I thought the beginning of this read was hard to follow…(for me anyway, I kept getting confused with all the names). BUT the rest of the read was like reading a suspense novel- I hung on every word!
So we left off in Jeremiah 40 with:
Johanan offered to assassinate Ishmael secretly, so Gedaliah would not die, and harm would not come to the remnant community.
And the read ends with:
16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, “Don’t do such a thing! What you are saying about Ishmael is not true.”
TO BE CONTINUED!! Commercial Break!
Gedaliah refused to permit Johanan to carry out his assassination plot, because he thought Johanan was misjudging Ishmael. Gedaliah was too trusting and naïve, even though he was a capable ruler and, apparently, a man of faith. His commitment to his own people seems to have blinded him to the political plots that were swirling around him. Big Mistake.
In short (lol, too late), Ishmael (power-hungry to be a new leader after the captivity) killed Gedaliah (the appointed leader) and his men. Eighty men were mourning the Captivity but still made their pilgrimage to Jerusalem for one of the Fall Festivals (the temple had been destroyed so animal sacrifices could not happen so they brought grain offerings). Ishmael then killed them! The cistern that Ishmael filled with dead bodies was one that King Asa of Judah had constructed while battling King Baasha of Israel (1 Kings 15:22). ‘Good’ King Asa had built the cistern to preserve life, but ‘wicked’ Ishmael now polluted it by filling it with corpses. To give these pilgrims such a burial showed no respect for them.
Ishmael escaped when the remnant leaders looked for him. The remnant leaders asked Jeremiah to obtain the Lord’s instructions concerning their proposed flight to Egypt. WAIT! Flag on the Field!!!! EGYPT? They want to go back to the very place God delivered them from Exodus?? Here is what the Lord said:
If you stay in this land,
- I will build you up and not tear you down;
- I will plant you and not uproot you, for I have relented concerning the disaster I have inflicted on you.
- Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. Do not be afraid of him, declares the Lord, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands
- I will show you compassion so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your land.’
If you are determined to go to Egypt and you do go to settle there:
- then the sword you fear will overtake you there,
- and the famine you dread will follow you into Egypt, and there you will die.
- all who are determined to go to Egypt to settle there will die by the sword,
- famine and plague; not one of them will survive or escape the disaster I will bring on them.’
Hmmm…what to do…what to do… I will admit, when I was reading today I thought to myself…surely after the Babylonian Captivity, they will listen to the Lord now….
Chapter 43- I guess it is not shocking when I think about how much of God’s scriptures I ignore. Chapter 43 in summary…They WENT 😢😵
Chapter 44- I read it twice! I am unglued!! I want to copy and paste the whole thing! But it ends with:
you made a fatal mistake when you sent me to the Lord your God and said, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us; tell us everything he says and we will do it.’ 21 I have told you today, but you still have not obeyed the Lord your God in all he sent me to tell you. 22 So now, be sure of this: You will die by the sword, famine and plague in the place where you want to go to settle.”
(The Lord) I mean what I say and I say what I mean!!
BUT remember GOD also promised a Messiah. Even though we NEVER keep our Promise…He always does. HE LOVES US.
‘This is what the Lord says: I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted, throughout the earth. 5 Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.’”