Read Jeremiah 41 -- 44
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 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 (II Kings 25:25; Jeremiah 40:7 -- 41:18).
The Israelites murdered Ishmael's band of men and expected Nebuchadnezzar to retaliate, so they asked Jeremiah to pray . . . that the Lord your God may show us the way in which we may walk, and the thing that we may do (42:2-3). The Lord revealed that they should remain in Judah and not fear the King of Babylon (42:10-11). They had said: 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 (42:6). But these Israelites wanted direction on which would be the safest route to travel as they escaped into Egypt. They had already decided to flee to Egypt, and forced Jeremiah to go with them. Far too often, professing believers pray for God to bless their plans rather than desire to seek His will 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 Ashtoreth, 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 proudly 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; compare Matt. 12:17-18; Acts 3:20-21).
Word Studies: 41:1 seed royal means royal family; 41:9 pit means cistern; 41:14 cast about means deserted; 42:18 execration means object of disgust and shame; 42:20 dissembled means were deceitful; 43:3 setteth thee on means incited or influenced you.
Government Officials: Gov. Tom Ridge (PA), Sen. Robert Torricelli (NJ), and Rep. Melvin Watt (NC) · Pray for Chris Holland and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on KXEN-AM, Mitchell IL · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in memory of Ruth Hall · Country: Turkey (66 million) in Asia Minor and southeastern Europe · Major languages: Turkish, Kurdish, and Arabic · Official resistance to Christian witnessing · 99+% Muslim; .5% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Be of one heart and mind with other Christians (I Corinthians 1:10).
Optional Reading: Jude 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 3:8