As we end the book of Jeremiah, chapter 51 gives us the closing words on Babylon’s judgment – words he began in chapter 50:1. These two chapters were no doubt written on a scroll and sent with Seraiah who traveled to Babylon with King Zedekiah in 593 B.C.. Jeremiah commanded Seraiah to read these words of condemnation to Babylon in their own land (Jeremiah 51:61). I wonder if he read them.
Bible Knowledge Commentary, “By noting that Seraiah was a son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah Jeremiah indicated that Seraiah was the brother of Baruch, his scribe (Jeremiah 32:12). Seraiah went to Babylon with Zedekiah…in the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. Why did Zedekiah make a trip to Babylon in 594–593 B.C.? William Shea offers strong evidence to suggest that Nebuchadnezzar summoned all his vassal kings to Babylon in 594 B.C. to insure their loyalty after an attempted revolt in Babylon a little less than a year earlier. Shea believes that this gathering was recorded in Daniel 3.”
Zedekiah traveled to Babylon in an act of loyalty, but Zedekiah was NOT loyal to the LORD or to the king. Zedekiah rebelled against both, “He did evil in the sight of the LORD,” (Jeremiah 52:12) therefore the time came when God finally cast them out of the land (Jeremiah 52:3).
Close to five years after their superficial trip to Babylon, the King of Babylon came with his army and surrounded Jerusalem for their rebellion. They would let no one in, and no one out. The Jews would not have access to their farmlands, water supplies, or be able to trade with other nations. For a year and a half they starved the city, until the day came when the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem, slaughtered the people, and carried thousands away into captivity, including King Zedekiah who lost his eyes, but not before he witnessed the slaying of his sons. It breaks our heart to see the way Jerusalem was crushed, the punishment of the people and the burning of the Temple. Why?
Warren Wiersbe explain, “God would rather destroy His city and His house than permit His people to sin successfully. If they will not glorify Him in obedience, they must honor Him in judgment.”
Jeremiah goes on to describe some of the details of the plunder carried away, especially the bronze. we read in:
Jeremiah 52:20 (NKJV) “…the bronze of all these articles was beyond measure.”
This brings up something interesting. Do you know what bronze symbolizes? Judgment. Not only do we see the judgment of the Jews and even of the world, in the book of Jeremiah, we must also consider the judgment of Calvary. Jesus was the bronze serpent lifted up on the pole (cross – Numbers 21:9; John 3:14-15) – Jesus bore our sins, and suffered the judgment we deserved, a judgment that is “beyond measure.” The same truth is emphasized when Solomon first constructed the Temple:
1 Kings 7:47 (NKJV) “And Solomon did not weigh all the articles, because there were so many; the weight of the bronze was not determined.”
Every time I read this truth, I pause to ponder the way the Son, carried our sins, and suffered our sentence…to save us.
God’s people are eternally saved, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be temporarily disciplined:
Jeremiah 52:27b (NKJV) “Thus Judah was carried away captive from its own land.”
Warren Wiersbe, “Jeremiah’s prophecy opens with God saying, ‘I am ready to perform My word’ (1:12); and it closes with evidence that God did what He said He would do. This chapter parallels 2 Kings 24–25 and also Jeremiah 39; and it sets the stage for your reading of Lamentations.”
But then…an upswing. It’s not random that the book of Jeremiah ends with the grace shown to King Jehoiachin. He symbolizes the grace God would show the Jews when they hit that 70th year, the favor they would have in time and eternity to eat at the King’s table. It’s an encouragement to us all.
Warren Wiersbe, “The people were deported to remain in captivity for seventy years (25:1–14). The words of Jeremiah were precious to them during those difficult years, just as God’s Word should be precious to His people ‘in exile’ in this world today.”
Paul continues to encourage Titus to teach the people properly.
Submission to the government and obedience to the laws of the land is clearly taught in the Scriptures, unless the authorities command us to disobey the Word of God (Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1-7; Acts 5:29).
What an awesome command in Titus 3:2, SPEAK EVIL OF NO ONE! Every once in a while I’ll attend a funeral and hear a testimony of the person who passed and they’ll say, “…they never spoke evil of anyone.” There’s something wonderful about that type of testimony. The context is interesting because Paul seems to be asking Christians not to speak evil of non-Christians, to be gentle and humble with them as a witness to them, because we were once in their place – powerless against temptation, without Christ, and dead in our sins.
But then…Jesus came, God’s kindness toward us appeared, love incarnate, salvation for our souls, not by our works of righteousness, but His work of redemption there on the cross – HE SAVED US. He washed us – we we’re born again (regenerated), we now have the Holy Spirit – we have God’s gracious justification, and then to top it off, we are also joint heirs with Christ! Wow!
Paul commanded Titus to constantly affirm these things to the people. If we believe we should also behave. We’re not saved by works, but true faith always “works.”
Titus was to avoid vain arguments. You’ve probably noticed in life, that there are some people who are just plain divisive, they’re not truly interested in the truth, they’re just drawn to drama. Titus was to avoid and reject such people.
Paul was sending Artemas or Tychicus to Crete, this would allow Titus to spend the winter with him (Paul) in Nicopolis. He encouraged Titus to help Zenas and Apollos financially, to support them fully in their journey and ministry.
He closes with greetings of grace…something we always need, and we’re always grateful for!
This Psalm is specifically called “A Psalm of Thanksgiving.”
How do we show our gratitude to God? This Psalm describes God’s people going to the House of the Lord with a heart of thanksgiving.
Make a joyful shout to God (do we ever do that?).
Serve – and do so with gladness (do we do that?).
When it’s time for worship, it’s not a performance from the stage, we come before God with singing (let your heart and voice be an instrument of praise, even weapons of war).
Enter into those gates/doors/driveways with thanksgiving (be grateful to be there).
And make sure to remind yourself that the LORD is God. He is the one who made us, and is even making us into His image. He also takes care of us, leading us as the Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd.
Psalm 100:3 (NKJV) “Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
Psalm 100:5 gives more huge reasons to raise praise – God is good, His mercy never ends, and His truth (Word) is forever and ever.
A brief Psalm that packs a big punch wouldn’t you say?
Proverbs 26:18-19 (NKJV) “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, 19 Is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, ‘I was only joking!’”
It’s not funny, it’s fatal.
This Proverb can be applied when someone puts others down. We say it jokingly, but we half-mean what we say. Can’t we see how mean that is? It’s like throwing sharp flaming arrows into their hearts.
It’s not funny it’s fatal, it’s not just hurtful, it harmful. How many people are walking around our world like zombies (dead men walking) because they were put down all their lives?
Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV) “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.