Israel has strayed so far off course, they can’t even remember why it was important to belong only to the God of Israel, and to do His will. In the time of Nehemiah, when the Law was read, there was repentance. In Jeremiah’s time repentance is absent. How many times in the Old Testament have we read of the word of the Lord coming to Israel, and they were struck with their sinfulness and repented before Him? Not this time. Please, Lord, don’t let us get so far from You, that we cannot remember why it was important to walk close to You.
So they entered Egypt in disobedience to the LORD and went as far as Tahpanhes.
I find it intriguing that the LORD had rescued the Israelites from the Land of Egypt, from poverty and slavery and now they are returning to Egypt, against God’s command. This can only lead to destruction. Its like this: if God rescues you from a certain sin and you choose to return to that sin, the consequences could cost you your life, depending on the nature of the sin. The message here is clear: don’t choose to go back to that from which God has rescued you.
vs. 5 Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the LORD your God sends you to tell us. vs. 9 He said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel to whom you sent me to present your petition, says: If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I am grieved over the disaster I have inflicted on you. vs. 14 and if you say, “No, we will go and live in Egypt, where we will not see war or hear the trumpet or be hungry for bread, …
There are some amazing promises here. Their entire nation has just been uprooted and taken captive, but God says to the remnant that He will build them up and plant them, not tear down and uproot them. They might hear the sounds of war around them or even go hungry sometimes, but they will be under the compassionate protection of God. Safe, safer, safest under God’s Mighty Hand of protection. This passage moved me to think of Christians living today in our nation, our world. The sounds of war are all around us, not only war between nations but the war against God, His biblical principles and His truth. It is exhausting, but God has planted us in this time of eternity for his purposes. Jesus is our Ark of Safety, sailing steadily toward our heavenly home.
The movies of today can’t hold a candle to some of the action in the Old Testament. This chapter reads like a modern action movie. When Johanen and his officers come to rescue the survivors left in Mizpah, they provided armed escort to a safe place far away from Ishmael and the Ammonites.
For the Christian, the promise of safety is not led by an armed escort. II Timothy 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to is heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
When all the army officers and their men who were still in the open country heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam as governor over the land and had put him in charge of the men, women and children who were the poorest in the land and who had not been carried into exile to Babylon…
Here is a case for being poor. Since they were not wealthy and powerful, they had nothing to add to the Babylonian Empire. They were left behind. They were not taken as slaves. They had a ruler of their own kind, and they were left to harvest the fruits of their labor and to live in their own towns. They most likely were experiencing abundance that they had not known before this time. No matter the current state of our lives on this earth, the blessings of God are present. We just need to look for them, and be thankful.
“Go and tell Ebed-Melech the Cushite, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel says: I am about to fulfill my words against this city through disaster, not prosperity. At that time they will be fulfilled before your eyes. But I will rescue you on that day, declares the LORD, you will not be handed over to those you fear. I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the LORD'”
The plan of salvation is throughout Scripture – Old and New Testaments. Here we see it again. These verses are like the Book of Revelation rolled into a few words. The LORD will bring his wrath upon the earth as promised, but those who belong to Christ will not be handed over to the enemy, for God has saved them from eternal destruction, and granted them eternal life in Christ.