Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Life and Death - Jeremiah 21

Jeremiah 21 : 8 "And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the LORD; Behold I set before you the way of life and the way of death."

This verse illustrates why we should always read scripture in its context. We would think of this verse (for the Christian) as a choice between choosing salvation or rejecting salvation. That is not the case for this verse.

v9 "He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine and by the pestilence; but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey."

Jerusalem is surrounded and the judgment of God is being finalized. Under a siege, a city is basically starved out. The enemy knows that if they wait long enough, the people inside will run out of food. Disease will set in and victory will come without a frontal assault.

In the first part of the chapter, the very man who smote Jeremiah (Pashur) was sent by the king to Jeremiah to try to get some help for their situation. It must have pressed on the man's ego to have to go to Jeremiah.

v1 "The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur, the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah, the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying,"

The Bible makes it clear who these men were that went to Jeremiah. It is important to have a witness with credentials.

They did not hear what they wanted to hear.

v4 "Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Behold I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon and against the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city.

v5 "And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath."

After begging Israel to repent of their idol worship and the form of 'obedience' they had, the LORD has had enough of rebellion and it is time for chastisement. I find it interesting that the LORD still introduces himself as the LORD God of Israel. They knew who he was.

v14 "But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, saith the LORD; and I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it."

See the Kings for the story.

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