The people BEGGED Jeremiah to ask God what they should do. And they PROMISED to follow whatever He told them. God answered Jeremiah’s prayer and gave the people another chance to listen and follow Him. “Stay in the land and I will take care of you. Go to Egypt and meet death.” These were their choices.
NOW they turn around and tell Jeremiah that he is a liar. “That’s not what God said! You’re making it up.” I want to smack somebody upside the head! If you didn’t BELIEVE that God would speak to him, WHY DID YOU ASK HIM TO DO THE JOB?! Anyone who knew anything about Jeremiah KNEW that he only spoke the truth. His words were NOT made to flatter the people. He only said what God gave him to say.
The leaders of the people made the decision for everyone. And their decision was NOT to follow what God told them to do. They decided to take everyone to Egypt. Men, women, children, princesses, and everyone Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had left with Gedaliah. This included Jeremiah and Baruch. Everyone they had rescued from Ishmael.
They arrived in Tahpanhes, which is not far from Goshen. God was not silent when the people got to Egypt. He spoke through Jeremiah again. This time it was an object lesson. A lesson that they would walk past every day while they were there.
This lesson emphasized what God told the people before they left for Egypt. “You are trying to escape captivity, war, and danger. You won’t find relief in Egypt. It will follow you there if that is where you choose to go.” Now God points right to the spot where Nebuchadnezzar will stand and reign in the country they believed would protect their lives.
I have a question here. Would Egypt have been spared if the people of Judah hadn’t come? Would Nebuchadnezzar have left Egypt alone; let them stand on their own? Or were they caught up in what was going to be already? Egypt tried to help Judah earlier but was run off by Nebuchadnezzar. They weren’t first on Nebuchadnezzar’s list but where they on it anyway? If not, then the remnant of Judah put them on the list.
God KNOWS what is best for each of us. If we will only listen, He will lead us away from trouble. He knows where it lies. He also knows where the lessons we need lie. Apparently, this group from Judah was headed for another lesson. One they could have avoided. But He already knew they wouldn’t. Nothing they did surprised God or messed up His plans.
Father God, I PRAY that I listen at LEAST 80% of the time. I already know I don’t meet the 100% mark. I want to but I fall short. I DON’T want to ‘run to Egypt’! I want to ‘live in the land’ and trust You to take care of me. Take me where You have planned for me. And let me know who to trust to speak Your words in truth.