Pentecost 24 – Wednesday Devotion

Readings : Jeremiah 37:1-21, Revelation 17:1-18 and Matthew 27:33-56

Jeremiah 37:17-19  King Zedekiah sent for him and received him. The king questioned him secretly in his house and said, “Is there any word from the Lord?” Jeremiah said, “There is.” Then he said, “You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.” Jeremiah also said to King Zedekiah, “What wrong have I done to you or your servants or this people, that you have put me in prison? Where are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you and against this land’?

 

“Heaven is Our Home”

None of us who were alive on that day will soon forget September 11, 2001. It is probably etched in our minds exactly what we were doing the moment we received the news of the attack. Never before had an attack such as this taken place on our native soil. Yes, we were a nation under attack.

Imagine living in Old Testament times in the Promised Land. Guided by God, the Israelites had taken the land promised them by God through Abraham. God warned them that if they were not faithful to Him foreign lands would attack and take them captive. He also told them to put to death everyone who lived in that land.  Then they would not be led to follow the false gods of the land.

Now, once again, they were under attack. King Zedekiah thought he had it figured out. He enlisted the Egyptian army to come to the rescue of his people but he had the wrong focus, as do people only too often today. 

Jeremiah, the prophet, seeking to return home, was arrested. He was, in essence, charged with treason. The guard thought he was going to aid the Chaldean army so the king threw him in prison for this. Then the king summoned him asking if there was any word from the Lord. Maybe the king was seeking a favorable word on which to pin his hopes.

But He did not get the word he desired. Jeremiah asked why he did not seek word from the prophets, the false ones, who had said they would be spared from the Babylonians. He wanted to know what wrong he had done to deserve time in prison. Wouldn’t we want that same answer?

The Babylonian king would attack taking King Zedekiah captive. That was the word from the Lord. Not a pleasant one! The nation was, again, coming under attack.

You would think they would learn from their past, wouldn’t you? How often had they fallen from God’s grace, turned and worshiped foreign gods, and then been defeated in battle? This would not be the last occupation of their land. From exile, realizing their sin, they would plead to God in repentance and be restored. They would return home only to fall into the old pattern once again.

You would think…we would learn from our past, wouldn’t you? How often have we turned from God, fallen from His grace, and He defeats us? Sin brings on the suffering of this world. Even now God punishes sin. He does not single out nations and groups, but we all suffer. One day, unless Jesus comes back before that day, we will all die. The wages of sin is death. But God also promises restoration!

In His grace and mercy He sent Jesus to die the painfully torturous death of the cross. He was led from His home in heaven to the foreign land of our life in this world. He would identify with us in everything except sin. But He would also take our sin from us, on His back. as He gave His life on the cross. For, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord!

Oh, for the joy! We have been under attack by Satan and led from our home into exile. We long to return. One day we will. We are but strangers here. Heaven is our home. And there we will dwell forever because of God’s love for us and the forgiveness He gives us. Thanks be to God!

 

PRAYER:  Too often we have rebelled against You, Lord. Yet, in Your mercy and grace You have forgiven and restored us. We long to be home. We fix our eyes on that mansion You have prepared for us.  There we will live with You forever by Your grace. Thank You, Lord. Amen.