Day 187: Respecting Israel’s God

Jeremiah 48:18-28

“You daughter who dwells in Dibon,
come down from your glory,
and sit in thirst;
for the destroyer of Moab has come up against you.
He has destroyed your strongholds.
Inhabitant of Aroer, stand by the way and watch.
Ask him who flees, and her who escapes;
say, ‘What has been done?’
Moab is disappointed;
for it is broken down.
Wail and cry!
Tell it by the Arnon, that Moab is laid waste.
Judgment has come on the plain country—
on Holon, on Jahzah, on Mephaath,
on Dibon, on Nebo, on Beth Diblathaim,
on Kiriathaim, on Beth Gamul, on Beth Meon,
on Kerioth, on Bozrah,
and on all the cities of the land of Moab, far or near.
The horn of Moab is cut off,
and his arm is broken,” says Yahweh.

“Make him drunk,
for he magnified himself against Yahweh.
Moab will wallow in his vomit,
and he also will be in derision.
For wasn’t Israel a derision to you?
Was he found among thieves?
For as often as you speak of him,
you shake your head.
You inhabitants of Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock.
Be like the dove that makes her nest over the mouth of the abyss.

In this part of Jeremiah’s prophesy against Moab, God goes into detail and specifies some of the cities that will be destroyed. God said that “all the cities of the land of Moab, far or near” were going to experience His judgment. God also explains that the reason for all this is that Moab was acting proudly against God and God was taking revenge against them for how they treated Israel.

God accuses the Moabites of magnifying themselves against God. He also says that He saw them mocking the Jews. They treated the Jews as if they were theives. It’s interesting to me that this is being done by many today. They accuse the Jews of taking money out of the economy while ridiculing them for things that they haven’t actually done. God told Moab that in their day of judgment, they would be the ones being mocked. They would also be the ones that people shake their heads at in disgust. They will end up living in hiding places like wild animals.

This is a lesson to us about how to treat the nation of Israel. Obviously, Israel had been doing evil. In one sense, they didn’t deserve respect. It was so bad that they were in the process of being judged by God for their sin, yet, God still judged Moab for their their treatment of Israel. Just because Israel does evil, doesn’t mean that we are free to start mocking them. The reason is quite simple. God decided to attach His Name to a nation and a place on earth. Even when Israel is wicked, we are to respect God’s Name. In other words, we don’t mock Israel even when they deserve it, because God’s Name is attached to them. God will be the One to mock them and when He does, they will be purified. Our job is to continue to respect God’s will in the matter. If we don’t then we are also acting wickedly like Moab was here.

Day 162: Judgment Day

Jeremiah 39:1-10

In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem, and besieged it. In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city. All the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate: Nergal Sharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergal Sharezer, Rabmag, with all the rest of the princes of the king of Babylon. When Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, then they fled and went out of the city by night, by the way of the king’s garden, through the gate between the two walls; and he went out toward the Arabah.

But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. When they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; and he pronounced judgment on him. Then the king of Babylon killed Zedekiah’s sons in Riblah before his eyes. The king of Babylon also killed all the nobles of Judah. Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon.

The Chaldeans burned the king’s house and the people’s houses with fire and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the rest of the people who remained in the city, the deserters also who fell away to him, and the rest of the people who remained. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, who had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.

Just as God had spoken through Jeremiah, His judgment against Judah finally came. Zedekiah tried to run but ended up watching the murder of his sons before his eyes were removed. It’s tragic when you consider that he came so close to seeing God’s mercy instead. If he had simply believed Jeremiah when he begged him to surrender, he would have saved his sons, the people and the city.

Isn’t it amazing how much humans long to get away with sin? When punishment doesn’t come for a long time, we actually start to think that it will never come. We create what we think is a “new normal.” There is only one “normal” and it is the one that God considers to be normal. The only reason God had given them so much time was because He wanted them to repent and that’s the same way it is today. Back at that time, the issue was the destruction of God’s city, but what we face today is the destruction of the entire earth. It is coming. What is happing today isn’t the “new normal.” God’s just giving us time to repent before the time comes for Him to blow it all up and send sinners to their chosen destiny. Man-made global warming climate change is coming. It will happen when God burns up the earth as a result of man’s rebellion against Him. We are ruining the environment by our lies, murders, sexual sin and drug use.

There’s a precious surprise at the end of this part of Israel’s history. After burning the palace and the city, the captain of the guard of Babylon, decided to take the average people into custody and to leave the destitute people behind. Not only that, he gave them tillable land! God helped the poor even in this horrible time and gave them what they needed. God must have felt their pain the whole time. Notice that it is God’s will to give to the poor. I think it’s pretty obvious that God was paying attention to how these destitute people were being treated and turned the tables in His judgment. May God give us the heart to give to those who are in need before we lose everything we have to our own selfishness.

Day 112: Jeremiah Curses the Nations of the World

Jeremiah 25:15-29

For Yahweh, the God of Israel, says to me: “Take this cup of the wine of wrath from my hand, and cause all the nations to whom I send you to drink it. They will drink, and reel back and forth, and be insane, because of the sword that I will send among them.”

Then I took the cup at Yahweh’s hand, and made all the nations to drink, to whom Yahweh had sent me: Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, with its kings and its princes, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse, as it is today; Pharaoh king of Egypt, with his servants, his princes, and all his people; and all the mixed people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, all the kings of the Philistines, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod; Edom, Moab, and the children of Ammon; and all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the isle which is beyond the sea; Dedan, Tema, Buz, and all who have the corners of their beard cut off; and all the kings of Arabia, all the kings of the mixed people who dwell in the wilderness; and all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes; and all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another; and all the kingdoms of the world, which are on the surface of the earth. The king of Sheshach will drink after them.

