[Optional longer reading: Jer. 27:1–28:17]
Most leaders of a conquered nation would want to resist an invading power. This describes Zedekiah, king of Judah, and even false prophets were placating the people with promises of deliverance from invading Babylon. Jeremiah preached a very different message. Obeying the Lord’s command to construct and publicly wear a yoke, Jeremiah proclaimed God’s command to submit to the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonians.
The message was given not just to Judah but to the surrounding nations as well. Those who resisted Babylonian rule would face disaster, but those who yielded to Nebuchadnezzar’s reign would be blessed to remain in their lands. Why would God give such a message about a brutal enemy of God’s people?
The answer lies in understanding the sovereignty of God presented in today’s passage. Nothing is beyond God’s knowledge or control. God created all things, and He will “give it to anyone I please” (27:5). Even Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was not a freelance ruler moving about on his own, but is described as “my servant” (27:6). At God’s bidding Babylon would retain power for generations, but then it too would be subjugated to other powers. Everything that was happening to Judah, no matter how difficult, was still within the control of God.
Submitting to Babylon was also submitting to God who had orchestrated Babylon’s rise, its conquering of Judah, and its eventual demise. The message through Jeremiah encouraged a deep trust in God’s plan and control, even in the face of great difficulty.
Apply the Word
We may be tempted to think that the rulers of nations today are masters of their own fate, beyond God’s hand. Today’s passage reminds us that even presidents, kings, and dictators are under God’s ultimate control. Let this truth be the catalyst for your prayers today: that God would use even global leaders to bring about His purposes in the world.