Sunday, September 9, 2012

Jeremiah 52 - The Hope and Lesson from Jeremiah

LINK: Jeremiah 52

BACKGROUND

This chapter contains more detailed information about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple already recorded in Jeremiah 39 and nearly identical to 2 Kings 24:8-25:21 so we will not go into any background here. This chapter was probably put at the end of the book to show that Jeremiah's prophecies of judgment were fulfilled and his words about Judah's release from Exile was about to be fulfilled. It is believed this was added to encourage the remnant still in captivity.

The important addition to this chapter is that King Jehoiachin was released from prison in Babylon on March 21, 560 BC (Jeremiah 52:31) signifying that Jeremiah's prophecies of future blessing for the exiles were beginning to come true. In the favor shown on this covenant-breaking king, there was hope for future restoration by a covenant-keeping God!

No doubt these words of hope echoed in the ears of two young deportees named Daniel and Ezekiel whom God would use to continue His message to the exiles. Stay tuned for them later in September and October!

REFLECTION

Jeremiah's life inspires and encourages me to endure in a life of loving truth before God and man regardless of how "popular" that truth may be with others.

I thought this was a very beautiful summary of Jeremiah's life:
Endurance is not a common quality. Many people lack the long-term commitment, caring, and willingness that are vital to sticking with a task against all odds. But Jeremiah was a prophet who endured.

Jeremiah's call by God teaches how intimately God knows us. He valued us before anyone else knew we would exist. He cared for us while we were in our mother's womb. He planned our lives while our bodies were still being formed. He values us more highly than we value ourselves.

Jeremiah had to depend on God's love as he developed endurance. His audiences were usually antagonistic or apathetic to his messages. He was ignored; his life was often threatened. He saw both the excitement of a spiritual awakening and the sorrow of a national return to idolatry. With the exception of the good King Josiah, Jeremiah watched king after king ignore his warnings and lead the people away from God. He saw fellow prophets murdered. He himself was severely persecuted. Finally, he watched Judah's defeat at the hands of the Babylonians.

Jeremiah responded to all this with God's message and human tears. He felt firsthand God's love for his people and the people's rejection of that love. But even when he was angry with God and tempted to give up, Jeremiah knew he had to keep going. God had called him to endure. He expressed intense feelings, but he also saw beyond the feelings to the God who was soon to execute justice, but who afterward would administer mercy.

It may be easy for us to identify with Jeremiah's frustrations and discouragement, but we need to realize that his prophet's life is also an encouragement to faithfulness.

(The Life Application Bible, p. 1287)

APPLICATION

What have you learned from your study of Jeremiah? Take some time to reflect upon this and journal about it. I highlighted some important points in the character analysis.

PRAYER

Lord, we know that the Scriptures were not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives. Lord, teach us lessons for our own lives through the life of Jeremiah. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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