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Monday, August 8, 2016

The Nature of a Prophecy (Jeremiah 51:1)

"This is what the LORD says: "See, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon and the people of Leb Kamai."

In the day that Jeremiah prophesied the demise of Babylon this prophesy seemed absurd. Babylon was at the height of her power, her armies controlled the world, and her kings ruled as gods. The very idea that Babylon could fall seemed unthinkable yet here Jeremiah speaks of her destruction. Not many years later the unthinkable came to pass. The Medes and the Persians diverted the flow of the Euphrates River and entered the city. Babylon the great fell. The Chaldean Empire gave way to the Medo-Persian Empire. Just as Jeremiah had prophesied, Babylon had fallen.

This may seem like ancient history, but when Jeremiah spoke these words the prophecies must have made the Babylonians laugh. They could not imagine that their empire could collapse or that the words of a crazy prophet in Jerusalem would come true. Many today react to the promises of God in the same way as the Babylonians. They hear the promises of Jesus, that He will come again, and they know about the promises concerning the end of this present age, but their lives are so intertwined with the spirit of this age that God's prophecies seem improbable and God's prophets seem crazy. However, God's Word will be fulfilled; His Son will return and His Kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. Those who scoff now will sorrow on that day; but those who wait and live for that day to come will be rewarded with joy and justice.

God's promises regarding the future instills hope in the hearts of those who know His promises and trust Him to fulfill His promises. 

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Jeremiah 51:1-64
  • Why does God promise retribution for Babylon's treatment of Israel? What does this tell you about God?
  • Who stirs up the the kings of the Medes and why? (Review Proverbs 21:1)
  • What three names are given to God (verse 19)?
  • How does God describe the kings of the Medes (verse 20)?
  • Describe the extent of damage done to Babylon.
  • Why does God tell the people to flee Babylon? (After living in Babylon for 70 years the Israelites had created a good life for themselves; they may be tempted to remain in the land)
  • Why does God promise to "take down" the Babylonians?
Jeremiah 11:18-12:6
  • How does Jeremiah know what Hananiah is up to?
  • How does he respond to their plotting?
  • How will God deal with Jeremiah's enemies?
  • What is Jeremiah's complaint to God?
  • How does God answer Jeremiah? (verses 5-6)
  • What does God tell Jeremiah about himself? about the future?
Turning truth into prayer (God uses the evil intentions of others to discipline His children and then He punishes the evil men for being so willing to do harm to his people)
Thank God for any opposition you may be experiencing in your life. Ask Him to allow you to see the opposition from His perspective, how He is using the opposition as a disciplinary tool in your life. Pray for your enemies.