Jeremiah 23:1-8

23 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number.I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
    and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
    and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
    The Lord Our Righteous Savior.

“So then, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”
(Jeremiah 23:1-8 NIV)

Chapter 22 listed God’s expectations of a king (administering righteousness and justice), then measured each of the recent kings against His standard.  Josiah passed with flying colors, but all his descendants failed miserably.

The first eight verses of Chapter 23 are a follow-up to Chapter 22.  There are three sub-sections to these verses:

  • The summary of the kings’ performance (vv. 1-4)
  • The coming King announced (vv. 5-6)
  • The promise of hope and restoration (vv. 7-8)

Verses 1 – 4 list the woes (proclamations) against the recent kings after Josiah.  This most likely included Zedekiah, Jehoiachin’s successor.  While the passage does not call out a specific date or time, the context of chapter 22 provides a general timeframe.

In the Old Testament, the word “shepherd” was often used to refer to a king.  The king’s role was to administer righteousness and justice in the land and among the people.  In verses 1 – 2, the Lord says He will shepherd the kings in the same way they have shepherded the people.  The flocks had scattered and been driven away to foreign lands due to the unrighteous kings; the same will happen the kings.

In verses 3 – 4, the Lord says He will provide shepherds that will protect and care for His people as He intended.  He will gather His sheep (His people) from far-flung regions to His Promised Land.  Once He gathers His flock again, they will be fruitful and multiply, and will be accounted for, protected, and at peace.

Verses 5 – 6 list the particulars of a coming King who will administer righteousness and justice according to God’s standard.  He will be a descendant of King David, reestablishing God’s promise to keep someone from David’s family legacy on the throne over both Israel and Judah.

God gives this Shepherd and King a name in verse 6:  “The Lord Our Righteous Savior”.  This name was a stinging satirical play on words to King Zedekiah, as “Zedekiah” meant “Righteousness is The Lord.”  Zedekiah was anything but what his name proclaimed.

Obviously, the Lord’s reference to the coming King is to The Messiah, Jesus.  We see all the prophecies of verses 5 – 6 fulfilled in this one man (and so much more).  Is this passage why Jesus refers to Himself as the “Good Shepherd” (John Chapter 10)?  Something to meditate on and ponder…

In verses 7 – 8, the Lord gives a word of encouragement to His people.  Even though they have not obeyed the Lord and the Lord has scattered them, He will restore them to their homeland one day.  And God will get even greater glory for restoring His people from many countries than He did by bringing them out of Egypt.

May we take heart in the Lord as our Shepherd (Psalm 23) who laid down His life for us (John 10:14-15).

May we abide in our Great Shepherd’s righteousness and justice.  And may we offer the same care and concern for our neighbor as the Lord gives us.


Jeremiah 22:24-30

24 “As surely as I live,” declares the Lord, “even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. 25 I will deliver you into the hands of those who want to kill you, those you fear—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Babylonians. 26 I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. 27 You will never come back to the land you long to return to.”

28 Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot,
    an object no one wants?
Why will he and his children be hurled out,
    cast into a land they do not know?
29 O land, land, land,
    hear the word of the Lord!
30 This is what the Lord says:
“Record this man as if childless,
    a man who will not prosper in his lifetime,
for none of his offspring will prosper,
    none will sit on the throne of David
    or rule anymore in Judah.”
(Jeremiah 22:24-30 NIV)

In previous passages, we have seen the Lord’s pronouncements against former kings of Judah:

  • to all the kings of Judah in general (vv. 1-9)
  • to Shallum (Jehoahaz) (vv. 10-12)
  • to Eliakim (Jehoiakim) (vv. 13-19)
  • to Jerusalem, the home of the kings (vv. 20-23).

In today’s text, the Lord finishes His pronouncements with the last king to sit on the throne of Judah – Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) (vv. 24-30).  Other passages sometimes use “Coniah” as a shortened version of Jeconiah’s full name.

