by Paul Benson
(Of all the personal ‘words’ the Lord has given me this is truly one of my favorites! I feel a leading to republish it at this time for those who might not have read it. P.B.)
The Judgment of Jerusalem
For Israel’s sin and rebellion against him, God sent the enemy of his people to visit his judgment upon them. When Jerusalem finally fell, after the long horrible siege (that actually left some resorting to cannibalism!), then came the commander of Nebuchadnezzar’s army and sought out the prophet Jeremiah. But not to sentence him to a life of slavery, or to slay him (the fate of most of the priests, prophets, and citizens of that city). No! Not to harm him, but to BLESS HIM! And bless him he did. What was it that brought such an abundance of God’s favor upon Jeremiah? Let’s take a look at the life of this man of God.
A Prophet In A Time Of Tribulation
Called at a young age (probably his late teens) Jeremiah’s ministry to the people of God, and the surrounding nations, spanned the reign of at least five kings. At the time of his calling God gave Jeremiah a promise he would bring judgment upon the land, but also a promise that he would be with Jeremiah to deliver him from those who would oppose him for speaking this word of judgment.
For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. 19 And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee. Jeremiah 1:18-19
Jeremiah seized upon this promise, and it sustained him through many years of ridicule, persecution, and eventual imprisonment. After overcoming his initial fears he set his face like a flint, and stood fast against the ear-tickling false prophets, the corrupt priesthood, and the apostates among the general populace of what was left of the nation of Israel. He faithfully gave them the Word of the Lord as it was revealed to him. The words he spoke were met with fierce opposition, but Jeremiah was not without support among God’s people.
A Persecuted Prophet
When, after many years, his preaching and prophesying enraged the princes of the besieged and downtrodden city to the point they could no longer stand it, they petitioned king Zedekiah to let them put him to death. The spineless king would not stand up to the elders and royals on Jeremiah’s behalf, and consented to their demands. But instead of just killing him on the spot they chose a slow, ghastly, and humiliating death for Jeremiah.
Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire. Jeremiah 38:6
Instead of placing Jeremiah in a cell of the prison they lowered him into a pit in the courtyard and left him to starve and rot in the muck. Who knows what all had been tossed into that pit. One can only guess as to what the composition of that muck was, but do you think they would have been taking their nasty refuse outside the walls of the city with a pit in the courtyard so handy? (let’s see now, what are the first four letters of the word dungeon?) In this horrible mire lay a starving Prophet, suffering for the crime of loving the truth and having the guts to declare it.
A Preserved Prophet
There seemed no possibility of survival, but God honored his promise to Jeremiah, and raised up a deliverer who was brave enough to buck the will of the elders and princes of the city. One of the kings servants, a eunuch named Ebedmelech, went to bat for Jeremiah, and got the king to order him taken out of the slime-pit.
Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die. Jeremiah 38:10
For him risking his life and liberty on Jeremiah’s behalf Ebebmelech got some promise of his own from the Lord. The man of God spoke blessing upon him by the Spirit of the Lord.
Now the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, 16 Go and speak to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee. 17 But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the LORD: and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid. 18 For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD. Jeremiah 39:15
Because of his belief in God, and his willingness to take a stand for what is right, Ebedmelech was given a pass on the coming horror soon to be faced by the people of that region. We also see a similar scenario played out in the life of another of Jeremiah’s helpers, the scribe Baruch. He also was given a promise of protection by the Lord!
Aided In His Time Of Tribulation
Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book. 5 And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD: 6 Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD’S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities. Jeremiah 36:4-6
Baruch, ignoring the peril involved, obeyed Jeremiah and became God’s mouthpiece to the people of the city; and afterwards the nobles and elders. For his efforts he had to go into hiding with Jeremiah to avoid being put to death. And when the king later cut the scroll of Scripture with his penknife, and threw it in the fire, Baruch was right there with Jeremiah to write another scroll as the man of God spoke the words to him. What was the outcome of all this for Baruch?
Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch; 3 Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest. 4 Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land. 5 And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest. Jeremiah 45:2
Baruch too was promised by God he would be kept safe in the dark days ahead for Israel. God was watching over the events taking place in Jerusalem (as he is in our nation today) while his judgment unfolded. He was diligently keeping score (as he also is today) of who was faithful to his will, and who was not; of who was speaking truth, and who was pacifying. And when the prophesied destruction finally overtook Jerusalem where do we find Jeremiah the Prophet of God?
