Jeremiah chapter 40: Success is just where you are and what is in you, do not move.
Our today’s reading is simply a narration of the events during the siege and destruction of Judah. The chapter opens with God’s word to Jeremiah. According to chapter 42, verse 7, Jeremiah received any more words from God 10 days after the complete destruction of Jerusalem. The chapter goes on to narrate how Jeremiah had been found a prisoner in his own land and by his own people but was set free by the Babylonian commander, Nebuzaradan, who asked Jeremiah to choose whatever life or place he wanted to live in and it would be granted. In response, Jeremiah chose to stay with Judah’s remnants(the poor and mild citizens that Babylon had neglected carrying as captives) under their newly appointed governor, Gedaliah. So he was set free with a gift and enough food to eat(verses 1-6).
The above verses have a lot of lessons for us. First, it is a distinguishable thing to see that Jeremiah was set free by Judah’s enemies from the chains and prison of his own people and in his own land. This is clear: Your salvation or success won’t be pushed by those who are relatives only but your enemies too. At times, your people won’t be good to you but foreigners could be, just let your heart open to all those who are cooperative. Also, in Nebuzaradan’s words, it seems ththeyat even trusted or had faith in God’s word than God’s own people. But this may not be the faith that saves, it looks to me that he just wanted to stress how wrong Judah had been to the point of being punished by the one God that loved them so much(a kind of sadism). The chapter is clear that Jeremiah was tied by Babylonian army when Nebuzaradan found him but we both know that Jeremiah was under house arrest by the time Jerusalem was attacked.
Verses 7-16 narrate the short rule of Gedaliah. Following the complete capture and destruction of Jerusalem, the great men and officials had been killed in the war and the remnants of them were to be taken as captives to Babylon. Meanwhile, King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah as the new govornor of Judah so he could lead the poor remnants of Judah. Jeremiah had already decided to remain with these people too. Then, a call was made to all the Judah people who had scattered in nations to come and live in their nation again. Few days later, some leaders started plotting means of provoking Judah into another war by persuading Gedaliah to fight against Ishmael who was assumed to be under the order of Ammonite nation but Gedaliah declined this and lived on(verses 7-16).
According to writer, John Gill, Jonathan might have been a second principal captain to Ishmael in Judah. To John, Ishmael might have received some special recognition from Gedaliaah and also he was from a royal family. When Jonathan and other guys tried to convince Gedaliah about the Ishmael’s plot to assassinate him, he pushed this rumor away. He felt they were saying such words because of envy. Also, the dignity, legacy or royality of Ishmael could not show him as a man capable of such an act.
Our today’s focus is verse 6. Jeremiah had a big decision to make. He had told his fellow countrymen to surrender to Babylon and they refused till Jerusalem was destroyed. Many times, he was accused of denying his country, cases that were totally false and when he was finally asked where to go, he still decided to remain with his people and importantly the remnants who were poor and non-official. Yeah, they were his people and their sins and bad behaviors couldn’t be compared with the Babylonians. The point is clear: The current hard situation or bad image of your life does not necessarily define your future or destiny. The good things and salvation will still come through that same way or family. Just work on what you already have and improve, do not migrate to find success.