Jehoiachin, unfortunately, followed in his father’s footsteps.  2 Kings 24:8-17 says that Jehoiachin “did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father had done.” (v. 9).  Jehoiachin was only in office three months before Nebuchadnezzar replaced him.  Jehoiachin and his mother, along with many artisans, soldiers, and treasures were all taken from Jerusalem and brought back to Nebuchadnezzar’s palace in Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar was ruthless and could have easily killed Jehoiachin and all his offspring, thus ending the royal lineage of Judah.  However, the Lord had promised to retain a remnant of His people, including the Davidic family line.  This faint glimmer of hope is carried on through Jehoiachin, even in exile.  We see another glimpse of this hope in 2 Kings 25:27-30 when the ruler of Babylon releases Jehoiachin from prison and allows him to eat at the king’s table.

Verse 29 is a clarion call to be heard to the very ends of the earth – God has spoken, and the world is in shock.  Judah and Jerusalem are no more.

Verse 30 takes careful reading to understand its meaning.  At first reading, it may appear that the Lord is saying Jehoiachin will be childless.  In fact, 1 Chronicles 3:17-18 tells us that Jehoiachin had seven sons.  Upon further investigation, the Lord says that none of Jehoiachin’s sons will be king of Judah, sitting on the royal throne of their forefather David.  The phrase “as if” is crucial – indicating that Jehoiachin’s sons will not sit on the king’s throne.

The lineage of Jesus fulfills the glimmer of hope mentioned earlier.  The Gospel of Matthew records Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17.  Verses 11 – 12 list Josiah and Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) as part of Jesus’ family line.  Even when His people were in exile, the Lord protected His own and made a way to fulfill His promise of a future King – Jesus.

May we remember that the Lord can work in us and through us, even in our “desert” times when it feels like we can do nothing or have nothing to offer.

May we learn from the long line of bad choices by Judah’s kings and choose to live according to God’s Word.and seek His heart with our entire being, to seek justice and righteousness, to love Him as He first loved us.


Jeremiah 22:20-23

20 “Go up to Lebanon and cry out,
    let your voice be heard in Bashan,
cry out from Abarim,
    for all your allies are crushed.
21 I warned you when you felt secure,
    but you said, ‘I will not listen!’
This has been your way from your youth;
    you have not obeyed me.
22 The wind will drive all your shepherds away,
    and your allies will go into exile.
Then you will be ashamed and disgraced
    because of all your wickedness.
23 You who live in ‘Lebanon,’
    who are nestled in cedar buildings,
how you will groan when pangs come upon you,
    pain like that of a woman in labor!
(Jeremiah 22:20-23 NIV)

In previous passages, we have seen the Lord’s pronouncements against former kings of Judah:  to all the kings of Judah in general (vv. 1-9), to Shallum (Jehoahaz) (vv. 10-12) and Eliakim (Jehoiakim) (vv. 13-19) so far.

At first glance, it may appear that in today’s text, the Lord is still talking about Jehoiakim since He has not called out another king’s name.  Upon further investigation, we discover that the Lord is not talking about a person, but a place:  Jerusalem.

Hebrew scholars tell us that all the pronouns (“your” and “you”) and verbs in this section are feminine, which in Hebrew literature refers to a city (unless they specifically call out a woman by name).

Verse 20 tells Jerusalem to go to three historical places to cry out for help:

  • Lebanon (with all its abundant forest resources )
  • Bashan (with all its rich pasturelands)
  • Abarim (the mountain range in Moab, most notably Mount Nebo, where Moses saw the Promised Land from afar before he died).

None of these places (or the resources or the people associated with them) could save Jerusalem from the Lord’s discipline.

