Listen Carefully

Key Verse: “Amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.”
—Jeremiah 26:13

Selected Scripture:
Jeremiah 25-26;
II Chronicles 36

OUR LESSON BEGINS IN the fourth year of King Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, and the first year of Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, around 605 BC. For twenty-three years, Jeremiah, and others of God’s prophets, had been proclaiming the message of reform. The Kingdom of Judah, under Jehoiakim, had not responded to God’s messages of making a change in their life. Now, under the prophet Jeremiah, God’s punishments were pronounced. Not only Judah and Jerusalem were to receive of God’s wrath, but all other nations around them as well.—Jer. 25:15-26

What was it the people were doing that would merit the wrath of God? We are told they were serving and worshipping other gods. Marriage among the other nations was also forbidden. (Deut. 7:3) It was written in the Law, “Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.”—Deut. 6:14,15

Throughout history, God’s mercy had been extended to both Judah and Jerusalem. The nation of Israel was the only nation in covenant relationship with him. (Amos 3:2) Over and over, God, through his prophets, had said that if the people would amend their ways, and act positively, listening and obeying, they would be allowed to stay in their land and receive his blessings. (Jer. 25:5) This did not happen and God finally proclaimed that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, God’s servant— God’s instrument of judgment—would come and destroy their nation and take them into captivity.—Jer. 25:9

There is a good lesson in the worshipping of false gods. These gods (idols) can be love of money, earthly pleasures, office, anything that takes the place of God. We are told, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” (I John 5:21) Again, “I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”—Isa. 42:8

The last king of Judah, Zedekiah, was taken captive by the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. (II Chron. 36) Thus began the domination of Gentile nations.

Listening, and following God’s commands, is a great lesson for all who have come into covenant relationship with him. Listening, and following, will always bring blessings, while disobeying will bring sorrow. It has been suggested that the act by which we pay the greatest respect to anyone is listening to him or her. How much more should we listen to our Heavenly Father.

How does God speak to us? One way is through past experiences. “Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” (Isa. 30:21) Another way is through the examples of God’s people in scripture.—James 5:10

“Hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: … For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.” (Job 34:10,11) Listening to God will bring peace and happiness.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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