Our consideration of the passage before us begins with a needed textual note. Although some versions say that the forthcoming message was given to Jeremiah “In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim”(Jer. 27:1a), it appears that the more common rendering “in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah” is more likely. Although appearing in the Hebrew text, the former appears to be a copyist error given the fact that Zedekiah is the king spoken of as the chapter continues (vs.3, 8), and the context of verse twenty suggests that Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim had already been carried away to Babylon. This, then, provides an instance where a copyist error, not only does not affect any doctrine, but is easily recognized and the inerrant original autograph is easily discerned. Yes, the name of the devotional is A Lesson in Sovereignty and Opportunity but our verse-one consideration provides an occasion for a brief lesson in inerrancy.
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We have a rare occasion here in Jeremiah 26. No, not Jeremiah being persecuted by the people of Judah. That has become standard fare. And no, it’s not the fact that Jeremiah was preaching a sermon in temple courts – we saw that in Jeremiah 7 (and this may be an amplified narrative of that event). Here we have an exceptional occurrence where the people and princes of Judah ‘go to bat’ on behalf of God’s prophet. In Israel’s history you can say that times like this came around ‘once in a blue moon,’ i.e. very rarely. Let’s create some context and then jump into our text.
If I were to ask you, “Where do we hear the expression, ‘take this cup’, in the Bible?” Your mind might be drawn to the night were Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. Well, on that night we know that Jesus “took the cup,” and after giving thanks, He gave it to His disciples and said, “Drink from it, all of you” (Mt. 26:27). Besides being words that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mk. 14:36; Lk. 22:42), you might be surprised to find that the expression, ‘Take this cup,’ is essentially what God told Jeremiah to do. And when you see the cup that Jeremiah was called to take and offer to both Jerusalem and the nations, let’s just say it should cause you to appreciate afresh the cup that God calls His own to drink from in the Lord’s Supper. Let’s get into the text and see how it develops. It was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer. 25:1) that the LORD God of Israel spoke to Jeremiah saying,
Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death. (Proverbs 10:2)
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. (Proverbs 11:4)
Immediately in these verses our attention is drawn to the end of life, the concept of death, and deliverance from both death and wrath. Not exactly subjects that fallen men love to contemplate. The mottos found in society are more apt to be things like: ‘live for the here and now’, ‘all you have is today’, and ‘you only live once’; but the Scriptures would have us be wise by looking to the future. That is the best way to live wisely today – living with an eternal and biblical perspective.
The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother. (Proverbs 10:1 ESV)
One of the things that I love about reading through the Book of Proverbs is how readily applicable so many texts are. If, on a given day, you happen to wonder “What can I, as a new creation in Christ, do right now to please my Father who is in Heaven?” Simply open to the Book of Proverbs, read through some of the chapters, and you’re sure to find some immediate instruction. If you happened to begin reading at chapter ten the immediate application you would have is – make your father and mother glad.