April 10, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Jeremiah 12-16
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Context:By chapter 12, Josiah is dead and Jeremiah is the sole shining light for Christ. It is a very dark time and even Jeremiah is struggling. He asks God one of the oldest question: Why do the wicked prosper? It is a question many ask today. God's answer remains the same: Do not worry, all will happen in God's time. It is part of God's plan, and not for us to know or understand. Chapter 13 demonstrates the continuing sinking in iniquity of the people of Judah. As with the belt (or girdle in some translations), which got dirtier and dirtier because it was not washed, so too the people of Judah were unclean. Because of their wickedness, God was going to send them into captivity. Following Josiah's death, the nation quickly dove back to its evil ways. The new king, King Jehoiakim was not a Godly king like Josiah. As punishment for turning from Him, God revealed to Jeremiah that a drought and famine was going to come to land. Jeremiah pleads with the Lord on the behalf of the people of Judah, but is told that the people have gone too far; the Lord will not spare them, but He will protect Jeremiah. God warns Jeremiah against getting married and bringing children into the world because of the horrors that are yet to come. Sometimes, the only way to return people to Lord, or to get them to Him in the first place, is to have them hit rock bottom. When there is no one else to rely on, no one else to turn to, then people may finally turn to Him. How much easier would it be to have trusted in the Lord God from the beginning?!
World History: King Josiah died after going to battle with Egypt who was attempting to provide aid to Assyria against Babylon, in 609 BC. Josiah met the Egyptians in battle at Megiddo with Pharaoh Necho II. Josiah's successors were short lived. Jehoahaz remained king for only three months before being replaced by his older brother Jehoiakim, who had the help of the Egyptians. Jehoahaz was taken back to Egypt, where he eventually died. Jehoiakim ruled for eleven years, first as a vassal for Egypt (3 years), then as a vassal for Babylon (3 years), then again for Egypt, before Jerusalem was finally conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon.