God uses the Chaldeans to Judge Judah

Chaldeans judge

Wednesday 11/03/21 

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – God uses the Chaldeans to Judge Judah

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God uses the Chaldeans to Judge Judah

As I have already told you, multiple prophets overlapped during this time period and we have already missed Isaiah and those prophets who were contemporary with Him, namely Amos, Hosea & Micah.

All of whom prophesied during the reigns of the following four Kings of Judah:

  • Uzziah
  • Jotham
  • Ahaz
  • Hezekiah

So when we are done with Jeremiah we will circle back and pick up these prophets.

For now though, while we are in the book of Jeremiah, we will cover the prophets which are contemporary with him and his ministry, which include:

  • Habakkuk – which corresponds to these chapters we cover tonight. So we will read Habakkuk next week.
  • Obadiah –  which corresponds to Jeremiah 49 which we will read at that time.
  • Zephaniah – whose ministry was during the beginning of Jeremiah’s during the reign of King Josiah (the father of the current king Zedekiah) so we will read that just before Isaiah.

God Honors the little good in Zedekiah

Jeremiah 34:1-22, 

“(1)This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, all his army, all the earthly kingdoms under his control, and all other nations were fighting against Jerusalem and all its surrounding cities:  

(2)  “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 

Go, speak to Zedekiah, king of Judah, and tell him: This is what the LORD says: 

I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down.  (3)  As for you, you will not escape from his hand but are certain to be captured and handed over to him. You will meet the king of Babylon eye to eye and speak face to face; you will go to Babylon.  

(4)  “Yet hear the LORD’s word, Zedekiah, king of Judah. This is what the LORD says concerning you: 

You will not die by the sword;  (5)  you will die peacefully. There will be a burning ceremony for you just like the burning ceremonies for your fathers, the former kings who preceded you. ‘Alas, lord!’ will be the lament for you, for I have spoken this word.” 

This is the LORD’s declaration.  

(6)  So Jeremiah the prophet related all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem  (7)  while the king of Babylon’s army was attacking Jerusalem and all of Judah’s remaining cities–against Lachish and Azekah, for only they were left among Judah’s fortified cities.  

(8)  This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah made a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom to them,  (9)  so each man would free his male and female Hebrew slaves and no one enslave his Judean brother.” 

So you can see that even though King Zedekiah did not respond in humility to all the words of the Lord, he did at least have some good in him, and as a result God honored him.

“(10)  All the officials and people who entered into covenant to free their male and female slaves–in order not to enslave them any longer–obeyed and freed them.”  

The fickle and ungodly hearts of Judah

“(11)  Afterwards, however, they changed their minds and took back their male and female slaves they had freed and forced them to become slaves again.”  

The law of the Lord for brothers serving brothers

“(12)  Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD:  (13)  “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 

I made a covenant with your ancestors when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery, saying:  

(14)  At the end of seven years, each of you must free his Hebrew brother who sold himself to you. He may serve you six years, but then you must send him out free from you. But your ancestors did not obey Me or pay any attention.”  

Obedience quickly followed by rebellion

“(15)  Today you repented and did what pleased Me, each of you proclaiming freedom for his neighbor. You made a covenant before Me at the temple called by My name.  (16)  But you have changed your minds and profaned My name. Each has taken back his male and female slaves who had been freed to go wherever they wanted, and you have again subjugated them to be your slaves.  

(17)  “Therefore, this is what the LORD says: 

You have not obeyed Me by proclaiming freedom, each man for his brother and for his neighbor. I hereby proclaim freedom for you”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“to the sword, to plague, and to famine! I will make you a horror to all the earth’s kingdoms.  

(18)  As for those who disobeyed My covenant, not keeping the terms of the covenant they made before Me, I will treat them like the calf they cut in two in order to pass between its pieces.  

19)  The officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the court officials, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the pieces of the calf  (20)  will be handed over to their enemies, to those who want to take their life. Their corpses will become food for the birds of the sky and for the wild animals of the land.  

