A murderous plot is carried out as greed and betrayal change the course of the remnant (Jer. chap. 41).
God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to defeat His rebellious people and fulfill His prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem. The king of Babylon . . . made Gedaliah . . . governor in the land, and . . . committed unto him . . . them that were not carried away captive to Babylon (Jer. 40:7).
Gedaliah set up his government at Mizpah, about five miles northwest of the ruins of Jerusalem. He then held a banquet in honor of Ishmael at Mizpah. Ishmael was a leader of an anti-Babylonian nationalist party. At this event, Ishmael and his ten companions murdered Gedaliah (II Kin. 25:25; Jer. 40:7 — 41:18). The Israelites who remained in the land were convinced that Nebuchadnezzar would retaliate so they escaped into Egypt. When Jeremiah warned the remnant of Judah not to go to Egypt, he was accused of lying and forced to go with them (chap. 42 & 43).
In Egypt, Jeremiah watched the Israelites sink further into sin as they worshiped the Egyptian goddess Ashtoreth. When confronted with their sins by the prophet, they answered Jeremiah, saying, As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the Name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee. . . . We will . . . burn incense (sacrifice, worship) unto the queen of heaven (female deity idol), and . . . pour out drink offerings unto her (44:15-17). As a consequence of their neglect of the Word of God, they became totally disobedient to the living God. Like so many today, they distorted the facts to fit their decision and said to Jeremiah: In Egypt had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven . . . we have wanted (lacked) all things (44:17-19).
Some would say the godly prophet Jeremiah surely deserved better treatment than this for his loyalty to the Lord. However, though he was distressed over the unbelief of his people, Jeremiah had nothing to fear. He knew his life was in the hands of the living God. Jeremiah never compromised, but remained loyal to God regardless of how he was treated.
Centuries have passed and you can be sure that in heaven Jeremiah has no regrets. May it also be our desire to say with God's servant, the Apostle Paul: I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung (rubbish), that I may win Christ (Phil. 3:8).
Thought for Today:
And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation (Luke 1:50).
By My servants the prophets (Jer. 44:4). God the Father called Jesus My Servant, whom I have chosen (Matt. 12:17-18; Acts 3:20-21) and was recognized as a prophet (Matt. 21:11; Luke 24:19; John 6:140.
41:1 seed royal =royal family; 41:9 pit =cistern; 41:14 cast about =turned around; 42:18 execration =curse, object of disgust and shame; 42:20 dissembled =were deceitful; 43:3 setteth thee on =incites or influences you.
Pray for Executive Director of the IBRA in our Washington DC Branch: Reverend Michael Hall • Government Official: Rep. Melvin Watt (NC) • Country: Vietnam (78.5 million) in Southeast Asia • Major languages: Vietnamese and French • Very strict control of Christians in the North; the South has been more lenient but is getting tighter • 60% Buddhist; 8% Catholic; 1% Protestant; 3% Cao Dai; 2% Hoa Hao; 3% Islam; 13% Other; 10% None • Prayer Suggestion: Seek the Lord in times of trouble; He will shelter you (Ps. 27:5).
Optional Reading: Jude 1
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 4:18