Thursday, February 14, 2013

faithless contrasted with faithful

Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave command concerning Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, saying, "Take him, look after him well, and do him no harm, but deal with him as he tells you."
Jeremiah 39:11-12

Everything that Jeremiah has warned Jerusalem and the officials of Judah about has come to pass. Babylon has invaded the land, broken through the wall of Jerusalem, and taken the city captive. King Zedekiah is taken captive, his sons were slaughtered in front of him, and then blinded, he is led away in disgrace by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon.

In sharp contrast, God takes care of His prophet. The same ruthless gentile king gives orders to attend to Jeremiah. He is kept in the ruins of Jerusalem with a contingent of the king's own guard ensuring his well-being. God is making a point: The faithful prophet is cared for while the faithless king is led away disgraced and completely humiliated. The rewards of faithfulness to God are dramatically clear.

The visible evidence all clearly pointed to the glory of God even in judgment. The man most faithful to The Lord and His Word was treated like a dignitary. The political power that ignored God was treated like a ridiculed slave. There was no mistaking the outcomes. The clear distinction between the faithless and the faithful will be known in the end.

It should be noted that Jeremiah did not gloat. It should also be noticed that the prophet suffered torment of body before God blessed him in this capacity. And a final observation that keeps us from the sugary excesses of prosperity theology is the perspective that Jeremiah continued to mourn and suffer personally after the fall of Jerusalem while he was protected by the Babylonian army in relative comfort. The evidence of this is the Book of Lamentations which he composed after the destruction of the city.

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