A few things from our reading Jeremiah today which grabbed my attention:
1. If you find yourself reading the chapters and things seem like they are out of order… they are. Jeremiah is not written chronologically. For instance Chapter 36 is 605 B.C., Chapter 37 is 597 B.C., and Chapter 39 verse One is 587 B.C. and verse Two is 586 B.C.. Here is something that helped me: when we were reading through 2 Kings I kept one of those charts I sent out to you all by my Bible. When I reached a new king I would refer to the chart and wrote in my Bible the dates of his reign. So when I get to places in the Prophets where it may say, “In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah,…” I looked back in 2 Kings and saw that Zedekiah reigned from 597-586 B.C.. Do a little math and boom, you have a date. I would write those dates in next to the chapters in Jeremiah. This helped me mucho.
2. This section is so full of drama. I hope that you didn’t just plow through it, because there is so much happening. Emotions, treachery, assassinations, treason, rescue, hope, restoration- and that is just a short list.
3. The Recabites of chapter 35 are some cool folks. They are kind of like Nazarites, in that they have a familial vow to which they adhere. No building houses, drinking wine, or having anything to do with vineyards, crops, or fields. What is so fascinating about these folks is how the LORD speaks to the men of Judah in comparison to the Recabites. The Recabites were faithful to their forefather Jonadab son of Recab’s command. But the Israelites, don’t keep their word.
4. Can you just see a president sitting in front of a fireplace, someone is reading the Bible to him, and every couple of pages he takes out a pair of scissors and cuts the pages out of the Bible and throws the pages into the fire? What would we think of him? In our political climate, even though it may not be literal it certainly is figurative. I digress. In chapter 36, Josiah’s son, Jehoiakim is sitting in his palace with Jehudi reading the scroll. Without fear, hesitation, or regard for Yahweh, the scroll is burned several inches at a time. TRAGIC!!
5. Love the drama of chapter 37- Zedekiah has Jeremiah in a dungeon. Zedekiah hates Jeremiah. Zedekiah is going to do his own thing. Zedekiah has ignored Yahweh. Zedekiah has broken his vassalship with Nebuchadnezzar. He is an arrogant, wicked king. V. 17, you can almost see him leaning in to Jeremiah whispering, “Is there any word from the LORD?” He doesn’t care. Why this question? Maybe he is taunting Jeremiah. Instead, you can just see Jeremiah leaning in whispering, “It hasn’t changed King, you are doomed, and so is this city.”
6. Jeremiah is lowered into a mud pit to die 38:6. You just can’t make this stuff up. It is just too wild.
7. Chapter 39 from verse 1 to verse 2 is two years! The Babylonian army has surrounded Jerusalem. Building up siege ramps, assembling battering rams, what a scene. Two years, can you imagine that!
8. I love how Father protects those who speak on His behalf. 39:12- Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon gives order to Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard: “look after Jeremiah, don’t harm him, and give him what he wants.” That is so cool. In the end, Jeremiah is taken care of. Regardless of how difficult it was for him to complete his task, there was a vanguard.
9. Does Father miss a detail? Check out 41:17. The insertion of a little itty bitty town, Bethlehem. It is a few centuries later that a small family escapes the grip of King Herod and flees to Egypt from the same town. Circumstance? I think not.