Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2024-27&version=NIV
Chapter 24 — The cooking pot illustration, some illustration eh? The first wave of captives had already been taken so the people left behind thought they were “choice meat”…(maybe a little pride there??) NOTHING goes unnoticed by GOD. HE sees all and discipline will come if we continue down the wrong path without repentance. God in HIS love, mercy, grace, and all HIS awesomeness does things in HIS timing….not ours. Judah had seen Israel taken into captivity. Jerusalem began to see parts of Judah taken into captivity and after three sieges by Babylon….all of Judah except the very very poor would be taken captive. Jerusalem was warned over and over and over again and practically begged through the Prophets to TURN BACK TO GOD …. but they didn’t listen. NOW…God is telling them your judgement is here…now..no escape…it will be long…but THEN you will KNOW I am God.
This story is told the day that Jerusalem came under attack by Babylon. The attack lasted 2 YEARS. God was using Babylon to discipline HIS people. God will use who He will use.
God told Ezekiel NOT to mourn the death of his wife as a parallel for the exiles not to mourn for their brothers under the 2 year attack in Jerusalem that was occurring. Ezekiel is oh so very obedience. He did EXACTLY as The Lord told him. WE see no indication that he questioned this in anyway. He simply obeyed The Lord. WHAT AN EXAMPLE!!! I can’t imagine being asked NOT to grieve following the death of someone I love dearly.
The next chapters are regarding the surrounding nations. God was disciplining HIS people for their disobedience …… and HE was also keeping HIS Promise concerning other nations for their treatment of HIS people. These chapters remind me of God’s PROMISE wayyyyyyy back in Genesis to Abraham. According to our reading of the Bible, Jews are the “chosen people of God” and dearly loved by Him. We read of God’s promise in Genesis 12:2-3, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (this is also mentioned in Genesis 27:29 and Numbers 24:9). The Abrahamic Covenant is an unconditional Promise of God. God will STILL bless those who bless HIs people and curse those who curse HIS people, which is why it is so important that our nation support the nation of Israel TODAY. God’s Promises are forever. And we witnessed in our reading today how God was “cursing those who cursed HIS people.”
Here is a map of the areas we are reading about today so you can see that these cities SURROUNDED Jerusalem/Judah.
So what had these other nations done that “cursed HIS people?”
Ammon/Ammonites (remember Ammon was a son of Lot through incest with one of his daughters) was being judged over their JOY concerning the destruction of The Temple.
Moab/Moabites (the other son of Lot also from incest with his other daughter) was being judged for LAUGHING at Judah’s wickedness. Can’t you just imagine the thoughts of the Moabites……’hey….they are not so special….they are NO DIFFERENT than anyone else and it is good to see them suffer???”
Edom/Edomites (remember where this people came from….. Esau and Jacob were the twin sons of Isaac…Jacob before he became Israel robbed Esau of his double blessing….Esau loved to eat and was called Edom) welllllllll…..Edom RADICALLY hated the Jews because they were not Edomites.
Philista (remember David and Goliath the Philistine AND also remember that when Moses lead the people out of Egypt God did not take them through the land of the Philistines which was the shortest route because they were too strong for HIS people wayyyyyy back then) welllllllll….the Philistines STILL sought vengeance on the Israelites/Judeans.
Tyre — it was a coastline city. Tyre REJOICED when Jerusalem fell thinking NOW they would CONTROL all the Sea Trade business. Ummmmmmm…….not good….the consequence….Nebuchadnezzar attacked them for this “priceless” land for FIFTEEN YEARS!! Some of the Scriptures in Chapter 27 are actually prophecy of the finality of Tyre during the years not in the Bible between the OT and NT.
SO….again…God was keeping HIS Promise that was part of the Abrahamic Covenant with HIS people. God’s Word and HIS character are the same yesterday, today, and forever….HIS promises are forever. As important as this is remember that God left us these examples in the OT for a reason. We are greatly blessed to be on this side of the cross. BUT we also have a responsibility to ASK GOD to search our hearts and make us aware if our behavior is like that of the Ammonites, Moabites, or Edomites, Tyre … or any of the nations in the eyes of The Lord.
Something very interesting to me is I did a little research on our Nation’s Presidents and their relationship and attitude toward Israel and/or the Jewish people. I looked at the Presidents beginning with Truman in 1948 when Israel became a Nation. What amazed me when I did my short research was that when our Nation’s Presidents blessed Israel we were blessed even more as a Nation. And when our Nation’s Presidents did not support Israel….our Nation faced more challenges. Coincidence….I doubt it. This is NOTHING Scriptural, simply an interesting piece of research for me as God opened my own eyes. If you ever get a chance….and are interested….let me know what you find.
Sharing HIS love,
Tomorrow we will begin our 2 week journey through Jeremiah, with a couple of diversions in reading as close to chronologically as possible.
The purpose of the Book of Jeremiah was to URGE God’s people of JUDAH to turn from their sins and TURN BACK TO GOD. LOOK at how patient God has been…..for YEARS HE has been sending prophets and leaders to HIS people to tell them to TURN BACK TO HIM!! The urging is now more than an urging…it is a warning. Israel is already in captivity and exile and has been for awhile. Much of Judah is in the same situation. Jerusalem is still “free”…but if the people refuse to TURN BACK to GOD…. the same consequences will come upon them.
