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22nd June

Jeremiah 26-29; Psalm 18

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
22nd June

Jeremiah 26-29; Psalm 18

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in Jeremiah we’ve started the book, looking at Jeremiah’s calling and accusation against Judah. The book of Jeremiah is a collection of messages and poems by the prophet Jeremiah, who was a prophet to Judah immediately before their exile. We read as God called Jeremiah to be his mouth pieces to Judah to weed out corruption and idolatry in Judah. The people would not listen to him, but his teachings would serve as a foundation for the people after they’d been exiled.

Jeremiah then started off focus on the people’s relationship with God. God had been the one who led them out of Egypt, but they quickly forgot that. The Israelites instead chose to worship other gods, essentially committing adultery against God. The same thing happened when the nation split into the two kingdoms; Israel in the north and Judah in the south. God pointed out that Deuteronomy made it clear if a man divorces his wife and she goes off with another man, she can’t then return to her first husband. In the same way, God couldn't take Israel back after all they had done.

We read as Jeremiah tried to lead the people to repentance, but they would not listen. He grieved the destruction he knew was coming to Judah, likening it to decreation. Returning the land to it state before God created it. Again, Jeremiah called the people to repent, but God tells Jeremiah not to pray for them. Their opportunity to change has gone. The era of wise men is gone. It's time for the women who mourn to lead.

We saw the first few cracks for Jeremiah. He was being persecuted and sometimes it looked like wicked people are flourishing. God encouraged Jeremiah that punishment was coming. We read as Jeremiah wrestled with his job. He tried to intercede for the people again, but God told him not to. Instead, Jeremiah has to settle with being hated and mocked by the people. Then we read about Jeremiah's interactions with specific people. There was Pashhur who threw Jeremiah in stocks, and then messages for the last couple kings of Judah; Shallum (Jehoahaz) and Coniah (Jehoiachin).

As Babylon came and started taking some people into exile, God warned them that they would be in exile for seventy years. Then he would punish Babylon for its wickedness along with the other nations.

Jeremiah 26-29

At the start of Jehoiakim's reign (609–597 BC), God tells Jeremiah to stand in the temple and declare its destruction if the people do not repent. It was during Jehoiakim's reign that Babylon started ruling over Judah and oppressing it (2 Kings 23:36-24:7).

So Jeremiah goes to the temple and preaches its destruction because of the people's wickedness. Many of the priests and other prophets hear Jeremiah and threaten to kill him for what he is saying. This draws the attention of some of the king's officials, so they come down to the temple to find out what is going on. After hearing what Jeremiah had been saying, they declare that Jeremiah is innocent.

At this, the people begin to backtrack. They think back to the time of king Hezekiah when the prophet Micah came and preached a similar message of repentance or destruction, which Hezekiah listened to and the people were saved. So they decided not to kill Jeremiah. Unfortunately, at the same time, there was a prophet of God called Uriah that was preaching a similar message and he was chased away to Egypt and killed.

Moving forward a little, we're now in the reign of Zedekiah (597-586 BC). Jehoiakim has been killed by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and his son Jehoiachin, who was king for just three months, was taken into exile along with all the ruling class and skilled craftsmen of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar then established Zedekiah, Jehoiakim's brother, as king.

God tells Jeremiah to put a yoke, a wooden beam used to guide oxen, around his neck and declare that in the same way, Babylon has put a yoke around the neck of Judah. Because of this, Judah should serve Babylon humbly or face further destruction. God then challenges the false prophets that are going around, saying God will free the people from service to Babylon. Jeremiah tells Zedekiah to not listen to these prophets as God has put Judah under Babylon for a reason. If Judah tries to rebel, then Babylon will surely come and destroy them.

Jeremiah points to all the things that Nebuchadnezzar didn't take with him when he came before. If Zedekiah rebels, then Nebuchadnezzar will take these too and they will remain in Babylon until God rescues his people.

One of the false prophets, Hananiah, hears this and decides to use this visual prophecy for his own good. He comes up and breaks the yoke around Jeremiah's neck, and declares that just as he has broken this yoke, God will break the yoke of Babylon that is over Judah.

Rather than disagree with Hananiah, Jeremiah chooses to pray that Hananiah is right. But he warns Hananiah that all of God's prophets of the past of prophesied destruction. We will know who is right when the time comes. Hananiah then prophesies the end of Babylon again and Jeremiah leaves.

Later on God sends Jeremiah back to Hananiah to tell him that just as he broke the wooden yoke around Jeremiah's neck, he will make the yoke of Babylon around Judah's neck like iron. Unbreakable. Because Hananiah has set himself up against God, God will surely kill him. And so a few months later, Hananiah dies.

Next comes a letter that Jeremiah wrote to those who had already been taken into exile. He encourages them to build lives for themselves there in Babylon. They are to build houses and gardens to produce food to live off. They are to marry and have children. This is their life now, so they should make the most of it. What they shouldn't do is try to rebel against Babylon.

Instead, they should seek to make Babylon a better place. Seek the welfare of Babylon. Pray for the city and its people. He warns them not to listen to the false prophets that were likely telling him to rebel and fight back. The people will be there for seventy years, so they might as well make themselves comfortable and be a force for good in Babylon.

Then comes. perhaps, the most famous verse in Jeremiah. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11). In the midst of their exile, oppressed by a foreign people, God's heart is for his people. Even though times will be difficult, he wants to see them prosper. In pursuing good, the people will show God that they have turned from their wicked ways and back to him. Therefore, when the time comes, he will rescue them and restore them to their land.

Meanwhile, those who are still in Judah, who have become proud that they are safe and haven't turned from their wicked ways God will destroy. God then addresses some of the false prophets that have popped up in Babylon. He names Ahab and Zedekiah (not king Zedekiah) as false prophets who he will hand over to the Babylonian authorities. In the same way, Shemaiah had been sending letters to the exiles, like Jeremiah, but speaking lies of his own making. God will judge him to for his lies and wickedness.

Psalm 18

Attributed to king David, it is believed that this psalm was written by David when God had delivered him from Saul’s hand (2 Samuel 22). It falls into the category of royal psalm. Royal psalms are psalms that are focused on either God as king or on a human king.

Psalm 18:1-3 - Introductory praise

Psalm 18:4-6 - The psalmist calls out to God

Psalm 18:7-15 - God’s awesome presence comes down

Psalm 18:16-19- God protects the psalmist and defeats his enemies

Psalm 18:20-36 - God is good and generous to the psalmist

Psalm 18:37-48 - God lifts the psalmist above his enemies to a position of authority

Psalm 18:49-50 - Praise to God

The psalmist starts off with praise. He recalls of the time that it seemed he was close to death and he cried out to God. God heard and came down to intervene.

The psalmist then uses very visceral language to demonstrate the awesomeness of God’s presence. The earth and mountains shake. His anger is like a fierce fire, billowing smoke. He rode on the clouds, a common description of God (see Deuteronomy 33:26; Psalm 68:32-33; Psalm 104:1-4; Isaiah 19:1). His voice was like thunder.

This great and mighty God protects the psalmist and defeats his enemies. God then generously blesses the psalmist, revealing himself to them. He is loving and true. He strengthens their hands and feet, training them to be good at war.

All this allows the psalmist to defeat their enemies themselves. Through all this, God exalts the psalmist as king, head over the nation. If the psalmist was David, we can see that he gives God the glory for all the successes he had in life.

And so the psalm ends, giving praise to God for his faithfulness and goodness. It’s God and his strength that established kings.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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