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As we begin today’s recap of our reading it is important to remember that Jeremiah had been FREED!! When he was FREED he had a decision to make. He could live in Babylon, and live a very comfortable life, or he could return to his home of Judah with his people, the Judeans, who hated him. If we chose to live in Judah with his people he WOULD live in misery. Jeremiah was a vessel for God to speak through to His people. Jeremiah chose to live among the very people that hated him. But this would prove that he was not a traitor.
CHAPTER 41 — Today we are reading about MORE Political chaos and CONTINUED disobedience. So, WHO was Gedaliah? Gedaliah was the appointed governor of Judah. He was part of the REMNANT left in Judah and was appointed ruler of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. So, WHO was Ishmael? Ishmael was of the line of David and was probably angry that he had been passed over as the leader of Judah’s REMNANT. Ishmael and his band of merry men killed Gedaliah. It is the 7th month of the Hebrew calendar called Tishri or Ethanim during the September-October time frame of our calendar today. The Day of Atonement would have been celebrated during this time, which is most likely why the 80 men were coming to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem. These 80 men had NO idea what had just happened to Gedaliah by Ishmael. Unfortunately, Ishmael most likely killed them for their money and food….no other reason…well maybe power somehow too!! NOW… Judah was without a ruler which meant ANARCHY.
In the craziness Johanan decided to lead survivors to Egypt because of the anarchy and turmoil. (Proverbs 19:21 says: ” Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”) Johanan and the people with him felt the Babylonians would be mad for Gedaliah’s murder by one of their own; therefore, they had ALREADY decided to go to Egypt and were ON THEIR WAY there to avoid any war with Babylon!! (Irony of ironies right??)
CHAPTER 42 — Do you ever ask God to bless you and guide YOUR PLANS ..WAY AFTER YOU HAVE ALREADY STARTED THEM?? Notice I said…. ask him to bless YOUR plans for a season, and not HIS guidance for your life??? Here is a PERFECT example of what happens when we do that. Keep in mind that Johanan and all the people with him were ALREADY on their way to Egypt when they ASKED JEREMIAH to PRAY to God for direction. They PROMISED to DO WHATEVER God TOLD them to do through Jeremiah. This was a tragic mistake!! They KNEW they were going to Egypt, but hypocritically they asked Jeremiah to pray on their behalf for direction. SAD SAD SAD!! God KNOWS our hearts!!! God will not be deceived nor will he be mocked. HELLO….. did these people REALLLLLY think God wasn’t watching??? Jeremiah was a prophet for 40 years. Jeremiah and all the people had seen much of Jeremiah’s prophecies come to pass!!! Did they REALLLLLy think Jeremiah would say anything other than what God told him to say????? I mean….these people had already tried to kill him more than once because they didn’t like what he was saying!!! WHAT were they expecting???? Much like us, we often make up our minds about our next steps, we begin working on those steps and plans to reach our goals….THEN we come before God and ask HIM to BLESS OUR PLANS!!! There is nothing wrong with having goals and plans; however, things always work much smoother when we ASK God first to show us HIS plans for us and then move forward with plans and goals according to HIS ways. But…I’m SURE none of us….can relate to such a thing….right???? God was angry with his people for asking HIM for guidance but not really meaning it, no plans to listen to HIM, no plans to follow HIM, they simply just wanted HIM to bless THEIR PLANS already in PROGRESS. OUCH!!
We end this chapter with Jeremiah telling the people what THE LORD has said….. DO NOT GO TO EGYPT or you will SURELY be in war, famine, and plague….and will DIE there by the very one you are running from!!
CHAPTER 43 — God FIRST answered their request and spoke to them through Jeremiah. God told them NOT to go to Egypt or they would all die. If you have a minute go back and re-read ALL the wonderful PROMISES God makes to them for their lives, if they will obey HIM and remain in Judah!!! LOOK at God’s graciousness, love, abundance, and how God tells them the punishment he had to inflict on them because of their disobedience in the past grieved HIM. Does that not show you what a wonderful God we serve??? SECOND, they REFUSED to BELIEVE Jeremiah was speaking for God!!! Sooooo…they REFUSED to DO what God instructed them to do (NOT GO TO EGYPT.) I KNOW their refusal was SUCH a SHOCKER!!!! Of course, they accuse Jeremiah of lying to them!! KEEP in mind….Johanan and his people wanted God’s APPROVAL of THEIR plan……they did NOT want GOD’s direction for their lives!!! OUCH!! This one leader (verse 5 & 6) “… and all the army officers led away all the REMNANT of Judah who had come back to live in the land of Judah from all the nations where they had been scattered. 6 They also led away all those whom Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had left with Gedaliah…” LOOK at the POWER ONE leader of ONE nation can have on the individuals of an entire nation!!! FEAR can cause of to make many wrong choices. These people were afraid. They did not believe God. NOT ONLY did Johanan lead his people forward to Egypt BUT HE MADE Jeremiah come with them, possibly thinking God would spare them if Jeremiah was with them!!!! Does this sound like any of the NEWS you hear today????
