Security in the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
By Jennifer Slattery
“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” Jeremiah 29:4
I hate acting as the disciplinarian. The more I care about someone, the harder it feels to hold them accountable—even if I know it’s in their best interest. One of my greatest strengths as a mom also, at times, became one of my greatest weaknesses. I could become overly empathetic and find reasonable excuses for every behavior. Luckily, my husband balanced me out, and together, we learned to raise our daughter with a blend of grace and truth.
Truth that sometimes led her to experience unpleasant consequences. But no matter her behavior or how warranted the repercussions, I always made sure to end our conversation with, “You know I love you, right?”
In today’s verse, it’s as if God is saying the same thing to His people through His prophet, Jeremiah. After 300 years’ of warnings, God’s mercy reached its end, and He allowed Babylon to carry the Israelites into exile.
Defeated and torn from their home, they probably felt as if God had abandoned them. Some may even have wondered if He’d lost His power or didn’t have the strength to save.
But God met them in the midst of their despair, announcing Himself as the Lord Almighty and the God of Israel. Two Hebrew words, Yahweh and tsaba, translated as the Lord of Heaven’s Armies in the NLT and the Lord of Hosts in the ESV, speak of God’s matchless power. Though Babylon had temporarily defeated His people, God Himself was not and couldn’t be defeated. But notice, in today’s verse, He included a second introduction—the God of Israel.
In other words, despite their rebellion and present state, He was still their God. When we are faithless, He is faithful. When we turn our back, He remains. And when it seems as if all hope is lost, He’s powerful enough to redeem and to save.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, releasing in the spring/summer of 2019. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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Originally published Saturday, 23 February 2019.