(21)  I will hand Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials over to their enemies, to those who want to take their life, to the king of Babylon’s army that is withdrawing.  

(22)  I am about to give the command“–this is the LORD’s declaration–“and I will bring them back to this city. They will fight against it, capture it, and burn it down. I will make Judah’s cities a desolation, without inhabitant.”

Going back a bit in time to JUST before Zedekiah

I gave you all handouts which will help you. You may remember how after the death of the good King Josiah, his son Jehoahaz took his place in about 609BC. His reign didn’t last a year before his brother Jehoiakim replaced him and he reigned for a little over 10 years (until 598BC). Then Jeconiah reigned for one year following that and was replaced by King Zedekiah who we read about the most in the book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 35:1-19, 

“(1) This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of  son of Josiah, king of Judah:  

(2)  “Go to the house of the Rechabites, speak to them, and bring them to one of the chambers of the temple of the LORD to offer them a drink of wine.”  

(3)  So I took Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah, son of Habazziniah, and his brothers and all his sons–the entire house of the Rechabites–  (4)  and I brought them into the temple of the LORD to a chamber occupied by the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, a man of God, who had a chamber near the officials’ chamber, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah son of Shallum the doorkeeper.  

(5)  I set jars filled with wine and some cups before the sons of the house of the Rechabites and said to them, “Drink wine!”  

(6)  But they replied, “We do not drink wine, for Jonadab, son of our ancestor Rechab, commanded: ‘You and your sons must never drink wine.  (7)  You must not build a house or sow seed or plant a vineyard. Those things are not for you. Rather, you must live in tents your whole life, so you may live a long time on the soil where you stay as a resident alien.’  

(8)  We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab, son of our ancestor Rechab, in all he commanded us. So we haven’t drunk wine our whole life–we, our wives, our sons, and our daughters.  

(9)  We also have not built houses to live in and do not have vineyard, field, or seed.  (10)  But we have lived in tents and have obeyed and done as our ancestor Jonadab commanded us.  

(11)  However, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched into the land, we said: Come, let’s go into Jerusalem to get away from the Chaldean and Aramean armies. So we have been living in Jerusalem.”  

(12)  Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:  (13)  “This is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: Go, say to the men of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem: Will you not accept discipline by listening to My words?”–this is the LORD’s declaration.  

(14)  “The words of Jonadab, son of Rechab, have been carried out. He commanded his sons not to drink wine, and they have not drunk to this very day because they have obeyed their ancestor’s command. But I have spoken to you time and time again, and you have not obeyed Me!  

(15)  Time and time again I have sent you all My servants the prophets, proclaiming: 

“Turn, each one from his evil way of life, and correct your actions. Stop following other gods to serve them. Live in the land that I gave you and your ancestors.”

But you would not pay attention or obey Me.  

(16)  Yes, the sons of Jonadab son of Rechab carried out their ancestor’s command he gave them, but these people have not obeyed Me.  

(17)  Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: 

I will certainly bring to Judah and to all the residents of Jerusalem all the disaster I have pronounced against them because I have spoken to them, but they have not obeyed, and I have called to them, but they would not answer.”  

(18)  Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites: “This is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: ‘Because you have obeyed the command of your ancestor Jonadab and have kept all his commands and have done all that he commanded you,  (19)  this is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: 

Jonadab son of Rechab will never fail to have a man to always stand before Me.'”

Jeremiah 36:1-32, 

“(1) In the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD:  

(2)  “Take a scroll, and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah, and all the nations from the time I first spoke to you during Josiah’s reign until today.  

(3)  Perhaps, when the house of Judah hears about all the disaster I am planning to bring on them, each one of them will turn from his evil way. Then I will forgive their wrongdoing and sin.”  

(4)  So Jeremiah summoned Baruch son of Neriah. At Jeremiah’s dictation, Baruch wrote on a scroll all the words the LORD had spoken to Jeremiah.  

