A Reminder of Recompense

October 25, 2019 at 10:53 am | Posted in Jeremiah | 2 Comments
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When reading through the Book of Jeremiah, by the time you get to Chapter 50, it might seem to a casual reader as if Jeremiah has been speaking of Babylon in a positive light for a long time, but, remember, the Babylonians were not God’s people. He was using their own evil disposition and desire for conquest and power as His tool to ultimately punish and chasten His people. The Babylonians did not realize it, but, although they were in God’s hands, they were still accountable for their own sins.

The word that the LORD spake against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet. Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces. For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.

Jeremiah 50:1-3

Just as Babylon had come from the north to conquer Judah, now the Medes and Persians would come from the north to conquer Babylon. There are many statements in the prophecies in Jeremiah 50-51 that had a then-contemporary element in Judah, Babylon, and Persia, but that have an ultimate fulfillment in Revelation Chapters 17 and 18.

Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria. And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead. In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.

Jeremiah 50:17-20

God could use the nation of Babylon but He would not truly bless it, because of its chief sin: its pride.

Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord GOD of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee. And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round about him.

Jeremiah 50:31-32

God allowed the oppression of His own people because He truly loved them. When God allows your oppression, humble yourself. Do not starting announcing your own strength and perseverance and pride.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.

Jeremiah 50:33-34

God wants glory for himself, not for us apart from Him.

When Cyrus, King of Persia, conquered Babylon, he would (by God’s decree) show favor to the Judeans in exile in Babylon and allow them to go home and rebuild (which is what Ezra and Nehemiah are primarily about). Just as God had warned people to submit to Nebuchadnezzar so they could leave Jerusalem, He now commanded them to be ready to leave Babylon when Cyrus gave them that opportunity.

Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’s vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence.

Jeremiah 51:6

The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.

Jeremiah 51:10

God wanted them to be firm in their resolve to leave. Fleeing a city of destruction should be an easy choice, but He knew how rebellious their hearts could be, and how wavering and frightened. He didn’t want them to be paralyzed by fear in a time of change and upheaval.

My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD. And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land; a rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.

Jeremiah 51:45-46

We, too, must remember that God is in control, and not let our hearts be swayed by rumors or “fake news” that tells us God was wrong about something.

The Lamb Cows the Lion

June 28, 2010 at 11:21 am | Posted in Daniel | 3 Comments
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The Medes and the Persians diverted the stream of the Euphrates River, and went underneath the supposedly impenetrable walls of Babylon.

Daniel, who had been brought to Babylon as a teenaged boy, and had served under Nebuchadnezzar, now – in his 80s – found himself serving under a pagan king: Darius. How did Daniel do so well and gain the trust of all these pagan kings and rulers?

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

Daniel 6:3

He had more than just exceptional qualities – he had an excellent spirit – like Elijah with Elisha in II Kings 2:9. Like Elijah, Daniel had a spirit that was pleasing to God. Therefore, Daniel was trusted for his honesty. Those who wanted to keep stealing schemed against him.

Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

Daniel 6:4

They used flattery and appealed to the king’s pride to get him to sign a decree without thinking about it. The decree said that anyone who prayed to anyone other than the king would be thrown into the lions’ den.

Daniel and his friends had faith in times of great crisis because they practiced their faith in the ordinary, everyday things. Reading my Bible, praying, going to church – these things build strength into my faith.

To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

I Thessalonians 3:13

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Luke 16:10

The king was mad at himself when he realized how he had been tricked.

Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.

Daniel 6:14

How could this pagan king have such fond feelings for Daniel? Daniel had shown charity to him.

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

I Peter 4:8

Daniel was delivered and he gave God the glory.

My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

Daniel 6:22

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 65:25

Satan, who is compared to a lion, can be controlled and made meek by the Lamb of God.

Daniel’s faith even caused the king to honor Daniel’s God and proclaim His power.

I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

Daniel 6:26-27

The Strait Gate and the Wall that Will Not Fall

October 27, 2009 at 8:01 am | Posted in Nehemiah | 10 Comments
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In about 443 B.C. Nehemiah led a brave group of Jewish exiles back to the city of Jerusalem to rebuild the walls which had been destroyed by Babylonian invaders. As he systematically assigned different groups of workers to work on different sections of the walls, we can see how these different sections were divided by different “gates.” The Bible outlines these different gates in such a way that we might glean a spiritual lesson.

Among the various gates, there was a fountain gate (Nehemiah 3:15) and a water gate (Nehemiah 3:26). In Scripture water for drinking (a fountain) is a picture of the Holy Spirit. Water for washing is a picture of the Word of God. The names of the workers who repaired the fountain gate are recorded for posterity. The people of God need the power of God (the Holy Spirit) to do the work of God. However, there is no record of repairs on the water gate. This reminds us that the Word of God stands forever, and will not fall. Neither will it ever need to be “repaired” or “improved.”

LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Psalm 119:89

Diverting the Flow of the Word

August 6, 2009 at 10:26 am | Posted in Biblical Doctoring, Daniel | 11 Comments
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The prophet Daniel had been a very important young man in the kingdom of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar, the wicked and powerful ruler, had known him very well. As the years passed, however, Nebuchadnezzar’s successor came to power, and Daniel faded out of the thoughts of the movers and shakers in Babylon.

One day, however, a hand appeared out of thin air in the royal banquet hall, and began to write on the wall. The king was scared out of his wits. He did not understand what the writing meant, and none of his advisors could tell him. Suddenly, Daniel was remembered.

But the Daniel who was summoned to appear before Belshazzar was not the young whipper-snapper who had dealt with Nebuchadnezzar. This Daniel was probably about 82 years old, and he had no time or interest for the king’s frivolous gifts. (Daniel 5:16-17)

We can almost see Daniel, God’s man, shaking his stern finger at Belshazzar, and giving him the interpretation of the writing on the wall without fear:

But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified… In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

Daniel 5:23; 30

It is interesting to note the manner in which the Medo-Persian army invaded the supposedly impenetrable walls of Babylon. First they diverted the course of the Euphrates River, which ran under the walls, and into the city. When the water level went down they were able to go under the walls.

Water is very important to a city. Without water, two tragedies would befall the inhabitants. One, they would get thirsty. Two, they would lose the ability to maintain hygiene, thereby increasing the spread of disease.

In the Bible, water is a picture of God’s Word. (Ephesians 5:26) If the flow of God’s Word is cut off from His people, the people will get thirsty, they will become defiled, they will get spiritually sick, and, ultimately, many will suffer a form of spiritual death. The preaching and teaching of the Bible must be central in the local church.


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