Vs. 1, “The word of the Lord came to me…” Since we’ve been reading Ezekiel, we have been focused on God’s people. But now we see consequences for the pagan nations surrounding God’s people. Justice is being served. In this chapter we read of four of the nations, Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia…but as we continue on, there will be a total of sixteen nations listed. The Ammonites were rejoicing at Judah’s downfall, the Moabites basically confirmed with Judah’s downfall that they were not special, the Edomites and Philistines helped the Babylonians and took pleasure in Judah’s consequences.
Regarding application…God will Judge. Vs. 7, “I will cut you off from the nations and exterminate you from the countries. I will destroy you, and you will know that I am the Lord.” Question: Why do the evil seem to get all the breaks? The rich keep getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Where’s the justice in the world today? I’m sure for God’s people, they felt like God was against them. But while the other nations were laughing, God would bring vengeance upon them. The application I see here is that don’t get all up in arms about the injustices of this world. God is in control. Let’s just do our part in being genuine in our walk and faith.
Vs. 13, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Jesus continues the theme of reminding us how we should always be ready (vs. 1-13). As you know, it’s been nearly two thousand years since Jesus would tell us to be ready. Everday that goes by is reaching us closer to Jesus’ return. The parable of the talents (vs. 14-30) is a exhortation to us to use wisely the talents (abilities) that God has given to us. Each of us us have been richly blessed by God, so let’s not selfishly sit and do nothing. And lastly, we come across the sheep and goats (vs. 31-46). This is judgement day as Jesus gathers all nations to Him after the Tribulation and the 1000 year reign. Of course, the sheep are the good and goats are the bad.
Regarding application…Reaching Out Your Hand. Vs. 44, “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” Scholars believe that Jesus is referring to the Tribulation when those believing in Christ will need extra help because their faith is being persecuted. Jesus is teaching us something beyond just this event though. Jesus is reminding us we must be a Rahab to the spies and a Good Samaritan. When we reacy out our hands to our neighbors we are powerfully showing our love to Jesus. Especially to those Christians who are in dire need of help and compassion. Question: Who can you extend God’s gracious love and help to today?
Vs. 3, “For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened.” Can you imagine…23 years of a ministry not bearing fruit. Jeremiah was in this for the long haul and in fact, this was the half-way point of his ministry. This message of wrath that God was going to bring through the Babylonians wasn’t just for the Jews, it was also for the Gentile nations (vs. 18-28). It always suprises me how God uses things and people of this world who are evil to adminster to His will, case in point, Nebuchadnezzar (vs. 2). These warnings of wrath that Jeremiah would convey always come with a opportunity to just turn back to the Lord (vs. 6). But God’s people would not listen. And here in this chapter we are reminded their captivity would last 70 years (vs. 11).
Regarding application…Not Listening. Vs. 7, ““But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have provoked me with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.” Four times in this chapter alone Jeremiah reminds his people that they are not listening. Brothers & sisters…by this time, Jeremiah must have sounded like a broken record saying the same things over and over again. They people would let his words go through one ear and out the other. We all can relate to this as we do it ourselves whether at home, school or even church. Jeremiah ensured that he spoke to everyone both leaders and common folk and they all would not listen. Question: Are you listening? There is so munch junk and polloution that comes to our ears and to our lives. We must be ever diligent to stop our busy lives (especially since school just started for many of you today) and listen to the still small voice of God’s Holy Spirit through His written word!