Devotional Thoughts for Today
The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations. 2 About Egypt. Concerning the army of Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates at Carchemish and which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: 3 “Prepare buckler and shield, and advance for battle! 4 Harness the horses; mount, O horsemen! Take your stations with your helmets, polish your spears, put on your armor 5 Why have I seen it? They are dismayed and have turned backward. Their warriors are beaten down and have fled in haste; they look not back—terror on every side!” declares the Lord. 6 “The swift cannot flee away, nor the warrior escape; in the north by the river Euphrates they have stumbled and fallen.”
In today’s passage, we see the Egyptian empire fighting for its life as they prepare themselves for war against the up and coming Babylonian army. Verses 3-4 illustrate in vivid language the Egyptian’s frenzied preparations for battle. You can almost feel the army’s desperate attempt to muster up as much energy as possible in order to defeat the oncoming threat of the Babylonians. However, immediately in verses 5-6, we see that all their strategizing was for naught. They were surrounded by “terror on every side” and could not escape from the clutches of the enemy. They were doomed to destruction.
It is an interesting passage, to the say the least. Prophets like Jeremiah were commissioned to speak on behalf of God specifically to Israel. However, we see Jeremiah also proclaiming judgment and predicting the fate of foreign super powers. What passages like this were meant to do was to show that God was not just God of Israel but the supreme ruler of the entire world—that it was not the powerful empires like the Egyptians who controlled history, but it was God Himself. No matter how much they tried to survive, we see God using the Babylonians as an instrument to destroy them. They were merely at the mercy of God’s plans.
Simply put, God is the Author of history. We might feel as though that powerful people control the fate of the world, and there is not much we can do to change its course to something more hopeful. But we see in this passage that God is in control. As I read through the news, and see all the evil and injustice that runs rampant, this passage—in some strange way—gives me comfort. In many ways, it feels as though the world has gone mad, divided as ever, but we know that God is sovereign, and that there is purpose to the chaos we experience in the world. Although it is so easy to feel hopeless in the face of the evil, let us as Christians find hope in the God who is the true Author of history! Let us, as believers, pray for the world to be healed in all of its brokenness, in spite of all the terrible things we’ve witnessed.
Prayer: Father, in the midst of the problems I see in the world, it is so easy to become hopeless and give up being the light to a broken world. Help me to find hope in the truth that You are in control, and that Your plan of redemption will ultimately prevail over all things. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Kings 22
Lunch Break Study
Read Colossians 1:15-20
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Questions to Consider
- How and why were things in heaven and earth created?
- What are the two main roles we see attributed to Jesus in this passage?
- How might this passage comfort you?
- All things were created by Christ and they were all created for Him. What this implies is that Jesus is in control of everything—from the point of creation, to their ultimate purpose. He is the Author of all things. However, not only has He created and given them their ultimate purpose, He is the one that sustains all things.
- The first half of the passage (vv.15-17), we see Christ as the Creator. The second half of the passage (vv.18-20), we see Him as the Reconciler, who makes peace by His work on the cross.
- Personal response.
“New creation itself has begun, they are saying, and will be completed. Jesus is ruling over that new creation and making it happen through the witness of his church. ‘The ruler of this world’ has been overthrown; the powers of the world have been led behind Jesus’s triumphal procession as a beaten, bedraggled rabble. And that is how God is becoming king on earth as in heaven. That is the truth the gospels are eager to tell us.”— N.T. Wright