Day 181: A More Complete Picture of Jesus

Jeremiah 46:13-19

The word that Yahweh spoke to Jeremiah the prophet, how that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon should come and strike the land of Egypt:
“Declare in Egypt,
publish in Migdol,
and publish in Memphis and in Tahpanhes;
say, ‘Stand up, and prepare,
for the sword has devoured around you.’
Why are your strong ones swept away?
They didn’t stand, because Yahweh pushed them.
He made many to stumble.
Yes, they fell on one another.
They said, ‘Arise! Let’s go again to our own people,
and to the land of our birth,
from the oppressing sword.’
They cried there, ‘Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise;
he has let the appointed time pass by.’

“As I live,” says the King,
whose name is Yahweh of Armies,
“surely like Tabor among the mountains,
and like Carmel by the sea,
so he will come.
You daughter who dwells in Egypt,
furnish yourself to go into captivity;
for Memphis will become a desolation,
and will be burned up,
without inhabitant.

I don’t know the history about this time in Egypt, but I do know from this prophesy what happened. Egypt was defeated by Babylon and the cities of Memphis and Tahphanhes were destroyed. People were taken into captivity. We also know that God caused the soldiers to fall and stumble over each other. They lost heart and wanted to go back home. They came to the realization that Pharaoh’s chance to take over had already passed and they were doomed.

I have been told that God the Father never refers to Himself as “Yahweh of Armies.” This is a reference to the Messiah and we know who that is. Jesus is calling Himself the King here and makes it clear that Egypt will be destroyed and the people taken captive. I think it’s important for us to take a moment to think about Jesus in the light of these events.

When Jesus came the first time, He put asside His wrath. He didn’t act like the commander of an army at all. I think that this is one of the problems the Jewish leaders had with Him. He wasn’t the Messiah they were expecting. If we aren’t careful, we will not have the right ideas about Him either. It’s important for us to have a complete picture of Jesus. I believe that our enemy would love for us to assume that Jesus is just a weak push-over who walks around in sandals and turns the other cheek. The Bible actually says that He is an army commander and a warrior. He has destroyed many civilizations in the past, but the real destruction is coming in the future. We should love Jesus, but it’s also important that we fear Him. Jesus is our Savior, but He is also the commander of Heaven’s army and the Judge of the World. We are supposed to turn the other cheek but Jesus won’t be doing that. He will eventually destroy every person and nation that chooses to rebel against His kingdom just like He did to Egypt and Judah. It is a fearful thing for enemies of God to think of Jesus this way, but it is a comfort to us because we can be assured that He will set things strait when He returns.

Day 116: God’s Power and Good Leadership

Jeremiah 26:17-24

Then certain of the elders of the land rose up, and spoke to all the assembly of the people, saying, “Micah the Morashtite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah; and he spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, ‘Yahweh of Armies says:
“ ‘Zion will be plowed as a field,
and Jerusalem will become heaps,
and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.’
Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Didn’t he fear Yahweh, and entreat the favor of Yahweh, and Yahweh relented of the disaster which he had pronounced against them? We would commit great evil against our own souls that way!”

There was also a man who prophesied in Yahweh’s name, Uriah the son of Shemaiah of Kiriath Jearim; and he prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah. When Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men and all the princes heard his words, the king sought to put him to death; but when Uriah heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt. Then Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, Elnathan the son of Achbor, and certain men with him, into Egypt; and they fetched Uriah out of Egypt, and brought him to Jehoiakim the king, who killed him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.

But the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, so that they didn’t give him into the hand of the people to put him to death.

It’s interesting that the Bible doesn’t say that the majority of the leaders got together and took a vote as to whether or not to kill Jeremiah. All it says is that “certain of the elders of the land rose up, and spoke.” In fact, God also tells us here that if it wasn’t for “the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan,” Jeremiah would have been given “into the hand of the people to put him to death.”

This demonstrates the power of a few wise leaders. Even if the majority is wrong, a single wise leader can change the course of history. God didn’t use a vote to change the direction of the people. He used the wise words of what appears to be a small minority. This demonstrates that righteousness doesn’t come from voting, but from those who understand the truth of the situation.

In this case, the wise leaders reminded the people of their own history. It would be wrong to kill someone for prophesying against Jerusalem and Israel because good prophets had said things like this before. Hezekiah was one of the greatest kings in Judah and he didn’t kill the prophet Micah when he warned them about the same thing. Instead, the king humbled himself and prayed that God would change His mind. It appears that the second argument was that another prophet had already prophesied the very same thing. His name was Uriah and he had already been killed by the king. Jews know that the word of two witnesses establishes a fact and Jeremiah was the second witness. This was a very serious warning and it appears to have affected the people enough to stop their plans to kill Jeremiah.

These events remind us of some encouraging things. You don’t have to be in the majority to be right and to change public opinion. It also shows us that God is capable of saving us from something horrible even when it doesn’t look possible.