Jeremiah 41:16-43:13, Psalm 29
Just the name of Egypt and the humiliation of going back to the place where God’s people were enslaved 400 years would make many a proud person prefer death over such a fate. Instead, our story tells us that God’s people were too proud to trust God and more than willing to enter the land of their former slavery. The Bible isn’t bashful about declaring our willingness to endure slavery, not to mention pestilence and sword rather than enjoy the liberation that comes from trusting God’s wisdom and leadership. Sadly, Johanan and Judah’s remnant could have stayed in the land of promise even while many of their brothers and sisters were exiled if they would have just trusted God’s voice like they promised Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 42:1-5). When first reading about Jeremiah’s words of promise, there is a glimmer of hope that the people will listen. However, Jeremiah immediately warns about the punishment they will receive for doing what is in their hearts, thus the reader learns in advance what these people will do. Even after promising blessings, the Lord knows the intentions of Jeremiah’s audience. Through Jeremiah God warns of grave problems, literally, these people will face by continuing according to plan. Let this be a word of challenge to us today if we are operating in any facet of our lives according to our plans while ignoring God’s wisdom. Living like this is like choosing slavery and the sword.