Today, I was reading my morning devotional, and I was struck not only by the Devotional itself, but also the Scripture verses that accompanied it. This particular devotional was a powerful reminder of how God protects His Children from the storms of life.
In the Devotional, we learn that a 12 year old Girl living in Ethiopia was abducted and beaten by a horrible group of seven bandits. If you read our facebook page “Dyingworld”..or even if you simply read the news, you are probably aware of the extreme Christian persecution that is going on in Ethiopia, China, the Middle East and North Korea (to name but a few). It is not unusual for young girls in some parts of Africa to be abducted by Muslim extremists, and forced into marriage…or worse. This 12 year old girl had been abducted by seven men, who drug her into the wilderness to beat her. But God, in a very miraculous way, intervened directly in this situation.
When the Ethiopian police found her a week after her abduction, three black-maned lions surrounded her, guarding her as though she were their own. Seven men had kidnapped the twelve-year-old girl, carried her into the woods and beaten her. Miraculously, however, a small pride of lions heard the girl’s cries, came running and chased off the attackers. “[The lions] stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest,” police Sergeant Wondimu told one reporter.
This story has the “fingerprints of God” all over it! First, the girl was 12 years old. This reminds me of the 12 year old girl that Jesus resurrected.
Luke 8: 40: And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him. 41 And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus’ feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house; 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him.
After Jesus healed the woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years, He then went to the 12 year old girl, but by this time, she had already died. In Luke 8, we see the number 12 used in two back to back passages…the woman bleeding for 12 years, and the 12 year old girl who had died. When I read this, I can’t help but think of 12X12 = 144…or 12,000 X 12,000…the 144,000 in the book of Revelation. I’m not sure what it means, but I think there is some type of prophetic meaning in these passages.
Luke 8: 52 Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, “Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.” 53 And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. 54 He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Child, arise!” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat. 56 Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.
Although the 12 year old girl, who was dragged into the forest by a group of 7 men, experienced a DIFFERENT MIRACLE, there can be NO DOUBT, that it was God Almighty who sent the lions. Nothing is impossible for God. God made it possible for a donkey to speak to Balaam (Numbers 22:22-30). He made possible for Daniel to survive in the den of hungry lions (Daniel 6:16-28). Do we really think this Miracle is impossible for God? No, this was the Hand of God intervening DIRECTLY into this young girl’s life.
https://odb.org (Our Daily Bread Devotional)
The other part of this Devotional that really struck me is the accompanying verses...Jeremiah 32 – 33. Let’s take a few minutes to discuss them and their relevance for us today!
At first blush, these chapters in Jeremiah may seem like “boring history lessons”…that perhaps have no application for our lives today. When we think this way, we fail to see the bigger picture.
First, we’ll provide a little background information. Jeremiah was the Old Testament Prophet to the Kingdom of Judah. He had warned them over and over again that if they did not repent, Jerusalem would be taken by the Babylonians and the people would be sent into exile. This is really the fulfillment of a prophecy given to Moses way back in the books of Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 28: 15 “But if you refuse to listen to the Lord your God and do not obey all the commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overwhelm you: …
Deuteronomy 28: 36 “The Lord will exile you and your king to a nation unknown to you and your ancestors. There in exile you will worship gods of wood and stone! 37 You will become an object of horror, ridicule, and mockery among all the nations to which the Lord sends you.
Of course, we know that Israel DID NOT obey the Lord God, and therefore they were sent into exile. The Northern 10 Tribes were exiled into Assyria in approximately 734 BC, and about 150 years later, starting around 607 BC and continuing through “three sieges” until Jerusalem was burnt to the ground in 586BC. Because of their hardened hearts, Jeremiah warned the people of Judah that God was NOT going to help them fight the Babylonians, and that they were to ALLOW THEMSELVES to be brought into exile. God told them, through Jeremiah, that He would not fight Babylon FOR THEM…and that they should NOT resist. If they went peaceably into Babylon, things would go much better for them. However, if they RESISTED and decided to FIGHT King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, then they would experience death via famine, plague, and sword.
Jeremiah 32: 2 Now at that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard, which was in the house of the king of Judah, 3 because Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, “Why do you prophesy, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am about to give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will take it; 4 and Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but he will surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will speak with him face to face and see him eye to eye; 5 and he will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and he will be there until I visit him,” declares the Lord. “If you fight against the Chaldeans, you will not succeed”’?”
