December 21: Expenses
Jeremiah 39:1–41:18; Romans 9:13–29; Proverbs 24:1–22
It’s important to pause occasionally to reflect on the cost of sin. If we don’t, we can find ourselves living in it without thought of the ramifications. Few passages illustrate the cost of sin more vividly than the fall of Jerusalem recorded in Jer 39. The fall of Jerusalem is brutal, depressing, and sadistic, but we can learn from Jeremiah’s account of the event.
We could view Jeremiah’s depictions as merely historical, or we could recognize the theological lessons they offer: Sin is expensive. Sin will destroy you. Sin will bring a nation to its knees. Sin will leave you begging for mercy. Sin is death. That’s what God’s people learned from this event: Disobeying Yahweh is a costly action. It’s not that God wants His people to endure this pain, but pain is a natural consequence of their decisions. He cannot defend people who refuse to live as beacons of light—of goodness, beauty, and blessing—to the world. If they aren’t willing to live in His image, then He is not willing to be their defender. If Yahweh did not allow for Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem, the people would never learn. And the exile that comes in this moment is also a natural result of their sin.
When we’re faced with the horror of the destruction of Jerusalem, we’re given a choice: Will we listen to the prophets of our age and respond accordingly? Will we hear God when He calls us back to obedience? Or will we continue to live in sin and suffer the consequences?
As a side effect of the grace that God has given us in Jesus, many people assume that sin is somehow okay—that it’s okay to allow it to exist. God’s response is the opposite. The grace is unmerited, and we must respond with the only merited response: complete dedication and obedience to Him. We must see the death of sin and deny it.
What sin is currently present in your life? What do you need to repent from? Have you asked God for direct you in this?
JOHN D. BARRY
Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- In the ninth year of Zedekiah King of Judah in the tenth month, came Nebuchadnezaar King of Babel and all his host against Jerusalem, and they besieged it. And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up. And all the princes of the King of Babel came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergal Sharezer, Samgar Nebo, Sarsechim, Rabasaris, Nergal-Sharezer, Rabmag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babel.And when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men or war, then they fled, and went out of the city by night, through the king’s garden, and by the gate between the two walls and he went toward the wilderness. But the Chaldean’s host pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the desert of Jericho and when they had taken him, they brought him to Neburchadnezzar king of Babel unto Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him. Then the king of Babel slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babel slew all the nobles of Judah. Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him in chains to carry him to Babel. And the Chaldeans burnt the kings house, and the houses of the people with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem. Then Nebuzaradan the chief steward left the poor that had nothing in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time. Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel gave charge concerning Jeremiah unto Nebuzaradan the chief steward, saying, Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm, but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee. So Nebuzaradan the chief steward sent, and Nebushasban, Rabsaris, and Nergal-Sharezar, Rabmag, and all the King of Babel’s princes: Even they sent, and took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison, and committed him unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, that he should carry him home: so he dwelt among the people. Now the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the princes saying, Go and speak to Ebed-Melech the black Moor, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel, Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good, and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee. But I deliver thee in that day, saith the Lord, and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men whom thou fearest. For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee, before thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the Lord. … Because of the Chaldeans: for they feared them, because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had slain Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, where the king of Babel was governor in the land. (Jeremiah 39:1-41:18)
- As it is written, I have loved Jacob, and have hated Esau. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on him, to whom I will show mercy: and will have compassion on him, on who I have compassion, So then it is not in him that willeth, nor in him that runneth, but in God that showeth mercy. For the Scriptures saith unto Pharoah, For this same purpose have I stirred thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my Name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet complain? for who hath resisted his will? But, O man, who art thou which pleadest against God? shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me this? Hath not the porter power of the clay to make the same lump one vessel to honor, and another unto dishonor?What if God would, to show his wrath, and to make his power known, suffer with long patience the vessels of wrath, prepared to destruction? And that he might declare the riches of his glory upon the vessels of mercy, which he hath prepared unto glory? Even us whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. As he saith also in Hosea, I will call them, My people, which were not my people and her, Beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall be in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, that there they shall be called, The children of the living God. Also Isaiah crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel were a the sand of the sea, yet shall but a remnant be saved. For he will make his account, and gather it into a short sum with righteousness: for the Lord will make a short count in the earth. And as Isaiah said before, Except the Lord of hosts had left us a seed, we had been made as Sodom, and had been like to Gomorrah. (Romans 9:13-29)
- Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them, For their heart imagineth destruction, and their lips speak mischief. Through wisdom is an house built, and with understanding it is established. And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong: for a man of understanding increaseth his strength. For with counsel thou shalt enterprise thy war, and in the multitude of them that can give counsel, is health. Wisdom is high to a fool: therefore he cannot open his mouth in the gate. He that imagineth to do evil, men shall call him an author of wickedness. The wicked thought of a fool is sin, and the scorner is an abomination unto men. If thou be fain in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. Deliver them that are drawn to death, and wilt thou not preserve them that are led to be slain? If thou say, Behold, we knew not of it: he that pondereth the hearts, doth not he understand it? and he that keepeth thy soul, knoweth he it not? will he not also recompense every man according to his works? My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the honey comb, for it is sweet unto thy mouth. So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul if thou find it, and there shall be an end, and thine hope shall not be cut off. Lay no wait, O wicked man, against the house of the righteous, and spoil not his resting place. For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth again: but the wicked fall into mischief. Be thou not glad when thine enemy falleth, Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, and he turn his wrath from him. Fret not thyself because of the malicious, neither be envious at the wicked. For there shall be none end of plagues to the evil man, the light o the wicked shall be put out. My son, fear the Lord, and the King and meddle not with them that are seditious. (Proverbs 24:1-22)