Scholars also point out that today’s text fits chronologically during the latter years of King Jehoiakim’s reign, and before the ascension of Jehoiakim’s son, King Jehoiachin, to power.  When we looked at 2 Kings 23:31-37 as part of the backdrop of history, we saw that Pharoah Necho of Egypt put Jehoiakim in authority.  We also saw that Jehoiakim was not a patriot and chose to serve his master Pharoah Necho rather than the Lord or his country.

When we turn the chapter and look at 2 Kings 24:1-7, we see that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invades Judah and takes it away from Pharoah Necho of Egypt.  King Jehoiakim no longer had his political allies and tried in vain to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

The Lord had warned the rulers not to make allies (v. 20) with human leaders (13:20-27) but reconcile with Him instead.  Verses 20cd- 21 point out that these former allies would not last; they would at best be neutral or unable to help; at worst, they would turn against Jerusalem and become her enemies.

Verses 22 – 23 are reminiscent of 13:20-27; when her allies are all gone, Jerusalem will be all alone, like a woman in labor without a midwife or husband to help her give birth.  With no political allies and no buffer of Judean land around her, Jerusalem found herself on her own against her attackers.

May we remember that our strength comes not from our power, or from alliances with others, but from the Lord our God.  In our weakness, He becomes our strength, our power, and our defender.

May we agree with King David that the Lord disciplines those He loves and that His discipline leads us back into right relationship with Him if we will but humble ourselves before Him:

65 Do good to your servant
    according to your word, Lord.
66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
    for I trust your commands.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I obey your word.
68 You are good, and what you do is good;
    teach me your decrees.
69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,
    I keep your precepts with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,
    but I delight in your law.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted
    so that I might learn your decrees.
72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me
    than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.
(Psalm 119:65-72 NIV, underlines mine)


Jeremiah 22:13-19

13 “Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness,
    his upper rooms by injustice,
making his own people work for nothing,
    not paying them for their labor.
14 He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace
    with spacious upper rooms.’
So he makes large windows in it,
    panels it with cedar
    and decorates it in red.

15 “Does it make you a king
    to have more and more cedar?
Did not your father have food and drink?
    He did what was right and just,
    so all went well with him.
16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy,
    and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?”
    declares the Lord.
17 “But your eyes and your heart
    are set only on dishonest gain,
on shedding innocent blood
    and on oppression and extortion.”

18 Therefore this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah:

“They will not mourn for him:
    ‘Alas, my brother! Alas, my sister!’
They will not mourn for him:
    ‘Alas, my master! Alas, his splendor!’
19 He will have the burial of a donkey—
    dragged away and thrown
    outside the gates of Jerusalem.”
(Jeremiah 22:13-19 NIV)

Yesterday we looked at the first successor to King Josiah – his son Shallum (also known as Jehoahaz).  Today we look at Shallum’s successor and brother Eliakim (also known as Jehoiakim).

2 Kings 23:31-37 tells the story of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim.  As we learned yesterday, Jehoahaz was appointed king by the people of Judah after Josiah died.  When Pharoah Necho of Egypt took over as ruler of Judah, he quickly replaced Jehoahaz with Eliakim and changed his name to Jehoiakim (v. 34).  Pharoah Necho also put a tax on Judah (specifically on Jehoiakim).  Jehoiakim quickly passed the tax burden along to the people of Judah.   And what was the final analysis of Jehoiakim?  “And he did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his predecessors had done.” (v. 37)

In today’s passage, we see the word of the Lord come out very strongly against Jehoiakim. As we will learn later (chapter 36), Jehoiakim had no respect for the Lord or Jeremiah and treated Jeremiah with hatred and contempt.  In verses 13 – 15a, the Lord calls out Jehoiakim’s injustices against his people.  Jehoiakim forces his people to work for nothing (essentially treating them as slaves) and builds himself a lavish mansion lined with cedar wood.  This palace was not just a beautiful place to live; this was a monument to himself, a house greater than any other king.

