42:2-3 They said, "Please pray to the Lord your God for us. Pray that the Lord your God will show us what to do and where to go." Already we see a problem with this request, don't we? Perhaps a little glimpse into what's in the heart by how they phrase their request?
42:6 Whether we like it or not, we will obey the Lord our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us." Now they are taking a little more ownership, but it is only skin deep.
42:7 Ten days later the Lord gave his reply to Jeremiah... Even a true prophet of God has to wait until He's ready to speak!
42:10-12 ‘Stay here in this land. If you do, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you. For I am sorry about all the punishment I have had to bring upon you. Do not fear the king of Babylon anymore,' says the Lord. ‘For I am with you and will save you and rescue you from his power. I will be merciful to you by making him kind, so he will let you stay here in your land.' God is demonstrating His gracious and loving heart even though He knows what's really inside of them. He wants the rest of us to know that His greatest desire was to show mercy and compassion, but He was unable as we will see.
42:15-17 ‘If you are determined to go to Egypt and live there, the very war and famine you fear will catch up to you, and you will die there. That is the fate awaiting every one of you who insists on going to live in Egypt. It is the same today. Choosing Egypt (bondage to sin) over obedience is always death. Death now (dreams, purpose, peace) and death later (separation from God).
42:20-22 For you were not being honest when you sent me to pray to the Lord your God for you. You said, ‘Just tell us what the Lord our God says, and we will do it!' And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the Lord your God any better now than you have in the past. So you can be sure that you will die from war, famine, and disease in Egypt, where you insist on going." How many times in my life have I SAID I will obey if God just tells me what to do, but then I end up trying to fix my own problems or make my own life. No different!
43:2 Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the other proud men said to Jeremiah, "You lie! The Lord our God hasn't forbidden us to go to Egypt! Now it's "the Lord OUR God" again, yet they certainly don't seem to know much about Him! I always find it positively strange that anyone would want to go back to Egypt, yet we do it all the time! Again, the habit sins, darkness, and disobedience of Egypt is DEATH!
43:7 The people refused to obey the voice of the Lord and went to Egypt...
44:6 And so my fury boiled over and fell like fire on the towns of Judah and into the streets of Jerusalem, and they are still a desolate ruin today. Of course, it wasn't really fire. But God's corrective judgments are always described as things like, "refining fire" and "burning furnace."
44:7 "And now the Lord God of Heaven's Armies, the God of Israel, asks you: Why are you destroying yourselves?...(vs. 8) You will only destroy yourselves and make yourselves an object of cursing and mockery for all the nations of the earth." He asks the same of us today!
44:10 To this very hour you have shown no remorse or reverence. No one has chosen to follow my word and the decrees I gave to you and your ancestors before you. People are often very hard-hearted about their disobedience. I think the Bible describes it as setting one's face as flint or being stiff-necked!
44:16-17 "We will not listen to your messages from the Lord! We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven just as much as we like—just as we, and our ancestors, and our kings and officials have always done... Like I said, stiff-necked.
2:3-4 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don't get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. I think about this a lot. It is SO EASY to get sucked in to "civilian life" and the cares of this world when we have a very focused mission. Perhaps some of this deals with our questions of how much to get involved in politics. While I think voting is one thing (something that is perfectly fine to do), getting caught up in all kinds of anti-government/political/social rallies and protests etc. is probably too much of a distraction from our real mission. Plus, are we really showing love to people when we are fighting against them? The real way to communicate love is to come alongside those in darkness and SHOW them a better way through our actions of love and kindness.
3:5 And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. I have been reading articles by a Dr. Stephen Jones lately, and he makes a great point that to go from Passover (justification by grace) to Pentecost (sanctification by living in obedience), we must learn obey the law/Torah including Rhema (when God speaks a command into our lives)! The point Paul is making is the same-no obedience to the rules, no PRIZE.
3:6-7 And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things. Hidden in the code words here...hardworking farmers (overcomers) should be the FIRST (think: firstfruits) to enjoy their labor?? What I enjoy the most here is the reminder that THE LORD will help us understand ALL these things, not the pastors and theologians. Pastors and teachers have their place in teaching, but not in revelation of the deeper things of God. We cannot rely on them to be taught to the depth we need to be taught. They are a good jumping off place, but God wants us to come to the mountain and receive the oracles and revelations for ourselves!
2:10-12 So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen. This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him (NOW, Gal. 2:20), we will also live with him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with him.
YLT verse 10: because of this all things do I endure, because of the choice ones, that they also salvation may obtain that [is] in Christ Jesus, with glory age-during. Paul is searching for the chosen to bring them into the glory for the coming age where they will receive their PRIZE! Isn't all of this so illuminated now?
26:4-5 Don't answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are. Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation. In other words, when dealing with a fool, you can't win. Reminds me of my favorite adage (you will probably recognize it): Don't wrestle with a pig; you both get all dirty and the pig LIKES IT!!