Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Asking For Advice

Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near, And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:) (Jeremiah 42:1-2 KJV)

We’re closing our studies in Jeremiah in Sunday School. Jerusalem has fallen, Babylonian Captain of the Guard Nebuzaradan has released Jeremiah, offered him shelter, and set up a governor that Ishmael son of Nethaniah then killed. There appeared no end to the war.

Seeking God’s guidance, the leaders that were left came begging to Jeremiah to pray “unto the LORD thy God.” Notice that’s “thy”, not “my” or “our”. The supplicants were used to there being an intermediary between them and God, not taking Him as their personal help in times of trouble. There’s a difference, isn’t there?

Jeremiah did as they asked, promising to tell them exactly, truthfully, God’s response:

Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the LORD your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, that whatsoever thing the LORD shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep nothing back from you. (Jeremiah 42:4 KJV)

The people promised to do exactly, faithfully, God’s response:

Then they said to Jeremiah, The LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the LORD thy God shall send thee to us. 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 42:5-6 KJV)

Need we go any further? Was it so different then as it is now? We seek answers to problems and promise to use those answers. The Bible has answers, we say that we know it does – but . . . . .  After ten days, Jeremiah returned with God’s plan for their future:

And said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before him; If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you. Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand. And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land. (Jeremiah 42:9-12 KJV)

Reminds me of “Waiting, Quietly”. In the most difficult of situations, depending on God is the right thing to do. Jeremiah not only tells them (verses 13-20) the penalty for disobedience, he tells them God knows they weren’t serious about following His plan.

And now I have this day declared it to you; but ye have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, nor any thing for the which he hath sent me unto you. Now therefore know certainly that ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go and to sojourn. (Jeremiah 42:21-22 KJV)

Their answer to God’s instructions?

Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there: (Jeremiah 43:2 KJV)

Things haven’t changed, for proud men, have they? The choice then is the same as ours today – listen to God, or not.

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