(5)  Then Jeremiah commanded Baruch, “I am restricted; I cannot enter the temple of the LORD,  (6)  so you must go and read from the scroll–which you wrote at my dictation–the words of the LORD in the hearing of the people at the temple of the LORD on a day of fasting. You must also read them in the hearing of all the Judeans who are coming from their cities.  (7)  Perhaps their petition will come before the LORD, and each one will turn from his evil way, for the anger and fury that the LORD has pronounced against this people are great.”  

(8)  So Baruch son of Neriah did everything Jeremiah the prophet had commanded him. At the LORD’s temple he read the LORD’s words from the scroll.  

(9)  In the fifth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, all the people of Jerusalem and all those coming in from Judah’s cities into Jerusalem proclaimed a fast before the LORD.  

(10)  Then at the LORD’s temple, in the chamber of Gemariah son of Shaphan the scribe, in the upper courtyard at the opening of the New Gate of the LORD’s temple, in the hearing of all the people, Baruch read Jeremiah’s words from the scroll.  

11)  When Micaiah son of Gemariah, son of Shaphan, heard all the words of the LORD from the scroll,  (12)  he went down to the scribe’s chamber in the king’s palace. 

All the officials were sitting there–Elishama the scribe, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Achbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials.  

(13)  Micaiah reported to them all the words he had heard when Baruch read from the scroll in the hearing of the people.  

(14)  Then all the officials sent word to Baruch through Jehudi son of Nethaniah, son of Shelemiah, son of Cushi, saying, 

“Bring the scroll that you read in the hearing of the people, and come.” 

So Baruch son of Neriah took the scroll and went to them.  

(15)  They said to him, “Sit down and read it in our hearing.” 

So Baruch read it in their hearing.  (16)  When they had heard all the words, they turned to each other in fear and said to Baruch, “We must surely tell the king all these things.”  

(17)  Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us–how did you write all these words? At his dictation?”  

(18)  Baruch said to them, “At his dictation. He recited all these words to me while I was writing on the scroll in ink.”  

(19)  The officials said to Baruch, “You and Jeremiah must hide yourselves and tell no one where you are.”  

(20)  Then they came to the king at the courtyard, having deposited the scroll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and reported everything in the hearing of the king.  

(21)  The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it from the chamber of Elishama the scribe. Jehudi then read it in the hearing of the king and all the officials who were standing by the king.  

(22)  Since it was the ninth month, the king was sitting in his winter quarters with a fire burning in front of him.  (23)  As soon as Jehudi would read three or four columns, Jehoiakim would cut the scroll with a scribe’s knife and throw the columns into the blazing fire until the entire scroll was consumed by the fire in the brazier.  

(24)  As they heard all these words, the king and all of his servants did not become terrified or tear their garments.  (25)  Even though Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah had urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them.  

(26) Then the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD had hidden them.  

(27)  After the king had burned the scroll with the words Baruch had written at Jeremiah’s dictation, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:  

(28)  “Take another scroll, and once again write on it the very words that were on the original scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah burned.  (29)  You are to proclaim concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: This is what the LORD says: You have burned the scroll, saying: 

Why have you written on it: The king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land and cause it to be without man or beast?  

(30)  Therefore, this is what the LORD says concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on David’s throne, and his corpse will be thrown out to be exposed to the heat of day and the frost of night.  (31)  I will punish him, his descendants, and his officers for their wrongdoing. I will bring on them, on the residents of Jerusalem, and on the men of Judah all the disaster, which I warned them about but they did not listen.”  

(32)  Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch son of Neriah, the scribe, and he wrote on it at Jeremiah’s dictation all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim, Judah’s king, had burned in the fire. And many other words like them were added.”

Jeremiah 37:1-21, 

“(1) Zedekiah son of Josiah reigned as king in the land of Judah in place of Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made him king.  

(2)  He and his officers and the people of the land did not obey the words of the LORD that He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet.  (3)  Nevertheless, King Zedekiah sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah and Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, the priest, to Jeremiah the prophet, requesting, 

“Please pray to the LORD our God for us!”  

(4)  Jeremiah was going about his daily tasks among the people, for they had not yet put him into the prison.  

