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Bible Pathways 08/25/2002

August 25

Read Jeremiah 37 -- 40

In Today's Reading:

Jeremiah imprisoned in a dungeon; his counsel rejected; Jerusalem destroyed; Jeremiah set free and ministers in Jerusalem.

Verses for Today:

Thus saith the Lord; Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart. . . . they (shall) . . . burn this city with fire (37:9-10).

During the 10th or 11th year of Zedekiah's reign, the armies of Nebuchadnezzar surrounded Jerusalem, and Zedekiah said to Jeremiah: Enquire, I pray [you], of the Lord for us . . . If so be that the Lord will deal with us according to all His wondrous works (Jeremiah 21:2). But the answer from the Lord was firm: I have set My face against this city (Jerusalem) for evil . . . It shall be given into the hand of the King of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire (21:10). Still, Zedekiah refused to repent of his sins, neither he . . . nor the people of the land (37:2).

During this crisis, Pharaoh's army [came] forth to help [Zedekiah] (37:7) and interrupted Nebuchadnezzar's attack on Jerusalem. When the Chaldeans (Babylonians) that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem (37:5). Facing possible destruction, Zedekiah, foolishly believing that Egypt would protect his kingdom, sent his officials to Egypt to make an alliance.

Despite the prophet's words that the Chaldeans . . . (will)burn this city (37:9-10), Zedekiah and his administrative advisors were convinced that Egypt was more powerful than Babylon and that Judah would regain its independence. When the Chaldean army retreated from Jerusalem, the Israelites believed their alliance with Egypt was successful in spite of the prophet's warning. Yet Zedekiah was uneasy. He secretly removed Jeremiah from prison and asked him . . . Is there any word from the Lord? And Jeremiah said, There is . . . [you shall] be delivered into the hand of the King of Babylon (37:17).

Zedekiah and his officials still would not repent. The strongly-fortified city of Jerusalem held out for nearly a year and a half. During this time, the people suffered the horrors of famine and pestilence. Zedekiah and his counselors illustrate the accuracy of the prophet Jeremiah, who said: O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that [walks] to direct his steps (10:23). When Zedekiah finally realized how deceived he had been and that Jerusalem would indeed be defeated, he attempted to escape the city at night. He was captured near Jericho where Joshua had victoriously begun the conquest of the Promised Land (39:5).

Like Zedekiah, some Christians allow friends or self-will, rather than the Lord, to influence their decisions. They only read select sections of Scripture. But would God include anything in His Guidebook for life that was unimportant? We cannot live something we do not know. This blinded and imprisoned king (39:7) is an example of the eventual consequences of those who stubbornly refuse to repent of their sins and seek the Lord's will. The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Christ Portrayed:

By Jeremiah, who stood as a faithful witness to the revealed will of God (Jeremiah 38:2-9). Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put Him to death ( Matthew 26:59).

Word Studies:

37:16 cabins = cells; 38:4 weakeneth the hands of = discourages; 38:12 cast clouts = worn-out clothes; 38:19 mock me = abuse me; 39:18 for a prey = as a prize; 40:4 forbear = do what you prefer.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Rep. Nathan Deal (GA) · Pray for the missionary ministries · Country: Solomon Islands (455,000) in the southwestern Pacific · Major languages: 120 indigenous languages · Religious freedom · 66% Protestant; 17% Roman Catholic; 4% spirit worship, ancestor worship, and sorcery · Prayer Suggestion: Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25).

Optional Reading: 3 John 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:13

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