There is a mighty king, renowned for his power and victories. Wherever he fights, he comes away victorious, burning the enemy city and carrying away hundreds of captives. This king is now coming against your nation, and you are totally unable to defend yourself. There is only one place to go where you can escape this king’s invasion. Would it not be wise to flee?
The tribe of
this decision (Jeremiah 42-43). King Nebuchadnezzar was coming to fight against
and they were unable to defend themselves. The nation that they thought was the
habitation of safety was Egypt.
Before taking the journey down to Egypt, however, they came before
Jeremiah the prophet and asked him to seek God (Jeremiah 42:1-3). They assured
Jeremiah, “Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of
the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we
obey the voice of the LORD our God.” (Jeremiah 42:6)
Judah two options: 1) Stay in the land and be
delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon,
or 2) Flee to Egypt
for and be overtaken by the sword and famine. God’s will was for the remnant of
Judah to stay and be
delivered into the hand of Babylon.
The thought process of
appeared to be quiet and free from
fear, whereas staying in the land and living through King Nebuchadnezzar’s
invasion was not an appealing alternative. They were faced with a choice: obey
God and stay in the land, or disobey God and flee to Egypt. Which did they choose? They chose
“for they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: thus came they even to
Tahpanhes.” (Jeremiah 43:7) What was the result? Jeremiah’s prophecy was
“And when [King Nebuchadnezzar] cometh, he shall smite the
and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to
captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword. And I will kindle a fire
in the houses of the gods of land of Egypt Egypt;
and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives: and he shall array
himself with the , as a shepherd
putteth on his garment; and he shall go forth from thence in peace. He shall
break also the images of Beth-she'mesh, that is in the land
of Egypt ;
and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire.” (Jeremiah
43:11-13) land of Egypt
What can we learn from
1) Obedience is not simply saying, “I will obey” (like
did in Jeremiah 24:6), but in actively obeying.
2) Obedience is not always easy – in fact, to obey might mean to let go of our way of thinking and follow God – even when things do not seem to make sense.
3) There is safety in obeying God. Had
obeyed God and stayed in their land, God would have saved them, delivered them,
and guided King Nebuchadnezzar to have mercy on them (see Jeremiah 42:11-12).
4) God loves us too much to allow us to continually disobey Him. He will bring correction if we willfully disobey Him (see Jeremiah 46:28).
Sometimes we face tough choices like the tribe of
did. Will we take the easy route and disobey God’s commands, or will we follow
Him, no matter what the cost?