Day 180: Wasted Conquest

Jeremiah 46:7-12

“Who is this who rises up like the Nile,
like rivers whose waters surge?
Egypt rises up like the Nile,
like rivers whose waters surge.
He says, ‘I will rise up. I will cover the earth.
I will destroy cities and its inhabitants.’
Go up, you horses!
Rage, you chariots!
Let the mighty men go out:
Cush and Put, who handle the shield;
and the Ludim, who handle and bend the bow.
For that day is of the Lord, Yahweh of Armies,
a day of vengeance,
that he may avenge himself of his adversaries.
The sword will devour and be satiated,
and will drink its fill of their blood;
for the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, has a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.
Go up into Gilead, and take balm, virgin daughter of Egypt.
You use many medicines in vain.
There is no healing for you.
The nations have heard of your shame,
and the earth is full of your cry;
for the mighty man has stumbled against the mighty,
they both fall together.”

While working as a software engineer, I spent a lot of time learning about wasted effort. In software, we don’t waste materials when we make mistakes. What we do waste is our own time and effort as well as the time and effort of our investors and our customers. We do that when we make bad decisions. It’s possible to charge down the road of success, only to find that you are harming yourself and others because you are fighting against reality.

Jeremiah records for us that Egypt was going to make an attempt to take over the world. God told them to go right ahead and try. Instead of taking over the world, they were going to fall. It even tells the medical workers to go ahead and try to use their medicine to heal people. Even that was going to fail. Egypt was about to waste their efforts. It even tells us here that “the earth is full of your cry.” It’s one thing to make a private mistake, but Egypt’s mistakes were going to be high-profile.

I see a lesson for us in this. No matter how big and powerful we are, it is possible for us to take on something that will destroy us. God is the one who defines reality and because of this, our success is in His hands, not in our own. Our big idea shouldn’t be to take over the world, but to simply do what God wants us to do today. Then, when He takes over the world, we will be glad we helped. There’s no waste in that.

Day 146: God is Serious about Israel

Jeremiah 33:19-26

Yahweh’s word came to Jeremiah, saying, “Yahweh says: ‘If you can break my covenant of the day and my covenant of the night, so that there will not be day and night in their time, then my covenant could also be broken with David my servant, that he won’t have a son to reign on his throne; and with the Levitical priests, my ministers. As the army of the sky can’t be counted, and the sand of the sea can’t be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant and the Levites who minister to me.’ ”

Yahweh’s word came to Jeremiah, saying, “Don’t consider what this people has spoken, saying, ‘Has Yahweh cast off the two families which he chose?’ Thus they despise my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.” Yahweh says: “If my covenant of day and night fails, if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then I will also cast away the offspring of Jacob, and of David my servant, so that I will not take of his offspring to be rulers over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for I will cause their captivity to be reversed and will have mercy on them.”

As God continues to repeat His intention to restore Israel and reverse the captivity, He mentions a couple of other things. One thing is that there were people who had concluded that God had “cast off” His chosen people. God was making it very, very, very clear that this was not correct. Isn’t it amazing that there are Christians concluding this same thing today when God has said that He intends His people to be there in the end? They conveniently apply the promises to themselves and say that God has cast off Israel. The horrible thing is that God usually has a punishment in store for those who cast off Israel.

We also read here that God illustrates the strength of His commitment to Israel’s future by comparing it to His promise to keep the systems of the earth running. We all know that if the sun didn’t come up that it would be a big deal for us, but there’s actually a bigger underlying issue here. Did you know that this promise to maintain the seasons is the basis for all science? Let’s read that promise.

Genesis 8:22

While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.”

God made this covenant with Noah who is the father of all of us and it basically gives us a reason to believe that tomorrow will be like today and that this year will be much like last year and that there will be food available. What God is telling us is that the future has been made to be like the past. This allows us to do science because science requires repeatability. So not only does this promise make it possible for us to eat, it also is the basis for all technological progress that has ever been made since the day that Noah stepped off of the ark. God’s promise to Israel is so strong that He would easily revoke all technological advancement if He decided to not follow through Israel. The fact is that if God were to lie about anything, everything He has ever said would then be in question. Reality itself would stop existing. God will restore Israel and God will have His Messiah reign in Jerusalem. If He doesn’t, we will all cease to exist.