There was no reason for celebration when the people of God were going into exile. We find Jeremiah in shackles along with the rest of God’s children who were being carried away to another land. The rulers of the people had not listened to Jeremiah, and now the prophet was in chains like everyone else.
The situation changed abruptly as the Babylonian captain of the guard spoke of the Lord’s judgment against Judah. Jeremiah listened as this official recounted words that were like Jeremiah’s own messages from earlier days. What had happened to Judah was an expression of God’s judgment against them. It was because they had not obeyed His voice.
Jeremiah was suddenly granted freedom. Other men would have no such option. The prophet could choose to go to Babylon if that seemed right to him, or he could remain in the land of Judah. Jeremiah decided to stay with the poor and the despised who would not be wanted in Babylon, taking up residence with the new governor of the land.
The new governor, Gedaliah, had been chosen by the king of Babylon. The former king of Judah, Zedekiah, was now a blind man and his sons were dead. Gedaliah’s message to the remaining Jews was one of relative peace. The people needed to submit to the Babylonians and serve the foreign king, and then it would go well for them.
For a time it appeared that life would be surprisingly stable. People began to come back to Judah who had been driven away to other lands in earlier days. Nonetheless, Gedaliah had been joined by a number of the captains of various military forces in the open country, one of whom would soon assassinate him. There would be much turmoil in Judah and in Jeremiah’s own life. The order and peace of life under Gedaliah would be very short-lived as powerful people arose trying to establish themselves through murder and insurrection.
In this world we face many dangers. There are wars and rumors of wars. Nations rise and fall, and the swords of men pierce through many mothers’ hearts. Yet the Son of Man has won a lasting peace for us through His blood.
The old city of Jerusalem would never be a place of lasting peace for the ancient Jews. But now Christ is building a new “Jerusalem.” The trials of this present age will be more than overcome by the glory of the renewed life that Jesus has already won for us. His promises to us of a resurrection society with perfect security and blessing give us courage to face the challenges that are a part of our current daily existence in this temporary world of sorrow.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, we are a part of a larger whole. We are closely associated with one another in the body of Christ. We care for each other in days of difficulty and distress. We are willing to associate with the poor and lowly in their need. Provide us with faithful leaders in a day of trouble. Bring us food day by day, though we are captives of men. We know that You are the one true God. Help us to hear the Word of warning that comes to us, that we might be informed concerning the dangers all around us. Preserve our lives forever that we might love and serve You always.