A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
If you Can’t say No to Temptation, Then Remove it
Jeremiah 43 SCC 7/16/17
ITS ARROGANT TO WILLFULLY REJECT THE LORDS DIRECTION
Verses 1-3 After Jeremiah preached, had finished telling all the people all the words of the Lord their God—that is, all these words v 1. Jeremiah was faithful to the entire Word of God even if it placed him in jeopardy. So Jeremiah takes God literally about the people staying in Judah. Just like Adam, Noah and Abraham had taken God literally at face value when He spoke the first 2000 years of human history. It seems that the proper hermeneutic is a literal at face value hermeneutic when studying the Bible to ascertain Gods meaning. The same one used by the OT prophets. As soon as Jeremiah had finished telling the remnant what God's will was, Azariah, Johanan, and other arrogant men among them accused Jeremiah of lying to them you are telling a lie! v 2.
NB: The writer goes out of his way to note all these arrogant men. Pride always pushes back against Gods way. Pride says I have a better way and so sets itself against God and God against it. Tell me who is going to win that battle.
PT: Its one thing to make an accusation that is not true you are telling a lie but quite another to then change the truth into a completely fake narrative the Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘you are not to enter Egypt to reside there.’ This is favorite ploy of false teachers and cults. Its reminiscent of what the Serpent did in the garden. They tell some false news to weave a deceitful fake narrative to follow. They then accuse Jeremiah of joining with his scribe Baruch to turn them all over to the Babylonians, so they may put us to death or exile us to Babylon v 3. Now they pile on more propaganda to support their fake narrative hoping to justify their disobedience. Gods own scribe is setting all of us up!
PT: Originally the leaders of 43:1-3 and both men were loyal to the Lord up to this point. The ruthless murder of Gadaliah 41:2 had complicated things and now they are scrambling while deciding what to do next. Perhaps these opponents felt that Baruch was unduly influencing the prophet. Here is a good example of a man [Azariah] who was so persuaded that his own wrong views were right that his mind was completely closed to any other possibility—an age-old phenomenon.
Verses 4-7 So Johanan, the guerrilla commanders, and all the refugees did not obey the Lord's instruction to stay in the land of Judah v 4. All the people must refer to all the people in this group of Judahites near Bethlehem, not all the people still in the land. Many Judeans remained in the land and did not go to Egypt. Here was a final moment of opportunity for the Judahites still in the land, but they continued to reject the Lord's instructions. These leaders took this remnant, which included Jews who had returned to the land from neighboring countries, Jews whom the Babylonians had left in the land, plus Jeremiah, and Baruch, and proceeded to Egypt v 5-6. They stopped at Tahpanhes v 7, an Egyptian frontier town in the northeastern Nile Delta region on the road from Canaan, perhaps to obtain permission to settle in the land. They did this in disobedience to the Lord. Note the continued emphasis on the people's disobedience throughout this whole chapter v 4 and 7. Think of it! Abraham's descendants returned to Egypt long after their liberation from it. With great suffering they had been delivered from their bondage in Egypt only to return there a defeated and hopeless remnant nearly nine hundred years later. A pathetic picture of the downward spiral of compromise, temptation and deceit.
Application: Once again, we see the people need to decide who is telling the truth. Jeremiah has a history of some 60 years of telling the truth—his prophecies have happened exactly as he said they would--literally. The people even seemed to approach him as a man of God with a word from God. But as God said way back in 3:10, ... Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception. If you want to feel good staying in your sin, don’t read the Bible! God wants obedience not tolerance, not fuzzy warm feelings, not empty religious liturgies, not your wisdom or the wisdom of the world ... God said, “To this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My Word” (Isaiah 66:2).
