No Fear God is Near
No Fear God is Near
Lamentations 3:1-9 ESV
Jeremiah 32:9 (God told Jeremiah to buy a field in Israel while they were under siege)
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
Jeremiah 31:4 ESV
Lamentations 3:57-58 ESV
When I first studied the Babylonian Exile in Seminary I’m not sure that period of time made a lot of sense. We went over it very quickly in class. You have to understand in an Old Testament class you study the entire Old Testament. It seems like there were two semesters, but even so…it’s the entire Old Testament!
Post Seminary I was able to take time to go back and study sections of text that had overwhelmed me.
The Babylonian Exile was on my re-study list. Part of the review included which prophets were sent into exile and which Old Testament books contained information regarding the exile. There are sections in Jeremiah, the end of 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Lamentations. THAT is a lot of territory!
For our purposes today we are going to look at sections of Lamentations 3 and prophecies God gave to the Prophet Jeremiah.
The book of Lamentations comprises 5 acrostic poems in Hebrew. It was the “lament” of the Prophet Jeremiah when Jerusalem was destroyed and the temple was burned.
In Lamentations 3:1-9, Jeremiah wrote:
“I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light;
surely against me he turns his hand
again and again the whole day long.
He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;
he has broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead of long ago.
He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
he has made my chains heavy;
though I call and cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer;
he has blocked my ways with blocks of stones;
he has made my paths crooked.”
Two key themes in Lamentations are the sin of Israel not listening to God and justice. The strong men were taken into exile in 586 B.C. and they started to return after 538 B.C.
While Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet, he also brought great hope to Israel regarding the promise of their return.
When Jerusalem was under siege and Jeremiah was in prison for telling Jerusalem they would fall to the Chaldeans, God told Jeremiah to buy land in Anathoth, 3 miles from Jerusalem.(https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-9-man-who-bought-property-war-zone-jeremiah-321-25)Seriously?
This was a war zone. Who buys property in a war zone? But, that’s exactly what God instructed Jeremiah to do.
Jeremiah bought the land and retained the deed of sale believing that Israel would return. In Jeremiah 32:14 we read, “ ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware vessel, that they may last for a long time. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.’”
Jeremiah knew all along that Israel would return home. Many years later the men of Israel were allowed to return, and Jeremiah’s family owned that land. While there is no official record, it is thought that the prophet Jeremiah died around 570 B.C.
In Jeremiah 29:11 God reminded Israel and the prophet Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God promised His people a future in their homeland.
In Jeremiah 31:4 the prophet wrote, “Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.”
The Persians conquered the Babylonians around 538 B.C. and Cyrus the Great allowed the Israelites to return to their homeland to rebuild. Israel did return home and with the help of Cyrus the Great they did rebuild as God promised.
God wanted Jeremiah and Israel to have No Fear because God is Near!
In Lamentations 3:57-58, Jeremiah wrote, “You came near when I called on you; you said, ‘Do not fear!’ “You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life.”
Once a very wise person told me that we can often not see or hear God when times are really tough because God is silent and is holding onto us ever so tightly.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Silence of God
When we need to remember God is near, be silent and listen for the powerful silence of God.
In God, Deborah