God’s Word Stands.
“Yes, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about the precious things still in the Temple and in the palace of Judah’s king: ‘They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for them,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again.’” – Jeremiah 27:21-22 NLT
No one liked Jeremiah’s message and who could blame them. Nobody likes to hear a steady flow of bad news and warnings of eminent destruction. So at one point they decide to put Jeremiah on trial. Their goal is to kill the messenger, and this would not have been the first time. An unknown prophet named Uriah was also delivering the same message as Jeremiah during the reign of Jehoiakim. He predicted the same terrible disaster against the city and the people as Jeremiah did, and as a result, Jehoiakim sent men to assassinate him. But Uriah found out about the plan and escaped to Egypt. King Jehoiakim sent men to capture him and when they returned to Judah with him, the king had him killed. So Jeremiah knew that his trial could end in his own death. But the wise men of the city persuaded the people to spare Jeremiah. They had killed Uriah, but it had not altered God’s plan at all. Killing Jeremiah would not change anything either. Killing the messenger would not change the message.
Then a number of years later, word had gotten back to Judah that King Nebuchadnezzar was having some difficulties back in Babylon. At this point, the Babylonians had already invaded Judah and taken some of the people captive back to Babylon. They had spared Jerusalem, but the threat of their return was always there. Rumors had arrived in Judah that Babylon was being threatened with invasion by another country. The nations surrounding Judah had sent diplomats to King Zedekiah, who was reigning as a puppet king under the control of Babylon, to persuade him to join an alliance of nations against Babylon. There was a feeling of hope that they could stand up against the Babylonians if they joined forces. But God sent them word that His plan for the destruction of Jerusalem was in no way altered by rumors of the weakening of Babylonian power or the plans of nations to form alliances. What He had predicted was still going to take place. The only choice the people had was to submit to the yoke of Babylonian captivity or die. And as a visual reminder of this fact, God had Jeremiah construct a yoke, much like oxen would wear to plow the fields, and physically wear it as an object lesson for the people. He was to remind the kings of the nations who were plotting revolt against Babylon that they would not be able to stand up against King Nebuchadnezzar. Their best bet would be to submit to the yoke of slavery God was bringing on them. God gave them a very clear message: “With my great strength and powerful arm I made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose. Now I will give your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control” (Jeremiah 27:5-6 NLT). They could not alter God’s plan. Jeremiah told the same thing to King Zedekiah of Judah. “If you want to live, submit to the yoke of the king of Babylon and his people” (Jeremiah 27:12 NLT). He told the priest and the people, “Surrender to the king of Babylon, and you will live” (Jeremiah 27:17 NLT). King Jehoiachin had already been taken captive into Babylon years earlier. But the people took comfort in the fact that the Temple still stood. They falsely believed that everything was going to be okay. They had convinced themselves that God would not allow His Temple to be destroyed. But God let them know that it would only a matter of time before Nebuchadnezzar returned and destroyed the Temple, the city, and everyone who refused to surrender to His demands.
God’s word was going to take place just as He had spoken it. Nothing was going to alter it. Destruction could not be avoided or averted. But there was as a second part of God’s word that was also going to be fulfilled. There was good news to accompany all the bad news. Yes, the Babylonians would be returning and when they did, they would ransack the Temple and take everything in it back with them to Babylon. But chapter 27 ends with a promise from God that reminds the people, “Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again” (Jeremiah 27:22b NLT). The day was coming when God would restore the people back to the land and the treasures back to the Temple. You can read about it in Ezra 1:7-11. God’s word was unstoppable and reliable. He was going to do what He said He was going to do. And we can rest in the knowledge that God is still going to do what He has said He is going to do. His Son IS going to return one day. He is going to judge all mankind one day. He is going to establish His kingdom on earth one day. He is going to send His Son to return for His church one day. God is going to do what He has said He is going to do. His Word stands.
Father, thank You that Your word is trustworthy and true. It can’t be altered, changed, or stopped. Your promises and Your plan are unstoppable. May I find hope and comfort in that fact, even in the midst of all the uncertainty that seems to fill this life. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men