BLESSED IS THE ONE WHO TRUSTS IN THE LORD… God’s Word continues to teach us invaluable lessons and reveal His character. In the 4th month of Tammuz, June 23-July 21 on our 2020 calendar, His judgment fell upon a nation that began under His authority. This should also be a somber month for our nation, who takes pride in the phrase "One nation under God."
The watching eye illustrating this post and its timing is no coincidence. The name for the month came from a Babylonian idol made from iron with empty eye sockets filled with lead. The lead was ignited, resembling fireworks like tears falling. The nation celebrated these fabricated tears during this month just inside the gate of God's Holy Temple, essentially flaunting their national god in the Almighty's face.
It is no coincidence that the nation God once called the apple of His eye, now had their eye on another God. How quickly they had forgotten His very first commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." It probably began innocently enough, in a situation where they were exposed daily to a mindset that did not put God first and keep His commandments. Slowly, they began to revere the ways of the world around them, drawing strength through the character of the world and its mechanisms for power and unity, while professing that they were still in a covenant relationship with God Almighty.
“This is what the LORD says: 'Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8.
Jeremiah steadfastly prophesied the Word of God through the reign of five different kings. Even though they had witnessed their nation split into a northern and southern kingdom over the choice of a king, the people chose to listen to the political rhetoric of their national leader. Instead of repenting of their sins and complicity in disobeying the Almighty as a nation, they pointed fingers at everyone else, including Jeremiah. He was attacked by his own brothers, put into stocks by a so-called fellow prophet, sent to prison by the King, and thrown into a well by the religious leaders of Judah.
But God’s statement of blessing upon Jeremiah was all it took. “Attack you they will, overcome you they can’t, for I am with you and will save you,” says the Lord in Jeremiah 1:19.
Later this was made abundantly clear to all of Judah when King Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and ordered Jeremiah freed from prison and treated with the respect of the Babylonian nation.
“So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s rule, on the tenth day of the tenth month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. The army of Babylon set up their camp outside of Jerusalem. Then they built ramps all around the city walls so that they could get over the walls. The city of Jerusalem was surrounded by the army of Babylon until the eleventh year that Zedekiah was king. By the ninth day of the fourth month of that year, the hunger in the city was very bad. There was no food left for the people in the city to eat. On that day the army of Babylon broke into Jerusalem. The soldiers of Jerusalem ran away. They left the city at night…ran away toward the desert.” Jeremiah 52:4-9.
By Tammuz 9, July 1 on our 2020 calendar, Jerusalem had been under siege for two years. The people were starving, and their protectors had abandoned them. King Zedekiah of Judah was captured and forced to watch his young sons executed right in front of him. Then his eyes were torn from their sockets. He lived the rest of his life in chains in a Babylon prison. All the other royal officials of Judah were also executed. 4600 people were taken captive in Judah and Jerusalem.
Six times in the book of Jeremiah the same question is asked: "Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?" (5:19; 9:12; 13:22; 14:19; 16:10; 22:8) “And the answer will always be the same: “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and have worshiped and served other gods." Jeremiah 22:9
God’s judgment was swift and sure. He simply withdrew His hand of protection and let their enemies overtake them.
“1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. 3 The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their ancestors to possess,’ says the LORD.”…11 I am with you and will save you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only in due measure; I will not let you go entirely unpunished...24 The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand this.” Jeremiah 30
God’s plans are made crystal clear in the New Testament in Hebrews 10:15-17, which repeats Jeremiah 31:33-34 “The Holy Spirit also tells us about this. First he says, ‘This is the agreement I will make with my people in the future, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts. I will write my laws in their minds.’ Then he says, ‘I will forget their sins and never again remember the evil they have done.’”
Building on Jeremiah’s prophesy, Hebrew 10 continues in verse 18-39 “And after everything is forgiven, there is no more need for a sacrifice to pay for sins. And so, brothers and sisters, we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place. We can do this without fear because of the blood sacrifice of Jesus. We enter through a new way that Jesus opened for us. It is a living way that leads through the curtain—Christ’s body. And we have a great priest who rules the house of God. Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our hearts have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. So come near to God with a sincere heart, full of confidence because of our faith in Christ. We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what he promised. ”
“…If we decide to continue sinning after we have learned the truth, then there is no other sacrifice that will take away sins. If we continue sinning, all that is left for us is a fearful time of waiting for the judgment and the angry fire that will destroy those who live against God. Whoever refused to obey the Law of Moses was found guilty from the testimony given by two or three witnesses. Such people were not forgiven. They were killed. So think how much more punishment people deserve who show their hate for the Son of God—people who show they have no respect for the blood sacrifice that began the new agreement and once made them holy or who insult the Spirit of God’s grace. We know that God said, “I will punish people for the wrongs they do; I will repay them.” And he also said, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a terrible thing to face punishment from the living God.”
“…So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For in just a very little while, He is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if He shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not those who turn back and are lost. No, we are the people who have faith and are saved.”
BLESSED IS THE ONE WHO TRUSTS IN THE LORD, WHOSE CONFIDENCE IS IN HIM...