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Bible Pathways - Aug. 26, 2009

August 26

Read Jeremiah 41

Highlights In Today's Reading:

A murderous plot is carried out as greed and betrayal change the course of the remnant (chap. 41). Warned by Jeremiah not to go to Egypt, he is accused of lying and forced to go with them (chap. 42 & 43).

After defeating Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah governor over the few poor of the land (40:7) who remained in Judah. Gedaliah set up his government at Mizpah, about five miles north of Jerusalem. When Nebuchadnezzar attacked the Jews, Ishmael, a leader of an anti-Babylonian nationalist party of the royal house of David, fled with others across the Jordan and found refuge with the king of Ammon. When he heard Gedaliah was appointed governor, he returned to Judah.

Gedaliah welcomed Ishamel and held a banquet in his honor along with some of the Babylonian soldiers. At this special banquet Ishmael, along with his ten companions, ruthlessly murdered Gedaliah and the Babylonian soldiers stationed at Mizpah (II Kin. 25:25; Jer. 40:7 — 41:18).

The Israelites expected Nebuchadnezzar to retaliate, so they asked the prophet Jeremiah to pray that the Lord thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do (42:3). The Lord revealed they should remain in Judah and not fear the king of Babylon (42:10-11). But their minds were already made up (42:19-21). They asked Jeremiah to pray for them only because they wanted God to bless their predetermined plans. They ignored his warning and fled to Egypt, forcing Jeremiah to go with them.

Egypt, symbolic of the world, seemed to be a place of security. It was one of the great granaries of the ancient world, so they felt they would not lack for food. Furthermore, they considered Egypt to be their friend. Strange as it may seem, they forsook their One True Friend for their previous slave masters.

Nothing could have been more distressing to Jeremiah than being forced to go as a hostage to Egypt. There he watched the people's sin and idolatry. Rejecting the True God, they worshiped the Egyptian goddess, the queen of heaven (44:15-19). Some would say that the faithful prophet Jeremiah deserved better for his loyalty to the Lord than being forced into Egypt. But Jeremiah was the servant of God to his sinful people and lived to serve Him.

Like Jeremiah and the Apostle Paul, we must willingly sacrifice our interests to be the Lord's witnesses, regardless of the consequences. What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ (Phil. 3:7).

Thought for Today:

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever (Ps. 73:26).

Christ Revealed:

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.

Word Studies:

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.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for English International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Ruth Hall • Staff: Ken Sharp • Government Official: Rep. Melvin Watt (NC) • Country: Belarus (10 million) in northeastern Europe • Major languages: Belarussian and Russian • Religious freedom • 48% Orthodox; 22% Roman Catholic; 1.1% Jewish; 1% Protestant; .2% Muslim; 27.7% Agnostic/Atheist/Other • Prayer Suggestion: Trust the Lord; He will never forsake you (Ps. 9:10).

Optional Reading: Jude 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 10:33

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