the Babylonians will never get in the city. The Babylonians are going to go back. All the stuff that was taken from us is going to be returned. The Babylonians, the Babylonians will never defeat us.” And they were obviously wrong and we’re not hearing much from their voices anymore. And Jeremiah’s telling king Zedekiah, “like, look, this is this is going to happen because this is God’s will and this is what he intends to do. There’s no turning it back. Even if you were to destroy the whole army of Babylon, and there were just like some wounded soldiers left in tents, they would stagger out of their tents and burn this city to the ground.” So…so as things continued to deteriorate, fear and panic and an overwhelming sense of gloom and doom were like disintegrating, undermining the power structures. And for lots of people the message that Jeremiah was prophesying of surrender made him look like a traitor. And, so, he buys this field in Benjamin and it just looks like he’s gonna defect. Everybody is paranoid and as Jeremiah’s trying to leave the city he gets arrested and he ends up in a dungeon and then king Zedekiah frees him and then he’s held under house arrest and then he’s later thrown into an empty well where he’s supposed to die, but he was rescued from the pit. And then after that, the king comes to him again, secretly. And, so, we can see how much things have fallen apart inside the city. The Kings meeting secretly asking Jeremiah to give him like the straight truth, what God is actually saying about the predicament. And it’s not like Jeremiah hasn’t said that. So, Jeremiah’s freshly out of a well where he was thrown in to die. Now he’s out of the well standing before the king. The kings asking him to give him the straight truth and you can see Jeremiah’s response, “if I told you the truth, you’d kill me and if I give you advice like every other time you won’t listen to me anyway”, which is pretty much reflective of the prophetic journey, the life of a prophet as we see it in the Scriptures. So, you can read the stories, they’re intriguing to be sure, they’re…they’re part of history and we can study the history or we can study the tragedy of exile and find it appalling, but we don’t necessarily remember that none of this had to happen. Like, Jeremiah had been warning about this for two decades, but no one listened. So, it wasn’t like they hadn’t been told. And indeed, the Babylonians did break through the wall and the wall fell, and when the wall fell you can imagine the rush of metal and the soldiers and leather and sword and spear rushing into the city and the chaos of people trying to flee and the chaos of people trying to hide and the chaos as the city is being taken and devastated. And we can shake our heads and go, “wow, what an awful…what an awful time that would’ve been. It could’ve been avoided”, but we disassociate as if it might not really have anything to do with us. But it starts becoming very, personally, when you think about what we read in Proverbs today, “a man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” So, that snaps some things into place all of the sudden, doesn’t it? The voice of wisdom is telling us that we have no defenses, we have no protection when we lose control of ourselves. So, if we needed a picture then we’ve got the picture from what we read in the book of Jeremiah, but we probably already know. Like, we’ve probably already experienced this in our lives. It just hasn’t been put in these terms before - chaos and fear and panic and loss and all of the enemies that come rushing through a defenseless person with deadly intent when there is no self-control. So, it obviously looks different than the taking of Jerusalem, but it’s not any less real. And, so, once again, the Scriptures are right here facing us honestly holding up a mirror and asking us to look into our own eyes because it’s showing us the outcomes of the paths that we choose as…as we’ve seen in today’s reading. And a lack of self-control is usually the choice between chaos and order. So, what path will you walk today?
Father, we invite You into that. We’ve seen and are seeing the destruction of Jerusalem and it’s certainly overwhelming and it’s certainly a sad part of the story, but when it becomes applied to our own lives as the Proverbs tells us that a person without self-control is…is like a city with the walls torn down, well then we realize the chaos that was happening inside that city when it was being taken is the kind of stuff that happens to us when we lose control of ourselves. And the reality is, we can't…I mean…we like to think that we’re in control way more than we actually are, and what we need to do is give up and let go and surrender to You and Your will and Your ways, because we will never find self-control in any other way. So, come Holy Spirit into all of this we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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