A Blessed Prophet In A Time Of Tribulation
Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, 12 Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee. Jeremiah 39:11-12
And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place. 3 Now the LORD hath brought it, and done according as he hath said: because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you. 4 And now, behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which were upon thine hand. If it seem good unto thee to come with me into Babylon, come; and I will look well unto thee: but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear: behold, all the land is before thee: whither it seemeth good and convenient for thee to go, thither go. Jeremiah 40:2-4
Can you picture this in your mind? The city of God and its beautiful temple lay in smoldering ruins. The majority of the people had been killed or were being marched off in chains to serve as slaves. The high and mighty false prophets and corrupt priests were now rotting corpses littering the streets; their lies and sin excusing deception silenced by the judgment of God.
But here was Jeremiah, finally released from his imprisonment and persecution, being told by the commander of the invading army that he was free to go wherever he pleased. This would be like Russia invading our nation, and the leader of that nation telling his top general to be sure not to harm God’s spokesperson(s) in the course of destroying and conquering the land. Talk about divine favor. But it gets better yet!
Now while he was not yet gone back, he said, Go back also to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon hath made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people: or go wheresoever it seemeth convenient unto thee to go. So the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a reward, and let him go. Jeremiah 40:5
This general, instead of killing him, sees to his protection! He then loads up Jeremiah with supplies for his journey. And not only that, he then gives him some traveling money to boot! This is such a profound contrast to the fate of the false prophets and corrupt priesthood who railed against the ministry of Jeremiah. I hope you can grasp the enormity of that (and also recognize it as a pattern of God’s dealings with true and false workers among his people).
And I suspect that Ebedmelech and Baruch were also walking around with a big cheesy grin on their faces. I seriously doubt God reneged on his promises to them. I wonder how many other of God’s faithful ones found themselves having a Rev. 3:10 kind of day in the midst of all that chaos and tribulation? Who says God cannot keep and bless his chosen ones in a time of great tribulation? Jeremiah, and his helpers Ebedmelech and Baruch, would tell you he surely can!
The Judgment Of America
I hear people all the time declaring the Judgment of God is coming to America! But I have been saying for some time: the Judgment of this nation began years ago; and it is unfolding in a progressive manner. The export of our manufacturing capability, the turning of our governmental oversight from benevolent to tyrannical, the polluting and radiation poisoning of our offshore fishing areas (Pacific as well as the Gulf), the serious economic downturn etc. are all a part of this progressive judgment / call to repentance that will rapidly increase in the days ahead. This nation is ALREADY a nation under the Judgment of Almighty God!
I do not believe we as Christians can expect exemption from the persecution which the rising hatred of Christianity will bring, or that we will not be impacted by the horrible effects God’s Judgment brings upon a nation. But I very much believe those who faithfully follow God’s will, and also proclaim his Holy Word without perverting it, will know a blessing and favor those compromised in their walk, and the ear-tickling money hungry people-pleasers in (most of) today’s pulpits will never see!
The Judgment Of The Deceivers
In the days to come the pre-trib rapture preachers and hyper-faith hucksters (as well as those who love the lies they preach) will find themselves in a different category than those with a genuine love for the truth. Editing the Word of God and the Gospel of Christ is a very dangerous business! The hyper-faith preachers take away from God’s Word by preaching God’s goodness but never his severity. The pre-trib rapture theorists are both adding to and taking away from God’s Word with a damaging deception; a fable of escapism not promised in the Scriptures. But there is promise in the Scriptures for these beguilers as well!
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Revelation 22:18-19
God always keeps his promises. Always! The Judgment and fall of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day was God keeping a promise he made that blessing or cursing would come upon that nation according to their actions (Deut, 28:14-). The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 was another fulfilled promise (Matt. 24:2). The words of God will never fail!
A WORD TO HEED! This is the promise awaiting this nation’s false prophets and false teachers in the days ahead: The very events and horrors they are promising the pre-trib rapture fable will keep them from shall come upon them (and all who promote this deception) because they have shunned the truth and believed a lie! They will NOT be kept by God’s favor in that day! And many will even have their name blotted out of the book of life for taking away from the Word of God! But those who declare the true counsel of God without compromise shall know great blessing and favor (as well as much persecution) in those days! Thus says the Lord God! (Yes, I am prophesying; something I rarely do!)
There is going to be a lot of promise (promised blessing and promised cursing) fulfilled in the season of darkness ahead. I don’t know about everyone else, but I would very much like to be in Jeremiah’s shoes in those days! How about you?
May the Lord help us all find a spirit of faithfulness in this day, and in the dark days ahead;
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