Israel Would Return From Captivity


The Return from Captivity

Book of Jeremiah Chapter 29

The Christian life is not always an easy life, but we are still to be at peace in our heart and soul, because we know we are on the winning side.

In our own nation we know that it is divided even more than it has ever been.

Down through the centuries the greatest crimes have been in the name of race, and unfounded beliefs, and cultural wars, social status, and we cannot leave out religion.

We live knowing that those in power create these things, so they can continue in the path they have chosen which is not always the best way for the people.

We know that lawlessness is running rampant in most all places and no one seems to care but actually take advantage of these things for political purposes.

These same type things were happening in Judah in the time of Jeremiah, but he was God’s chosen man to spread the Word of God to these people.

The people of Judah were being misled by a group of men who said themselves that they were called of God, but this was not true.

These things have continued, and the Church is taking heavy damage because of false teachers and preachers today.

God has already said what He is going to do, and we had better decide what we are going to do!

Jeremiah wrote a letter according to the Word of God intending to cause encouragement among those that already had been taken to Babylon.

Chapters 29-31 are so full of truth and prophecy that it is a shame we can only cover such a small portion of them.

Let’s read what God had to say.

*****Jer 29:1 Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon;
Jer 29:2 (After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem;)

The Holy Spirit has caused things to happen so that we can read the same letter Jeremiah wrote to those who were already captive in Babylon.

Daniel, and those three Jewish boys renamed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego among many others had been taken to Babylon when King Jehoiakim was removed by Nebuchadnezzar. Some say there were 10,000 of the best of Judah taken at that time.

Dan 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
Dan 1:2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
Dan 1:3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;
Dan 1:4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

Now these others would join them.

We should understand today that no matter where we travel it is encouraging to see a copy of God’s Word. We should understand that the Lord never forgets those He has washed in His own personal blood!

This is the first letter of many that Jeremiah wrote to these captives.

*****Jer 29:3 By the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, (whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent unto Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon) saying,

Elasah was the son of Shaphan and the brother of Ahikam who a supporter of Jeremiah was, when he faced the false charge of treason for preaching the Word of God. This was in a section we did not cover.

This Gemariah was probably the son of Hilkiah, the High Priest who was the one who had found the Books of Moses in the Temple that were read to King Josiah.

It appears that these two were good men and could be trusted by both sides and they carried with them the letter of Jeremiah written to those in captivity.

We already know that Nebuchadnezzar had a lot of respect for the Prophet Jeremiah.

Many of these in captivity would now listen to the words of Jeremiah because they were witness to the fact that what Jeremiah had said had come to be true.

The encouragement that Jeremiah gave to them were the actual Words of God!

*****Jer 29:4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;

Have you noticed that God does not hide the things He does, even when we may not like what He says. He will always tell us the truth!

We must understand that no matter where we are and no matter what the circumstances, God wants us to make an impact on those we are near.

The false prophets were teaching that they would soon be back home, which was not true. The words of God to Jeremiah was that their captivity would be 70 years.

They in turn were to make homes for themselves and settle into the communities where they were located.

They had lost everything they had in Judah but there never comes a time that God’s people should not be content and do the very best they can.

Nebuchadnezzar had taken the best of Judah to be an influence on his empire because he knew the will of God’s people are strong

He knew that God would take care of His people.

He, Nebuchadnezzar knew he could still profit because of these reasons!

Evil men are sometimes wiser in the ways of God than the true believer!

God had caused His people to go into exile and Nebuchadnezzar was only the agent God used to do this thing. Nebuchadnezzar understood this to be true.

Our world is so messed up today and foolish to cause harm to God’s people.

If the world would just allow God’s people to live in peace, the world would reap many benefits just because God’s takes care of His children.

This letter was also going to the political power of Babylon and the Lord made sure they knew that this letter was from the Lord of all the Angelic Host, the God of all power and not only that but the God of Israel, the Almighty God!

Jer 24:5 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.
Jer 24:6 For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.

God’s message does not ever change!

What was God’s message on this day?

*****Jer 29:5 Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;

Nebuchadnezzar had taken some of the best of God’s people. They knew how to build houses. Their land was destroyed but the land of Babylon was fertile, and they could grow their food according to food laws of Moses and not depend on trying to find such food in Babylon.

God’s people were more vegetarian than they were big meat eaters as we should be today.

They knew how to sustain themselves in the things that the Lord would provide, the Sun and the Rain and the necessities of life along with the Bread of Life, the Word of God, not much else is really needed.

1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
1Ti 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Jer 31:10 Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.
Jer 31:11 For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.
Jer 31:14 And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD.
Jer 31:22 How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.
Jer 31:35 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:
Jer 31:36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
Jer 31:37 Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.

We need to understand that wherever God has placed us, is our mission field.

We need to settle in and get to work. If the LORD opens another door, He will make us aware of it!

God celebrates the return from captivity of every one of His children!

