“Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek Them Not!”

May 26, 2017

Scripture reading – Jeremiah 42-46

Today’s reading assignment in our “Read-Through-the Bible” is possibly the longest so far and it is my desire to spare you from an equally long devotional commentary.  I will highlight several prophecies found in Jeremiah 42-46 and make a few observations.

As you may remember, Jeremiah’s ministry has been to warn Judah and her kings that the time for repentance had past and the destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the army of Nebuchadnezzar was certain.  Rather than heed the prophets warning, the people abused, persecuted and imprisoned the old prophet.  God, in an exercise of His grace, did not leave the people hopeless and Jeremiah assured the people the nation would one day be restored to the land and Jerusalem rebuilt.

The fate of the nation was sealed; however, the LORD assured the people, “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. 12  And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land.” (Jeremiah 42:11-12)

Because some of the people would be tempted to flee south into Egypt, the LORD warned the nation, “hear the word of the LORD, ye remnant of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there; 16  Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die.” (Jeremiah 42:15-16)

Knowing some of the people would not heed the LORD’s admonition, Jeremiah warned them, “Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant11  And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt…and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt” (Jeremiah 43:10-12). Jeremiah’s warning to the remnant that retreated into Egypt continues in Jeremiah 44.

Jeremiah 44:11-14, 23 – “11 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah. 12  And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach. 13  For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: 14  So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape…23  Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day.”

Rather than the safety they sought, the remnant of Judah that fled from Nebuchadnezzar’s army to Egypt perished in that land (Jeremiah 44:26-30).  In His grace, God promised a “small number” would “escape the sword” and return to Judah (44:28).  The prophecy against Egypt continues in Jeremiah 46.

I invite you to consider Jeremiah 45 as I conclude my highlights of chapters 42-46.  Jeremiah 45 is a brief, but fascinating passage.  Consisting of only five verses and addressed specifically to Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch (45:1), the LORD lovingly and directly addressed the man who stood by the prophet Jeremiah as he faithfully declared God’s Word to the people.  The prophecies of God’s judgment deeply affected Baruch (45:2-3) as he faced the same hardships, persecutions and imprisonment as the old prophet.

Jeremiah admonished Baruch, his faithful friend and scribe,  warning him: “seekest [require; beg; strive after] thou great things [high; greater; proud thing] for thyself? seek [require; beg; strive after] them not: for, behold, I will bring [come in; enter; give; advance] evil [bad; adversity; affliction; distress] upon all flesh [person; mankind; bodies], saith the LORD: but thy life [soul; person; heart] will I give [deliver; commit; give up; abandon] unto thee for a prey [spoil; possessions; booty; plunder] in all places whither thou goest [walk; depart; follow].”

Friend, I close today’s devotional commentary with the same questions and challenge for you:  Why are you never satisfied?  Why is your heart and affections set upon temporal riches, possessions and titles, knowing all those things will perish?  Why do you sacrifice the spiritual walk of your family for the carnal?  Seek Them Not! 

Matthew 6:19-21 19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith