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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - August 27, 2007
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August 27, 2007

Jeremiah 51-52
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Jeremiah
Chapter 51
  1. Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind;
  2. And will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about.
  3. Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine: and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host.
  4. Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in her streets.
  5. For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.
  6. Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD'S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence.
  7. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.
  8. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.
  9. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.
  10. The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.
  11. Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple.
  12. Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the LORD hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon.
  13. O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.
  14. The LORD of hosts hath sworn by himself, saying, Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillers; and they shall lift up a shout against thee.
  15. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.
  16. When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
  17. Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.
  18. They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.
  19. The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the LORD of hosts is his name.
  20. Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;
  21. And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider;
  22. With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid;
  23. I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers.
  24. And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD.
  25. Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.
  26. And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the LORD.
  27. Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillers.
  28. Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominion.
  29. And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.
  30. The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken.
  31. One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end,
  32. And that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted.
  33. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come.
  34. Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.
  35. The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say.
  36. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.
  37. And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.
  38. They shall roar together like lions: they shall yell as lions' whelps.
  39. In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD.
  40. I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with he goats.
  41. How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!
  42. The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof.
  43. Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.
  44. And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up: and the nations shall not flow together any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.
  45. My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.
  46. And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land; a rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.
  47. Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.
  48. Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the LORD.
  49. As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth.
  50. Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.
  51. We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD'S house.
  52. Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and through all her land the wounded shall groan.
  53. Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the LORD.
  54. A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon, and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans:
  55. Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered:
  56. Because the spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the LORD God of recompences shall surely requite.
  57. And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.
  58. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.
  59. The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And this Seraiah was a quiet prince.
  60. So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon.
  61. And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt read all these words;
  62. Then shalt thou say, O LORD, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever.
  63. And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates:
  64. And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.


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Jeremiah
Chapter 52
  1. Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
  2. And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
  3. For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
  4. And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about.
  5. So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
  6. And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land.
  7. Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king's garden; (now the Chaldeans were by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain.
  8. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him.
  9. Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him.
  10. And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah.
  11. Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.
  12. Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem,
  13. And burned the house of the LORD, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire:
  14. And all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about.
  15. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive certain of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude.
  16. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.
  17. Also the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon.
  18. The caldrons also, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the bowls, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.
  19. And the basons, and the firepans, and the bowls, and the caldrons, and the candlesticks, and the spoons, and the cups; that which was of gold in gold, and that which was of silver in silver, took the captain of the guard away.
  20. The two pillars, one sea, and twelve brasen bulls that were under the bases, which king Solomon had made in the house of the LORD: the brass of all these vessels was without weight.
  21. And concerning the pillars, the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits; and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it; and the thickness thereof was four fingers: it was hollow.
  22. And a chapiter of brass was upon it; and the height of one chapiter was five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the chapiters round about, all of brass. The second pillar also and the pomegranates were like unto these.
  23. And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about.
  24. And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:
  25. He took also out of the city an eunuch, which had the charge of the men of war; and seven men of them that were near the king's person, which were found in the city; and the principal scribe of the host, who mustered the people of the land; and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city.
  26. So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah.
  27. And the king of Babylon smote them, and put them to death in Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive out of his own land.
  28. This is the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty:
  29. In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons:
  30. In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred.
  31. And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evil-merodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,
  32. And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon,
  33. And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life.
  34. And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.


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 As I read chapter 52 of Jeremiah's prophecy, one thought kept running through my mind. The thought was this: I wonder if King Zedekiah thought that it was worth it? Zedekiah had opportunities to repent and follow the Lord, but he had chosen not to take them. Once it was too late to completely avoid God's wrath, he still had the chance to obey and see his punishment somewhat diminished. However, he rejected that offer as well. He was content to serve himself and trust himself and enjoy all the fine things that were available to a man of his stature. Then one day, it all came crashing down around him. The entire army of Babylon marched against Jerusalem and laid siege. For nearly one and a half years very little food came into the city. Finally it got to the point where there was no bread at all for the people to eat. The Jewish soldiers fled, along with the king. They were overtaken, and Zedekiah was captured and separated from his men. The one who had wanted to trust in himself instead of in God was now was forced to try to handle his problem all by himself. He was taken away, and the man who rejected the Lord's judgment was forced to accept the judgment of the heathen. His own sons were brought before him, and then cruelly executed in his presence. His eyes were blinded, he was carried away to Babylon in chains, and he was cast into prison, where he remained until his death. As these horrific events were transpiring in his life, do you think he thought to himself, "Well, this is unfortunate, but considering all the fun I had as king, I guess it is worth it."? Do you think he and his sons reminded each other of the "good old days" of sin right before they were murdered? Do you think he willingly surrendered his eyesight because of all the sensual things that he had witnessed previously? Was his prison chamber made somewhat more cheery by his thoughts of palace life? I doubt it. My guess would be that he screamed out to God to save his boys, but it was too late. He probably tried to make a deal with the Lord. Perhaps he told the Lord all about how sinful he had been, and how sorry he was that he had behaved in such a sinful fashion. Maybe he promised that he would never do it again, but it was too late. I can't prove this, but my guess would be that in those moments of anguish, followed by years of imprisonment, Zedekiah probably thought to himself, "If I had it to do all over again, I would have listened to God".

 Sometimes we need to step back and ask ourselves whether or not the pleasure and prosperity that we will receive from our involvement in a certain sinful activity is worth the price that we will have to pay for it. Humans, even saved ones, tend not to think about the long range consequences of their actions. They want immediate gratification, and they figure that they will worry about the repercussions of their behavior when they come around. However, when their spiritual payday comes, the price is heavier than what they expected. Like the man who is way over his head in debt who looks around and asks himself where the money went, so the sinner looks around and asks why he wasted his life on transgressions. Most smokers who are suffering from lung cancer wish that they had never started smoking. The drunk who has lost his health, his family, and his money wishes that he had never taken the first drink. The adulterer who has lost his spouse and his children wishes that he had never taken the first lustful look. The man who sits in jail for armed robbery wishes that he had never started to hang around with the guys who ultimately encouraged him to commit the crime. But by then, it's too late.

 Think about what you are, and what you're doing. Consider where this type of behavior is going to take you, your family, and others that you love. Remember that God's payday is coming, and ask yourself if it is worth receiving the judgment of God so that you can live this way. According to the Word of God, it isn't.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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