Verse 17 shows the extent to which Jehoiakim reached to fulfill his selfish desires – cheating, murder, slavery, and extortion.  In contrast, the Lord points out Jehoiakim’s father Josiah as a positive example of how to be a king:  Josiah administered righteousness (v. 15b) and justice (v. 16) all while living like a king.

Jehoiakim’s reign of tyranny and terror lasted eleven years.  And what was his predicted outcome?  Verses 18 – 19 inform us that no one will mourn for Jehoiakim and that his body will be dragged out of the city and dumped like the carcass of a dead animal to rot in the wilderness.  There would be no flags flown at half-mast, no state funeral, not even a proper burial that a commoner would typically receive.

While Egyptian ruler Pharoah Necho may have conquered Judah and appointed Jehoiakim in place of his younger brother Jehoahaz, it was Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar who overtook Jerusalem and captured King Jehoiakim.

2 Chronicles 36:6  recounts the story of Jehoiakim’s defeat; historians tell us that after Jehoiakim had died, Nebuchadnezzar ordered that Jehoiakim’s body be tossed outside the city (thus fulfilling God’s prophecy).

While there is much to learn from Jehoiakim’s evil example and Josiah’s good example, we must be careful not to compare the kings of Jeremiah’s day directly with our modern-day governmental structures, no matter the nation in which we live.  All the kings of Judah were from David’s family and appointed by God.  This lineage was established from David through Josiah and ended with Jesus Christ the King, who now rules forever and ever.

So what are the learnings from this passage?  The universal themes of justice and righteousness echo throughout Scriptures – from Jeremiah’s day to our day to the end of the world as we know it when Christ will come again to rule over all.

Justice and righteousness are not political viewpoints or leanings to the left or to the right to align with a particular party platform.  Justice and righteousness are intrinsic to God’s character and stand independent of and over any and all political ideologies and persuasions.

May the words of James, the half-brother of Jesus remind us that justice and righteousness are just as much a part of living for the Lord today as they were in Jeremiah’s day:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
(James 1:27 NIV)


Jeremiah 22:10-12

Do not weep for the dead king or mourn his loss;
    rather, weep bitterly for him who is exiled,
because he will never return
    nor see his native land again.

11 For this is what the Lord says about Shallum son of Josiah, who succeeded his father as king of Judah but has gone from this place: “He will never return. 12 He will die in the place where they have led him captive; he will not see this land again.”
(Jeremiah 22:10-12 NIV)

From yesterday’s text, the Lord gave a word of warning to all the kings of Judah to administer justice daily according to God’s Law.  The remainder of Chapter 22 is a review of the kings after Josiah the reformer.

Today’s passage is short, just like the reign of the king mentioned.  In this passage, the Lord gives the lament first, before mentioning for whom the people should lament.  In verse 11, the Lord identifies Shallum as the subject of the lament.

So what do we know about Shallum?  From this passage, we are aware that he was King Josiah’s son.  From other scriptures, we are mindful of the fact that Josiah was a great religious reformer, destroying places of idol worship all over the land and restoring the worship of the One True God.  We would hope that Josiah’s sons would also follow their father’s example, obeying the Lord and fighting evil.

To understand this lament of Shallum (also known as Jehoahaz, his throne name), we need to understand the context of Josiah and Shallum.  2 Kings 23:29-34 gives a brief summary of Josiah, Shallum, and Eliakim, Shallum’s successor.  Here we learn that King Josiah dies at the hand of Egyptian King Pharoah Necho.  Verse 30 tells us that the people pick Jehoahaz (Shallum) as Josiah’s successor.

From 1 Chronicles 3:15 we know that Shallum (Jehoahaz) was the fourth son of Josiah.  The people’s pick of Jehoahaz over his older brothers was likely because he was a patriot and the people felt he would stand up to Pharoah Necho and fight for freedom once again in the land of Judah.

