Tag Archives: Jeremiah 50

Once in a While, I’ve Gotta Stop Looking at my Feet

“Announce and proclaim among the nations,
    lift up a banner and proclaim it;
    keep nothing back, but say,
‘Babylon will be captured;”
Jeremiah 50:2a (NIV)

Just yesterday I read an article about living in the later stretches of life’s journey. A few years ago I would have simply passed that article by. All of a sudden, it seems more relevant.

When I was a young man, I remember our (somewhat) annual family gatherings at the lake. I would never have imagined during that stage of the journey that my folks would buy a place here, that I would eventually own it, and what life would be like spending chunks of each summer living, working, and hosting family and friends here. In those days, I was just trying to get through each day and living week-by-week. I gave little thought to anything beyond the stretch of the journey I was in at that moment. My eyes were focused on my feet as I put one foot in front of the other.

Today’s chapter of Jeremiah’s prophetic anthology is a fascinating. For most of the 50 chapters through which we’ve waded, the nation of Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar have been prophetically revealed as “God’s servant” gobbling up both Judah and the surrounding nations. Now, Jeremiah’s vision extends further down life’s road when Babylon will be defeated and suffer the same treatment they’ve dished out for years. At that time, the remnant of God’s people will return to their land. Jeremiah looks beyond the next chapter of the story to the subsequent chapters and the events in the plot line.

As a young man I had experienced relatively little of Life’s journey. Without the perspective that comes from experience, I found myself myopically focused on the day-to-day and the next milestone in view. The further I progressed and experienced more and more distinct stages of life, the more capable I’ve become at looking ahead. I can see past today. I can look past the next milestone. I can begin to envision that there’s not only a new chapter of life after this one, but also another one after that, and one after that. It doesn’t mean that I worry about the future, mind you. As Jesus reminded us in yesterday’s post, those tomorrows will take care of themselves. It is what it is. What will be will be. It does, however, give my today some much needed perspective.

This morning I’m reminded of a few specific stages of Life’s road that I thought would never end. There have been stages which required so much thought, energy, emotional, and spiritual resources that I couldn’t see beyond them. I can imagine that those taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar and hauled off to Babylon felt that way in the midst of their exile. But Jeremiah’s message in today’s chapter stood as a reminder that there’s more to the story. Past this chapter of the story is another chapter, and then another, and another.

I can’t always see what lies ahead on Life’s road, but I’ve learned that it’s wise to stop looking at my feet from time to time. One in a while I need to look up, look out, and search the horizon. I can’t see clearly what’s coming, but I need the reminder that there’s more to the story. I will get there.

As for today? Press on.

Chapter-a-Day Jeremiah 50

Adam and Eve Leave Eden
Image by cliff1066™ via Flickr

“Do you get it, Mister Pride? I’m your enemy!”
   Decree of the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
Jeremiah 50:31a (MSG)

When I am given the opportunity to preach or teach, I always try to boil my message down into one sentence or statement. I ask myself “What’s the one thing I’m trying to say?” and try to state it clearly. Then, as I fill in the outline of my message, I continue to ask myself if my outline, my illustrations, and my content bring clarity to my one theme or distract from it.

Maybe that’s why I find myself looking for this main point when I read chapters like the one today. It’s a long, rambling prophetic message and it’s easy to get lost in the sheer length and redundancy of it. So, my eyes and my heart start looking for the real message beneath the text. What’s the main point God’s wants me to take away from this?

Today, I found it in the verse above. God’s beef with Babylon is really pride (read the first five chapters of Daniel for more detail). God and pride are enemies. Pride led to Lucifer’s fall. Pride led to Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Pride, the inordinate opinion of my own dignity, importance, and merit, has led to countless stupid choices and painful experiences.

Today, I’m asking God to teach me humility in greater measure.

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