(5)  Pharaoh’s army had left Egypt, and when the Chaldeans, who were besieging Jerusalem, heard the report, they withdrew from Jerusalem.  

(6)  The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet:  

(7)  “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: This is what you will say to Judah’s king, who is sending you to inquire of Me: 

Watch: Pharaoh’s army, which has come out to help you, is going to return to its own land of Egypt.  (8)  The Chaldeans will then return and fight against this city. They will capture it and burn it down.  

(9)  This is what the LORD says: Don’t deceive yourselves by saying: The Chaldeans will leave us for good, for they will not leave.  (10)  Indeed, if you were to strike down the entire Chaldean army that is fighting with you, and there remained among them only the badly wounded men, each in his tent, they would get up and burn this city down.”  

(11)  When the Chaldean army withdrew from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s army,  (12)  Jeremiah started to leave Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin to claim his portion there among the people.  (13)  But when he was at the Benjamin Gate, an officer of the guard was there, whose name was Irijah son of Shelemiah, son of Hananiah, and he apprehended Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are deserting to the Chaldeans.”  

(14)  “That’s a lie,” Jeremiah replied. “I am not deserting to the Chaldeans!” Irijah would not listen to him but apprehended Jeremiah and took him to the officials.  

(15)  The officials were angry at Jeremiah and beat him and placed him in jail in the house of Jonathan the scribe, for it had been made into a prison.  

(16)  So Jeremiah went into a cell in the dungeon and stayed there many days.  

(17)  King Zedekiah later sent for him and received him, and in his house privately asked him, “Is there a word from the LORD?” 

“There is,” Jeremiah responded, and he continued, “You will be handed over to the king of Babylon.”  

(18)  Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “How have I sinned against you or your servants or these people that you have put me in prison?  (19)  Where are your prophets who prophesied to you, claiming, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you and this land’?  

(20)  So now please listen, my lord the king. May my petition come before you. Don’t send me back to the house of Jonathan the scribe, or I will die there.”  

21)  So King Zedekiah gave orders, and Jeremiah was placed in the guard’s courtyard. He was given a loaf of bread each day from the baker’s street until all the bread was gone from the city. So Jeremiah remained in the guard’s courtyard.”

Jeremiah 38:1-28, 

“(1) Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malchijah heard the words Jeremiah was speaking to all the people:  

(2)  “This is what the LORD says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine, and plague, but whoever surrenders to the Chaldeans will live. He will keep his life like the spoils of war and will live.’  

(3)  This is what the LORD says: ‘This city will most certainly be handed over to the king of Babylon’s army, and he will capture it.'”  

(4)  The officials then said to the king, “This man ought to die, because he is weakening the morale of the warriors who remain in this city and of all the people by speaking to them in this way. This man is not seeking the well-being of this people, but disaster.”  

(5)  King Zedekiah said, “Here he is; he’s in your hands since the king can’t do anything against you.”  

(6)  So they took Jeremiah and dropped him into the cistern of Malchiah the king’s son, which was in the guard’s courtyard, lowering Jeremiah with ropes. There was no water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.  (7)  But Ebed-melech, a Cushite court official employed in the king’s palace, heard Jeremiah had been put into the cistern. While the king was sitting at the Benjamin Gate,  (8)  Ebed-melech went from the king’s palace and spoke to the king:  

(9)  “My lord king, these men have been evil in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have dropped him into the cistern where he will die from hunger, because there is no more bread in the city.”  

(10)  So the king commanded Ebed-melech, the Cushite, “Take from here 30 men under your authority and pull Jeremiah the prophet up from the cistern before he dies.”  

(11)  So Ebed-melech took the men under his authority and went to the king’s palace to a place below the storehouse. From there he took old rags and worn-out clothes and lowered them by ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern.  

(12)  Ebed-melech the Cushite cried out to Jeremiah, “Place these old rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.” Jeremiah did so,  (13)  and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern, but he continued to stay in the guard’s courtyard.  

(14)  King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah the prophet and received him at the third entrance of the LORD’s temple. 

