Today’s Tasting: Jeremiah 51–52: Jeremiah describes, in great detail, the utter destruction of Babylon. God pronounces judgment on Babylon because of their sins against Israel. In chapter 52, we learn that during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign he destroyed the city of Jerusalem following an eighteen-month siege. His army general tore down the temple and took away everything of value in it. Judah is taken into captivity, according to Jeremiah’s account, in three separate raids during the time of Nebuchadnezzar.
Today’s Nourishment: Jeremiah the prophet was given the difficult task of foretelling the destruction of the nations that had made themselves enemies of God by troubling His chosen people. These prophecies are hard to read because in our modern era we’re more comfortable with a picture of God as a loving Father, and less comfortable with His righteous wrath. We like to think of His power working on our behalf, but shudder at the idea of that same power unleashed in our world.
Yet, throughout Jeremiah 51 and 52 we see both of these aspects of Almighty God coexisting. Yes, Israel is punished for their rebellion against God when He withdraws His protection and allows them to be taken into captivity and the temple destroyed, symbolizing that His presence was no longer with them. Yet, He also assures them that He has not forgotten about them, “For neither Israel nor Judah has been forsaken by His God, the Lord of hosts, although their land is full of guilt before the Holy One of Israel” (Jeremiah 51:5).
We are no less sinful today than the people in Jeremiah’s day. My heart quakes when I think of what I would do if God withdrew His presence from me. But thank God for Jesus! The good news of the gospel is that Jesus has taken the wrath of God on Himself and paid in full for my sin and yours. Instead of withdrawing from us, He has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, to instruct and guide us in the ways that are pleasing to Him.
As I write, my prayer is that you know for certain that Jesus is your Savior! If you don’t I beg you to find a pastor or a Christian friend and ask how you can have that certainty. Share your experience with us so we can welcome you into the family of believers!
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