Jerusalem Will Fall to Nebuchadnezzar
21 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur the son of Malchiah and Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah, saying, “Inquire of the LORD for us, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the LORD will deal with us according to all his wonderful deeds and will make him withdraw from us.”
Then Jeremiah said to them: “Thus you shall say to Zedekiah, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands and with which you are fighting against the king of Babylon and against the Chaldeans who are besieging you outside the walls. And I will bring them together into the midst of this city. I myself will fight against you with outstretched hand and strong arm, in anger and in fury and in great wrath. And I will strike down the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast. They shall die of a great pestilence. Afterward, declares the LORD, I will give Zedekiah king of Judah and his servants and the people in this city who survive the pestilence, sword, and famine into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of their enemies, into the hand of those who seek their lives. He shall strike them down with the edge of the sword. He shall not pity them or spare them or have compassion.’
“And to this people you shall say: ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you shall live and shall have his life as a prize of war. For I have set my face against this city for harm and not for good, declares the LORD: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.’
Message to the House of David
“And to the house of the king of Judah say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O house of David! Thus says the LORD:
“‘Execute justice in the morning,
and deliver from the hand of the oppressor
him who has been robbed,
lest my wrath go forth like fire,
and burn with none to quench it,
because of your evil deeds.’”
“Behold, I am against you, O inhabitant of the valley,
O rock of the plain,
declares the LORD;
you who say, ‘Who shall come down against us,
or who shall enter our habitations?’
I will punish you according to the fruit of your deeds,
declares the LORD;
I will kindle a fire in her forest,
and it shall devour all that is around her.”
Jeremiah 21 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“If their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men you will only find yourselves fighting against God.“Gamaliel (Acts 5:39)
These wise words from a Teacher of the Law during a tremendous time of persecution for the church in Acts reverberated throughout the hall. Gamaliel was correct. If something was of human origin it would fail. But if God was in what He was doing, no one could stop it. They would fight against God Himself.
There is no stopping what God is doing.
Jeremiah 21 has God declaring He will fight against Judah. It’s a wild thought, no? God Himself, so disappointed in His children who have turned away again and again have left no other choice. They will go through horrific things in order to bring genuine humility where they seek Him once again. He would use the Babylonians to bring about such terror to them. These strong willed, self-sufficient people would be fighting God Himself.
His plan will prevail.
This is something to consider when we ourselves are going through such hard times. It is something to at least do a checklist to see if we are on the opposing side of what God is doing. But it’s also something to consider with the wayward in our lives. These whom we carry burdens for, pray for incessantly and wonder what it will take to reach them. These who have tasted of the goodness of God but turned their back. These who are so self-assured in what they’re doing they leave God out of the mix. These who walk in pseudo-relationship with Him. There will come a time God will say enough. There will come a time because He loves each and every individual He will do whatever it takes to bring them before Him.
And they will find themselves fighting against God Himself. Nothing will stop what His plans are or where He plans to lead. Not man. Not situation. Not hardness of heart. Nothing.
As He sat before the Israelites’ a way of life and death (Jeremiah 21:8) He does so again and again today. Choices bring consequences. Choices bring growth or death.
Does this resonate for you personally today? Does it speak toward an individual you pray for regularly? Such perspective may change your own response and how you move forward in intercession for those who are lost.
Jeremiah 21 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
It has finally happened. Babylon is bearing down on Judah and God is allowing it to happen. He has warned them over so many chapters of this coming doom if they did not repent of their sins. Ironically, the first person they call is….wait for it….wait for it…..Jeremiah! This is the same man they laughed at, mocked, put in stocks, and beat when everything was going well for them.
It’s kind of interesting to think how we do this all the time, don’t we? It’s easy to relax and ignore God when things are going well and we’re comfortable. But as soon as everything blows up we come running back begging for his help. Yet in this, God still offers grace. None of these people deserve to live, but Jeremiah tells them that if they surrender they will at least be able to stay alive. They will be in captivity, but they will be alive. If not, then they will die a horrible death.
Maybe on the surface, this sounds harsh, but keep in mind that these people have wanted nothing to do with God for several chapters now. Their disobedience has been offensive and completely selfish. They have worshiped false gods and even sacrificed their own children to them. The fact that God would still allow them to live is a testament to his grace and mercy.
This chapter is another reminder of the fact that God hates sin and it must be punished. In the context of our New Covenant with God, we are the people of Judah and the holy wrath being poured out was put on God’s only Son. When viewed with this perspective, we see how costly grace was and how deep the Father’s love is for us. We deserve to be ravaged by the Babylonian Army, but instead, God sends forth his Son to die in our place. This is Salvation for the sinner. We must not take it for granted.