Jeremiah 21 Follow Up

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The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur the son of Malchijah, and Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah, saying, “Please inquire of the LORD on our behalf, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is warring against us; perhaps the LORD will deal with us according to all His wonderful acts, so that the enemy will withdraw from us.”
Jeremiah 21:1–2 NAS95

In Jeremiah 21:1-2, we are told of King Zedekiah. And how he sends two other people to go and ask if God might do something for them, like He has done for them in the past. Someone made mention of how pompous that must have been to have others and to not yourself approach God himself. A grievous error. You can read more of King Zedekiah in 2 Chronicles 36:11-21. I like how Eugene Peterson translates vs 21. Have a look at tell me what you think about it in the comments below.

William Blake’s, Nebuchadnezzar

We also passed around a photo of King of the Babylon’s Nebuchadnezzar. You might not have seen the image well, but I wanted to share it again, as I think it does a great job of capturing the story of is insanity in Daniel 4.

William Blake's Nebuchadnezzer The Minneapolis Institute of Art impression. Printed 1795. Nebuchadnezzar is a color monotype print with additions in ink and watercolor portraying the Old Testament Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II by the English poet, painter and printmaker William Blake. Taken from the Book of Daniel, the legend of Nebuchadnezzar tells of a ruler who through hubris lost his mind and was reduced to animalistic madness and eating “grass as oxen”.1

Prayers

Keep Laura and Tara in your prayers, and if you have time, take a moment to pray over the items in our prayer wall.


  1. Taken from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebuchadnezzar_(Blake) 

Jeremiah 2, and the Kingdom Split

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What an amazing evening last night! It was great fun having some new faces, a full room, and full bellies. And to think, all the chairs where full, and there were seats spilling out of the room! (Sorry Shirley, Matt and Bill.)

All Those Chairs!

I wanted to share with you some resources for further study on the topics we discussed last night. We first started with discussing an overarching timeline. That can be seen here: The Prophets Timeline. It is by no means complete, but it does contain links, Scriptures and images of the time periods that should prove helpful. I will continue to add to it as we move forward through our journey of the Prophets.

Further reading on the Kingdom Split, 1 Kings 11:41-12:211

Shaving crowns or splitting skulls? Have a look at these commentaries. (I uploaded them as screenshots to preserve the original language rendering.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-23-at-7-28-10-AM-2 “Broken,” ISBE, n.p.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-23-at-7-28-48-AMW. Hall Harris, ed., The NET Bible Notes (1st, Accordance electronic ed. Richardson: Biblical Studies Press, 2005), n.p.

Did you have a favorite passage of the evening? I would love to hear your thoughts thus far.


  1. Scorpions? The NET Notes “Heb “My father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scorpions.” “Scorpions” might allude to some type of torture using poisonous insects, but more likely it refers to a type of whip that inflicts an especially biting, painful wound. Cf. CEV “whips with pieces of sharp metal.”” 

Nahum’s Conclusion — Mercy and Justice

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It is a topic we have discussed regularly. Without either of these items we know that something is wrong in the world. When we are wronged, we beg God for justice. He listens. Then, when we wrong someone, we beg for mercy. He listens.

How can He do both?

An age old question. Too much for the side of justice, we cry that He is an unforgiving God, which we know, He isn’t. Too much mercy, well then, He isn’t loving. It is my understanding that only God can truly walk the line of perfectly existing and delivering both Justice and Mercy.

The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings,
But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings.
It is an attribute to God himself.
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.
Portia, The Merchant of Venice1

Jonah’s Lesson — Mercy

In the book of Jonah we see God’s character clearly. He is a merciful and forgiving God. In fact, Jonah is so aware of this fact, he refuses to deliver the message of repentance that leads to salvation for the Assyrians at Nineveh. (Jonah 4:2 HCSB)

Dore's Jonah

What Jonah is not aware of at the time, is that justice will come. Why did God allow the Assyrians a brief existence of mercy? He tells us that he cares for His creation. (Jonah 4:10-11 ESV) I believe that, had the Assyrians existed in a state of repentance and dependence on God, they would have continued into a state of His blessings. However, that wasn’t to be the case.

Nahum’s Message — Justice

Fast forward 100+ years, and we find that the Assyrians in Nineveh haven’t lived in a state of repentance.

The Fall of Nineveh

The Lord is slow to anger but great in power;
the Lord will certainly not allow the wicked to go unpunished.
He marches out in the whirlwind and the raging storm;
dark storm clouds billow like dust under his feet.
Nahum 1:3 NET

While it is obvious that God knew this was the course, I don’t believe that invalidates His intent for Mercy. Why allow it then? Because it was the right thing to do. It is His very nature.

Final Thoughts

These two prophets highlight different aspects of God’s character and nature. It is tempting to draw out a parallel between this and His plans for our individual salvations. But don’t do that. These were writings and prophecies for a particular time to a particular peoples. What we can gather is this: He is Merciful and Just.


  1. I am aware of possible anti-Semitism in the play The Merchant of Venice. I only quote it here for the insight it provides on the relationship between mercy and justice and wholeheartedly disagree with anti-Semitic posturings.