Jeremiah chapter 42: Making the most of God’s counsel or His word’s interpretation
In this chapter, we read another great disobedience of God`s counsel. Like we said before, time came and Johanan and his fellow army officers arranged to go to Egypt because of the fear of what Nebuchadnezzar would do to the remnants of Judah following the news that Gedaliah was assassinated on that soil. But before their move, they pretended to seek God`s counsel on what they had already decided to do. So Jeremiah was approached and requested to seek God`s counsel in regard to going to Egypt. They also promised that they would obey whatever reply God gave since it would be God`s word(verses 1-6). Jeremiah promised to do their request and speak to God on their behalf though he already knew what they had decided.
After 10 days, the reply came. The reply was very clear: Even though Judah had been put down and destroyed by Babylon, it was simply because it had been disobedient to God`s word and He gave up on them. It was not because Nebuchadnezzar was so powerful but because God allowed him to destroy Judah. God`s first part of the message was a promise to his people. He told them that they should not go to Egypt in fear of Babylon, He would protect them and build them into a strong nation again(verses 7-12). Indeed, the Lord controls the heart of a king as he does control water flow. He would calm down Nebuchadnezzar`s heart and his people would be safe again.
The second part of the reply was a warning. If they went to Egypt, they would meet God`s wrath just like what had just happened in Judah. While their move would be to avoid wars, hunger and other calamities, they would instead meet them in full swing. He made it clear that whoever would disobey His word and go to Egypt would meet wars, hunger or die of terrible disease(verses 13-17). But did they get scared or trust God`s word of protection?
The third part of the reply had a good example brought before their eyes. God showed them exactly what was Judah`s problem: Their resistance against God`s will. So God asked them to analyze that and understand that the same or even worse would happen to those who would disobey His word(verse 18). Remember, we have forever explained that whatever repercussions we get after sinning, they are the fair judgment and keep portraying GOD as the righteous one. A sin results into death, that is unavoidable. It is the fulcrum of all things, it is the rule of eternity.
The last part of God`s reply was the real disclosure of what their hearts had already decided to do. Even though it is clear this is Jeremiah`s discernment, we all know that whatever knowledge or discernment we make, it is always under God`s guidance. Thus, it must have been God`s intention to reveal to the people that He already knew what their hearts had and ultimately that is why His warning had been vivid(verses 19-22).
Our focus today is easy and is found across the chapter but verses 20 and 21 portray the deception. In my translation, "You asked me to go and seek God`s counsel on going to Egypt yet you had already decided to go and even when His word comes up, you still have refused to listen to it yet you had promised to listen to His counsel". Yeah, there are people whether in usual school meetings, at work place or in the church who pretend to act on democracy or seek other people`s opinions yet they have already decided, these are dangerous. Sometimes, we seek God`s will in disguise to only find a confirmation for our own will. Some of us read the bible with an already formed interpretation and thus we understand the bible towards our own desires. Some people move from church to church seeking that church or pastor who has words or teachings that they like or conform with their desires. This is not a good character. We should seek God with an open mind and ready to take up His definitions.
I cannot end without inviting any of you who might have not yet received Christ as his or her personal savior. If you want to receive Jesus, just say this prayer: Oh God, i see i am a sinner and You sent your only son Jesus to die for me. Today, i receive Jesus as my personal savior. Please, forgive me all my sins and receive me as your child. Thank you. In JESUS name. Amen