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Bible Pathways 08/26/2002

August 26

Read Jeremiah 41 -- 44

In Today's Reading:

Gedaliah's assassination; Jeremiah forcibly taken to Egypt; desolation of Judah because of idolatry.

Verses for Today:

Pray . . . That the Lord thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do. . . . Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God . . . that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the Lord our God (42:2-3,6).

God used Nebuchadnezzar to fulfill His prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem. Ishmael, a leader of an anti-Babylonian nationalist party and a member of the royal house of David, fled with many others across the Jordan River and found refuge with the King of Ammon. After Nebuchadnezzar defeated Zedekiah, he appointed Gedaliah governor over the remaining few poor of the land (Jeremiah 40:7).

Gedaliah set up his government at Mizpah, about five miles northwest of the ruins of Jerusalem. When Ishmael heard that Gedaliah (was) governor in the land, [he and his followers] came to Gedaliah (40:7-8), who welcomed them. Gedaliah then held a banquet in honor of Ishmael at Mizpah. At this event, Ishmael and his ten companions murdered Gedaliah and the Babylonian soldiers (2 Kings 25:25; Jeremiah 40:7-41:18).

The Israelites then murdered Ishmael's band of men and expected Nebuchadnezzar to retaliate, so they asked Jeremiah to inquire of the Lord. He revealed that they should remain in Judah and not fear the King of Babylon (42:10-11). In spite of what they had said, these Israelites really wanted direction about the safest route to travel as they escaped into Egypt which they had already decided to do. They also forced Jeremiah to go with them. Far too often, professing Christians pray for God to bless their own plans rather than seeking His plan for their lives. These Israelites forsook God, their One True Source of protection, and fled to Egypt where their forefathers had been slaves.

Though distressed over the unbelief of his people, Jeremiah had nothing to fear, for he knew his life was in the hands of God. In Egypt, he watched the Israelites sink further into sin as they worshiped the Egyptian goddess Ashtaroth, known as the queen of heaven (44:15-19).

Some would say that the godly prophet Jeremiah surely deserved better treatment for his loyalty to the Lord. But Jeremiah did not seek an easy life; he was the servant of the Most High God and considered it a privilege to serve Him. Jeremiah did not compromise, but remained loyal to God regardless of the consequences. The Apostle Paul confidently declared: 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, that I may win Christ (Philippians 3:8).

Christ Revealed:

By My servants the prophets (Jeremiah 44:4). God the Father called Jesus My Servant, Whom I have chosen ( Matthew 12:17-18; see also Acts 3:20-21).

Word Studies:

41:1 seed royal = royal family; 41:9 pit = cistern; 41:14 cast about = deserted; 42:18 execration = object of disgust and shame; 42:20 dissembled = were deceitful; 43:3 setteth thee on = incited or influenced you.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Sen. Robert Torricelli (NJ), and Rep. Melvin Watt (NC) · Pray for one another · Country: Somalia (7 million) on the Horn of Africa · Major languages: Somali and Arabic · Islam is officially favored and all other religions are opposed · 99.8% Muslim; .1% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Children, ask the Lord to enable you to honor your parents (Ephesians 6:1-3).

Optional Reading: Jude 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:13

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