In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, Yahweh says to me: “Make bonds and bars, and put them on your neck. Then send them to the king of Edom, to the king of Moab, to the king of the children of Ammon, to the king of Tyre, and to the king of Sidon, by the hand of the messengers who come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. Give them a command to their masters, saying, ‘Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel says, “You shall tell your masters: ‘I have made the earth, the men, and the animals that are on the surface of the earth by my great power and by my outstretched arm. I give it to whom it seems right to me. Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant. I have also given the animals of the field to him to serve him. All the nations will serve him, his son, and his son’s son, until the time of his own land comes. Then many nations and great kings will make him their bondservant.
No one should ever accuse God of failing to communicate. God is the very best communicator and this book of Jeremiah is a great example. God has been speaking much the same message over and over in various ways to various people on earth through Jeremiah. Here, God chooses to send an illustration out with messengers to the nations in the middle east. He has Jeremiah make bonds and bars and then makes him wear them. Then, he gets messengers and sends these bonds and bars to five nations. You can imagine how getting a bond or a bar in the mail would get your attention. If the messenger was then to tell you that Jeremiah, a prophet in Israel, wore these and took them off to have me bring them to you. Then he would tell them that Jeremiah said that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon is going to take over your land and all of the land in the area because Israel’s God, the One who made it all, has decided. That would communicate don’t you think?
God is also communicating to us right now through this message. He’s reminding us that He “made the earth, the men, and the animals that are on the surface of the earth” by His power. It reminds us that He is the One who is in complete control of all of the leadership on the face of the earth. Notice that eventually, even Nebuchadnezzar’s time of judgment was to come and at that time, the land was to be taken from him. I’m not sure that Nebuchadnezzar was willing to admit that He was God’s servant at first, yet, that’s what God called him. The Bible tells us that God calls all who have positions of authority, His servants. God even chose us to be parents or older siblings or aunts and uncles. We were given authority by our birth order not by our power. God has and always will control the governments of the world and we have nothing to worry about. Our job is to depend on God’s good purposes and obey His word.