The Scriptorium

...into the Fire

They could run, but they could not hide. Jeremiah 44.1-14

Judgment in Egypt: Jeremiah 43-45 (3)

Pray Psalm 59.16, 17.
But I will sing of Your power;
Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning;
For You have been my defense
And refuge in the day of my trouble.
To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
For God is my defense,
My God of mercy.

Sing Psalm 59.16, 17.

(Neumark: If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee)
But as for me, Your strength I’m singing;
with joy I sing Your grace, O Lord!
My trials and troubles I am bringing
to know the shelter of Your Word.
O God, my strength, I sing Your praise;
You are my stronghold all my days.

Read and meditate on Jeremiah 44.1-14.

1. What were God’s people doing in Egypt?

2. How did God respond to what they were doing?

Johanan and those who fled to Egypt with him believed they were escaping the frying pan of judgment in Judah. Instead, they landed in the fire of judgment in Egypt. No Pharaoh could protect them against the wrath of God, Who was set on punishing them for their wickedness and idolatry.

Try to put yourself in Jeremiah’s place. He was the bearer of bad news to these people, although he had been taken to Egypt by them and was only still alive by their pleasure. He reminded them of the sins of their parents and the judgment God brought against them (vv. 1-6). Then he challenged and denounced them for their ongoing idolatry in Egypt (vv. 7-10). Finally, using the same kind of language he had used against the people of Jerusalem and Judah, Jeremiah prophesied that God would hunt them down and destroy them, leaving very few to escape (vv. 11-14).

There is no escaping the judgment of God against sin. Either we hear and heed His Word – confessing our sins and sheltering in His mercy and grace – or we endure the consequences of our sin, which God has beforehand threatened. Jeremiah was the Word of God to the people in Egypt, just as Jesus, the Word of God, was God’s Word among the Jews of His day. They didn’t listen to Jeremiah, and they didn’t listen to Jesus. We need to make sure that we are listening to both.

It took great courage on Jeremiah’s part to continue this line of preaching among those who had fled to Egypt. It took great courage for Jesus to do the same, knowing where that would lead in His case. We look to Jeremiah – and through him, to Jesus – to confess and repent of our sins, to seek the mercy and grace of the Lord, and to stand squarely on His Word in the midst of people who choose to worship themselves rather than God. The only way to realize the Good News that is Jesus is first to deal with the bad news of our sin.

1. How does the Bible help us in confessing and repenting of our sins?

2. What does it mean for you to have the courage of Jeremiah?

3. Should we expect everyone with whom we share the Gospel to be glad to hear it? Explain.

He again denounces punishment on the obstinate; nor is it a wonder that these threatenings were so often repeated, since he had to do with men so ferocious and refractory. The reason then why he denounced on them God's judgment, was because they boldly derided him; and it will become more evident from what follows how necessary was such vehemence. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 44.11

Lord, give me courage like Jeremiah to share Jesus today as I…

Pray Psalm 59.1-15.

Thank God for the promise of His Presence and His strength to deliver you as you live for Him today.

Sing Psalm 59.1-15.
Psalm 59.1-15 (Neumark: If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee)
Deliver me from all my foes, Lord;
set me on high secure away;
From all who seek to work me woe, Lord,
deliver me from day to day.
For, lo, they seek to take my life;
fierce foes advance to bring me strife!

Not for transgressions they assault me,
nor any sin which I have done.
With nothing they can charge or fault me,
and yet to trouble me they run.
Arouse Yourself, O Lord, awake,
and come with haste my foes to break.

Like dogs at large within a city,
they bark and howl fierce threats at me.
They boast of evil without pity,
but You, O Lord, their treach’ry see.
Because of them I watch for You,
O God my strength, forever true!

My God in steadfast love will meet me,
and let me look triumphantly
On all my foes, who would defeat me
did not He shield and shelter me.
That men may know Your pow’r, O Lord,
subdue and rule them by Your Word.

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.

Check out the special offer on our book The Church Captive. Are churches today captive like the people of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day? Order your copy of The Church Captive and decide for yourself (click 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