BABYLON OR EGYPT?
Suggested Reading: Jeremiah 42-44
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Key Verses: Jeremiah 42:6, 42:20-21a
Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God…For you were hypocrites in your hearts when you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, “Pray for us to the Lord our God, and according to all that the Lord your God says, so declare to us and we will do it.” And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God…
These people probably did not intend to disobey God. Someone has said that “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” It seemed reasonable to them to ask Jeremiah for direction from God. But their hearts were hypocritical, not reasonable. Fear, a heart condition, won the day. “Egypt” is mentioned 22 times in these 3 chapters. No doubt they still celebrated “Passover” to help them remember that God had delivered Israel from Egypt (Exodus 12:12-14).
It seems that Jeremiah was forced to go with them back to Egypt. When they arrived, Jeremiah again warned them of their folly (43:10-13).
Jeremiah 44:7 is a commentary on the human heart and the foolishness of the human mind that decides to go our own way rather than God’s way. God says, “Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves, to cut off from you man and woman, child and infant, out of Judah, leaving none to remain?” Most of them died in Egypt, never to return. This was not to be the case of the Babylonian captives. They returned to rebuild the Temple and Jerusalem.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, I pray that I will reason, according to the Scriptures, and obey You with both my mind and heart. Deliver me from the hypocrisy of saying one thing and doing another. I ask this through the Person and work of the One Who always said exactly what He intended to say, and then did what He said, the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
Babylon or Egypt? Neither place was God’s highest plan for His people. Judah was still there as an option. King Zedekiah and many others were forced into Babylon because of their stubborn resistance to the Word from God, and in today’s reading, and later Johanan and the remnant still in Judah, exercised their own free will (they were called “proud men”) and went to Egypt where they died. Again and again I’ve had to simply obey what I believed God was saying to me through His written Word, the still small Voice within me, or through the counsel of men and women of God!
In yesterday’s blog I mentioned the first ever conference of Christian leaders which gathered in Moscow from all 15 Republics of the Soviet Union. It was obvious that communist rule was an utter failure and that the people would shortly be freed from this curse on the human family. Several pastors who had resisted the cruelties of communism, and like Daniel in Babylon kept the faith, referred to “THE 70 YEARS OF THE DARK RED NIGHT OF COMMUNIST RULE,” boldly proclaiming that their 70 years of captivity (roughly 1917 to 1987) was now over. At the time of this conference the Communists were still in power. In fact, the Pastor that I referred to yesterday said, gesticulating with his twisted fingers on his right hand, “The communists even called me the other day and offered to break my fingers again to straighten them back, this time in hospital under anesthetic, but I refused. When I preach and lift my hand to make a point (this was said with laughter from himself and the other Pastors at my table), people really pay attention!” Perhaps this will help explain my statement yesterday, that I felt totally unworthy to be in this man’s presence and felt like crawling under the table, let alone be the preacher for two nights of the conference. That night I preached with God’s help on “The Church Through the Centuries After Persecution Ceases.” I had studied the history of persecution over the past 2,000 years and came to the conclusion that the Church is the greatest blessing when the Gospel is preached fearlessly, whether under persecution or freedom!!!
Yours for “OBEDIENCE” to God!
P.S. With the Crossroads ministry emphasis on “Pivotal Praying” during the month of February, there is a special feature on the crossroads360.com website called “The Prayer Exchange.” You can submit any special prayer requests onto the Prayer Exchange Wall, and you can pray for others as well. When you have prayed for a person’s need there, you then click “agree in prayer,” and the number shown of people praying for that need continues to increase. Check it out HERE. Also, on the right side of that web page, you can sign up for emails about prayer being sent out daily in February.