Today: [Jeremiah 21] When Enough is Enough. In this chapter, God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah that He will set Himself to destroy the city of Jerusalem. Even further the Father promises to pour out His fury on the line of David and king Zedekiah himself. Is this just? In spite of the problems in the nation of Judah why is God moving against the city of Jerusalem to destroy it? Could this happen to your city or to you yourself? Or is this just “Old Testament” and not applicable in our day?
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[Jer 21:1-14 KJV] 1 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying, 2 Enquire, I pray thee, of the LORD for us; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon maketh war against us; if so be that the LORD will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us. 3 Then said Jeremiah unto them, Thus shall ye say to Zedekiah: 4 Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that [are] in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon, and [against] the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city. 5 And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath. 6 And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they shall die of a great pestilence. 7 And afterward, saith the LORD, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those that seek their life: and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy. 8 And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death. 9 He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey. 10 For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good, saith the LORD: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. 11 And touching the house of the king of Judah, [say], Hear ye the word of the LORD; 12 O house of David, thus saith the LORD; Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver [him that is] spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my fury go out like fire, and burn that none can quench [it], because of the evil of your doings. 13 Behold, I [am] against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, [and] rock of the plain, saith the LORD; which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations? 14 But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, saith the LORD: and I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it.
In this chapter, Jeremiah gives a word to a delegation sent from Zedekiah the king. Now in seeking a word from God Zedekiah is testing Jeremiah after he has been beaten and tortured, then released. Jeremiah’s words are very controversial and Zedekiah is seeking to see the character of his prophesies to become more positive than negative about the fate of the nation. What Jeremiah says to the king is not what he wanted to hear. The Babylonians will not be defeated. In fact the Lord speaks through Jeremiah saying that God Himself will fight against the city and the people to defeat them until the Babylonian army is assembled within the walls of the city itself.
Have you ever heard a word from God not to your liking? I remember asking the Father to move in a certain area of my life and He told me I couldn’t have what I was asking for – BUT that He would take care of the problem another way. I wasn’t asking to rob a bank or anything like that but it wasn’t something I wanted to hear. Yet, true to His promise the problem was taken care of, and I was humbled, being reminded that HE is God and I am not. Even at that – His love was evident in My situation.
The prophet Jeremiah gives the pronouncement against Zedekiah and then adds that the choice was the king’s to either choose life or death. To choose life they could go out and surrender to the Babylonians. If they remain in the city, they are told they will die by the sword. This is what presumption looks like. The fact of the matter is that the people even still have not ceased from their idolatrous practices. The temple is still desecrated with images of Baal and Ashteroth. Yet the people are expecting God to give them a word of peace. They are asking Jeremiah to prophesy smooth things at the expense of his life. The man can do nothing other than give the word that God laid on his heart.
Sometimes you have to capitulate to the situation. If you take matters into your own hands, things only become worse. You cannot always have your way, even when you have a convincing argument to why it should be God’s will to do according to your wishes. Always remember the words of James:
[Jas 4:6 KJV] 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
That word resist means that God “sets His forces in array against” the proud. Do you realize that you are still capable of moving in pride even though you are a born again person? So then, even a born again person can put himself in a position to be opposed by God because of wrong thinking, wrong attitudes or selfish demands. The key is to humble yourself. Humility is a great weapon of spiritual warfare. The enemy doesn’t understand humility and cannot defeat you when you humble yourself. He cannot counterfeit humility because He doesn’t have any. Your enemies will not humble themselves – therefore if you will – deliverance and victory are then still possible.
In verse 10 the Father says that He has set His face against the city of Jerusalem for evil. What is the posture of God’s face toward your city? We don’t think in these terms because in the Western world we see religious and spiritual matters a concern for the individual. Jesus however spoke of God’s judgments toward not just individuals but of cities themselves. What is God’s disposition toward your city? Have you ever thought to ask? Because of disinterest in this matter in the ancient city of Jerusalem it will now be destroyed.
The Father goes on to address the unspoken question: what about the line of the kings of David? Did not God promise a king would sit on the throne of David forever? That promise was fulfilled in Jesus but that didn’t mean there would not be an interruption. Yet even at this late hour there was a thin hope offered. The king is instructed to deliver those prisoners that he had spoiled and oppressed. Apparently, there were captives being held by the king for purposes of extortion and injustice. The king however would not hear. For whatever reason the king was oppressing and extorting certain ones in his dungeons, he wasn’t about to listen to Jeremiah. He didn’t think that his personal business should be any concern to Jeremiah.
What do we learn from this? Jeremiah’s words to the king in effect, became very personal, too personal. The king no dealt felt this was no concern of Jeremiah’s. What would you do if a prophet or a leader insinuated themselves into some very personal issue in your life? Would you be offended? Or would you pause just long enough to consider whether or not you should submit to the counsel of the Lord for your own benefit? We tend to compartmentalize our lives in order to insulate ourselves from what we consider meddling.
Because of this attitude in the king of Judah the Father says that they will receive the fruit of their doings. Notice the connotation. What are the people of the city about to endure? Is God picking on them because He is bigger than they are? No, what is happening is that God is simply going to allow the fruits of the behavior that they have sown to come to harvest in their lives. He is withdrawing his protection and allowing events to take their course? Why? Because for over 100 years and even longer – from Solomon’s time idolatry and paganism has dominated the city and the Father has said “enough will be enough”. You have to ask yourself are there things installed in your life that are contrary to God’s character? If we don’t ask then we are making the error that Zedekiah made. What happens if God looks down on that situation you tolerate or allow in your business, or in your children or marriage and says “enough is enough”. These are things we must be prepared to pray out and repent concerning – before we are given over to the fruit of our actions that may not be pleasing to God.
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