A recent reading of the book of Jeremiah has brought renewed appreciation for that man and his work, as well as new insight to a principle embedded in scripture. Jeremiah, of course was given the thankless task of pronouncing the final doom upon Judah for her many and continued sins. It was not Jeremiah’s fault that they stood condemned. He was simply the messenger. In fulfilling his task he paid a steep price—emotionally, physically and socially.
In the waning days of Judah, Zedekiah the king sent for Jeremiah and asked him to pray for Judah because Egypt had rallied for them and had caused Babylonian army to pull back from their siege of Jerusalem. Zedekiah obviously thought this was great, and that this was the rescue he had been counting on. But Zedekiah was simply a politician looking for a way out. He had not changed and the people had not changed.
When Jeremiah went to Zedekiah, he said:
“Thus says the Lord, do not deceive yourselves saying,
“The Chaldeans (Babylonians, LC) will surely go away from us, for they will not go away. For even if you should defeat the whole army of the Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men, every man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.’” (Jeremiah 37:9, 10 ESV)
Wow! What a rebuke! In other words, God himself had determined to destroy Judah because of their wickedness. Truly, no power on earth was going to stop him from doing that. Even if the Babylonian army was down to just a few wounded men, God would see to it that those men would crawl out of their tents and complete the destruction of Judah. Their sin sealed their doom.
In preaching about God’s role in our lives, I have often quoted Romans 8:31, firmly believing it— “...If God is for us, who can be against us?”. I have also emphasized, in many of those times of quotation, that the opposite is also true: If God is against us, it does not matter who is for us. Having recently read the haunting words of Jeremiah 37:9, 10, I am more convinced of this truth than ever before. Think about it.