The author of the book is of course Jeremiah. The book was written during Jeremiah’s ministry, approximately 627-586 B.C.
Jeremiah ministered for 40 years under Judah’s last five kings — Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiakin, and Zedekiah. Judah was sliding rapidly toward destruction and was eventually conquered by Babylon in 586 B.C. (2 Kings 21-25) Zephaniah preceded Jeremiah and Habakkuk was Jeremiah’s contemporary. Jeremiah faced a huge challenge. He was speaking on behalf of God, with the Words of God….BUT NOBODY listened. Jeremiah was consistent and persistent in his faithfulness to God through his obedience in “getting the Word out.” Jeremiah was ignored, he was poor and underwent severe deprivation to deliver his prophecies. In Chapter 37 we will see him be thrown in prison. In Chapter 38 he will be thrown into a cistern and in Chapter 43 he will be taken to Egypt against his will. In Chapters 11, 12, 20, 26, and 36 he will be rejected by his neighbors, his family, the false priests and prophets, friends, his audience, and the kings!! Reading Jeremiah breaks my heart on several levels…..first that no one listened to his warnings that he KNEW were coming…..second…..because he loved God so deeply he KNEW what was coming so he stood for God regardless of what happened to him. It is easy to see why Jeremiah became known as the “weeping prophet!!” In the eyes of the world he was not a success….NO where close. BUT in the eyes of God…..he was a total and complete success because he was faithful, obedient, courageous, and persistent to God’s calling.
We are going to read about the captivity now from 3 Vantage Points! We will read about it from the “outside” (never being captured) from Jeremiah’s perspective, the inside from the first wave of captives, and then again from the second wave of captives, Daniel and Ezekiel. This will be a most exciting journey!!
This will be either the one of the easiest reads or the hardest. Jeremiah was NOT written in chronological order, so it skips around. Try to imagine it this way, he had this huge scroll and after years and years of preaching his messages he would sporadically write them down, not in order, just as they came back to him. He then had a scribe, Baruch, write them into a book. It can however be divided into 4 sections:
The call of the prophet Jeremiah (Chapter 1)
The Prophecies of Judah (Chapters 2-45)
The Prophecies to the Gentiles (Chapters 46-51)
The Fall of Jerusalem (Chapter 52)
Jeremiah lived about 100 years after Isaiah. Jeremiah was CALLED to be a prophet in 626 BC. Let’s look at this from a global scope from that time period and a map may help with that scope.
The three corners are fighting for world power (Israel has the coastal ports and is smack in the middle of all 3). Assyria, Babylonia and Egypt. For 300 years Assyria, with Nineveh as its capital, RULED the world. But now, as predicted ASSyria is weakening!! Babylonia is becoming more POWERFUL!! Egypt, which 1000 years ago was once the world power is NOW hungry for POWER again. About the midpoint in Jeremiah’s life Babylonia wins, defeating Assyria (about 610 B.C.) and 4 years later beats Egypt (Battle of Carchemish). For 70 years Babylonia rules the world, while the Jewish people were in Babylonian captivity.
Jeremiah was born into priesthood, his father may have been Hilkiah the priest, who brought the book of the law to King Josiah (the good King of Judah), who started the great reform. So we can assume that Jeremiah was religious, but God had plans for him. He CALLED him to be a prophet during the most trying times of the Jewish people. God has a plan for EACH of us and sometimes it is the LAST thing we want to do. Jeremiah was called to be a prophet in the 13th year of Josiah’s reign. Jeremiah’s reign was never a popular one, like most of God’s men, he was beaten for it. He is called the “weeping prophet” for his sympathy and concern for the people of Judah for their rebellious and immanent doom.
I know I mentioned above that this book was not written chronologically. Therefore, it will be impossible to read chronologically, the end is in the beginning and the beginning in the end. As we read you will notice that Jeremiah used a LOT of “props” or symbolism in his teaching…..everyday things that people could relate to. He used things such as an almond rod, a boiling cauldron, a marred girdle, a full bottle, a drought, a potters vessel, a broken bottle, 2 baskets of figs, bands and bars, a field, hidden stones, and a book. Also, to get people to understand who the coming Messiah was/is to the world Jeremiah will refer to him as a Fountain of Living Water, a Great Physician, a Good Shepard, a Righteous Branch, a King, the Redeemer, and The Lord our Righteousness.
The book of Jeremiah has some of my favorite verses. As you read, please pray and ask God to show you what HE has in store for you. Each of us reading this will walk away with something special from our Most High God who LOVES us dearly. Even put yourself in Jeremiah’s shoes of KNOWING doom is around the corner for his beloved home, family, friends, town…. and having to preach and teach people who simply do NOT want to listen to him or to their God who LOVES them deeply. And the ONLY thing God wants of HIS people is for them to TURN BACK TO HIM…..but they refuse.
Once again…..I encourage you to read this with GREAT EXPECTATIONS ~~~ GOD will share things with you and make HIS Words jump off the page into your heart. He KNOWs where you are and what you need so ASK HIM to reveal HIS treasures just for YOU. I KNOW HE will!!
Sharing HIS love,
Israel In Captivity Map