Week 33: Babylon Invades Judah
Weekly memory verse:
Psalm 86:11 – “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.”
“Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” (free download)
What is sanctification?
Sanctification is the work of God’s Spirit by which I am renewed after the image of God and am enabled more and more to die to sin and live to righteousness.
Day 161: Daniel Taken to Babylon
Daniel 1, Verse 1. Third year. In 605 bc, Nebuchadnezzar initiates what would be the first of three invasions of Judah and deportation of some of its inhabitants. In this first deportation, he deported young noble men like Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrack), Mishael (Meshak), and Azariah (Abednego).
Verse 2. Shinar. Another name for Babylon.
Verse 4. Chaldeans. Another name for Babylonians.
Verse 8. Defile. The king’s food and wine were dedicated to pagan idols, and thus consuming this food would have been religious compromise.
Verse 21. Cyrus. Cyrus was the king of Persia, who would conquer Babylon in 538 bc.
In fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophesies, Babylon began a series of invasions and deportations of Judah. Yet this first invasion provides examples of some of God’s people who, despite the general apostasy of the nation as a whole, personally remained faithful to the Lord, even in the midst of exile.
- Was it right for Daniel to allow himself to be educated in the language and literature of the Chaldeans?
- Would it have been right for Daniel to eat the king’s meat and wine?
- What makes some activities of unbelieving people acceptable for Christians, and other activities of unbelievers not acceptable?
Day 162: Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream
Daniel 2, Verse 36. Interpretation. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream pictures five empires that would rule over Israel: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and a revived Rome.
Verse 41. Toes. The ten toes represent rules during the period prior to Christ’s second coming, when we will come and destroy them. Iron. This represents a revived Roman Empire.
Verse 44. Kingdom. This refers to the future millennial kingdom.
Verse 45. Stone. The stone is the Messiah, who will reign over the kingdom.
God uses Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to picture a great statue that represents Israel’s future. Five empires would rule of Israel: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and a revived Rome. But the dream also reveals that one day, the Messiah would come again and crush Gentile power, resulting in the establishment of his millennial kingdom on earth, and eventually the eternal kingdom.
- How many of the empires prophesied in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream have already come and gone? Which are yet to come?
- Has Christ yet definitively crushed Gentile rule and established his kingdom on earth?
- What hope do we have that Christ will indeed one day rule on the earth?
Day 163: Jeremiah’s Warning and Imprisonment
Reading: Jeremiah 24; 37
Chapter 24, Verse 1. Taken into exile. This is the second deportation of Judeans in 597 bc.
Verse 6. Bring them back. A remnant does return to Judah in 538 bc, but this promise has greater fulfillment yet to come when the Messiah unites his people in one nation in the Kingdom (see Romans 11:1–5, 25–27).
Chapter 37, Verse 13. Hananiah. Jeremiah had prophesied Hananiah’s death (28:16), and so Hananiah’s grandson is taking revenge on Jeremiah.
As Jeremiah had prophesied, Babylon continues to deport the people of Judah as God’s punishment for their many years of rebellion and idolatry. Yet Jeremiah’s warnings continue to go unheeded, and even Jeremiah suffers as a result of their continued rebellion. Yet one day, God has promised that a remnant would return, and his kingdom would be fully established.
- Why do the people continue refusing to repent, even as some of them are taken into captivity?
- Was Jeremiah’s ministry a failure?
- How do we know God will keep his promise that one day a remnant will return, and he will establish his kingdom?
Day 164: The Fiery Furnace
Daniel 3, Verse 1. Image of gold. This statue, which was supposes to picture the greatness of Nebuchadnezzar, was 90 feet tall (likely including a large base) and 9 feet wide.
Verse 13. Since Daniel is not mentioned here, he must have been absent at the time. Surely he would have joined in refusing to bow had he been present.
Verse 25. A son of the gods. The king apparently recognized the fourth man as a heavenly being. This possibly could have been the pre-incarnate Son of God.
Verse 28. God. Nebuchadnezzar was certainly not proclaiming allegiance to God as the one and only true God, but rather simply adding Yahweh to the pantheon of gods he worshiped.
Even in the midst of captivity, God reveals both that a remnant of people who are faithful of him still exists and that he remains faithful to those who follow his commandments. Not even fire had power over these people, demonstrating God’s supernatural protection of his people.
- What may have motivated Nebuchadnezzar to construct the golden image and demand worship?
- If only three Jews refused to bow to the image, what were other Jews who were present doing?
- Why did God protect Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?
Day 165: The Fall of Jerusalem
Reading: Jeremiah 38–39
Chapter 38, Verse 6. Cistern. Cisterns were water reservoirs typically cut out from rock with a small opening at the top and a large, hollowed out inside for holding water.
Verse 27. Answered them. Jeremiah did not lie, but rather withheld details of the conversation, information to which they had no right.
Chapter 39, Verse 14. Gadealiah. This was a supporter of Jeremiah (26:24) who was also loyal to Nebuchadnezzar; thus he was named governor of those left in the land. He is later murdered in Chapter 41.
All of Jeremiah’s prophesies finally come to completion in the final invasion of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah’s proclamation of victory for Babylon is considered treason, and he is punished accordingly. Yet Jerusalem falls, the king’s eyes are removed, and he and much of the remaining people are taken captive into Babylon, and Jeremiah is freed.
- Why did the people put Jeremiah in a cistern?
- What evidence is in this passage demonstrating King Zedekiah’s weakness and lack of character?
- What in this passage shows God’s care for his prophet?