The Scriptorium

God's Word Rejected

And off to Egypt they go. Jeremiah 43.1-7

Judgment in Egypt: Jeremiah 43-45 (1)

Pray Psalm 50.16-21.
But to the wicked God says:
“What right have you to declare My statutes,
Or take My covenant in your mouth,
Seeing you hate instruction
And cast My words behind you?
When you saw a thief, you consented with him,
And have been a partaker with adulterers.
You give your mouth to evil,
And your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your brother;
You slander your own mother’s son.
These things you have done, and I kept silent;
You thought that I was altogether like you;
But I will rebuke you,
And set them in order before your eyes.”

Sing Psalm 50.16-21.
(Austrian Hymn: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken)
“All of you My Word despising, who are you to claim My grace?
Praise may from your lips be rising, but you scorn Me to My face.
You approve of all transgressions, scheme against your mother’s son!
I will crush your vain aggressions and destroy what you have done.”

Read and meditate on Jeremiah 43.1-7.

1. How did the people respond to Jeremiah’s Word from the Lord?

2. Where did they go next?

As we might have suspected, the people led by Johanan utterly rejected Jeremiah’s Word from the Lord, saying to the prophet that he spoke falsely (vv. 1, 2). These were the same people who, just ten days before, had promised to receive and obey the Word of God, whether it was pleasing or displeasing to them (42.6). They must have been really confident that Jeremiah and God were on the same page with them about going down to Egypt.

But, of course, they were not. God had commanded the people to stay in Judah and begin working the land, to prepare for the return of the exiles from Babylon in just seventy years. But Johanan and the other leaders feared the Babylonians, because of the murder of Gedaliah and his Chaldean keepers. And the people rescued from Ishmael by Johanan were too timid to do anything but follow the one who – at least in some temporal ways – was providing for them.

So they rejected Jeremiah’s Word from the Lord, insisting that Baruch had put him up to such false prophesying (v. 3). So Johanan immediately led the people into Egypt, contrary to Jeremiah’s Word from the Lord, going as far as Tahpanhes before stopping (vv. 4-7).

We can imagine that, all the while they were doing this, Johanan and the people believed they were doing what God wanted. As we shall see, their faith in God was a sham, and they were still clinging to the pagan gods, the worship of which had brought God’s judgment against Jerusalem in the first place.

God does not exist to make us feel good, or to give us whatever we think we need or want. We cannot use God for our purposes, as Psalm 50 reminds us; and we must make sure that our worship and service of the Lord comes out of a heart of thanksgiving for what He has done for us in Jesus Christ. Only then will our lives begin to change to reflect the reality of Christ living in us, by hearing the Word of God, taking it to heart, and obeying it explicitly – whether it is pleasing or displeasing to us.

1. How would you describe the faith of these people who responded to Jeremiah? They seemed to talk the right talk in chapter 42, but what about in our text for today?

2. Is God responsible to do for us whatever we want? What should we expect from Him?

3. God is glorified when we hear His Word, embrace it wholly, and live it out in our lives. How should we approach our daily times in God’s Word to make sure this is the case with us?

And thus let us learn not to mock God, nor bring a double heart when we inquire as to his will, but to suffer ourselves to be ruled by his word. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 43.1

Give me grace to receive, embrace, and obey Your Word, O Lord, especially as I…

Pray Psalm 50.1-15, 22, 23.
Wait in silence before the Lord as your read through these verses. Let Him show you any areas where you are not submitting yourself to His Word. Repent and be renewed in His love as directed by the Spirit.

Sing Psalm 50.1-15, 22, 23.
Psalm 50.1-15, 22, 23 (Austrian Hymn: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken)
God, the Lord, the mighty Savior, summons all from east to west:
Out of Zion, rich with favor, shines He, of all things the best.
Come, O God, and keep not silence; fire devours before Your way!
He His Church, steeped in defiance, comes to judge this awful day.

“Gather now My children holy, those bound close to Me by blood.”
Let the heav’ns declare His glory, for the Lord Himself is Judge:
“Hear, My people, I will charge you; I alone am God, your God!
I will bring a solemn charge to gain you to Me for your good.

“Not for rituals I accuse you – let your worship to Me rise.
Naught to Me is any use, Who dwells in glory in the skies.
All is mine throughout creation; I your help do not require.
Offer Me no vain oblation: hear what I from you desire:

“Sacrifice of thanks now render; pay to God your solemn vows;
Let the troubled, each offender, seek Him in the midst of woes.
In the day of strife draw near Him; He will hear, and He will save.
Honor God, rejoice, and fear Him, give to Him your grateful praise.

“Reckon this, My sinful people, lest My wrath consume you whole:
None shall thwart Me when I seek to crush and break your sin-stiff soul.
He who thanks to Me addressing, follows after what is good,
He shall know the way of blessing coming from the hand of God.”

T. M. Moore

You can also now listen to a weekly summary of our daily Scriptorium study. Click here for Jeremiah 39-42. You can also download for free all the weekly studies in this series on the book of Jeremiah by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore