HISTORY, HURRICANES AND HONESTY

History should not be only about when an event happened that changed the world, but more about why it happened with what was learned from it.  Unfortunately, history repeats itself because humans are a flawed creation since the fall of Adam and Eve.  We are in need of extreme, divine help from a perfect, all-knowing God who is for us, not against us.  We need God who so loves that at the right time sent His Son, Jesus to save us once and for all. 

But until that day comes, God’s people who have turned their backs on Him, must deal with God’s anger and discipline through hurricanes of war that sweep over the land in order to cleanse His people of their sins that send them into captivity.  God is honest with His people.  God is Truth and cannot lie.  He tells them of their sins, warns them of the consequences, but to no avail. 

Only a remnant of His people who still believe hold on until God does His work in and through the land to rescue them.  The people are in bondage to their captors.  God makes a way for their release and return so they can come home.

Jesus is the Way for us to be released from our sins that bind us so we can come home to God forever.  May we learn from history so we avoid the hurricanes of hate that sin produces and live in Truth who is Jesus/God/Holy Spirit we can trust—in all honesty!

Jeremiah 51, The Message

Hurricane Persia

1-5 There’s more. God says more:

“Watch this:
    I’m whipping up
A death-dealing hurricane against Babylon—‘Hurricane Persia’—
    against all who live in that perverse land.
I’m sending a cleanup crew into Babylon.
    They’ll clean the place out from top to bottom.
When they get through there’ll be nothing left of her
    worth taking or talking about.
They won’t miss a thing.
    A total and final Doomsday!
Fighters will fight with everything they’ve got.
    It’s no-holds-barred.
They will spare nothing and no one.
    It’s final and wholesale destruction—the end!
Babylon littered with the wounded,
    streets piled with corpses.
It turns out that Israel and Judah
    are not widowed after all.
As their God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, I am still alive and well,
    committed to them even though

They filled their land with sin
    against Israel’s most Holy God.

6-8 “Get out of Babylon as fast as you can.
    Run for your lives! Save your necks!
Don’t linger and lose your lives to my vengeance on her
    as I pay her back for her sins.
Babylon was a fancy gold chalice
    held in my hand,
Filled with the wine of my anger
    to make the whole world drunk.
The nations drank the wine
    and they’ve all gone crazy.
Babylon herself will stagger and crash,
    senseless in a drunken stupor—tragic!
Get anointing balm for her wound.
    Maybe she can be cured.”

* * *

“We did our best, but she can’t be helped.
    Babylon is past fixing.
Give her up to her fate.
    Go home.
The judgment on her will be vast,
    a skyscraper-memorial of vengeance.

Your Lifeline Is Cut

10 “God has set everything right for us.
    Come! Let’s tell the good news
Back home in Zion.
    Let’s tell what our God did to set things right.

11-13 “Sharpen the arrows!
    Fill the quivers!
God has stirred up the kings of the Medes,
    infecting them with war fever: ‘Destroy Babylon!’
God’s on the warpath.
    He’s out to avenge his Temple.
Give the signal to attack Babylon’s walls.
    Station guards around the clock.
Bring in reinforcements.
    Set men in ambush.
God will do what he planned,
    what he said he’d do to the people of Babylon.
You have more water than you need,
    you have more money than you need—
But your life is over,
    your lifeline cut.”

* * *

14 God-of-the-Angel-Armies has solemnly sworn:
    “I’ll fill this place with soldiers.
They’ll swarm through here like locusts
    chanting victory songs over you.”

* * *

15-19 By his power he made earth.
    His wisdom gave shape to the world.
    He crafted the cosmos.
He thunders and rain pours down.
    He sends the clouds soaring.
He embellishes the storm with lightnings,
    launches the wind from his warehouse.
Stick-god worshipers look mighty foolish!
    god-makers embarrassed by their handmade gods!
Their gods are frauds, dead sticks—
    deadwood gods, tasteless jokes.
They’re nothing but stale smoke.
    When the smoke clears, they’re gone.
But the Portion-of-Jacob is the real thing;
    he put the whole universe together,
With special attention to Israel.
    His name? God-of-the-Angel-Armies!

They’ll Sleep and Never Wake Up

20-23 God says, “You, Babylon, are my hammer,
    my weapon of war.
I’ll use you to smash godless nations,
    use you to knock kingdoms to bits.
I’ll use you to smash horse and rider,
    use you to smash chariot and driver.
I’ll use you to smash man and woman,
    use you to smash the old man and the boy.
I’ll use you to smash the young man and young woman,
    use you to smash shepherd and sheep.
I’ll use you to smash farmer and yoked oxen,
    use you to smash governors and senators.

24 “Judeans, you’ll see it with your own eyes. I’ll pay Babylon and all the Chaldeans back for all the evil they did in Zion.” God’s Decree.

25-26 “I’m your enemy, Babylon, Mount Destroyer,
    you ravager of the whole earth.
I’ll reach out, I’ll take you in my hand,
    and I’ll crush you till there’s no mountain left.
I’ll turn you into a gravel pit—
    no more cornerstones cut from you,
No more foundation stones quarried from you!
    Nothing left of you but gravel.” God’s Decree.

* * *

27-28 “Raise the signal in the land,
    blow the shofar-trumpet for the nations.
Consecrate the nations for holy work against her.
    Call kingdoms into service against her.
    Enlist Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
Appoint a field marshal against her,
    and round up horses, locust hordes of horses!
Consecrate the nations for holy work against her—
    the king of the Medes, his leaders and people.

29-33 “The very land trembles in terror, writhes in pain,
    terrorized by my plans against Babylon,
Plans to turn the country of Babylon
    into a lifeless moonscape—a wasteland.
Babylon’s soldiers have quit fighting.
    They hide out in ruins and caves—
Cowards who’ve given up without a fight,
    exposed as cowering crybabies.
Babylon’s houses are going up in flames,
    the city gates torn off their hinges.
Runner after runner comes racing in,
    each on the heels of the last,
Bringing reports to the king of Babylon
    that his city is a lost cause.
The fords of the rivers are all taken.
    Wildfire rages through the swamp grass.
Soldiers desert left and right.
    I, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, said it would happen:
‘Daughter Babylon is a threshing floor
    at threshing time.
Soon, oh very soon, her harvest will come
    and then the chaff will fly!’

* * *

34-37 “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon
    chewed up my people and spit out the bones.
He wiped his dish clean, pushed back his chair,
    and belched—a huge gluttonous belch.
Lady Zion says,
    ‘The brutality done to me be done to Babylon!’
And Jerusalem says,
    ‘The blood spilled from me be charged to the Chaldeans!’
Then I, God, step in and say,
    ‘I’m on your side, taking up your cause.
I’m your Avenger. You’ll get your revenge.

    I’ll dry up her rivers, plug up her springs.
Babylon will be a pile of rubble,
    scavenged by stray dogs and cats,
A dumping ground for garbage,
    a godforsaken ghost town.’

* * *

38-40 “The Babylonians will be like lions and their cubs,
    ravenous, roaring for food.
I’ll fix them a meal, all right—a banquet, in fact.
    They’ll drink themselves falling-down drunk.
Dead drunk, they’ll sleep—and sleep, and sleep . . . 
    and they’ll never wake up.” God’s Decree.
“I’ll haul these ‘lions’ off to the slaughterhouse
    like the lambs, rams, and goats,
    never to be heard of again.

* * *

41-48 “Babylon is finished—
    the pride of the whole earth is flat on her face.
What a comedown for Babylon,
    to end up inglorious in the sewer!
Babylon drowned in chaos,
    battered by waves of enemy soldiers.
Her towns stink with decay and rot,
    the land empty and bare and sterile.
No one lives in these towns anymore.
    Travelers give them a wide berth.
I’ll bring doom on the glutton god-Bel in Babylon.
    I’ll make him vomit up all he gulped down.
No more visitors stream into this place,
    admiring and gawking at the wonders of Babylon.
    The wonders of Babylon are no more.
Run for your lives, my dear people!
    Run, and don’t look back!
Get out of this place while you can,
    this place torched by God’s raging anger.
Don’t lose hope. Don’t ever give up
    when the rumors pour in hot and heavy.
One year it’s this, the next year it’s that—
    rumors of violence, rumors of war.
Trust me, the time is coming
    when I’ll put the no-gods of Babylon in their place.
I’ll show up the whole country as a sickening fraud,
    with dead bodies strewn all over the place.
Heaven and earth, angels and people,
    will throw a victory party over Babylon
When the avenging armies from the north
    descend on her.” God’s Decree!

Remember God in Your Long and Distant Exile

49-50 “Babylon must fall—
    compensation for the war dead in Israel.
Babylonians will be killed
    because of all that Babylonian killing.
But you exiles who have escaped a Babylonian death,
    get out! And fast!
Remember God in your long and distant exile.
    Keep Jerusalem alive in your memory.”

51 How we’ve been humiliated, taunted and abused,
    kicked around for so long that we hardly know who we are!
And we hardly know what to think—
    our old Sanctuary, God’s house, desecrated by strangers.

52-53 “I know, but trust me: The time is coming”
    —God’s Decree—

“When I will bring doom on her no-god idols,
    and all over this land her wounded will groan.
Even if Babylon climbed a ladder to the moon
    and pulled up the ladder so that no one could get to her,
That wouldn’t stop me.
    I’d make sure my avengers would reach her.”
        God’s Decree.

54-56 “But now listen! Do you hear it? A cry out of Babylon!
    An unearthly wail out of Chaldea!
God is taking his wrecking bar to Babylon.
    We’ll be hearing the last of her noise—
Death throes like the crashing of waves,
    death rattles like the roar of cataracts.
The avenging destroyer is about to enter Babylon:
    Her soldiers are taken, her weapons are trashed.
Indeed, God is a God who evens things out.
    All end up with their just deserts.

57 “I’ll get them drunk, the whole lot of them—
    princes, sages, governors, soldiers.
Dead drunk, they’ll sleep—and sleep and sleep . . . 
    and never wake up.” The King’s Decree.
His name? God-of-the-Angel-Armies!

58 God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks:

“The city walls of Babylon—those massive walls!—
    will be flattened.
And those city gates—huge gates!—
    will be set on fire.
The harder you work at this empty life,
    the less you are.
Nothing comes of ambition like this
    but ashes.”

* * *

59 Jeremiah the prophet gave a job to Seraiah son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, when Seraiah went with Zedekiah king of Judah to Babylon. It was in the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. Seraiah was in charge of travel arrangements.

60-62 Jeremiah had written down in a little booklet all the bad things that would come down on Babylon. He told Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, read this out in public. Read, ‘You, O God, said that you would destroy this place so that nothing could live here, neither human nor animal—a wasteland to top all wastelands, an eternal nothing.’

63-64 “When you’ve finished reading the page, tie a stone to it, throw it into the River Euphrates, and watch it sink. Then say, ‘That’s how Babylon will sink to the bottom and stay there after the disaster I’m going to bring upon her.’”

WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?

God assured His people that He hadn’t abandoned them, and He ordered them a second time to get out of Babylon when the opportunity arises. When Cyrus opened the door for them to go home, about fifty thousand Jews returned to Judah to restore Jerusalem and the temple. God was always in control.  God is still in control.  God has never relinquished his control and sovereignty.

Trust God not the circumstances!  Some of God’s people thought it would be safer to stay with their captors!  But if His people remained in Babylon, they would suffer the fate of the city. If they obeyed the Lord and returned home, they would experience a new beginning under the blessing of the Lord.

Do what God says!  Dear Friends, it’s a matter of walking by faith and not by sight, trusting God’s Word instead of our own human evaluation. The exiles saw the high walls and huge gates of the city and concluded that such fortifications would repel any enemy, but they were wrong. Those walls and gates would become only fuel for the flames when the invaders arrived on the scene.

Lord,

May we trust wholly in you and lean on your understanding with obedience—even when hope seems unreachable.  You are our hope, our Rescue, our life eternal.  I love you with all my heart, mind, and soul.  Lead me and I will follow.

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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