Suggested Reading: Jeremiah 39-41
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Key Verses: Jeremiah 39:18
“…For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,” says the Lord.
Our key verse gives us the eternal perspective of God as He sees the future deliverance of His people. This should help us to realize that when we put our trust in God, regardless of present circumstances, we’ll eventually win the “Gold”. The Winter Olympics, now on in Russia, should model for us commitment, perseverance, and discipline, all necessary to win the “Prize!”
Chapter 39 – After 18 months of siege, the Babylonians broke through Jerusalem’s walls, burned the city, captured King Zedekiah, killed his sons in front of him, blinded him and took him to Babylon in chains, never to return to Jerusalem. Such was the end of one who had repeatedly heard the Word of God but ignored it. Zedekiah brought this on himself. God had done His best through Jeremiah to warn the King (2 Kings 25:4-7).
Chapters 40 & 41 show us why Jeremiah won God’s prize for his life. The Babylonians released him from Zedekiah’s prison and offered him position, land and freedom in Babylon, but he chose to stay home and minister to those left behind in the ruins of their country, where wicked and violent men such as Ishmael were creating continued havoc. Our choices also should be to stay where we are most needed, serving the Lord faithfully.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, I pray that I will consistently do my very best to win the prize of life, here and now, as well as eternally. Lord, Your Word tells me that my works will be “revealed by fire.” The “wood, hay and straw” will be burned up, but the “gold, silver and precious stones” will remain (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). I’m asking for grace to “strive for the prize.” In the Name of the One Who has gone before me, the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
I cannot help but recall the first gathering ever of the leaders of various Christian denominations in the history of communist Russia and the former 15 republics of the Soviet Union. Undeservedly, I was invited to be the speaker at two nights of this conference. With the help of a Finnish ministry, we had earlier released across the Soviet Union the first ever Christian-produced TV series in the Russian language on prime time television. I had the privilege on these telecasts of interviewing leading scientists, philosophers, etc. about God’s creation. The USSR was officially atheist, and our goal was to create doubt in the minds of those who believed that God did not exist. As was the case with Jeremiah, pastors had been severely persecuted. One pastor I met had badly twisted fingers on his right hand. I asked him what happened. He said that the local authorities had broken his fingers, one at a time, to try to make him deny his faith in God, but he refused. I felt like crawling under the table at which we were sitting. I was not worthy to be in his presence, let alone be the guest preacher. I weep at the memory.
Yours for striving for the “gold” that will remain through the fire,
P.S. Prior to the invasion of Iraq (Chaldea/Babylon) by the American coalition of nations, billboards were everywhere which pictured the brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, with his hero, Nebuchadnezzar.