From the 2 Kings 23:29-34 passage, we see that Jehoahaz only lasted three months as the king before Pharoah Necho replaced him with his brother Eliakim.  And what was the summary of Jehoahaz’ short reign?  “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord…” (verse 32).  And what happened to Jehoahaz?   Pharoah Necho led him away in chains to Egypt, and he died there (vv. 33-34).

Jumping back to today’s text in Jeremiah, we now comprehend the context of Shallum (Jehoahaz) and understand the lament in verse 10.  The Lord says not to mourn the death of Josiah, but rather the exile of Shallum, as he will never see his beloved homeland again.

So what is significant about this lament?  Why mention it at all?  It seems the Lord wants to point out that the current state of affairs did not happen overnight.  The evil in Judah was brought about by their rulers and lived out by the people.  Just as the Lord exiled these kings for their evil, the Lord also exiled His people from God’s Promised Land for their evil.

Note that nothing good or redeeming comes from Jehoahaz (Shallum), either during his short-lived reign or his exile.  If we contrast Shallum’s life to that of Joseph (another person carted off to Egypt), or Daniel (taken to exile in Babylon), or the Apostle Paul (held in Roman prison, another form of exile), we see a marked contrast in lives lived.

May we be more like Joseph, Daniel, and the Apostle Paul, and be used of the Lord regardless of our location or circumstances.


Jeremiah 22:1-9

22 This is what the Lord says: “Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and proclaim this message there: ‘Hear the word of the Lord to you, king of Judah, you who sit on David’s throne — you, your officials and your people who come through these gates. This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people. But if you do not obey these commands, declares the Lord, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin.’”

For this is what the Lord says about the palace of the king of Judah:

“Though you are like Gilead to me,
    like the summit of Lebanon,
I will surely make you like a wasteland,
    like towns not inhabited.
I will send destroyers against you,
    each man with his weapons,
and they will cut up your fine cedar beams
    and throw them into the fire.

“People from many nations will pass by this city and will ask one another, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this great city?’ And the answer will be: ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and have worshiped and served other gods.’”
(Jeremiah 22:1-9 NIV)

In yesterday’s passage, the Lord said one of the primary roles of a king was to administer justice according to God’s Law on a daily basis (verse 12).  Today, the Lord elaborates further on this theme of providing justice within the kingdom.

 The phrase “Go down” in verse 1 means to go down in altitude, from a higher place to a lower place.  The only place higher than the king’s home (his palace) was  God’s residence among His people (His Temple).   When the Lord told Jeremiah to go “down”, He meant it both literally and figuratively.  Jeremiah was at God’s residence (the Temple) and was to proclaim the message in the king’s palace.  God was also saying to the king, “I am in charge, and you, O king of Judah, and all who are in command under you, are under My authority.”

At first glance, it would be easy to assume that the timing of this message was to be given to the current king of Judah.  From chapter 21, we know this was Zedekiah.  Upon further examination of the context of chapter 22, we see this is a general directive to every king who sits on the throne.  Verse 4 is the biggest hint that this was a continual message given to every king and was not specifically for the current king.  The word “if” indicates there was still a choice as to what the king could do, either for good (justice) or evil (injustice).  From chapter 21, we know the kings had chosen unwisely, and the Lord had said He would burn the city to the ground because of the sin of the nation.  As we shall see in subsequent days, the Lord will comment on many kings and their issues.

Verses 3 – 5 are the Lord’s commands to the kings:  provide justice to the defenseless  Jeremiah was standing at the palace gates when he delivered this word from the Lord.  He was an uninvited guest at the palace and was likely prohibited by the palace guard from going any nearer the king’s palace. So Jeremiah stood outside and used his loud, projecting voice and aggressive tone (see 20:8) to proclaim the Lord’s word to the king and his officials.

Verses 6 – 7 reiterate the discipline that the Lord will bring down if the kings do not obey God’s commands.  Even though the Lord is pleased with the majesty of the buildings of Jerusalem as He is pleased with the abundant and majestic forests of Gilead and Lebanon, He will burn them all up like firewood if the kings do not honor and obey Him.

