July 20, 2021
"At Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered Zedekiah’s sons before his eyes, and he also slaughtered all Judah’s nobles. Then he blinded Zedekiah..."
“At Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered Zedekiah’s sons before his eyes, and he also slaughtered all Judah’s nobles. Then he blinded Zedekiah and put him in bronze chains to take him to Babylon. The Chaldeans next burned down the king’s palace and the people’s houses and tore down the walls of Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards deported to Babylon the rest of the people – those who had remained in the city and those deserters who had defected to him along with the rest of the people who had remained. However, Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards, left in the land of Judah some of the poor people who owned nothing, and he gave them vineyards and fields at that time.” Jeremiah 39:6-10
If we simply concentrate on God’s judgment of the unfaithful, we only get half of the story. What of His deliverance of the faithful? After all, that is where our hope lies. Nebuchadnezzar’s treatment of the poor reminds us of Jesus’ words:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit; because the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.” Matthew 5:3
“Speaking through Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, gave orders concerning Jeremiah, saying: ‘Take him and look after him; do for him whatever he says.’ Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, Nebushazban the Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer the Rab-mag, and all the captains of the king of Babylon had Jeremiah brought from the guard’s courtyard and turned him over to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, to take him home. So, he settled among his own people.” Jeremiah 39:11-14
Likewise, Jesus’ words remind us of Jeremiah’s deliverance:
“Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, because they shall inherit the land. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:4-7
“Now the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah when he was confined in the guard’s courtyard: ‘God and tell Ebed-melech the Cushite (Ethiopian): This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel says: ‘I am about to fulfill My words for harm and not good against this city. They will take place before your eyes on that day. But I will rescue you on that day’ – this is the Lord’s declaration – ‘and you will not be handed over to the men you fear. Indeed, I will certainly deliver you so that you do not fall by the sword. Because you have trusted Me, you will keep your life like the spoils of war.’ This is the Lord’s declaration.” Jeremiah 39:15-18
And what of the Ethiopian who pulled Jeremiah from the muddy cistern?
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:7-9 (See also: the rest of Matthew 5)