Highlights In Today's Reading:
Gedaliah, the governor appointed by Babylon, had been warned of an assassination plot; he foolishly refused to believe the threat was real (40:13-14). Ten men led by a member of the royal family killed him and all the Jews with him. Can you name the leader (41:1)? The atrocities continue and the people seek to escape to Egypt — kind of like being saved and then going back into the wicked world! God tells them through Jeremiah — don't go! They literally call Jeremiah a liar. Read God's answer (44:26-30).
After Nebuchadnezzar defeated Judah, he made Gedaliah governor over the poor people left in the land (40:7). He ruled, however, for only about two months and then was murdered for his loyalty to Babylon. Fearing reprisal by Nebuchadnezzar the remnant fled to Egypt although explicitly warned by Jeremiah that it would mean their extinction. Nothing could have been more distressing to Jeremiah than finally being forced into Egypt as a prisoner of his own people (43:5-7). There, being between seventy and eighty years old he delivered his last prophecy concerning the soon-coming defeat of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar (44:11-17,30). At the same time he again condemned Judah's sins.
His pleadings and warnings were rejected. In Egypt he watched the people sink into lower depths of sin and idolatry than at any time during his entire prophetic career. Now they were dishonoring and rejecting Jehovah altogether in their worship of Ashtoreth, the queen of heaven (44:18).
A thousand years before, God had chosen Moses to lead His people out of Egypt and had brought them to the promised land. But Israel had failed in her mission. Now the remnant of the once-great nation was left to perish in their land of slavery — where they boasted they would find safety (42:14).
One who has not experienced submission to the Lord's call to take up the cross and follow Me (Mark 10:21) is likely to say: "Surely after such a faithful career in God's service, Jeremiah deserved a kindlier end than this." But Jeremiah was not looking for an easy life; he was living to please his God.
In our conforming to Christ's death we come to an end of self. We give up our self interest to live and die for Him so that we let God do as He will with us. Out of this death we rise with His life and love in us to bless others.
Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. . . . Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. . . . Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof (Romans 6:4,6,12).
Thought for Today:
Whether or not to sin against God is a choice that we each one consciously make. By choosing to believe His Word and not sin, we choose life.
By My servants the prophets (Jeremiah 44:4). God the Father called Jesus My Servant, whom I have chosen (Matthew 12:17-18; also Acts 3:20-21).
41:1 seed royal =b> royal family; 41:9 pit =b> cistern; 41:14 cast about =b> turned around; 42:18 execration =b> curse, object of disgust and shame; 42:20 dissembled =b> were deceitful; 43:3 setteth thee on =b> incites or influences you.
Pray for International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in memory of Letha Hash • Staff: Mike Moore • Government Official: Rep. Melvin Watt (NC) • Country: Colombia (38.6 million) in northwestern South America • Major language: Spanish • New government has declared religious freedom • 93% Catholic; 4% Protestant; .5% Tibal; .2% Muslim; .1% Baha'i; .1% Jewish; 2.1% non-Religious/Other • Prayer Suggestion: When you are in desperate circumstances, turn to the Lord with fasting and prayer (II Chron. 20:2-4).
Optional Reading: Jude 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:18