God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 18 - Jeremiah 38-40; Psalms 74 and 79: Babylon Destroys the Temple and Takes Judah into Exile

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 38-40; Psalms 74 and 79

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

These chapters fill in the blanks from the previous chapters.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Zedekiah allowed Jeremiah's enemies to throw him into a cistern. The king rescued Jeremiah to ask for advice, promising not to kill him.
Jeremiah replied, "If you surrender to the king of Babylon you will live."
Nebuchadnezzar's troops broke through the walls. Zedekiah and his men ran. Babylonian troops caught them, killed Zedekiah's family, blinded him, and burned Jerusalem to the ground—including the Temple.
Judah went into exile, except the poor and undesirable. Jeremiah was protected and released. The remnant would live in peace if they were loyal to Babylon.
Many people returned to Judah. God blessed the land.

Psalm (P)Synopsis

Psalm 74

The exiles cry out to God because their Temple has been desecrated and burned. They ask God how long before the guilty are punished for their crimes. They ask God if He hears what is going on.

Psalm 79

Asaph cries out to God because the Temple and Jerusalem have been destroyed. They ask how long these atrocities will go on. Why has God allowed pagans to punish His Chosen People? God's Reputation is salvation! Why did He let them get away with this? Judah ask for pardon. Then they will return with thanksgiving and tell others what He has done.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Judah's leaders (other than those from yesterday) never listened to Jeremiah.

We do not know the timing of Jeremiah's conversation with King Zedekiah and Jerusalem's downfall, so it is difficult to connect the two closely; however, Jeremiah told Judah not to run. Yet when the time came Zedekiah ran and paid for it dearly. Some people will never learn. They will always go against God even if it means punishment.

The Temple in Honor of God was destroyed.

We read about this earlier, so I will not belabor that point here. The inclusion of these two psalms in the Bible is interesting. God has already told Judah exactly why He is destroying the Temple—they won't listen to Him. What is ironic about these psalms is that they cry out as though it was God's weakness that caused the Temple's destruction. So it seems wrong for them to ask why God allowed these things to happen.
After meditating on these words I believe something deeper is going on. The remnant cried out to God after the destruction of the Temple as an emotional response to a great injustice. I believe these psalms are included because God wants us to see that even when we are in the wrong the proper response is to cry to Him for justice. God has previously told Judah that Babylon would be punished as well for their crimes, which we read today. Emotional responses do not rely on logic or reason. They are raw. They are untamed. This is why I rarely take the responses by the mother of a known criminal serious. It is also why the responses the first two or three days after an emotional event should be held against the person later. They may regret it anyway. God does not censure emotional responses. Neither should we.

God protected Jeremiah.

God promised to protect him at the beginning of the book. Jeremiah was the only person protected. Jerusalem had the opportunity to go peacefully and live but declined. God protects those who obey Him.

Do you trust God to protect you—even in the face of your enemies?

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