The king said to Jeremiah, “I am going to ask you something; don’t hide anything from me.”  

(15)  Jeremiah replied to Zedekiah, “If I tell you, you will kill me, won’t you? Besides, if I give you advice, you won’t listen to me anyway.”  

(16)  King Zedekiah swore to Jeremiah in private, “As the LORD lives, Who has given us this life, I will not kill you or hand you over to these men who want to take your life.”  

(17)  Jeremiah therefore said to Zedekiah, “This is what the LORD, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: 

If indeed you surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then you will live, this city will not be burned down, and you and your household will survive.  (18)  But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city will be handed over to the Chaldeans. They will burn it down, and you yourself will not escape from them.'”  

(19)  But King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am worried about the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans. They may hand me over to them to abuse me.”  

(20)  “They will not hand you over,” Jeremiah replied. “Obey the voice of the LORD in what I am telling you, so it may go well for you and you can live.  (21)  But if you refuse to surrender, this is the verdict that the LORD has shown me:  

(22)  ‘All the women who remain in the palace of Judah’s king will be brought out to the officials of the king of Babylon and will say: Your trusted friends misled you and overcame you. Your feet sank into the mire, and they deserted you.  (23)  All your wives and sons will be brought out to the Chaldeans. You yourself will not escape from them, for you will be seized by the king of Babylon and this city will burn down.'” 

(24)  Then Zedekiah warned Jeremiah, “Don’t let anyone know about these things or you will die.  (25)  If the officials hear that I have spoken with you and come and demand of you, ‘Tell us what you said to the king; don’t hide anything from us and we won’t kill you. Also, what did the king say to you?’  (26)  then you will tell them, 

‘I was bringing before the king my petition that he not return me to the house of Jonathan to die there.'”  

(27)  When all the officials came to Jeremiah and questioned him, he reported the exact words to them the king had commanded, and they quit speaking with him because nothing had been heard.  

(28)  Jeremiah remained in the guard’s courtyard until the day Jerusalem was captured, and he was there when it happened.”

Jeremiah 39:1-18, 

“(1) In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon advanced against Jerusalem with his entire army and laid siege to it.  

(2)  In the fourth month of Zedekiah’s eleventh year, on the ninth day of the month, the city was broken into.  (20 months later)

(3)  All the officials of the king of Babylon entered and sat at the Middle Gate: Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim the Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer the Rab-mag, and all the rest of the officials of Babylon’s king.  

(4)  When he saw them, Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers fled. They left the city at night by way of the king’s garden through the gate between the two walls. They left along the route to the Arabah.  

(5)  However, the Chaldean army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho, arrested him, and brought him to Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon’s king, at Riblah in the land of Hamath. 

The king passed sentence on him there.  

(6)  At Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered Zedekiah’s sons before his eyes, and he also slaughtered all Judah’s nobles.  (7)  Then he blinded Zedekiah and put him in bronze chains to take him to Babylon.  

(8)  The Chaldeans next burned down the king’s palace and the people’s houses and tore down the walls of Jerusalem.  (9)  Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards, deported to Babylon the rest of the people–those who had remained in the city and those deserters who had defected to him along with the rest of the people who had remained.  

(10)  However, Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards, left in the land of Judah some of the poor people who owned nothing, and he gave them vineyards and fields at that time.  

(11)  Speaking through Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon gave orders concerning Jeremiah, saying:  

(12)  “Take him, look after him, and don’t let any harm come to him; do for him whatever he says.”  

(13)  Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, Nebushazban the Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer the Rab-mag, and all the captains of the king of Babylon  (14)  had Jeremiah brought from the guard’s courtyard and turned him over to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, to take him home. 

So he settled among his own people.  

(15)  Now the word of the LORD had come to Jeremiah when he was confined in the guard’s courtyard:  

(16)  “Go tell Ebed-melech the Cushite: This is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: 

I am about to fulfill My words for harm and not for good against this city. They will take place before your eyes on that day.  (17)  But I will rescue you on that day”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“and you will not be handed over to the men you fear.  (18)  Indeed, I will certainly deliver you so that you do not fall by the sword. Because you have trusted in Me, you will keep your life like the spoils of war.” This is the LORD’s declaration.”

