Jeremiah 43.1-11 – Pride & its consequences
Posted: 2 August 2010 in Jeremiah

And it came to pass, that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all the people all the words of the LORD their God, for which the LORD their God had sent him to them, even all these words, Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there: But Baruch the son of Neriah setteth thee on against us, for to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they might put us to death, and carry us away captives into Babylon. So Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, and all the people, obeyed not the voice of the LORD, to dwell in the land of Judah.

At this point the rebels depart into Egypt, taking Jeremiah with them.

Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, Take great stones in thine hand, and hide them in the clay in the brickkiln, which is at the entry of Pharaoh’s house in Tahpanhes, in the sight of the men of Judah; And say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon these stones that I have hid; and he shall spread his royal pavilion over them. And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword.

In Genesis 3, pride is identified as the original sin, from which all other sins flow. Here it is on display again. Through the good offices of the prophet Jeremiah, God’s will has been made known to what remains of the Jewish establishment, following the fall of Jerusalem in 587BC. They are told that they must remain in Jerusalem, where they can expect to become the captives, and later the servants (slaves) of the Babylonians.

Being members of the former political elite, this news does not fall lightly on their ears. So, man being what he is, they decide that what they have heard is not God’s will, and that (funny enough) God’s will is identical to their own. So they try to make their escape into Egypt which (along with Judah) was in a state of rebellion against Babylonian rule.

However, God now speaks to them again, and this time they learn what the result of their disobedience will be. That, when the Babylonians invade Egypt to bring it to heel (in 568BC), they will die by the sword.

The moral of this story is that the will of God cannot be frustrated by the machinations of men, whose own best interests always lie in submission to God – no matter how much we may wish that his will for us was something other than it is.

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