Day 209: The Danger of a Worldly Focus

Jeremiah 51:41-48

“How Sheshach is taken!
How the praise of the whole earth is seized!
How Babylon has become a desolation among the nations!
The sea has come up on Babylon.
She is covered with the multitude of its waves.
Her cities have become a desolation,
a dry land, and a desert,
a land in which no man dwells.
No son of man passes by it.
I will execute judgment on Bel in Babylon,
and I will bring out of his mouth that which he has swallowed up.
The nations will not flow any more to him.
Yes, the wall of Babylon will fall.

“My people, go away from the middle of her,
and each of you save yourselves from Yahweh’s fierce anger.
Don’t let your heart faint.
Don’t fear for the news that will be heard in the land.
For news will come one year,
and after that in another year news will come,
and violence in the land,
ruler against ruler.
Therefore behold, the days come that I will execute judgment on the engraved images of Babylon;
and her whole land will be confounded.
All her slain will fall in the middle of her.
Then the heavens and the earth,
and all that is therein,
will sing for joy over Babylon;
for the destroyers will come to her from the north,” says Yahweh.

An important thing for Christians to remember is that God calls us to focus on heavenly things and not on earthly things. Heavenly things are eternal, but earthly things are only temporary. I believe that this passage shows us that focusing on earthly things is also quite stressful on us as human beings. It’s like building your house in a place where a freeway is about to be built. Your house will be destroyed at some point in the future. Your trust in it would be poorly placed and at some point your stress is going to be more than you can handle. The reason I bring this up is because this passage tells us that Babylon became “the praise of the whole earth.” Everyone was talking about it. They thought that it was a strong foundation. Had you asked 9 out of 10 economists, they probably would have recommended investing in its economy.

From a heavenly perspective, Babylon was in serious trouble. Those who listened to the prophets of God would have had a heavenly perspective and would have known that Babylon was going to be completely destroyed. The stress for the believer was that they would have to get away from Babylon so as to not be destroyed with her. Jeremiah tells us why Babylon was so insecure. God was upset at “Bel” and about “the engraved images of Babylon.” Bel was a false god in Babylon. I understand that this is where the word: Belzebub originates. It appears that God recognized the worship of Bel as the force that swallowed up the nations. God was going to reverse that. God also intended to kill the people for following their idols.

In the end, the heavens and the earth would sing over Babylon’s destruction. This is very interesting to me because it reminds me that a world majority can follow after something that harms all of heaven and earth! A majority is not a protection at all. That’s what happens when we focus on this world instead of on heaven. Passages like these remind us that a majority belief held by corrupt human beings can actually be a warning sign. We need to listen to God’s prophets in the Bible so that we are ready for the horrible destruction to come.

Day 207: Valuing the Wrong Things

Jeremiah 51:27-33

“Set up a standard in the land!
Blow the trumpet among the nations!
Prepare the nations against her!
Call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz!
Appoint a marshal against her!
Cause the horses to come up as the swarming locusts!
Prepare against her the nations,
the kings of the Medes, its governors, and all its deputies, and all the land of their dominion!
The land trembles and is in pain;
for the purposes of Yahweh against Babylon stand,
to make the land of Babylon a desolation, without inhabitant.
The mighty men of Babylon have stopped fighting,
they remain in their strongholds.
Their might has failed.
They have become as women.
Her dwelling places are set on fire.
Her bars are broken.
One runner will run to meet another,
and one messenger to meet another,
to show the king of Babylon that his city is taken on every quarter.
So the passages are seized.
They have burned the reeds with fire.
The men of war are frightened.”

For Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel says:
“The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time when it is trodden.
Yet a little while, and the time of harvest comes for her.”

An amazing and unique thing about the Jews is that they got to read the news before it happened! They were privileged to know that some time after God gave them over to Babylon, Babylon would also be destroyed. They even knew how wide spread it would be and that it would involve the Medes. If God desires, we will eventually be reading the book of Daniel. We will get a little bit of an inside look into this history as it unfolds, but for now we are reading about what Israel was supposed to know beforehand.

I have been observing that many important things in our world are treated as if they are not important at all. As I consider some of those things, I’m actually astonished at myself and others. It’s pretty clear that we have either deceived ourselves about how things really are, or that someone else has helped produce that deception. As Christians we know the causes if we are studying our Bibles. In Jeremiah’s time, He was being mistreated by his own people. Instead of hanging on every word he spoke, they were locking him in jail and throwing him in a well. Jeremiah actually knew the future. Had they listened, they could have avoided the severe events that were going to change their lives forever. Somehow they were deceived into thinking that Jeremiah’s words weren’t that important. I see the same thing with how the Bible is being treated in Europe, Canada and the United States today.

There are a lot of English Bibles available. Not only are they in print, they are available for free on multiple web sites on the Internet. You can even listen to the Bible read to you for free. The western world is saturated with Bibles, yet it is pretty clear that most of the people in these cultures are not very interested in actually reading it. At the same time, there are people who don’t know how to read and others who don’t have a printed Bible available to them. They don’t have enough money to have the Internet. These people are longing for the same English Bibles that the western world is ignoring. Some of them would be happy to have a little piece of the English Bible available to them. Others don’t even have the Bible in a language that they understand at all. It’s important for us to remember the truth and snap out of the deception that keeps us from seeing the value of the words of God. They tell us about our future. If we don’t pay attention, the future will still come, but we may not be ready.

Day 194: Things We Know and Things We Don’t

Jeremiah 49:28-33Of Kedar, and of the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon struck, Yahweh says:“Arise, go up to Kedar,and destroy the children of the east.They will take their tents and their flocks.they will carry away for themselves their…

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