Lord, when I have You, I lack nothing. All I need is to rejoice. I rejoice now as I bow before You in worship.
Read JEREMIAH 41:16-42:22
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Since Wisdom took its chance on earth, / To show God’s living way, / We’ll trust that fear and force will fail, / And Wisdom win the day” (Brian Wren). Ponder these words from a contemporary hymn writer.
In these accounts of confused people in desperate disarray, we sense the awful dilemmas faced by ordinary people caught up in conflicts not of their own making. Wanting only to save their lives and their families, people often have no choice but to take sides, aligning with the group or leader who seems the most powerful. We see it in the world today. The Taliban are perpetrators of deadly terrorist attacks, but not every villager who sides with them is a person of evil intent. They may have little choice if all they want is some sort of half-decent life.
Gedaliah had offered a good and godly possibility for the future (40:11-12), but his assassination by a Jewish zealot changed the political landscape. Johanan acted responsibly, stepping up as a new leader. He suspected, not without good reason, that the recent killings would bring down Babylonian reprisals on the local Jews. His strategy was to take the people away to the protection of Egypt, a strong nation not yet under Babylonian control. Jeremiah was himself caught up in this exodus and Johanan sought his prayerful advice. The question was always going to be whether this advice, God’s advice, would be heeded. It is one thing to seek prayer, but as we will discuss tomorrow, it is quite a different thing to reject the answer.
Once again, poor Jeremiah must make unpopular pronouncements. As always, however, they contain seeds of hope if only the people will listen. We must believe God and so, in these passages, we must believe that the choices God offered were real, that there were alternative futures. In Jeremiah’s world, the future was not set by some irrevocable plan. The future was malleable. Human decision was a crucial part of shaping the future. Is it any different today?
Do you pray for our political leaders? The choices before them are real. They can and do affect the future, for good or for ill. Resolve now to be more faithful in prayer for our nation’s leaders.
Loving Father, I lift to You the leaders of our nation. Grant them wisdom and courage to be obedient to what they know is right.
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