This is Episode #231 and today we’ll read Jeremiah 26-29 together. For I know the plans I have for you…plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #231 and today we’ll read Jeremiah 26-29 together. For I know the plans I have for you…plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Jeremiah Chapter 26
Jeremiah’s Speech in the Temple
At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from the Lord: “This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple and speak all the words I have commanded you to speak to all Judah’s cities that are coming to worship there. Do not hold back a word. Perhaps they will listen and turn — each from his evil way of life — so that I might relent concerning the disaster that I plan to do to them because of the evil of their deeds.
“You are to say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you do not listen to me by living according to my instruction that I set before you and by listening to the words of my servants the prophets — whom I have been sending to you time and time again, though you did not listen — I will make this temple like Shiloh. I will make this city an example for cursing for all the nations of the earth.’”
The priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the temple of the Lord. When he finished the address the Lord had commanded him to deliver to all the people, immediately the priests, the prophets, and all the people took hold of him, yelling, “You must surely die! How dare you prophesy in the name of the Lord, ‘This temple will become like Shiloh and this city will become an uninhabited ruin’!” Then all the people crowded around Jeremiah at the Lord’s temple.
When the officials of Judah heard about these things, they went from the king’s palace to the Lord’s temple and sat at the entrance of the New Gate of the Lord’s temple. Then the priests and prophets said to the officials and all the people, “This man deserves the death sentence because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.”
Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people, “The Lord sent me to prophesy all the words that you have heard against this temple and city. So now, correct your ways and deeds, and obey the Lord your God so that he might relent concerning the disaster he had pronounced against you. As for me, here I am in your hands; do to me what you think is good and right. But know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood on yourselves, on this city, and on its residents, for it is certain the Lord has sent me to speak all these things directly to you.”
Then the officials and all the people told the priests and prophets, “This man doesn’t deserve the death sentence, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God!”
Some of the elders of the land stood up and said to all the assembled people, “Micah the Moreshite prophesied in the days of King Hezekiah of Judah and said to all the people of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord of Armies says:
Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become ruins,
and the temple’s mountain will be a high thicket.’
Did King Hezekiah of Judah and all the people of Judah put him to death? Did not the king fear the Lord and plead for the Lord’s favor, and did not the Lord relent concerning the disaster he had pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!”
The Prophet Uriah
Another man was also prophesying in the name of the Lord — Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim. He prophesied against this city and against this land in words like all those of Jeremiah. King Jehoiakim, all his warriors, and all the officials heard his words, and the king tried to put him to death. When Uriah heard, he fled in fear and went to Egypt. But King Jehoiakim sent men to Egypt: Elnathan son of Achbor and certain other men with him went to Egypt. They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who executed him with the sword and threw his corpse into the burial place of the common people.
But Ahikam son of Shaphan supported Jeremiah, so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.
Jeremiah Chapter 27
The Yoke of Babylon
At the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: This is what the Lord said to me: “Make chains and yoke bars for yourself and put them on your neck. Send word to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the Ammonites, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon through messengers who are coming to King Zedekiah of Judah in Jerusalem. Command them to go to their masters, saying, ‘This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says:
‘Tell this to your masters: “By my great strength and outstretched arm, I made the earth, and the people, and animals on the face of the earth. I give it to anyone I please. So now I have placed all these lands under the authority of my servant Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. I have even given him the wild animals to serve him. All nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until the time for his own land comes, and then many nations and great kings will enslave him.
They Are Prophesying a Lie
“‘“As for the nation or kingdom that does not serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and does not place its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation I will punish by sword, famine, and plague — this is the Lord’s declaration — until through him I have destroyed it. So you should not listen to your prophets, diviners, dreamers, fortune-tellers, or sorcerers who say to you, ‘Don’t serve the king of Babylon!’ They are prophesying a lie to you so that you will be removed from your land. I will banish you, and you will perish. But as for the nation that will put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will leave it in its own land, and that nation will cultivate it and reside in it. This is the Lord’s declaration.”’”
Warning to Zedekiah
I spoke to King Zedekiah of Judah in the same way: “Put your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, serve him and his people, and live! Why should you and your people die by the sword, famine, and plague as the Lord has threatened against any nation that does not serve the king of Babylon? Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are telling you, ‘Don’t serve the king of Babylon,’ for they are prophesying a lie to you. ‘I have not sent them’ — this is the Lord’s declaration — ‘and they are prophesying falsely in my name; therefore, I will banish you, and you will perish — you and the prophets who are prophesying to you.’”
Then I spoke to the priests and all these people, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not listen to the words of your prophets. They are prophesying to you, claiming, “Look, very soon now the articles of the Lord’s temple will be brought back from Babylon.”
Do Not Listen to Them
‘They are prophesying a lie to you. Do not listen to them. Serve the king of Babylon and live! Why should this city become a ruin? If they are indeed prophets and if the word of the Lord is with them, let them intercede with the Lord of Armies not to let the articles that remain in the Lord’s temple, in the palace of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem go to Babylon.’ For this is what the Lord of Armies says about the pillars, the basin, the water carts, and the rest of the articles that still remain in this city, those King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon did not take when he deported Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, from Jerusalem to Babylon along with all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem.
‘Yes, this is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says about the articles that remain in the temple of the Lord, in the palace of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem: ‘They will be taken to Babylon and will remain there until I attend to them again.’ This is the Lord’s declaration. ‘Then I will bring them up and restore them to this place.’”