Luk_15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Those who need no repentance are those who have made themselves righteous in their own eyes.

When we know that the Lord is keeping His eyes upon us for our good then we need to be a peace and do the work God has called us to do!

*****Jer 29:6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.

This did not mean for these Jews to take husbands and wives from the people of this foreign land but from the Jews that were among them. We already know that there were more than 10,000 of them taken to Babylon and others would be brought later.

Gen 24:3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
Gen 24:4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.

Today each Christian is to be a fisher-of-men, so our numbers are never to decrease as they are today in many locations but only God can save, and these are the decisions that He makes.

Our job never changes. We are to do the best we can to tell all others about the Lord Jesus Christ.

It was important for these captives to increase for they were indeed the good figs!

They were to settle down. For those who listened it would be near 70 years before the Lord would send them back home.

They would not have to worry about what the government of Babylon would do to them. They were in the hand of God while they were surrounded by their enemy. In fact they would find that many from other nations had also been taken from their homes and they would not have Jehovah to protect them.

They would see many more who worshipped idols and their god could not save them.

Jehovah had saved these Jews by placing them in captivity! They had been saved from themselves!

Eze 28:26 And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.

What was God’s law for us all?

Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

They had to understand that there is a reason for everything that the Lord does, and it is always for the betterment of His people. If we do not understand this then we need to understand one most important thing.

The Lord is God and He does what He wants to do, whenever He wants to do it!

We are never to question the ways of our Creator and our Master?

What else were they to do?

*****Jer 29:7 And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.

The truth is, the Lord expects those who are Christian to be the best citizens in any place we are located! Remember the Lord relocated the “Good Figs” of Judah for their safety

The true honor of a nation is dependent on the character of its people and as Christians we are to be like Christ with the character of God Himself or as close as we can get to it here on this earth!

This is where we fail the most. We forget the sinless, loving character of our Savior!

They needed to accept that this letter from Jeremiah was the actual Word of God because it was, and they needed to study it and completely obey these words!

We sometimes forget that the Lord is the answer to every question that we have!

It is the Lord alone who can change who we are and what other people see in us!

How powerful is our prayer for each other? We must stand in the breach for each other!

Psa 106:23 Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.

Our sermon from our Pastor a few weeks ago, was about how great a sin it is to not stand in the gap for each other.

1Sa 12:23 Moreover as for me, “God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you”: but I will teach you the good and the right way:
1Sa 12:24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.

It should be obvious that according to the truth of God, we sin against the Lord when we do not pray for one another and this does not mean we pray once and be done!

When we have the peace of God in our hearts, we can have peace where ever we are located.

None of these commandments change when we get to the New Testament!

1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
1Ti 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

We must understand that when we become Christians and even though our home is then in Heaven and we are just visitors passing through this earth, we are also still a member of the civil society.

We are to come out from them and be separate, but we will have to deal with those who reject the Word of God most every day and the Lord says we are to act like Christians and have the peace of God which will be a welcome sight in many places of unrest.

We are to spread this peace of God to as many as we can, and the very best way is to be like Jesus Christ.

This is what the title Christian means, to be Christlike!

We are always to show an interest in the peace of our nation and be a part of that peace. This does not ever mean we will not take a stand of the truth of God because we are to do this no matter what!

We must realize there will even be those in our own group who will stir up trouble anywhere they are located, and we should never listen to anyone who goes against the Word of God.

*****Jer 29:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.

We must remember these people, many of them from the royal family had lost everything they had.

They had been removed from their homes with just the clothes upon their back.

There were many more people from the many different nations Babylon had conquered.

If God’s people joined in the grumbling for being in such a position it would not help matters at all.

If they listened to the false prophets of their own nation instead of the Word of God given to Jeremiah, which had already proven to be true, they would be miserable in their new surroundings.

If they showed that they had settled into their surroundings, it would make their lives at least passable until they would go home again to their homeland.

It is always easy to dream about the good old times when we are going through bad times, but the God of the mountain is still God in the valley!

As Christians we have nothing to fear in this world no matter our circumstances. The worst thing that could happen, which is our death, is really the best thing that can happen.

Jesus would not be allowed in many Churches today because He always told the truth. The truth based on the Word of God.

Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
Mat 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Jesus said these words when He was asked about His return.

We know that according to the words of Jesus the very first sign of His return is the rise in false prophets and false teaching!

Anyone that says this is not true today need to read and study the Word of God, so they will not get confused.

We should also understand that one purpose of the 70 years was for most of these false teachers to die off.

*****Jer 29:9 For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD.

We should never mistake the intentions of the Lord. He does not desire that any human being die before they have had a chance to repent. God does not think of evil for anyone of His creations.

There will be many who will repent but there will also be many who will cross God’s “Red Line” the first one being Lucifer, Satan, and the angels who followed him.

We must think of the Lord more as the “father of the prodigal son” than any other thing.

To those who repent, the Lord will rush to them with the best robe and He will kill the fatted cafe and sup with them.