CHAPTER 44 — This chapter was actually written in 580 B.C prior to the King Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Egypt in 568-567 B.C. Like Judah, Egypt rebelled against him, but were soon crushed…just as God had told them would happen through Jeremiah’s prophecies. Keep in mind Jeremiah is in Egypt AGAINST his will!! However, God is still using Jeremiah to tell HIS people that BECAUSE of their OWN SIN, their idolatry, their burning incense to worship other gods and gain answers for their future, their complete refusal, defiance, and rebellion against the ONE TRUE God who loved them deeply. GOD REALLY NEVER LEAVES US GUESSING, HE WAS EVEN telling them exactly what was happening and why in this chapter. God even stated to them in verse 7: “WHY bring such great disaster ON YOURSELVES…?” Then in verse 8: ” You will destroy yourselves….” These words were written to the people of Judah and are still pertinent today….. when we CHOOSE not to ask Jesus to be Lord of our lives….we WILL destroy ourselves….POWERFUL!!! EVEN when we KNOW Jesus, we can ask forgiveness for our sins and HE PROMISES to forgive us, and we can always be assured we will spend eternity with HIM. HOWEVER….if we choose to repeat our sins, continue in them….we will live with the consequences that can rob of us living the abundant life while here on earth. IF we choose to live in fear and not listen to the Word of God (fear not…), we are choosing to give the enemy the opportunity to kill, steal, and destroy the wonderful life of peace and joy that comes from surrendering ALL to HIM.
Incase you are wondering who the “Queen of Heaven” is that is mentioned in this chapter….it is the name given to Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and fertility. After the fall of Jerusalem, the refugees from Judah who fled to Egypt continued to worship her. We also saw her mentioned in Chapter 7:18. For those of you into history and archeological proof…..a papyrus dating from the 5th century BC found at Hermopolis in Egypt, mentions the Queen of Heavens among the gods honored by the Jewish community living there. WOW!!!
The very SAD thing for me in this reading was because of their disobedience….. God told them they were NEVER to use HIS name “O Sovereign Lord” EVER again….everyone from Judah living in Egypt would DIE in Egypt because of their CONTINUAL REFUSAL to OBEY HIM. Because we stand on this side of the cross, and because most of us reading this have asked Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior….these are words we NEVER have to worry about hearing. (If you are reading this and have never asked Jesus to be the Lord of your life, please click on the blue button at the TOP of this page that says “WHAT IF”, this will help you take that wonderful step in your life.) WE ARE GOD’s children. He CHOSE us first. And HE PURSUED us so we CHOSE HIM to be our LORD and SAVIOR, we have the HOLY SPIRIT dwelling in us, WE are HIS Temple and HE has PROMISED to NEVER leave us or forsake us…NEVER NEVER NEVER no NOT EVER. We live by GRACE and not by the law. PRAISE GOD!!!
This chapter ends with God telling them HE will give them a sign that HE will punish them in Egypt. The sign will be that HE will hand Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt over to his enemies (Hophra ruled from 588-569 BC and was killed by one of his generals)
just as HE handed Zedekiah over to his enemies!!!
Interestingly, my Life Application Bible states: “After Jeremiah’s forced move to Egypt, there is no word in the Bible about the events in the rest of Jeremiah’s life.”
CHAPTER 45 — Baruch had LONG been serving Jeremiah, the very unpopular prophet, writing his book of struggles and judgement. In this chapter we see that Baruch is upset. God told Baruch to take his eyes off himself and put them back on HIM. IF Baruck would do as God instructed then God would protect him. Quite a short chapter and there for a reason. Do you ever get so overwhelmed with things in your life that you begin to complain to God, asking for rewards for doing the hard things, or passively pulling away from HIM by not reading HIS word or asking for guidance in HIS ways? God’s message to Baruch is really a loving message. I don’t see God as a mean God saying: “Yo, Baruch….straighten up and fly right!!” I see this more as a loving reminder to him (and to us) to say: “My sweet child, take your eyes off of yourself, your circumstances, your problems, your personal desires, and put your eyes on me… I will protect you, provide for you, always be here for you..those other things will not.”
One last thing that stuck out to me today was —-Heaven’s Armies (n the NLT)—HEAVEN’s ArmieSSSSS plural!!! remember when Elisha prayed that his servant’s eyes would be opened so he could see that there were more WITH them than against them. All the servant could see were the enemy armies lined up across the hills who were against them. The servant thought Elisha was crazy or drunk, or smokin something!!! Then the next morning he awoke and COULD SEE angels sitting on chariots of fire with horses of fire and God’s heavenly angel armies FAR OUT numbered the armies that were against them!!! WHAT a BIG answer to a BIG prayer!!! (2 Kings 6:17) AND that is my prayer for you as you read this….that your eyes will be opened to more of God in such a profound way you will never forget what God had for you today.
Sharing HIS love,