Jeremiah Chapter 28
Hananiah’s False Prophecy
In that same year, at the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur from Gibeon said to me in the temple of the Lord in the presence of the priests and all the people, “This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two years I will restore to this place all the articles of the Lord’s temple that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took from here and transported to Babylon. And I will restore to this place Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon’ — this is the Lord’s declaration — ‘for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.’”
Jeremiah’s Response to Hananiah
The prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the temple of the Lord. The prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do that. May the Lord make the words you have prophesied come true and may he restore the articles of the Lord’s temple and all the exiles from Babylon to this place! Only listen to this message I am speaking in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, disaster, and plague against many lands and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace — only when the word of the prophet comes true will the prophet be recognized as one the Lord has truly sent.”
Hananiah Breaks Jeremiah’s Yoke
The prophet Hananiah then took the yoke bar from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and broke it. In the presence of all the people Hananiah proclaimed, “This is what the Lord says: ‘In this way, within two years I will break the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon from the neck of all the nations.’” The prophet Jeremiah then went on his way.
The Lord’s Word against Hananiah
After the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke bar from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Go say to Hananiah, ‘This is what the Lord says: You broke a wooden yoke bar, but in its place you will make an iron yoke bar. For this is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: I have put an iron yoke on the neck of all these nations that they might serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and they will serve him. I have even put the wild animals under him.’”
The prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord did not send you, but you have led these people to trust in a lie. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to send you off the face of the earth. You will die this year because you have preached rebellion against the Lord.’” And the prophet Hananiah died that year in the seventh month.
Jeremiah Chapter 29
Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles
This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining exiled elders, the priests, the prophets, and all the people Nebuchadnezzar had deported from Jerusalem to Babylon. This was after King Jeconiah, the queen mother, the court officials, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metalsmiths had left Jerusalem. He sent the letter with Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The letter stated:
This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their produce. Find wives for yourselves, and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease. Pursue the well-being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it thrives, you will thrive.”
For this is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Don’t let your prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you, and don’t listen to the dreams you elicit from them, for they are prophesying falsely to you in my name. I have not sent them.” This is the Lord’s declaration.
When Seventy Year Are Complete
For this is what the Lord says: “When seventy years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm my promise concerning you to restore you to this place. For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you” — this is the Lord’s declaration. “I will restore you to the place from which I deported you.”
You have said, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon!” But this is what the Lord says concerning the king sitting on David’s throne and concerning all the people living in this city — that is, concerning your brothers who did not go with you into exile.
We Have Committed an Outrage
‘This is what the Lord of Armies says: “I am about to send sword, famine, and plague against them, and I will make them like rotten figs that are inedible because they are so bad. I will pursue them with sword, famine, and plague. I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth — a curse and a desolation, an object of scorn and a disgrace among all the nations where I have banished them. I will do this because they have not listened to my words” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “the words that I sent to them with my servants the prophets time and time again. And you too have not listened.” This is the Lord’s declaration.
Hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon. This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says about Ahab son of Kolaiah and concerning Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, the ones prophesying a lie to you in my name:
“I am about to hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and he will kill them before your very eyes. Based on what happens to them, all the exiles of Judah who are in Babylon will create a curse that says, ‘May the Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire! ’ because they have committed an outrage in Israel by committing adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have spoken in my name a lie, which I did not command them. I am he who knows, and I am a witness.” This is the Lord’s declaration.
The Exile Will be Long
To Shemaiah the Nehelamite you are to say, “This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: You in your own name have sent out letters to all the people of Jerusalem, to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, and to all the priests, saying, ‘The Lord has appointed you priest in place of the priest Jehoiada to be the chief officer in the temple of the Lord, responsible for every madman who acts like a prophet. You must confine him in the stocks and an iron collar. So now, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who has been acting like a prophet among you? For he has sent word to us in Babylon, claiming, “The exile will be long. Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat their produce.”’”
The priest Zephaniah read this letter in the hearing of the prophet Jeremiah.
A Message about Shemaiah
Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Send a message to all the exiles, saying, ‘This is what the Lord says concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite. Because Shemaiah prophesied to you, though I did not send him, and made you trust a lie, this is what the Lord says: I am about to punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants. There will not be even one of his descendants living among these people, nor will any ever see the good that I will bring to my people — this is the Lord’s declaration — for he has preached rebellion against the Lord.’”
Chapter 29 holds one of the most beloved promises in the entire Bible. That’s Jeremiah 29:11. For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Honestly, I like it even better in the NIV – that’s the New International Version – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I know, I know…this verse is printed on every dust collector from every Christian bookstore known to man. But you have to admit…there is power in this promise. I feel protected and secure when I read it. It really does give me hope because the God of the Universe said it and He can see my tomorrow and my next year and the rest of my life. It’s even more textured now that we’ve read the context. He was really angry with the Israelites…and for good reason! But we can truly see here how He cannot deny Who He is. He cannot deny Himself as 2 Timothy 2:13 tells us. Paul writes, if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself. He is compassionate and merciful both now and forever.
I hope you – wait, let’s both meditate all day today on this awesome vow made by the Lord to us. Let’s pour compassion and mercy into those around us today. Let’s give grace when we’re tempted to retaliate. We have nothing to lose. God is for us to the end.
See You Tomorrow!
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will be changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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