The Lord adds a final comment in verses 8 – 9:  The message will be crystal clear that the kings are to follow God alone and provide justice in the land.  Even foreigners passing by will understand the reason for God destroying the city if the kings do not obey.  The reason is that the kings do not honor God and God alone, and have chosen to forsake Him and worship other gods.

Standing in Jeremiah’s shoes for a moment, this was another unpopular moment where he likely felt the verbal abuse from the king and the royal officials as well as the palace guards.  Jeremiah probably felt the wrath of his peers (the other priests) as well.  But Jeremiah remained faithful to his calling and proclaimed the word of the Lord despite the personal cost to himself and his reputation.

May we remember the Lord’s words to the nation of Israel, as they are as applicable to us today as they were when the Lord spoke them through His prophet so long ago:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 NVI)

We may not be rulers or kings or royal officials, but we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves.

May we heed the Lord’s commands and seek His face to live this out today.


Jeremiah 21:11-14

11 “Moreover, say to the royal house of Judah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord. 12 This is what the Lord says to you, house of David:

“‘Administer justice every morning;
    rescue from the hand of the oppressor
    the one who has been robbed,
or my wrath will break out and burn like fire
    because of the evil you have done—
    burn with no one to quench it.
13 I am against you, Jerusalem,
    you who live above this valley
    on the rocky plateau, declares the Lord
you who say, “Who can come against us?
    Who can enter our refuge?”
14 I will punish you as your deeds deserve,
    declares the Lord.
I will kindle a fire in your forests
    that will consume everything around you.’”
(Jeremiah 21:11-14 NIV)

In yesterday’s text, Jeremiah replied to King Zedekiah’s inquiry about the fate of Jerusalem.

In today’s passage, the Lord provides an unsolicited addendum to the king’s question.  The Lord is saying, “I have answered your question; now listen to what I have to say.”

In verses 11 and 12, the word “house” might be better translated “dynasty”.  This “dynasty” refers to the succession of kings from David through Zedekiah.

Today’s text is a reminder that one of the king’s primary duties was to administer justice (verse 12).  The king was to have God’s Law with him and available at all times so that he might remember, understand, and apply all that God required in every situation.  The king would usually sit at the city gate and hear disputes each morning.  The king would listen to both parties, consult God’s Law, and administer whatever God’s Law said to do.

As we already know, the kings of late had strayed far from God’s standard of justice found in the Law.  In Chapter 22, the Lord summarizes the legacy of each king since Josiah.

Verse 13 is a little confusing at first, as the prevailing attitude of “Who can come against us?  Who can enter our refuge?”  implies someone or something dropping down from a higher vantage point into the “nest” of the city.  Jerusalem sits on a high mesa (rocky plateau) surrounded on three sides (west, south, and east) by deep valleys.  The only place geographically and topologically higher was north of the city, where the hill country began.  And yet, God had said that the “armies from the north” (Babylon) would also attack Jerusalem on its north side where it was level ground.

Verse 14, is a little confusing, as it sounds like there is a real forest within the walls of the city.  The phrase “I will build a fire in your forests” is likely referring to all the cedar wood used to construct the city buildings.  In fact, 1 Kings 7:2 refers to the king’s house as “the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon”. Both yesterday’s text (verse 10) and today’s passage (verse 14) repeat the Lord’s promise to burn the city to the ground.  All the wood in the buildings (an entire forest’s worth) would make burning the city with fire a plausible reality.

May we remember to use God’s Word as our standard and guide in all matters of living, and not our shifting standard or what we want or what society or culture says.

May we demonstrate care and compassion to those around us, loving our neighbor as ourselves.   In our kindness, we can demonstrate God’s justice to help those who are not able to help themselves.  God’s Word says that even our enemies will see the Lord’s kindness when we show undeserved grace and mercy to them.