REJECTING THE LORDS DIRECTION TRIGGERS DEATH DEALING CONSEQUENCES
As the Jews watched, Jeremiah performed another symbolic act to gain their attention. God instructed Jeremiah to perform another symbolic act. He was to hide some large stones in the mortar of the brick courtyard, in front of an official government building or royal residence in Tahpanhes, while some of the Judahites watched take some large stones…and hide them in the mortar in the brick terrace which is at the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes in the sight of some Jews v 8-9. God made His message available and out in the open for all to see, read, ponder, and respond. God gave us his revelation in a book from authors who used words and sentences out in the open available for centuries to be scrutinized by anyone. It is in the sight of everyone just as God intended. The message? Thus says ... the God of Israel, I am going to send and get Nebuchadnezzar ... My servant, and I am going to set his throne right over these stones that I have hidden v 10. The Babylonian king would set up his throne and his royal canopy (or carpet) right over the place where Jeremiah had embedded his stones. So we have an emphasis on Gods sovereignty, I am, I am, I have.
Nebuchadnezzar would fight the Egyptians v 11. Those whom the Lord appointed for death would die, those He appointed for captivity would go into captivity, and those He appointed for battle would participate in battle. Again an emphasis on Gods sovereignty. The meaning of the parable is clear. Though the Judean refugees have buried themselves in populous Egypt like the stones embedded in the wall, they will be discovered and feel, as their compatriots had done, the oppressive weight of Babylonian might. There is no hiding from God or His power!
Nebuchadnezzar will set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt v 12. Nebuchadnezzar would do to Egypt what he had done to Judah. He would burn down the Egyptian temples and take people captive. He will wrap himself with the land of Egypt as a shepherd wraps himself with his garment, and he will depart from there safely. He would capture Egypt as easily as a shepherd wraps himself with a garment, and he would depart from Egypt in safety. This city of “refuge” for the Jews will be demolished and they will be killed or exiled anyway. There is no escaping judgment of sin. No free sin.
Nebuchadnezzar would also break down the obelisks that stood at On the Egyptian city of the sun about five miles northeast of modern Cairo v 13. And he would burn the temples of the gods of Egypt. Heliopolis was the site of the famous temple of Amon- Re, the sun god, which people approached by passing between two rows of obelisks. Only one of these obelisks still stands on the site. Cleopatra's Needle is the popular name for each of three Ancient Egyptian obelisks re-erected in London, Paris, and New York City during the nineteenth century. The obelisks in London and New York are a pair, and the one in Paris is also part of a pair originally from a different site in Luxor, where its twin remains.
One of them is now in Central Park in New York City, and another is on the Thames Embankment in London. Both are wrongly called “Cleopatra's Needle.” Egyptian obelisks were sacred monuments that honored various pagan gods. As Moses, the servant of the Lord, had humiliated the gods of Egypt at the Exodus, so Nebuchadnezzar, a Gentile servant of the Lord, would humiliate them again.
Application: In Ezekiel 29:13-21, God talks about this. (Remember, Ezekiel is a Jewish prophet in Babylon during the exile.) God speaks of the destruction of Egypt. It will never again lift itself up above the nations. And I shall make them so small that they will not rule over the nations. And it will never again be the confidence of the house of Israel, bringing to mind the iniquity of their having turned to Egypt. Then God says that Babylon fought against many nations with no “wages.” So ‘I shall give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar…and he will carry off her wealth…and it will be wages for his army. I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor which he performed, because they acted for Me, declares the Lord God. After the Babylonian Empire, there was the Persian, the Greek, and then the Roman. Never again were the Egyptians a super-power. Therefore, the nation of Israel was never again tempted to turn to them for protection. If you can’t say “no” to temptation, remove the temptation!
1. Pride will deceive you into believing that the greater consequences actually come from obeying God. However, there is nothing costlier than pursing the avenue of rebellion and sin.
2. Disputing with God is never a good idea. Arguing, debating, quarreling or contesting with God is the essence of unbelief which is a spirit of contesting about what is in one’s best interest. Disputing with God says I know what is best as the Judahites did. Don’t dispute with God.