At the point of this prophecy, King Zedekiah was not too happy with Jeremiah, which is why he had Jeremiah “shut up” or confined in the Court of his Royal palace. After all, there had been prophets (false prophets) who had prophesied Israel’s VICTORY over the Chaldeans (Babylonians). Who would King Zedekiah rather believe? Would he rather believe Jeremiah, who had told him that Israel should NOT FIGHT, but rather ALLOW themselves to be taken captive into Babylon WILLINGLY, or should Zedekiah believe one of the false prophets like Hananiah, who were prophesying Israel’s MILITARY victory? King Zedekiah did NOT LIKE Jeremiah’s prophecy that he was going to lose his kingdom!
Jeremiah had prophesied that Israel was to go WILLINGLY into captivity into Babylon. Israel had lost the favor of God, and He was NOT going to fight for them. So God, in His Mercy, had Jeremiah tell them that IF they went willingly, their lives would be spared. God told them that they were to go into Babylon and basically set up their lives there because they would be there a very long time, but eventually, after 70 years were complete, God would gather and RESTORE Judah…and even Israel (the Northern 10 Tribes).
Jeremiah 29: 4: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles WHOM I HAVE SENT INTO EXILE from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5 ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 6Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and MULTIPLY THERE AND DO NOT DECREASE. 7Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and PRAY TO THE LORD ON ITS BEHALF; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’
The end result, Zedekiah did NOT heed the words of the prophet Jeremiah, but rather he FOUGHT and RESISTED the take-over of King Nebuchadnezzar, and consequently experienced ALL of the DISASTERS that Jeremiah had warned him about. Judah was FORCEFULLY taken captive into Babylon and King Zedekiah was also taken captive. Zedekiah was brought before King Nebuchadnezzar, who killed both of his sons right before his very eyes, and then he was immediately blinded with bronze fetters so that the last thing his eyes would ever see was the murder of his sons.
Jeremiah 52: 10: The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and he also slaughtered all the princes of Judah in Riblah. 11 Then he blinded the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon and put him in prison until the day of his death.
Zedekiah had been WARNED NOT TO FIGHT the Chaldians! He had been told to ACCEPT this DISCIPLINE from the Lord for Judah’s disobedience, and then it wouldn’t be so bad. But Zedekiah DID NOT BELIEVE Jeremiah and did not listen! Zedekiah listened to false prophets who “tickled his ears” with their words of false encouragement and he followed after his own understanding and not the TRUTH. But God never leaves us “hanging”. God did not pour out HIS WRATH over Israel, but rather, HE chastised Israel SEVERELY with the ULTIMATE INTENTION of RESTORING them and BRINGING them BACK to the PROMISED LAND.
In Jeremiah 32, after Zedekiah is warned that Judah was about to go into Captivity, the Lord gave Jeremiah a seemingly unrelated “Word” to relay to a man named Hanamel. Hanamel was being given LEGAL RIGHTS to purchase a plot of land in Israel. Is this Word from the Lord random and unrelated or is God telling us something very important here? If so, what is God telling us?
Jeremiah 32:6: And Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 7 ‘Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle is coming to you, saying, “Buy for yourself my field which is at Anathoth, for you have the right of redemption to buy it.”’ 8 Then Hanamel my uncle’s son came to me in the court of the guard according to the word of the Lord and said to me, ‘Buy my field, please, that is at Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin; for you have the right of possession and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.
“I bought the field which was at Anathoth from Hanamel my uncle’s son, and I weighed out the silver for him, seventeen shekels of silver. 10 I signed and sealed the deed, and called in witnesses, and weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 Then I took the deeds of purchase, both the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions and the open copy; 12 and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the sight of Hanamel my uncle’s son and in the sight of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, before all the Jews who were sitting in the court of the guard. 13 And I commanded Baruch in their presence, saying, 14 ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Take these deeds, this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, that they may last a long time.” 15 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Houses and fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.”’
It is of interest that the placement of a copy of the original purchase agreement in an earthen vessel and the sealing of it was exactly the procedure that resulted in the preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
What is this Word from the Lord to Hanamel really about? It is a picture of RESTORATION!
- God FIRST painted a picture of Judah being completely exiled from the Promised Land because of their sin. They were cautioned, through the prophet Jeremiah, that their EXILE would be LONG. During this LONG EXILE, they were told to continue to live a normal and productive life. They were instructed to marry, to have lots of children so that their numbers would increase, to plant vineyards and gardens, and to seek the welfare of the city in which they would live. Basically, even while they were living in exile, God would be with them. God was not going to abandon them even though they had disobeyed and “cheated” on Him by worshiping other “gods”.
- Then, in Jeremiah 32: 6-14, God declared that Hanamel (means “gift from God) should buy the field at Anathoth, sign and seal the deed in front of WITNESSES..in the sight of ALL THE JEWS, then put these deeds in earthenware jars so that they would last a long, long time. God was telling Israel that they would indeed RETURN to the land.
