October 24, 2021
Scripture: 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 ESV
Observation: Jeremiah had repeatedly prophesied to God’s people to accept the Lord’s judgment for their unrepented, rebellious ways, but it was not all doom and gloom. He also foretold that if they would submit to God’s will, repent, and settle in the land of their enemy, they would once again prosper. Instead, they listened to false prophets who proclaimed that Yahweh would deliver them from the Babylonians. And, to make matters worse, they persecuted and attempted to kill Jeremiah. Ironically, since Jeremiah’s fellow countrymen had turned on him, God instead protected and provided for Jeremiah utilizing Israel’s enemy.
Takeaway: Unfortunately, even to this day, we see infighting within the body of believers. Christian leaders and congregants can sometimes act like enemies, whether born out of fear, jealousy, or a misguided competitive spirit. That’s where Satan (the real enemy) does the most damage. But we can rest assured that if fellow Christians fail us or cause us harm, our Lord will even bring godless men and women into our lives to provide protection and provision. Our part, like Jeremiah, is to keep on communicating God’s truth with grace (even in the face of persecution from fellow Christians), trusting that he who is sovereign over all creation will care for us.
Prayer: Father God, in your mercy, please expose the ills of the heart that cause us to infight within the body of Christ and strengthen us to resist retaliation. Would you please help us to recognize who the real enemy is and trust you to provide protection and provision—no matter the source? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling