Jeremiah 27:1-6 – In the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah son of Josiah of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord. 2 Thus the Lord said to me: Make yourself a yoke of straps and bars, and put them on your neck. 3 Send word to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the Ammonites, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon by the hand of the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to King Zedekiah of Judah. 4 Give them this charge for their masters: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: This is what you shall say to your masters: 5 It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the people and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever I please. 6 Now I have given all these lands into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him even the wild animals of the field to serve him. 7 All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes; then many nations and great kings shall make him their slave.
God gives Jeremiah a message to deliver to the kingdoms of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon. None of these kingdoms were Jewish. They were not part of the Abrahamic covenant. They were Gentile and some of them were the enemies of Israel. At one point all of them had been the enemies of Israel. The message that Jeremiah is to give to them is the same one that he has been giving to his own countrymen: Do not resist the Babylonian insurgence. It is from God and it will only go worse for you if you fight against them.
What was the response of these countries? We are not told. No doubt many would have laughed at Jeremiah. Perhaps he was threatened as he had been in Israel. Why should these countries who serve other gods listen to a prophet from a two bit nation that is in danger just like they were? Because God is the God of all the nations, regardless of their beliefs and regardless of their response to His messengers.
There is only one God and His expectations from those who do not acknowledge Him are the very same as the ones He has for those who do. This message to these nations is a precursor to the Gospel. There is a message from God of impending judgement. There is also a message of grace. If you hear Him and acknowledge Him and obey Him you will live. Do not listen to the messages from other so called gods. They cannot speak. The One true God who is is speaking and you should be grateful and you should listen.
We live in a time when it is considered extremely rude and very arrogant to say that what one believes is better than what others believe. All religions have their truth and to say that there is only one and it is yours is to be guilty of the worst kind of chauvinism. And without getting into all the arguments about how to respond to that we say this: there is only one God and the account of Jeremiah receiving a message from him for the non believing countries around Israel is a testimony of His mercy and His grace. As believers we believe that the whole world is under the sovereign rulership of the One True God and that He mercifully holds out His hands with the free offer of the Gospel to all peoples.
God has given us the job of delivering the Gospel to others. Jeremiah was faithful to what God told him to do. We are not told this account just so that we will be amazed at Jeremiah or the nations or the opposition he faced. We are told this so that we will remember that we too have a calling and we are under just as much obligation to obey as Jeremiah was, even if it costs us our lives, as it cost Jeremiah’s his. We have a great message. This message does include news of judgement. But it is even more a message of grace and life and a living relationship with the only God there is. Let us deliver it to all whom God puts in our path who will give us audience.