This is not just a HISTORY lesson. This has application for today, and also, more importantly, Spiritual application. We (human beings) were made in the image of Elohim and were once residents in the Garden of Eden. Because of our sin (Adam and Eve), we were exiled from the Garden of Eden, onto “fallen earth” (earth as we now know it). God is allowing satan to be “prince” over the earth UNTIL…His Son Jesus Comes to RESTORE the EARTH to the KINGDOM OF GOD. Hanamel (means “gift from God“) is a “type” of Yeshua (Jesus), a Messianic foreshadowing who, we are told, was given the “right of redemption to buy the land”. Jesus has ALREADY purchased the earth and all its inhabitants with HIS BLOOD, giving JESUS LEGAL RIGHTS to the EARTH and to HIS PEOPLE! Jesus will CLAIM His Kingdom and His people when HE begins to OPEN THE 7 SEALS of REVELATION AT THE CONSUMMATION OF ALL THINGS, THE END OF THE AGE OF MAN.
Like Nebuchadnezzar, satan (the “god of this world”) does NOT love the exiles! In-fact, he HATES the exiles, seeking to STEAL, KILL AND DESTROY! Sadly, it was our sin, our standing in agreement with him in his rebellion against God, that gave satan the legal rights to this earth! 😢
Jeremiah 32: 28 Therefore thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am about to give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will take it. 29 The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city will enter and SET THIS CITY ON FIRE and BURN IT, with the houses where people have offered incense to Baal on their roofs and poured out drink offerings to other gods to provoke Me to anger.
Like the Israelites, we have been in exile on this earth, a long, long time – 6000 years!. During our exile on this fallen planet, we are to follow ELOHIM the best that we can . We are NOT to worship the “god of this world”, but rather, we should seek the TRUE GOD – Elohim (Father/Son/Holy Spirit). We should marry, have children (be fruitful and multiply), and seek the welfare of the city in which we live. During this time, we have pain, we suffer, we have sicknesses and we even experience physical death. We cry out to the Lord, but He has not left us. Like the young 12 year old girl who was SUPERNATURALLY protected by LIONS from the horrible mob who intended to kill her, God CAN and DOES protect us from the evil that is on this earth. He gives us HIS PRECIOUS GIFT..His Holy Spirit who has authority on this earth, and He gives us Heavenly armor to put on every day! Yes, God has allowed us to experience the consequences and pain of our sin, but He is still here with us! During our time in exile, evil (believe it or not)..has been RESTRAINED by God! Ultimately, God has a plan to REGATHER US AND TO BRING US INTO THE PROMISED LAND. We’re not speaking about the earthly Promised Land of Canaan, although God is also regathering Physical Israel back the promised land of Canaan. We are speaking of something MUCH BIGGER and GRANDER! Israel and Canaan are just “shadows” or “types” of the much BIGGER MIRACLE that God is performing. We are speaking of the Promised Land of Heaven, or the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God on earth that IS COMING… is like the “expanded version” of the Garden of Eden, the RESTORATION of the EARTH.
Kingdom of God > Garden of Eden.
Jeremiah 33: 1: Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the second time, while he was still confined in the court of the guard, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it, the Lord is His name, 3 ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’💖
6 Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth. 7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel and will rebuild them as they were at first. 8 I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me. 9 It will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.’
As Hanamel was told to put the land deed into “jars of clay” during the Israelite’s time of exile so that the deed would SURVIVE a VERY LONG TIME, …God’s Deed to Heaven (the Promised Land), His Holy Spirit, has been put into “jars of clay” (our human bodies) DURING OUR EXILE... to stay there a long, long time UNTIL the time of the Redemption of our flesh. God PURCHASED the deed for each of us through His precious Blood that was shed at Calvary for our Redemption, the forgiveness of our sin. His Deed has been signed and sealed through the power of the Holy Spirit, and stored in jars of clay, our HUMAN BODIES made from the clay of the earth……until that GLORIOUS DAY when God regathers His people and moves us BACK into the PROMISED LAND.
1 Corinthians 6:20: For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Ephesians 1:13: In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
2 Corinthians 4:7: But we have this treasure in jars of clay, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;
Romans 8:23: And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
2 Corinthians 5:2: For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling,
1 John 3:2: Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when Christ appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is.
Revelation 21:1: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
Sometimes I like to end these posts on a note of rejoicing..in song! The song below is not exactly a “Christian song”..and yet it just popped into my mind when thinking about what to call this post (Holy Spirit?). I think it is because we, as followers of Jesus, have been REDEEMED, we have been SIGNED, SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT AND DELIVERED FROM THE POWER OF SIN AND THE GRAVE! We BELONG to the LORD JESUS CHRIST! Jesus is with us during this LONG, LONG EXILE…and He’s coming back soon to get us and take us to the Promised Land, the Kingdom of God. Let us REJOICE!