TODAY’S READING: JEREMIAH 39-43
OVERVIEW: The destruction of Jerusalem (39:1-10); God’s deliverance of Jeremiah and Ebedmelech (39:11-18); Jeremiah’s release (40:1-16); the plot against Gedaliah, Babylon’s appointed governor over those remaining in the land (41:1-10); the hostages taken by Ishmael are rescued (41:11-18); the Jews request a word from God through Jeremiah (42:1-6); Jeremiah delivers God’s Word (42:7-22); the people reject God’s Word (43:1-7); God’s rejection of the people (43:8-13).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
That fateful day of which Jeremiah had been prophesying had finally arrived. Verse one of chapter 39 says that Nebuchadrezzar and “all his army came against Jerusalem, and they besieged it.” Those who had been called to be the holy people of God, with a holy standing before Him, with a holy Temple in a holy land had finally desecrated their holy calling. Zedekiah escaped in the middle of the night out of a secret passage way, but was overtaken in the plain and brought before Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon (39:4-5). Nebuchadrezzar killed Zedekiah’s sons right “before his eyes” (39:6), just before he “put out Zedekiah’s eyes” (39:7). Imagine that the last thing you would ever be permitted to see for the remainder of your whole life, was your own children being slaughtered, and have to go to your grave realizing that it was because of your own sin! It is an amazing phenomenon that as parents we can choose to be so willfully blinded to the consequences of our sinful choices!
upon our own precious children! Sadly, Zedekiah represents the rule rather than the exception when it comes to the affects of sin upon our homes.
Just as God promised Jeremiah when He first called him (1:17-19), Jeremiah’s life was spared in the whole demise of the nation (39:11-18). It is rather ironic that Jeremiah was shown more kindness by the King of Babylon than he had ever received from the previous four kings of Judah. In chapter 40, Jeremiah is actually freed by the Babylonians, and presented with the option of going into Babylon and being provided for, or remaining with the remnant that had been permitted to stay in the land (40:4). In the great spirit and tradition of Moses, Jeremiah “chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of” Babylon (Heb. 11:24-26).
In chapter 40 and verses 5 and 6, Gedaliah is appointed by Babylon as governor over the people who were permitted to remain in the land. He encouraged the people to quietly and respectfully serve Babylon, assuring them that if they did, things would go well with them (40:9). Unfortunately, a plot was devised against Gedaliah, and in chapter 41, Ishmael murdered him along with other citizens, as well as taking hostages. Ishmael’s plan was to flee to the city of Ammon, leaving the Jews around Jerusalem to suffer the wrath of the Babylonians. They understood that they had two possibilities. First, they could flee to Egypt and trust them to help against the Babylonians, or, they could remain where God had placed them, and trust God to help them. Stating it in that fashion makes the decision they “should” make a “no brainer,” until we look back over our shoulder to how many times during a time of difficulty or trial, we trusted the world’s (Egypt’s) solution, rather than t!
rusting God. Surprisingly, they sought Jeremiah’s counsel as to what they should do (42:1-4), pledging that whatever God said through him, regardless of what it was, they would obey it (42:5-6). God’s word came back through Jeremiah, telling them that if they would remain in the land, God would protect them and bless them (42:7-12), but that if they went to Egypt for help, He would allow them to be blasted to “kingdom come” (42:13-18)! Jeremiah suspected that they were all full of talk, but no walk – all full of show, but no go (42:19-22), and chapter 43 proved that his hunch was right. Rather than obey Jeremiah’s words to them, which is to say, God’s words to them, they accuse him of telling them the things he did so they would fall to the Babylonians. What this really proved, is that they had planned to do what they wanted to do all along, they just had hoped God’s will lined up with theirs. It sounds unbelievable and ludicrous, but again, their spiritual sounding/loo!
king shenanigans masking their self-will may represent the ru!
r than the exception in Laodicea (II Tim. 3:1-5).
Chapter 43 ends with another of God’s many object lessons through Jeremiah, pointing to the fact that Babylon would conquer Egypt just as they had Judah.
SPECIFIC REFERENCES TO “THE DAY OF THE LORD”:
39:16 – “In that day”
39:17 – “In that day”
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
Through GEDALIAH, as he instructed the Jews to pay homage to the heathen nation that ruled over them – Jer. 40:9 (Matt. 22:21).