Jeremiah: Prophet Of Judgment Followed By Blessing

Part LXX: A Lesson About Trusting God's Word Above Our Own Judgment

(Jeremiah 41:11-42:6)


I.                 Introduction

A.    When Johanan the son of Karea's fear that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah might want to kill Gedaliah sadly proved to be true, he and the rest of Judah's survivors came to trust their own judgment above God's Word.

B.     That is a great sin, but yet it is typical of carnal believers today according to Christ's Revelation 3:14-22 prophecy of our era.  We view Jeremiah 41:11-42:6 on that event for our insight and edification (as follows):

II.              A Lesson About Trusting God's Word Above Our Own Judgment, Jeremiah 41:11-42:6.

A.    When Ishmael slew Babylon's puppet governor Gedaliah and took Hebrew survivors of Jerusalem's fall and headed south to go to Ammon, Johanan the son of Kareah and the other guerilla leaders pursued and caught up with Ishmael at Gibeon 4 miles south of Mizpah, Jeremiah 41:11-12; The MacMillan Bible Atlas, 1968, p. 83.

B.     Ishmael's captives then saw Johanan's forces arrive, so they rejoiced and turned around to go back north to Johanan while Ishamael and eight of his men kept going south to flee to Ammon for protection, Jer. 41:13-15.

C.     Johanan and all the other guerilla force leaders took all of the rest of the people left from former Gedaliah's administration and went to stay near Bethlehem another 10 miles south of Gibeon, Jer. 41:16-17; Ibid.  Their intent was to continue on south toward Egypt for protection, for they feared the Babylonians would return to take vengeance on them for the assassination of Babylon's puppet governor Gedaliah, Jeremiah 41:18.

D.    However, before actually traveling to Egypt, Johanan and all the people with him approached Jeremiah the prophet of God to ask that he pray to God that the Lord might show him what they were to do, Jer. 42:1-3.

E.     Jeremiah replied that he would pray as they requested, and whatever the Lord told him to say, that would he say to them, Jeremiah 42:4.  The people replied that the Lord "be a true and faithful witness" between them and Jeremiah, that they would do all that the Lord directed him to tell them, be it good or unpleasant, that they might enjoy God's blessing by obeying the voice of the Lord, Jeremiah 42:5-6.

F.      However, such pious words from such people were impossible to believe given their past record:

1.      Johanan the son of Kareah had previously secretly offered the late puppet governor Gedaliah his services of murdering Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, a clear violation of the Law at Exodus 20:13; Jeremiah 40:15. 

2.      In addition, going into Egypt (Jer. 41:17-18) violated God's Deuteronomy 17:16 call that they not go there.

3.      Also, Jeremiah's repeat words against false prophets to the contrary that Babylon would invade and destroy Jerusalem if it did not surrender to Babylon (Jer. 38:1-3, 17-18 with 28:1-17) had come true (Jer. 39:1-10), proving by Deuteronomy 18:21-22 that Jeremiah was a true prophet.  If God's will according to His prophet's messages was that Judah's people submit to Babylon, for them to consider going to Egypt, a foe of Babylon that caused Judah, Ammon and Tyre to rebel against Babylon resulting in Jerusalem's fall to Babylon (B. K. C., O. T., p. 1187) was to violate God's Word by Jeremiah that they submit to Babylon!

4.      Thus, for these people to approach Jeremiah, promising to submit to whatever God told them through him to do in view of their past history and even current intent on going into Egypt was very hypocritical!

G.    Nevertheless, this is precisely a HUGE problem in TODAY'S evangelical churches (as follows):

1.      In Christ's message to our era of Church History, the Laodicean Church in Rev. 3:14, Jesus referred to Himself as "the faithful and true Witness," a phrase occurring elsewhere in Scripture only at Jer. 42:5, but in Rev. 3:14, "true" and "faithful" in the phrase are in reverse order to highlight the faithfulness of Christ!

2.      In application, just like the people who approached Jeremiah, carnal believers in evangelical churches today do not truly view God's servants as led by God, but try to use them to validate their own plans!

3.      In solution, church leaders today must trust God as did Jeremiah faithfully to handle carnal people who do not view them as God's real servants today, but who try to manipulate them for their own plans!


Lesson: When Johanan rescued the Hebrew refugees from Ishmael, instead of believing the Word of the Lord through His prophet Jeremiah, the people relied on their own judgment and simply tried to manipulate Jeremiah to validate their own plans in complete hypocrisy.  Jeremiah had to rely on the Lord to judge these sinful people!


Application: (1) If we fail to view God's human leaders as His servants, may we repent and heed God's Word and leading through them for blessing.  (2) If we instead try to manipulate God's servants to validate our own plans even due to fear, pretending to submit to His servants, be sure God will discern this sin and discipline accordingly!