Day 163: Justice in the End

Jeremiah 39:11-14

Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon commanded Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard concerning Jeremiah, saying, “Take him and take care of him. Do him no harm; but do to him even as he tells you.”

So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, Nebushazban, Rabsaris, and Nergal Sharezer, Rabmag, and all the chief officers of the king of Babylon sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the guard, and committed him to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, that he should bring him home. So he lived among the people.

In American business today, there is a special position that is occasionally granted to certain employees. This position is called: “Fellow.” I understand that this can mean different things depending on the business, but in the technology world, it has often meant that a person in this position tells the business what to do, not the other way around. I see a parallel with what happened to Jeremiah once he was taken “captive” by Nebuchadnezzar and this position as “Fellow.” Nebuchadnezzar commanded his men to not harm Jeremiah but, instead, “do to him even has he tells you.” So, Jeremiah was taken out of custody and allowed to live “among the people.”

It’s wonderful that God allowed Jeremiah to have such a high level of freedom once he was taken captive by Babylon and to you and I it seems only right, but what does this say to us in our lives today? What we witness here is a situation in which Jeremiah’s own people treated him worse than their enemies! Israel’s enemies had to “save” Jeremiah from his own people. Is it possible that we might mistreat people like this today? Could it be that we may be doing wrong to fellow Christians in a way non-believers wouldn’t? Now, I’m not saying that we should tolerate sin. It’s actually the other way around. Jeremiah wasn’t tolerating sin and because he didn’t, he was being mistreated by his fellow “believers.” Notice that this mistreatment was promoted by the leadership. It’s important for the common people to take action in spite of the bad leadership even if we become poor. If we don’t, we also know what the end will likely be.

Notice that for many years, the way that God felt about things was invisible. It appeared that Jeremiah was wrong and the people of Israel were right. In the end, however, God revealed that Jeremiah was right and that the destitute in the land were being mistreated. God promoted the destitute and Jeremiah and destroyed everyone else. We can often get the wrong idea about what is right by making the wrong assumption about when the end is. The end of the matter was not during the reign of king Zedekiah. The end of the matter was after Nebuchadnezzar brought judgment. Even this is not the very end as we read back in the history books. God intended to bring Israel back after their hearts were softened.