Hab. 1:1-17, 

Habakkuk addresses the Lord

“(1) The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.  (2)  How long, LORD, must I call for help and You do not listen, or cry out to You about violence and You do not save?  (3)  Why do You force me to look at injustice? Why do You tolerate wrongdoing? Oppression and violence are right in front of me. Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates.  

(4)  This is why the law is ineffective and justice never emerges. For the wicked restrict the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted.”  

God answers Habakkuk

“(5)  Look at the nations and observe–be utterly astounded! For something is taking place in your days that you will not believe when you hear about it.  

(6)  Look! I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter, impetuous nation that marches across the earth’s open spaces to seize territories not its own.  

(7)  They are fierce and terrifying; their views of justice and sovereignty stem from themselves.  

(8)  Their horses are swifter than leopards and more fierce than wolves of the night. Their horsemen charge ahead; their horsemen come from distant lands. They fly like an eagle, swooping to devour.  

(9)  All of them come to do violence; their faces are set in determination. They gather prisoners like sand.  

(10)  They mock kings, and rulers are a joke to them. They laugh at every fortress and build siege ramps to capture it.  (11)  Then they sweep by like the wind and pass through. They are guilty; their strength is their god.”  

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

“(12)  Are You not from eternity, Yahweh my God? My Holy One, You will not die. LORD, You appointed them to execute judgment; my Rock, You destined them to punish us.  

(13)  Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and You cannot tolerate wrongdoing. So why do You tolerate those who are treacherous? Why are You silent while one who is wicked swallows up one who is more righteous than himself?  

(14)  You have made mankind like the fish of the sea, like marine creatures that have no ruler.  

(15)  The Chaldeans pull them all up with a hook, catch them in their dragnet, and gather them in their fishing net; that is why they are glad and rejoice.  (16)  That is why they sacrifice to their dragnet and burn incense to their fishing net, for by these things their portion is rich and their food plentiful.  (17)  Will they therefore empty their net and continually slaughter nations without mercy?”

Hab. 2:1-20, 

“(1) I will stand at my guard post and station myself on the lookout tower. I will watch to see what He will say to me and what I should reply about my complaint.”

The Lord’s reply to Habakkuk’s second question

“(2)  The LORD answered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it.  (3)  For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. 

Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.  

(4)  Look, his ego is inflated; he is without integrity. But the righteous one will live by his faith.  

(5)  Moreover, wine betrays; an arrogant man is never at rest. He enlarges his appetite like Sheol, and like Death he is never satisfied. He gathers all the nations to himself; he collects all the peoples for himself.”  

God foretells the judgment of the Chaldeans

“(6)  Won’t all of these take up a taunt against him, with mockery and riddles about him? 

They will say: Woe to him who amasses what is not his–how much longer?–and loads himself with goods taken in pledge.  

(7)  Won’t your creditors suddenly arise, and those who disturb you wake up? Then you will become spoil for them.  (8)  Since you have plundered many nations, all the peoples who remain will plunder you–because of human bloodshed and violence against lands, cities, and all who live in them.  

(9)  Woe to him who unjustly gains wealth for his house to place his nest on high, to escape from the reach of disaster!  

(10)  You have planned shame for your house by wiping out many peoples and sinning against your own self.  (11)  For the stones will cry out from the wall, and the rafters will answer them from the woodwork.  

(12)  Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and founds a town with injustice!  

(13)  Is it not from the LORD of Hosts, that the peoples labor only to fuel the fire and countries exhaust themselves for nothing?  

(14)  For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD’s glory, as the waters cover the sea.  

(15)  Woe to him who gives his neighbors drink, pouring out your wrath and even making them drunk, in order to look at their nakedness!  

(16)  You will be filled with disgrace instead of glory. You also–drink, and expose your uncircumcision! 

