2007-08-18 - My Servant
Jeremiah 27:6, "And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant."
Before we begin today, let us quickly review who the Nebuchadnezzar was. He was a formidable and very successful king of Babylon. He was devoted to many gods (Daniel 3:1). The primary god he worshiped was Merodach. Nebuchadnezzar built many temples to this god. He conquered Palestine in the eighth year of his rule. The king of Jerusalem, Jehoiachin, surrendered Jerusalem to him. Jehoiachin and all the leaders in Jerusalem were taken to Babylon, the temple of Jerusalem and the kings palace were plundered. Zedekiah was set up to rule in Jerusalem, but in his 11th year rebelled, was taken prisoner, and had his sons killed before him, at the headquarters of Nebuchadnezzar. The plunder of the temple was completed. It was destroyed with fire, and the inhabitants - except the poor - were all carried away into captivity in Babylon. You can read of this starting in 2 Kings 23:36, and in the related chapters found in Jeremiah and Daniel.
So there is a short introduction, but lets read the verse above again. You will notice the brief phrase at the end of the part Verse 6 quoted, "My servant." Now - how was someone like Nebuchadnezzar, who plundered God's holy temple, took captive His people, and killed many of them - God's servant? That is the question before us today, and the answer has very practical implications to us today. Nebuchadnezzar was a proud and wicked man. He was an idolater, and yet God calls him His servant. He was a wicked man, and yet God had given him what he had. Nebuchadnezzar was a wicked man, and yet God calls him His servant because God employed Nebuchadnezzar as the instrument of His providence in punishing His own people for their sin and rebellion against God. Nebuchadnezzar does not see himself as God's servant, but rather as a conquering ruler who is "kicking butt" everywhere he goes. But all along, God is using him to teach and punish the Israelites. He is being used to punish them for their rebellion, and to teach them that God will not be trifled with. The Israelites would not serve God, and thus they had to serve their enemies that God, in turn, blessed in oppressing them.
The implications to us are quite clear. It is foolish to rebel against God. It does us no good to know the right, and do the wrong. We often know what the right thing to do is, but maybe it is difficult, so we look for another way. By rejecting the right way, we inevitably bring upon us an even more difficult way. Nebuchadnezzar was not right in what He did. He was oppressing God's people, but he was under God's authority in so doing. He was, as our verse tells us, God's servant. This is no easy pill to swallow. But we must learn from this that God will have first place in our hearts. The Israelites would not give God the rightful place as their Lord; thus they brought His judgment upon themselves. He will not take the second spot to our jobs, our family, or even ourselves. He will have first place, and until we yield unto Him, our Nebuchadnezzars will always besiege us. We will always be plundering ourselves until we give God first place within our hearts. Oh, the joy, the liberty, the bliss, of having the Lord first in all things.
Soli Deo Gloria,