“You shall tell them, ‘Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel says: “Drink, and be drunk, vomit, fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.” ’ It shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at your hand to drink, then you shall tell them, ‘Yahweh of Armies says: “You shall surely drink. For, behold, I begin to work evil at the city which is called by my name; and should you be utterly unpunished? You will not be unpunished; for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth, says Yahweh of Armies.” ’

As far as curses go, I think you could call this an epoch curse. Isn’t it amazing that as the people in Israel became more rebellious against Jeremiah and tried to fight against Him, God merely caused Jeremiah’s message to get worse and more expansive. Here we learn that Jeremiah was to force the nations to drink a cup of God’s wrath that would make them drunk. Evidently, they were to begin attacking one another until, eventually, everyone is involved. Could this have been a prediction of the world wars that were to come? It is possible but those wars are over. I think that world wars are just a beginning. Once again, we learn a great deal more when we read the last book of the Bible about what is going to happen. There will be wars of all wars at that time and destruction the likes of which we have never seen. I believe that God is warning the world that things are going to get worse and worse and ultimately end in a great destruction.

I believe that this destruction of the nation of Israel and of Jerusalem triggered the beginnings of the final judgment against the world. It would appear that God used Jeremiah to alert the whole world of that fact. Starting with the wrath against Jerusalem, wrath was going to spread to the ends of the earth. When the people of the world ask why they should be involved, God answers that if He’s going to punish Israel, He’s certainly going to punish the rest of the world too. The implication here, is that Israel was bad, but that just makes the evil nations that were never a part of God’s program to look even worse. After all, these nations participated in leading His nation away from God.

The simple fact that we keep reading about is that no man on earth can avoid the punishment he deserves because of sin. That goes for whole nations as well. Either we come to God on His terms and be saved, or we must be punished.

Day 40: Marked Man

John 5:15-23 : The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, so I am working, too.” For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus therefore answered them, “Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise. For the Father has affection for the Son, and shows him all things that he himself does. He will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires. For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who doesn’t honor the Son doesn’t honor the Father who sent him.

In this passage, we find out why the Jewish leadership wanted to kill Jesus. The reasons were:

  1. He healed on the Sabbath.
  2. He made Himself equal with God.

In regard to Jesus healing on the Sabbath, Jesus said that the Father is working so He was too. This may sound strange unless you understand the basis for observing the Sabbath. This rule is the fourth of the famous Ten Commandments:

Exodus 20:8-11 : Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. You shall labor six days, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.

Notice that it says: “…for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day;” The reason for the rest that the Jews were required to do on the Sabbath, was that God rested and they were to imitate Him. Jesus’ reasoning was that His father was not resting and He was to do whatever God is doing now. He was following the spirit of the law by doing what God was doing right now not by merely copying what God did at one time. That is what is truly important; imitating God, not following rules.

Now Jesus gives out a hint about the amazing sign He will be doing publically. He says: “For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires.” Jesus is going to be raising the dead in front of them all, but we aren’t to that part yet…

So Jesus tells the critical leaders that He plans to come out with a bigger sign that will prove that He is who He says He is, but evidently, they would rather finish Him off before He can prove it. Jesus gives another reason why they should listen to Him. It’s more of a warning.

He says that God has given Him the power to judge. In other words, they should respect Jesus, because He will be the one deciding the fate of men. Jesus honestly tried to give these men fair warning, but clearly they refused to listen even though their own fate was in the balance. To top that, Jesus said that their failure to respect Him was going to be judged as a failure to respect God and “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31)

Day 29: Judgment and Salvation

John 3:17-20 : “For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him. He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn’t come to the light, lest his works would be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God.”

Although the world deserved to be judged, God was not trying to judge the world by sending Jesus. His intent was for us to accept His method of salvation by believing in His Son. It is easy for us to imagine an angry God that is eager to find fault, but this is not at all what the Bible says. God did not intend for man to not accept His salvation.

Jesus didn’t need to judge the world, because God already had according to this passage. Each person who continues to not believe in Jesus, is already under God’s judgment because he doesn’t believe in God’s Son. We start out not believing and we are already judged because of it.

John explains the reasoning behind this judgment. We don’t believe Jesus because we are aware that we are bad. Jesus is the light as I mentioned when we studied the first chapter. Jesus’ life exposes us to what we are doing wrong just like light exposes us. When God breaks through to us and cleans us up, we are able to start doing what is right and when we do what is right, we want to be seen so others can see God’s work in us.

When you do well because of God it brings glory to Him and that is something we want others to see, then they will have a chance to see the light and be influenced by God too:

1 Corinthians 10:31-33 : Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no occasions for stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the assembly of God; even as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved.

Day 8: Rejected

John 1:11 : He came to his own, and those who were his own didn’t receive him.

Jesus was a Jew. His parents were very careful to make sure that they practiced the things that God wanted them to in regard to their special Son. Jesus was sent to save his Jewish people, but they refused him as their national Savior. Obviously, many Jewish Christians believed individually and were saved, but as a nation, He was rejected.

This is not to say that any other nation was eager to see Him come either as I mentioned earlier. The light of Jesus shows how much we love living in the dark and aren’t naturally willing to have anyone be God over us.

The fact that Jesus was rejected really bothered Him; He cried about it. I think that it hurt Him and He knew that what was going to happen to them after this would be terrible. You can read about this in Luke 19:41-44

People who reject Jesus today will find themselves individually in a bad position later just like the Jews were going to be in as a nation. This is a great example for us today and how important it is that we influence and pray for those around us so that they will not reject Him.

One of the most difficult things to face in life is the rejection of your own people. This happens to many people who become Christians. A wonderful thing is that we have a new family in Christ that will last forever. As believers in Jesus we have the ability to love each other in a way that we couldn’t in our own natural families. This makes our new family better than our natural one.