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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 28:12-14

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, April 14, 2015

12 After the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:

We don’t know where Hananiah got his ideas. Did he think he was just reading the political situation, aware of the Syrian alliance against the Babylonians? Did he think that the new Pharaoh in Egypt would swing the balance of power in Judah’s favor? Did he think (as some false prophets seem to think) that God would do whatever he said, twisting the divine will to submit to his human will? He was a fool if he thought any of these things was so. Perhaps he was being misled by dreams from the devil (Luke 8:12), or perhaps he had sinful ambition, which is also from the devil (James 3:14-15). But he didn’t know the truth.

13 “Go and tell Hananiah, this is what the LORD says. You have broken a yoke of wood, but in its place you will get a yoke of iron. 14 For the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel says, I will put a yoke of iron on the neck of all these nations so they will serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and they will certainly serve him. I have even given him the wild animals.”

Hananiah had broken a wooden yoke, but he would not be able to break an iron one. What the Lord proclaims cannot be undone; “scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). God had given a dream to Nebuchadnezzar which the prophet Daniel had explained. The dream was of an enormous statue, a statue of a standing man. His head was gold, his chest and arms were silver, his belly and thighs bronze, his legs iron, and his feet partly iron and partly clay. Daniel interpreted the whole statue (Daniel 2:34-45), but part of it was specifically about Nebuchadnezzar. That part was this:

“You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.” (Daniel 2:37-38)

If God placed everything—mankind, beasts of the field and birds of the air—under Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion, then Hananiah the prophet from Gibeon could do nothing to change that. He was contradicting God, and therefore his prophecy was a sin against the First and Second Commandments.

Notice that through Jeremiah the Lord said the same thing he said through the dream to Nebuchadnezzar and through Daniel: the king of Babylon would also have dominion over the wild animals. This meant that Nebuchadnezzar’s authority over the world extended further than any human ruler could claim. A normal human king might complain that his nation was plagued by lions or locusts, but Nebuchadnezzar would have authority over lions, locusts and all creatures. That didn’t mean that Nebuchadnezzar could walk up to a cobra and tickle its nose without fear; it meant that God had given him more authority than any human king could claim, usurp or inherit. Nebuchadnezzar was supreme on earth, second only to God, just as Joseph was supreme in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. God gave this authority to Nebuchadnezzar to bring about his plans for his people, not because Nebuchadnezzar deserved it or because he was a righteous and believing ruler, but because God could use him as a tool under his command.

Jeremiah waited for the word of the Lord to give him an answer to Hananiah the false prophet, and the word of the Lord came to him. For Jeremiah, that was a word spoken to him directly by God. For us, it most often means study, staying in the word of God, and prayerfully meditating on what God has told us through prophets like Jeremiah and Daniel. His word is always true. And his Scriptures can never be broken.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.