Project 119: Hope in the Upheaval | Jeremiah 40

 |  Project 119  |  Mary Splawn

Jeremiah 40

“God Supplies Our Needs”

All throughout Scripture, we see God’s hand of provision in miraculous ways. He provided a well in the desert for Hagar and Ishmael (Genesis 21:8–20), rained down manna from heaven to feed the wandering Israelites (Exodus 16:4), and sent ravens and a widow to feed Elijah (1 Kings 17:4–16).

In Jeremiah 40, we also see God’s supernatural provision for his servant Jeremiah. The time is sometime after 586 BC; Jerusalem has fallen to the Babylonians, and the people are being driven to Babylon in chains. Nebuzaradan, the captain of Nebuchadnezzar’s guard, has been given the task of taking the people of Judah off to Babylon. Only the poor and needy are left to work the land along with those put in leadership by the Babylonians. Jeremiah is put in chains like the others and begins the trek to Babylon—until the Lord does a miraculous thing. He gives the pagan official understanding and his servant favor! 

The captain essentially says, “Hey, I understand that God is bringing this disaster on your people! I’ve heard your prophecies, and they are coming true. But, I’m releasing you from bondage. Come with me and I’ll take good care of you, or stay here if you want and go live near Gedaliah, whom we have appointed governor! He’ll take care of your needs as well. Oh, by the way, here is some food and a gift for your journey.” 

The surface reason for the release of Jeremiah is unclear, but we know the deeper explanation. God has power over all and can use the hand of pagan authorities to release his servant.  

The Christmas connection surfaces as we meditate on God’s ability to provide. Jesus could have been born within a secure palace with the help of trained midwives, but God chose instead for his birth to be among the weak and the lowly. After a long journey to a meager town of Bethlehem, Mary arrived depleted and in the pains of labor. She and Joseph were in need of  shelter, provision, and protection. And, as the beautiful story reminds us, God provided a stable, a manger, and gifts from kings who had traveled great lengths to see the Christ Child.

God’s provision for the birth of Jesus his Son and for Jeremiah his servant teaches us the great truth that God provides. He makes a way when there seems no way. He supplies the needs of his servants as they trust in his abundant love and care.

Father, thank you for providing through miraculous means to teach us about dependence upon you. Guard us from self-sufficiency and pride and teach us to stand amazed at your daily provision in our lives. We thank you most of all for Jesus, the One who met our deepest need! Praise be to you, Lord! Amen.