August 29

 

Read Jeremiah 51

 

In Today's Reading:

 

Judgment of Babylon; fall of Jerusalem; captivity of Judah

 

The spectacular empire of the Chaldeans surpassed anything the world had ever known. Its capital Babylon appeared invincible, with walls over 300 feet high and wide enough for chariots to ride two abreast. The empire was enjoying absolute rule over all the nations when Jeremiah declared that Babylon is suddenly fallen. . . . your end is come. . . . Babylon shall become heaps (ruins) . . . without an inhabitant (Jeremiah 51:8-62).

 

As foretold by the prophet, the Babylonian capital "suddenly fell." This was on the night that Belshazzar the king made a great feast. . . . In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote . . . upon . . . the wall of the king's palace. . . . God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it (Daniel 5:1,5,26).

 

After the fall of Babylon, Cyrus, the conquering king of the Persian Empire, issued a decree urging the Jews to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Most of the older generation that had been taken captive to Babylonia had died. Under the Persian rule of Cyrus, the new generation began to prosper and, consequently, only a small number felt a desire to leave.

 

The unwillingness of the majority of the Jews to forsake the luxuries under the Persians for the poverty and hardships they would experience in returning to Jerusalem has a modern-day parallel. How accurately this describes some who love the pleasures of the world and will not respond to the invitation of Christ, who said: If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me (Luke 9:23).

 

Many who consent to be "followers" of Christ drop out when things become difficult. Jesus illustrated this in His parable concerning the seed sown in stony places and among thorns. He likened such people to those who, when tribulation or persecution arises because of the Word, by and by he is offended, and of others the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, chokes the Word (Matthew 13:21-22). Can anyone think it possible for a person to take up his cross daily (Luke 9:23) and yet devote his time, tithes, and talents to personal pleasures on the Lord's Day?

 

Jesus promised: There is no man that has left house, or brethren . . . or lands, for My sake, and the Gospel's, But he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time . . . with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life (Mark 10:29-30).

 

Christ Revealed:

 

As the Creator of the universe (Jeremiah 51:15). For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him (Colossians 1:16).

 

Word Study:

 

51:2 fanners = strangers, destroyers; fan = scatter, disperse; 51:11 device = plan, purpose; 51:17 brutish = foolish; every founder = every metal caster; by the graven image = by the idol he has made; 51:25 mountain = power; 51:31 at one end = from end to end; 51:42 The sea = the flood waters of the Euphrates; 52:31 lifted up the head = showed favor to.

 

Prayer Needs:

 

Pray for Staff: Clarence Rathbone · Government Officials: Sen. John McCain (AZ) and Rep. David Reichert (WA) · Country: Malaysia (21 million) in Southeast Asia · Major languages: Malay and English · All Christian witness to Muslims is illegal · 49% Muslim; 39% Hindu, Buddhist, and Chinese religions; 4% Roman Catholic; 4% animism, magic, and some headhunting; 3% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray that your life will be a good testimony to others, even when faced with opposition (I Peter 2:12).

 

Optional Reading: Revelation 3

 

Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Thessalonians 2:12