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destroyed building August 21 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Jeremiah 21, 32, 33, 34

Hope in the Midst of Despair

Imagine that an apartment complex, house, or place of business is condemned. The foundation is not sound. The wiring and plumbing are bad. There are many chinks and cracks in the walls. It is not a safe habitation. For a very long time the owners have not cared for the land or property. In fact it has been turned into a place of prostitution, drug dealing, and cultic practices. The rest of the neighborhood also fell into wickedness, but it has been cleared. Just one building remains. The residents do not want to be evicted. They even hired others to come and stop the destruction. That only helped for a short while. Now the demolition team is coming again. For the long time occupants of that place there is a sense of despair. Tomorrow everything that is familiar to them, the one-time glorious building, will be destroyed. The gas and electricity and plumbing have been turned off. The walls will be knocked down by a crane with its big destruction ball. The building will be burned tomorrow. All that will be left is rubble. Tomorrow all the residents of the building will be taken away to jail. Will this place ever be rebuilt? What about all the rubble; how will it be cleared? Will this people ever return to this spot and prosper again? Is there any hope? This was the situation of the city of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. when Zedekiah was king. Not many of us can relate to this situation, but many of us have experienced despair from being kicked out of school, fired from a job, getting a divorce, or experiencing bankruptcy and repossession of property. Is there any hope for us? This lesson is a message of hope in the midst of despair.

Jerusalem was in despair. She had looked to Egypt for help against the siege of the Babylonians. Though she gave temporary relief, Babylon returned and Egypt offered no more help. Jerusalem’s hope and protection were gone. Is your hope and protection gone? Are you in despair? Look to God.

Zedekiah hated Jeremiah’s message of doom. Jeremiah told him their only hope to stay alive and preserve the city was to surrender to the Babylonians.

It was at this time that God told Jeremiah to do something strange. He told him to purchase a piece of property from his cousin, who would be coming to him. This happened just exactly as God said it would. Why was Jeremiah told to purchase property when the city was doomed to destruction? As most of the things Jeremiah did as a prophet, his purchase of land was a sign from God. Jeremiah 32:36-44 and chapter 33 give us the interpretation of the sign. After God destroyed the land and its people by famine and sword (the results of a Babylonian siege and attack) and plague (possibly disease or a locust invasion as recorded in the book of Joel and referenced in Jeremiah 51:14 and 51:27, God’s anger would subside. Because of his unconditional covenant with Israel, he would restore them to their land. The land was wasted; the real estate worthless, but God promised to restore it in a future day. There would be a partial fulfillment of this after seventy years of exile, and there will be complete fulfillment during the 1,000 year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:4). Once again Israelites will dwell in their own land. Land purchases between relatives in their tribes will be renewed. Jeremiah 33:4-8 says,

For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword in the fight with the Babylonians: “They will be filled with the dead bodies of the men I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness.

‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me,’” (NIV).

The temple would be rebuilt and there would be sacrifices offered on the altar. In a future day (which refers to the millennial reign of Christ), God will renew an everlasting covenant he made with Israel. These are the fulfillments of the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 15;5-21; 17) and the Davidic Covenant (2Samuel 7:16). The people, priests, and leaders of Israel and Judah will be shown compassion. They will once again be one nation. God will give Israel peace and restore her fortunes when she receives a new heart and forgiveness. Christ, the “Righteous Branch” will rule forever as king. Do you need a new heart or renewed favor with God? Genuinely repent of your sins and look to him to save you (more...).

Lessons to live by:

  • What God destroys he is able to rebuild, no matter how unlikely that might seem.
  • To bring hope amidst despair we must first learn lessons from the discipline and punishment we receive. Submitting to it brings more mercy than fighting against it.
  • We can find hope in times of despair if we ask the LORD to be our God. We must look to him for mercy, forgiveness, and grace. Our hearts need to be changed. Only he can restore our souls and our lives (more...).
  • Though your situation may look hopeless, God, who is Almighty, can help you. He can bring help and healing in your situation.

Today’s Bible memory verses: Jeremiah 33:5b-6 “I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness. ‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.’” (NIV)

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