man sealing document August 20 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Jeremiah 37-38; Ezekiel 29:1-16; Ezekiel 30:20-26; Ezekiel 31:1-18

Irrevocable Plans

Sometimes life decisions cannot be undone. A trust, contract or another legal document may be irrevocable. The consequences for bad behavior and even crimes are irrevocable. When this happens, consequences must be meted out in an equitable fashion. If not, something worse will happen. That is the way it was for the nation of Judah when she was nearing the eve of her destruction in 586 B.C..

Jerusalem was built on a high hill and was well fortified. Zedekiah is now her king–her last king. Jerusalem will soon be destroyed, and Babylon is God’s instrument of judgment. God has been patient with Judah for over 100 years after Israel was captured and deported. He is waiting for her to return from her rebellion and wickedness to Him, her good and gracious Almighty God. It does not happen. Instead, Judah is becoming more and more wicked and wretched. Already, Babylon has attacked twice and taken her king, nobles, soldiers, and much of the people away into exile, along with much of the palace and temple treasuries. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, appointed Zedekiah to rule over Judah. After ten years, King Zedekiah forges an alliance with Egypt and rebels against Babylon. Babylon is irate and besieges her city, so that Jerusalem experiences famine. Her fate is irrevocable. God has sent messages by His prophets time after time, warning her of coming judgment, but she will not listen. Babylon will soon attack a third time and destroy her. This is the prophecy of Jeremiah to a people and king who are not listening.

The message of Jeremiah is not well received. After he delivers the message, he seeks to get his share of some property in the former territory of Benjamin. He is caught and accused of disserting to the Babylonians and is put in a dungeon. Although released by the king, Jeremiah’s message does not change. The royal officials complain that Jeremiah is discouraging the soldiers and the people. The king then gives them permission to deal with Jeremiah as they think best. They seize Jeremiah and lower him into a dry well. Jeremiah sinks deep into the mud and is left to starve to death, but Ebed-Melech, a royal official, informs the king, and Jeremiah is once again rescued. Although Jeremiah suffers for his negative message, it does not change. God’s plans are irrevocable. He is holy and righteous, and He expects His people to be the same.

The king has one chance to save himself and his people–surrender to the Babylonians. If he does not, the people will be killed and Jerusalem burned.

Zedekiah is relying on Egypt to help Jerusalem break the siege. Egypt gives Jerusalem temporary relief, but it does not last. Babylon will come back and destroy Egypt. From that time on Egypt will be a weak nation, never arising as a world power. Her actions, too, are irrevocable. God says, “Egypt will no longer be a source of confidence for the people of Israel but will be a reminder of their sin in turning to her for help. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD,” (Ezekiel 29:16, NIV).

Is the Almighty your God? Do you rely upon Him, or everyone else and everything else but Him? Those who trust in God are not disappointed. There is mercy for those who turn from their sin to Him for their salvation. He gives forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...).

Lessons to Live By

  • Before the consequences of our sins become irrevocable, we need to repent! We need to turn from our sins and turn to God for forgiveness and salvation (more...).
  • The LORD is holy and expects His people to be the same.
  • Giving God’s holy message is not always safe. God can, however, be our protector and defender as He was with Jeremiah. Trust in Him today.
  • Those who mistreat or are unfair to God’s people often suffer for it.

Today’s Bible Memory Verses

Psalm 33:10-11 (NIV) “The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”

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