In the days of Jeremiah, the people of Judah were told that they needed to submit to the yoke of Babylon. The Lord also sent the word of His prophet to other neighboring nations. God’s immediate instruction for the neighbors of Judah was that they too should give up the fight against Nebuchadnezzar. It would not go well with them if they attempted to defeat the Babylonians. They would be resisting not only powerful armies, but also the God of Israel. They should choose peace and prosperity, rather than the warfare, disease, and famine that would come from the Lord if they continued to fight.
This same warning was also given to Zedekiah, the king of Judah. As with the other nations, the king was told that he should not listen to political and spiritual advisers telling him lies about the future. God had not sent these false prophets. If the king listened to them, he would only bring further trouble upon the remaining people of Jerusalem and Judea.
Judah’s difficulties were not yet over. Much wealth, many gifted people, and large numbers of sacred objects had already been taken away. Nevertheless, not only would this wealth stay in enemy hands for a longer time, but in fact much that remained in the land (the pillars, the bronze sea, and more) would eventually be brought beyond the borders of Israel.
The last verse of the chapter set forth a note of hope. Though more trouble would come to God’s people before things got better, God indicated that He would visit His people in the land of their captivity. In that day He would bring some of them back home.
Jeremiah told the unhappy truth of the current Babylonian supremacy to the nations all around Judah and to leaders within Judah. He was chosen for the task of bringing an honest word from God to the people. When our Redeemer came to rescue us from sin and darkness, He also faced the opposition of many powerful people. He was similarly committed to bringing the full word of truth at all costs.
Those in authority who took their stand against Jesus understood that He was making an indictment in the Name of the God of Israel. It was very plain that He had a different view of the Law of Moses than they had been taught, and so they rejected His interpretation of the sacred writings. Christ was forthright in His condemnation of the traditions that they honored above the Word of God. He spoke unmistakable oracles of judgment and more mysterious parable speech in order to communicate the message of the Almighty. The New Testament assures us that the Pharisees knew that Jesus was speaking against them. They therefore conspired with a betrayer in order to destroy Him and His movement.
The defeat of the kingdom of God would prove to be an impossible goal. In plotting for the Messiah’s death, the enemies of Jesus were only fulfilling the plan of God. By His cross, Jesus lifted an unbearable burden from our backs. Now we eagerly receive our Redeemer and gladly hear His gentle words of gospel instruction. We believe that the Lord of Hosts will accomplish the entirety of all His marvelous plan for our salvation. There can be no doubt that our only safety comes in our complete surrender to the Lord. It would be foolish for us to resist His good plan of grace.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord Almighty, You have called us to bear the yoke of Christ. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Our fathers could not bear the yoke of the Law. You have brought us a Word of grace, and have filled us with Your Spirit. In Your providence You may bring us under the yoke of powerful men and nations for a time, but this is for our good. Help us to trust You today. The words of false prophets are lies. They sound smooth and appealing. They promise us an easy and speedy victory, but they do not speak the truth. Can we trust You in the suffering that is our portion this day? Be with us now, for Your Son suffered and died for us.