If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 1 Samuel 9, Romans 7, Jeremiah 46, Psalm 22. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Jeremiah 46.
Here in Jeremiah 46, the prophet spoke to Egypt. Although Egypt was preparing its army to take on mighty Nebuchadnezzar and the Assyrians (vv. 1-4), Jeremiah prophesied defeat for them (vv. 5-12). In case they did not get the message, Jeremiah repeated the prophecy of Egypt’s defeat in verses 13-24.
Ordinarily, God’s prophets spoke to God’s people. This prophecy delivered to Egypt about their own demise is unusual in the Old Testament. What was the Lord’s purpose in this? First, it was to demonstrate that Israel’s defeat was not God’s defeat. Verse 10 and verses 25-26 make clear that Egypt’s coming defeat was his judgment on the Egyptians for their false worship of “Amon god of Thebes” (v. 25). Although Nebuchadnezzar was the instrument of God’s judgment on Israel and on Egypt, that did not mean that Israel’s God was inferior to the god of Assyria or that he was inferior to the god of Egypt. Rather, the passage ends by promising to Israel a restoration of their nation in due time (vv. 27-28). The purpose, then, was to call God’s people to renewed faith in him and to give those who did have faith in him some tangible evidence of his power to keep his promises. When the faithful few saw God defeat the mighty Egyptians as he had prophesied in this passage, they would have fresh evidence both of God’s power and of his knowledge of the future. This would encourage them to keep trusting the Lord until his promises in verses 27-28 were fulfilled.
Here in America, it feels like we Christians are on the run, doesn’t it? It seems as if we are losing one battle after another—the culture wars, the legal battles, and even respectability in the public square. It would be easy to look at the decline of Christianity and wonder if the scriptures are true and if God’s promises to us are sure. Passages like this one show us that the Lord acts in ways that we don’t always understand, so we should hold fast to him and his promises and wait for him to fulfill his word in his time.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.