Day 205: An Obvious Difference

Jeremiah 51:15-19

“He has made the earth by his power.
He has established the world by his wisdom.
By his understanding he has stretched out the heavens.
When he utters his voice,
there is a roar of waters in the heavens,
and he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
and brings the wind out of his treasuries.

“Every man has become stupid and without knowledge.
Every goldsmith is disappointed by his image,
for his molten images are falsehood,
and there is no breath in them.
They are vanity,
a work of delusion.
In the time of their visitation, they will perish.
The portion of Jacob is not like these,
for he formed all things,
including the tribe of his inheritance.
Yahweh of Armies is his name.

It doesn’t matter what kind of man-made god is being worshiped in a culture. They all miserably fail when compared to the God of Israel. Had Babylon been paying attention to these people that they had been given permission to take captive, they might have discovered an amazing treasure. Their country could have been great for a long time to come.

This passage reminds us that the God of Israel is both alive and all powerful. He is the one that made all of the stars and it is by His wisdom and power that we have weather. He is the one who made the universe and the rules by which the weather operates. All that we have to do is to look around outside and see that these processes are dynamic. They keep going and going. They remind us that our God is also alive and that His word continues to maintain these dynamic processes.

When you compare that to the Babylonian gods, it’s pretty pathetic. First of all, these gods wouldn’t even be there had their goldsmiths not produced them. The way that this passage is worded makes me think that God is reminding us of the fact that these goldsmiths aren’t even satisfied with their own work. They know that they aren’t alive. They are just silent objects intended to trick the mind into thinking that they are something. These days, computers make very powerful images that appear to be alive. We even have things that modern technologists call “artificial intelligence” and “machine learning.” We all know that the intelligence is artificial, though. Its operation has been determined by imperfect software and data developers. Think about that a little. They are called “developers.” What they do is still developing and that’s because these developers and engineers are not perfect. They have to change their “intelligence” as they discover the wrong things they did before. God made the universe once in six days and stopped. He’s not a “developer,” He’s the Creator. That’s real intelligence. I’m told that complexity in a single cell of our body rivals the complexity of the city of New York. We may get all excited over our silly artificial intelligence, but God’s intelligence is what we should be excited about. Without Him, our computers wouldn’t exist. He is the only one that deserves to be praised and any nation that refuses to accept that will eventually end up like Babylon.

Day 111: Refusing to Listen to God

Jeremiah 25:7-14

“Yet you have not listened to me,” says Yahweh; “that you may provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own hurt.”

Therefore Yahweh of Armies says: “Because you have not heard my words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,” says Yahweh, “and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against its inhabitants, and against all these nations around. I will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and a hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the lamp. This whole land will be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

“It will happen, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,” says Yahweh, “for their iniquity. I will make the land of the Chaldeans desolate forever. I will bring on that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings will make bondservants of them, even of them. I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the work of their hands.”

The reason that I am so serious about going through the Bible like this, is because I can’t think of anything more important to people today. The reason that our world is suffering so much, is because people are continuing to avoid God’s word. It should not be a surprise to me that people will avoid my blog and Daily Bible Radio too because that’s what people tend to do to God’s word, but the reason I do it anyway is because the consequences are so high and this passage talks about that.

When we refuse to listen to the Bible, it’s a sign that there’s something else that we would rather have. We don’t want the Bible to tell us that we can’t have something we deeply desire, so we would rather provoke God to anger than to give up our sin. God makes it clear that it will be to our own hurt if we continue to live this way.

Then what we have are two examples of nations that refused to listen to God’s word. First, we have Israel. Because Israel stubbornly refused to listen to God, their cities were going to be deserted and become a national example of what happens when people decide to ignore God. Then we have the example of “the land of the Chaldeans.” Because Babylon also refused to follow God’s word, they would become “desolate forever.” It doesn’t matter if you are God’s favorite, like Israel was, or you are a nation of the world, God’s word cannot be avoided. I believe that this implies that the opposite is also true. Whether you are Israel, or another nation of the world, following God’s word will make your nation great.

We also have a very interesting detail about God’s world-wide control over all authority on earth. Notice that God says: “I will send to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon…” God took full responsibility for the actions of this foreign government official. There is a great deal more we learn about how God dealt with this man in the book of Daniel, but here we clearly see that God was in charge of Him. He even called this Gentile leader: “my servant”. It could be that Nebuchadnezzar became a follower of the God of Israel, but we also know that God claims to be over all kings on earth. Whether a king believes in Him or not, God is the one in charge of their actions because He is the highest authority and is the one who gives that authority to the nations. When those nations avoid His word, it eventually leads to their end.