How fantastic would it be if we could read minds? Imagine if you could see the exact thoughts running through the brains of your family, neighbors, coworkers and even enemies! Perhaps it would not be such a great thing. It might be convicting, maddening, or massively discouraging. I propose that our behavior would be the main element that triggered people’s thoughts towards us and this would certainly heighten our awareness of consequences.
In 586 B.C., King Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful king in the world. During this time, the city of Riblah (located in Syria) served as a base of operation for the Babylonian King. In Riblah, Nebuchadnezzar watched the execution of the sons of Judah’s King Zedekiah, and all the Jewish nobles. Then he blinded Zedekiah and put him in chains for deportation to Babylon. This was one of the lowest points in the history of Judah.
Nebuzaradan was a Babylonian captain of the guard of Nebuchadnezzar. Under the king’s explicit orders, he released the prophet Jeremiah from his chains. In Jeremiah 40:2,3 we read:
The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, “The LORD your God decreed this disaster on this place, and the LORD has fulfilled it. He has done just what He decreed. Because you people have sinned against the LORD and have not obeyed Him, this thing has happened.
Then Nebuzaradan gave Jeremiah a ration of food and a gift before sending him home.
Does it strike you as amazing that a pagan captain understood and attributed the fall of Judah to their sin? Notice he did not link their defeat to Babylon’s superior military, brilliant strategy, or economic might. He was obviously familiar with the prophecies Jeremiah uttered against his countrymen for their rebelliousness. Furthermore, it appears he ascribed to the validity of God’s sovereign power. He understood why “this thing has happened.”
Is it possible that many of the people who surround us and who do not worship God, actually know more about Him than we think? Could they both believe in His existence and understand why things have happened? Our conduct validates God’s work in our life. Our misconduct can do the same. The former is seen as blessing, the latter as punishment.
Scripture validates that God holds us accountable for our actions and that one day we will stand before His acute judgment. A pagan world understood who Israel was expected to worship and perversely enjoyed her demise. I suspect our pagan world knows the same for most who claim to be Christians. There will always be consequences. The challenge is where we sit on that final day before the King of kings, when this thing has happened!
Lord, may we do what is right because we love You. May our conduct lead people to recognize Your glory. May those who understand what we should do, understand what they should also do so that when this life has happened we all may know Your embrace and hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant!” Amen.
©2010 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)