The cup in the LORD’s right hand will come around to you, and utter disgrace will cover your glory.  (17)  For your violence against Lebanon will overwhelm you; the destruction of animals will terrify you, because of your human bloodshed and violence against lands, cities, and all who live in them.  

(18)  What use is a carved idol after its craftsman carves it? It is only a cast image, a teacher of lies. For the one who crafts its shape trusts in it and makes idols that cannot speak.  

(19)  Woe to him who says to wood: Wake up! 

or to mute stone: Come alive! 

Can it teach? 

Look! It may be plated with gold and silver, yet there is no breath in it at all.  (20)  But the LORD is in His holy temple; let everyone on earth be silent in His presence.”

Habakkuk prays

Hab. 3:1-19,  

“(1) A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. According to Shigionoth.  

(2)  LORD, I have heard the report about You; LORD, I stand in awe of Your deeds. 

Revive Your work in these years; make it known in these years. 

In Your wrath remember mercy!  

(3)  God comes from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. 

His splendor covers the heavens, and the earth is full of His praise.  (4)  His brilliance is like light; rays are flashing from His hand. This is where His power is hidden.  

(5)  Plague goes before Him, and pestilence follows in His steps.  (6)  He stands and shakes the earth; He looks and startles the nations. The age-old mountains break apart; the ancient hills sink down. His pathways are ancient.  

(7)  I see the tents of Cushan in distress; the tent curtains of the land of Midian tremble.  

(8)  Are You angry at the rivers, LORD? Is Your wrath against the rivers? Or is Your rage against the sea when You ride on Your horses, Your victorious chariot? 

(9)  You took the sheath from Your bow; the arrows are ready to be used with an oath. Selah. 

You split the earth with rivers.  (10)  The mountains see You and shudder; a downpour of water sweeps by. 

The deep roars with its voice and lifts its waves high.  

(11)  Sun and moon stand still in their lofty residence, at the flash of Your flying arrows, at the brightness of Your shining spear.  

(12)  You march across the earth with indignation; You trample down the nations in wrath.  (13)  You come out to save Your people, to save Your anointed. 

You crush the leader of the house of the wicked and strip him from foot to neck. Selah.  

(14)  You pierce his head with his own spears; his warriors storm out to scatter us, gloating as if ready to secretly devour the weak.  

(15)  You tread the sea with Your horses, stirring up the great waters.  (16)  I heard, and I trembled within; my lips quivered at the sound. Rottenness entered my bones; I trembled where I stood. 

Now I must quietly wait for the day of distress to come against the people invading us.  

(17)  Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,  (18)  yet I will triumph in the LORD; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!  

(19)  Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights! 

For the choir director: on stringed instruments.”

Blessings!

Spirit of the Age

~Michael Card

Lyrics

I thought that I heard crying coming through my door

Was it Rachel weeping for her sons who were no more

Could it have been the babies crying for themselves

Never understanding that they died for someone else

A voice is heard of weeping and of wailing

History speaks of it on every page

Of innocent and helpless little babies

Offerings to the spirit of the age

No way of understanding this sad and painful sign

Whenever Satan rears his head, there comes a tragic time

If He could crush the cradle, then that would stop the cross

He knew that once the Light was born, his every hope was lost

A voice is heard of weeping and of wailing

History speaks of it on every page

Of innocent and helpless little babies

Offerings to the spirit of the age

Now every age has heard it, this voice that speaks from Hell

Sacrifice your children and for you it will be well

The subtle serpent’s lying, his dark and ruthless rage

Behold, it is revealed to be the spirit of the age

A voice is heard of weeping and of wailing

History speaks of it on every page

Of innocent and helpless little babies

Offerings to the spirit of the age

Soon all the ones who seemed to die for nothing

Will stand beside the ancient of days

With joy we’ll see that Infant from a manger

Come and crush the spirit of the age

We’ll see Him crush the spirit of the age

Blessings!

 

I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. If you do not know Him, please use our ‘Contact Us‘ page and reach out so we may have the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will be mentioned.

If you have been spiritually fed by this ministry and wish to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but all outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!

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