Week 5: Lessons from the Prophets Cont’d
Day 2 – Jeremiah and the Fatherless: Jeremiah 49:11
The prophet Jeremiah began his ministry during the reign of Josiah, King of Judah. Josiah was the great-grandson of Hezekiah. By the time Josiah came into power at the age of eight Judah’s spiritual state had sunk even further than what Hezekiah had faced. The son of Hezekiah, Manasseh, was a wicked man. The Bible tells us in several places that he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood from one end to the other. He led the people further and further into idolatry until, finally, God allowed him to be taken away into captivity. There he repented and God allowed him to be returned to Judah. He began to make reforms, tore down idols and groves, but when his son Amon came into power after him, he led the people right back into their idolatry. Amon didn’t last long. He only reigned for two years before he was assassinated. The people of Judah rose up and killed the men who had killed Amon and made his eight year-old son, Josiah, king in his place.
During the first few years of his reign things seem to have continued on as they had been, but in the eighth year of his reign, at the age of sixteen, Josiah began to seek after the Lord. As he began to make reforms in the country a copy of the Law was brought and read before him. He understood that because of the actions of Judah they deserved to be brought under the judgment of God. He went with the leaders of the country to a prophetess and inquired of the Lord. Because of Josiah’s tender heart and desire to turn the people back to the Lord, God promised to withhold judgment during his day. Judgment, however,would come because of the sins of Mannaseh. Josiah then set about some of the most dramatic reforms you will read about in the Scriptures. He tore down the groves, broke the idols and the altars and burned them all along with the bones of some of the false prophets. So great were the changes made under his reign and the certainty of what would follow his death that II Chronicles 33 tells us that Jeremiah lamented Josiah’s death.
The days that followed were days of return to idolatry, they were days of war and treachery, days of the judgment of the Almighty God. Eventually, they led to the destruction of the temple and the captivity of God’s people. Jeremiah’s ministry fell in a sad time and he felt that sorrow keenly. He isn’t called the “weeping prophet” for nothing. The book of Jeremiah covers not only God’s judgment toward Judah, but also toward some of the surrounding nations. In Jeremiah 49:11 the fatherless come into His warning to Edom.
“Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me.”
Edom was about to become a “desolation”. Not much would be left,especially of the men it would seem. In one sense God was saying, “Your fatherless and your widows need to be left in my hand and need to trust in me,because there will be no one else left for them to depend upon for help.” He was also reaffirming that they could trust in Him. The word here translated as “trust” means to “Hie (run to) for refuge” (Strong’s). This is the kind of shelter that the fatherless and the widow have in our God, they can run to Him and be safe.
But how will they run to Him, if they do not know that He is there waiting for them to come?
“How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent?” –Romans 10:14,15a
Will you be that one? And if not you, will you help enable others to be sent?
Up Next: Day 3: Jeremiah and the Fatherless cont’d
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