God’s every intention is to give all His children ever lasting peace!

We must also know that God will not call a stranger to teach you the truth of God.

The very first test for the man of God is “does he believe that Jesus Christ is truly the Messiah, God in the flesh”!

Without this faith we will not ever please our God!

The test in this day of captivity was the 70 years.

If not for the Word of God given to Jeremiah, the children of Israel would have only gotten bad news from home!

It is easy to draw a crowd when your words are as butter and honey, but we will never get anything but the truth from the Almighty God!

We would be fools to desire anything but the truth.

In America today so many lies have been told, so many words have been twisted and slanted because of hatred, that we seldom ever hear the truth.

We have people like Soros and others willing to buy lies and liars to swing things the way that they would have the world be, but unless we stand up for the truth, we will lose the freedoms we have because of socialism and communism.

God will certainly test our “faith” and He should, when we are so easily swayed from the truth!

God does not need us to be witness of lies, when we are to be witnesses of the truth!

*****Jer 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

God will never abandon Israel.

Over and over we see this in the Scriptures and we would fools to believe otherwise! We already know that the Lord will chastise those He loves.

God’s “judgment” will only fall on those who hate the Lord!

When a prisoner knows the exact date of his release then everything he does is in preparation for that day.

These Jews needed to adapt to their surroundings and be useful and these 70 years would go quickly.
If they could be a benefit to Babylon, then they could live in peace while these 70 years passed.

This is what the Lord ask us all to do. Seventy years have been determined by the Lord to be the average life span of humans and the Lord only ask us to be busy about the Lord’s work and watch patiently as these years pass by, until He takes us home.

In typology, this is the lesson we can learn from the Jewish captivity!

These were nation builders who Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon and these parents were to pass these skills to their children so that they could rebuild Israel when these 70 years were over.

We must also remember this one thing. These Jews would not return to Israel because they were very good in Babylon.

They would only return to Judah because of God’s “mercy” and God’s “grace”!

They certainly did not deserve to return to the promised land of God because of their own merits.

These things should be really familiar to us all. We will never be good enough to go the God’s Heaven, it will be only because of God’s “mercy” and God’s “grace”!

God always has kind thoughts of all His children and all His creation.

Over and over again we see that God has no intention for the nation of Israel to cease to exist! It would be wise for the world to see this too!

God will fulfill the promises He made to Abraham and to David and we can expect it!

God does not ever forget the things He says!

God promises all His children the greatest of futures. Things this world can never provide!

We know that the Messiah, Jesus came first to save, and the Messiah will return to sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem the capital of Israel because this is the place He has chosen.

The Lord will lead us to an expected end that He has chosen and on to a life of wonderful blessings, which He has made new!

All these things are centered one object: the “good” for all those who love the LORD!

Zec 12:8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.
Zec 12:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Zec 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

We must understand, God does not need a nation that depends on its own power, God needs a nation that depends on the power of the Holy God who cannot be defeated!

Zec 12:2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
Zec 12:3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

Nations may hate Israel today and some gather against her but when they become a Christian nation all the world will gather against her!

When we look upon the One who was pierced to shed His blood for our salvation, we will see the Almighty God who saves and who destroys!

What is the nation of Israel lacking today?

*****Jer 29:12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

They will fulfill the only thing they are lacking.

2Ch_7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

The ears of God are always open to hearing this prayer from any of us but especially the children of Israel!

Even King Solomon understood what the Word of God was saying;

1Ki 8:47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;
1Ki 8:48 And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:
1Ki 8:49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,
1Ki 8:50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:

Where did Daniel pray? From a window facing Jerusalem.

In fact this was to the location of their prayers no matter where they were. It would not hurt if we also prayed toward Jerusalem with all our heart, all our soul in the land of our enemies.

The enemies of the Church continue to gather against her but the “Bride of Christ” must never be afraid of what this world can do to her!

This world has hated the Church from the day the Lord Jesus began His Church!

What always been the truth of God?

*****Jer 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Jer 29:14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

What is the key? When we pray with a heart that has been given over to the truth of God!

We must humble ourselves in an act of submission to the Lord and allow Him to do as He pleases with us!

Let the Lord do what seems to Him to be good for us!

We must then have hope, “faith” in the promises of God.

Our relationship to the Lord must be on a personal nature just as His disciples.

It is a great feeling knowing that the Lord is thinking of us with His every thought!

In all His majestic creation God thinks about those who love Him the most!

How can God have good thoughts of a sinner such as I am?

God knows, who we are and what we are, and He gives the same instructions to us as He did to these captives in Babylon.

We are to make the most out of our circumstances and be patient, and prayerful, watching for the return of the Lord.

God does not ask much out of us when we think about all the benefits of giving ourselves to Him!

Listen to this Psalm of David

Psa 103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Psa 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Psa 103:3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Psa 103:4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Psa 103:5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psa 103:6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

How can we not love Him?

Amen

Let’s Pray

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