76 Sermons On The Old Testament Given By Jesus
Sermon 50 - Jeremiah’s letter for the Judeans in Babylonia.
August 5th, 1960
Received by Dr Samuels
I am here, Jesus.
For nine long years, Hezekiah adhered waveringly to Jeremiah’s policy of peace and vassalage to Babylonia. So great was Jeremiah’s influence at one time that the king sent two of his officers, Elasah, the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah, the son of Hilkiah (the priest) with a letter to Nebuchadrezzar, written by Jeremiah for the captives in Babylonia. This letter was designed to quiet the people there, to give them confidence that the Lord was with them, and would redeem them in time to come (70 years), and for them to put aside thoughts of revolt that were being spread about by false prophets and agitators. The letter was also designed to have Nebuchadrezzar treat the Judeans there with more kindness, as a people that would live in peace and help in the prosperity of the land as obedient inhabitants of Babylonia. In fact, here are Jeremiah’s great words of wisdom and love for his people:
“Build ye houses, and dwell in them, And plant your gardens and eat the fruit thereof; Take your 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 And multiply you there and be not diminished. 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 you have peace.”
(Jeremiah 29: 5 - 7)
The astonishing part of this letter, from the standpoint of the times and age in which it was written, is that Jeremiah told the people to pray to the God of Israel on Babylonian soil. To you (people of today) of a deeper understanding of the universality of God, this may be taken for granted, but in those days people worshipped the god of the land. Thus did Assyrians who were brought to Samaria in the days of Assur-barn-pal (Jewish Encyclopedia - King Ashurnazirpal) relinquished their gods to worship Jehovah, the God of the land. But the Lord had been transported, so to speak, by the Hebrews, from Sinai to Canaan, and at this point to Babylonia, where a great center of learning developed as the Babylonian Talmud, the better of the two Talmuds in existence today.
Another important fact about this letter was the emphasis, not on political success, but on moral values; the worshipping of God with justice and adherence to His Laws. Regardless of who controlled the land of Israel, it was paramount that the people devote themselves to God and to His Will. A land, a nation, a Temple, sacrifices were not important in God’s view of the nation and the individual. What was important was faith in God as a people, and they would not be forsaken by God. And, in fact, the people learned religious meetings and prayers rather than sacrifice and achieved a new outlook towards God’s Commandments.
Jesus of the Bible
Master of the Celestial Heavens