Today: [Jeremiah 27] Giving into the Inevitable. In this chapter, Jeremiah is instructed to tell the king of Judah to surrender to Babylon. There is a point that fighting against the inevitable is not a faith proposition, but merely pride. I remember a father who lost a son to his own pride. He stood over the casket in front of hundreds of mourners, shaking his fist in God’s face, demanding his son back. It wasn’t faith, it was pride. He ultimately lost his wife to divorce and his children as well. Sometimes you have to face things and just humble yourself. From that perspective restoration and healing can come. Have you confused standing in faith with stubborn pride? In this chapter, Jeremiah helps us tell the difference so that we can be healed and move on.
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[Jer 27:1-22 KJV] 1 In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 Thus saith the LORD to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck, 3 And send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah; 4 And command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say unto your masters; 5 I have made the earth, the man and the beast that [are] upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. 6 And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. 7 And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him. 8 And it shall come to pass, [that] the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. 9 Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: 10 For they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish. 11 But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the LORD; and they shall till it, and dwell therein. 12 I spake also to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live.
In this chapter the Father instructs Jeremiah to perform another prophetic act. He fashions a yoke upon his own body to demonstrate not only to king Zedekiah but to all the neighboring kingdoms that they must now submit to the rule of the Babylonians. It is now the eleventh hour and the kings of the nations adjacent to Judah are seeking along with Zedekiah to preserve such as they can of their rule in the midst of tremendous loss. Have you every experienced this? Your life is falling apart and loss is manifesting on every hand and you just want to preserve something of your happiness to give you strength to go on. What is the word of the Lord in this situation?
Jeremiah speaks to the kings of the nations and he speaks to Zedekiah to stop fighting and give in to the inevitable. Plan A is off the table. Jerusalem will fall. The nation will fall. There is a point that surrendering to reality is not about giving up but about humbling themselves. In this circumstance, the people who listened to Jeremiah were preserved, albeit in Babylon. They were treated well. They eventually came back from captivity after many generations. Those who fought and resisted went down into Egypt and perished. What does Egypt represent? When you are under pressure and forsake God’s way for the false solutions in the world to your problem – that is going down into Egypt. Have you ever done this? You trust God and trust God and when God doesn’t come through you run to the banker and sow yourself into financial slavery. Does this ever work out? Sometimes we just need to humble ourselves to the conditions at hand. You have to trust that God always delivers but He does it on His time and His timetable. To do otherwise is to court disaster.
13 Why will ye die, thou and thy people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the LORD hath spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon? 14 Therefore hearken not unto the words of the prophets that speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you. 15 For I have not sent them, saith the LORD, yet they prophesy a lie in my name; that I might drive you out, and that ye might perish, ye, and the prophets that prophesy unto you. 16 Also I spake to the priests and to all this people, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Hearken not to the words of your prophets that prophesy unto you, saying, Behold, the vessels of the LORD’S house shall now shortly be brought again from Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you. 17 Hearken not unto them; serve the king of Babylon, and live: wherefore should this city be laid waste? 18 But if they [be] prophets, and if the word of the LORD be with them, let them now make intercession to the LORD of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the LORD, and [in] the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon. 19 For thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the pillars, and concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning the residue of the vessels that remain in this city, 20 Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem; 21 Yea, thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain [in] the house of the LORD, and [in] the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem; 22 They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the LORD; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place.
As Jeremiah is prophesying there are other prophets prophesying as well. They are looking at the disaster looming before the kingdom and the city of Jerusalem and they are shrieking “all is well!”. This was an absolute lie. It was a lie but it was the only thing the people were willing to hear. It was the only thing the king was willing to hear. I remember when I was pastoring a church and crying out to God to fill the church and prosper the church and God spoke to me and said “I didn’t bring you here to build this church, I brought you here to shut it down …” That is not what I wanted to hear. Are you willing to actually HEAR what God is doing in your life? Are you so committed to your own way that you will not accept any outcome other than the one you had planned? Looking back I am ceaselessly thankful that God didn’t do what I hoped He would do way back then. My life in infinitely better and blessed and fulfilled.
If the prophets cannot say all is well what are they supposed to say? Verse 18 tells us: “strengthen the things that remain”. All the vessels of the sanctuary have now been taken to Babylon. Jeremiah instructs the prophet by the word of the Lord saying “pray that the vessels that remain will not also be taken to Babylon…” You do understand that you are vessel in the house of the Lord? Pray that you will not be taken to Babylon – or into confusion and captivity. The king of Babylon took all the gold and silver but he left one important vessel. It was the brazen sea where the priests would wash themselves before going into the Holy Place from the Outer Court. What does this represent?
The brazen sea that didn’t go into Babylon represents the word of God. We wash ourselves in the word! The king of Babylon – the world has taken the talent of the church, the music of the church, the learning institutions of the church, the culture of the church and perverted it for its own glory! The one thing however that the world has no use for is the word! That one fact is their downfall but our salvation! We can still wash ourselves in the word of God. We can still give ourselves to the cleansing of the word of God – the one thing that is so marginalized by the culture of Christianity that claims to follow Jesus! What did Jesus say? He said we are clean by the word that He speaks to us. Let us then return to that word and bathe until we are clean and every whit whole. From that point we will be restored, cleansed and renewed in ways that the world cannot contaminate or pollute.
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