Saturday, November 10, 2018

Jeremiah 41

Today's reading in our daily plan is Jeremiah 41. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In the previous chapter, we learned that Gedaliah was appointed governor of Judah by the king of Babylon who invaded and destroyed Israel and Gedaliah was told of an assassination plot against him by Ishmael but Gedaliah did not believe the report. In today’s chapter, Ishmael and ten of his men met up with Gedaliah in a city called Mizpah, had dinner together, and then killed him.
  • The day after the murder, Ishmael met a group of 80 men who were going to Jerusalem to worship at God’s Temple and with tears in his eyes, Ishmael tells them to come with him to see what had happened to Gedaliah. The men followed Ishmael and 70 of them were killed by Ishmael’s men and they were thrown into a cistern (a cistern was a large hole in the ground lined with rocks to collect rainwater. The remaining 10 pilgrims escaped with their lives by promising to give Ishmael the stores of food they had hidden away.
  • Ishmael then took many people from the city of Mizpah captive and led them toward the land of the Ammonites but he was stopped along the way by Johanan, a military leader (the same one who warned Gedaliah about Ishmael in chapter 40), who freed the captives and prepared to leave for Egypt in fear of the Babylonians retaliation. However, Ishmael and several of his men escaped with their lives.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • This chapter is one filled with sadness and violence and it is important to know that the atrocities that were happening in Israel were not without reason. Throughout the book of Jeremiah, God warned his people of what would happen if they continued in their refusal to follow God. The Israelites were given the opportunity to change their ways for generations and God invited them to be in relationship with him over and over.
  • One way to think about it is to imagine you are driving your car at 70mph. If you take your hands off the wheel, you aren’t going to crash immediately, but you will definitely crash eventually. The people of Israel had their hands off the wheel for years and the death and destruction that occurred was a result of their choices.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What has led you to take your hands off the wheel? Have you given up because of anger or frustration? Are you holding a grudge against a friend or family member? Are you lacking in love for yourself? God commands us to love others as we love ourselves. If you don’t love yourself and you can’t see the way God loves you, it is impossible to love others. Today, talk to God and ask him to help you see and understand how deeply you are loved by him exactly as you are today and to know the beauty he designed uniquely into you.