Jeremiah: Prophet Of Judgment Followed By Blessing

Part LXXII: Judah's Illogical Self-Destruction In Disobeying God's Word

(Jeremiah 43:8-13)


I.                 Introduction

A.    Not only is disobedience to God's Word sin that results in discipline, it is often illogically self-destructive.

B.     Such was the case for the remnant in Judah who chose to flee into Egypt in order to escape war rather than heed God's call through Jeremiah to stay in Judah.  We view Jeremiah 43:8-13 on this lesson for our insight:

II.              Judah's Illogical Self-Destruction In Disobeying God's Word, Jeremiah 43:8-13.

A.    After Johanan the son of Kareah and the rest of the remnant of Judah had forcibly taken Jeremiah and his scribe Baruch with them and fled down to Egypt, God's word came to Jeremiah there in Egypt, Jeremiah 43:8.

B.     The Lord had Jeremiah take large stones in full view of the men of the remnant of Judah and hide them under the "brick pavement or terrace . . . in front of the entrance to the royal dwelling" of Pharaoh, Jeremiah 43:9; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Jeremiah 43:9.

C.     Jeremiah then predicted that Babylon would conquer Egypt to where Judah's remnant had fled, Jer. 43:10-13:

1.      He claimed that the Lord of hosts and God of Israel Who was sovereign over not only Israel, but all the armies of the Gentiles, would send for Babylon's king Nebuchadnezzar, who God called "My servant," and have him set his throne and royal canopy over the stones Jeremiah had hid under the pavement, Jer. 43:10.

2.      Jeremiah added that when Nebuchadnezzar entered Egypt, he would strike the land, giving over to disease those destined by God for disease, giving over to captivity those destined by God for captivity and giving over to the sword those destined by God for the sword, Jeremiah 43:11.

3.      The Lord Himself declared that He would use the Babylonians to kindle a fire in the temples of Egypt's pagan gods, burning them and carrying away the people of the land as captives, Jeremiah 43:12a.

4.      This would be accomplished with relative ease for Nebuchadnezzar: as a shepherd wraps his cloak around him, so he would wrap Egypt around himself and depart from there unscathed, Jeremiah 43:12b NIV.

5.      In the temple of the sun Nebuchadnezzar would demolish the sacred obelisks and burn down the temples of the gods of Egypt, Jeremiah 43:13 NIV; Ibid., ftn. to Jeremiah 43:13.

D.    In light of their history, this prediction exposed the destructive illogic of Judah's remnant flight into Egypt:

1.      Egypt had oppressed Israel for four hundred years before God took her out of that land with a strong hand, what had never happened to any other nation, cf. Exodus 2:23-25; 12:40-41; Deuteronomy 4:34-35.

2.      In that Exodus, God's strong hand had been manifested in the ten plagues of Egypt when God judged the false gods of that land in demonstrating His vast sovereignty over them, Exodus 12:12.

3.      Since the gods of a land were believed to be its protectors in the Ancient Near East, it was thus illogical for Judah's remnant to flee into Egypt for protection under its gods from the Lord's judgment when the Lord Himself had already demonstrated His vast supremacy over those gods in Israel's own past Exodus!

4.      Thus, Jeremiah's message to Judah's remnant in Egypt is laced with emphases on God's sovereignty over the nation of Egypt and its false gods, exposing the dreadfully self-destructive illogic of Judah's flight:

                             a.         God referred to Himself as the Lord of hosts, the God Who was sovereign over not only Israel, but over Egypt and Babylon, nations He controlled for His purposes, Jeremiah 43:10a.

                            b.         God could direct Nebuchadnezzar as "His servant" to perform His will in punishing not only Egypt for her idolatry, but the faithless remnant of Judah who had disobeyed Him in seeking the protection of Egypt's gods whom the Lord had long before already defeated in the Exodus! (Jeremiah 43:10b)

                             c.         God as sovereign could also determine who would die by disease or by the sword or go into captivity, doing so in Egypt just as He had done in Judah while using Babylon in Judah's recent past, Jer. 43:11-12a.

                            d.         God would accomplish all this with ease, for Nebuchadnezzar would figuratively easily wrap the land of Egypt around him like a shepherd would safely wrap his cloak, Jeremiah 43:12b NIV.

                             e.         God could then punish not only the Egyptians, but once again Egypt's false gods and their temples and objects of worship in the obelisks as He had already done back in the time of the Exodus, Jeremiah 43:13.


Lesson: In view of history, not only was Judah's remnant disobedient to God in fleeing into Egypt for safety, that flight was disastrously illogical, for God had long ago demonstrated His sovereignty over Egypt's protective gods.


Application: May we realize the destructive illogic of disobeying the Lord, that we instead earnestly heed His Word.