Day 118: The Real Enemy

Jeremiah 27:8-15

“ ‘ “ ‘It will happen that I will punish the nation and the kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon,’ says Yahweh, ‘with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. But as for you, don’t listen to your prophets, to your diviners, to your dreams, to your soothsayers, or to your sorcerers, who speak to you, saying, “You shall not serve the king of Babylon;” for they prophesy a lie to you, to remove you far from your land, so that I would drive you out, and you would perish. But the nation that brings their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serves him, that nation I will let remain in their own land,’ says Yahweh; ‘and they will till it and dwell in it.’ ” ’ ”

I spoke to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, “Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live. Why will you die, you and your people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as Yahweh has spoken concerning the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon? Don’t listen to the words of the prophets who speak to you, saying, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon;’ for they prophesy a lie to you. For I have not sent them,” says Yahweh, “but they prophesy falsely in my name; that I may drive you out, and that you may perish, you, and the prophets who prophesy to you.”

In this passage, God continues His communication with the non-Israeli nations that were to be affected by the Babylonian takeover. Once again what we have is a very simple and clear message. If the people will surrender, they will get to remain in their own land and continue to do business there. Jeremiah tells them not to listen to the false prophets.

To the king of Judah, Jeremiah said that he should obey God’s word so that he doesn’t suffer with other nations that don’t listen. When you think about it, it would be a bigger tragedy for Israel to not hear the words of their own prophet than it would be for those nations that don’t usually listen to Israel’s God. The sad thing is that Israel wasn’t going to listen. Also, notice that Jeremiah tells the king of Judah to not listen to the false prophets.

Something that caught my attention in this passage is that God was warning them all to not listen to the false prophets because they were saying false things in order to get them to sin and to force God to drive them out of their land. I believe that from the context of what we read here, that the prophets themselves were not doing it for this reason. In fact, we read that if these nations were to listen to the false prophets and not obey Jeremiah’s word, even the false prophets would end up dying and being driven out. I seriously doubt that the false prophets were doing it so that they could die, so that leads us to a question. Who was doing this so that God would destroy both Jew and Gentile and their nations? The answer is pretty obvious. Satan and his powers were behind what the false prophets were saying. Jesus told us that Satan is the father of liars. We also know from other parts of the Bible that Satan deceives people and they in turn deceive others. This demonstrates the fact that Satan isn’t a friend of any human. He doesn’t care if you are a Jew or a Gentile. He’d just as soon see you dead. What we see here is that God is trying to save all of mankind. Even when we don’t understand why God works the way He does, we can rest assured that He cares and knows what He is doing. We need to have faith and simply do what He says.

Day 6: The Witness

John 1:6-9 : There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. The same came as a witness, that he might testify about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but was sent that he might testify about the light. The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world.

It’s good to note that the “John” in this passage is not the one who is writing. This is talking about the one known as “John the Baptist.” He was the a prophet just like the Old Testament prophets that God sent. His special purpose was to point the way to Jesus and John talks quite a bit more about it later.

The John who writes makes it clear that John the Baptist, was not “the light.” In other words, John the Baptist should not be confused with Jesus. John was not the light, he was just a man. It’s very important for all of us to remember that we are not the light either. We are just people. If we want to “shine” we need first to come to Jesus and then rely on His power as believers every day.

It’s worth noting that God likes to send people to “testify” about Jesus. As Christians we have been given a similar duty. Jesus sent all of us, much like God sent John.

We also read that the light of Jesus was meant for everyone. It really is a great thing to think about because up to this point, Judaism was only for Jews and those who were willing to become Jews. I think that many assumed that the Messiah would only be for the Jews. God had a plan for the whole world to see the light and this is truly one of the most surprising and wonderful aspects of this new light. It was certainly good news to those of us who were Gentiles.

John covers all of these things in more detail later.