Jeremiah 42-44


After Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem he let the poor people remain in the land to take care of it. Jeremiah was also allowed to stay and was put under the care of Gedaliah whom Nebuchadnezzar appointed governor. Since Jerusalem was destroyed the new headquarters of the nation was Mizpah and the people who had escaped from the invasion began to return and gather there. However, the relative peace is soon disrupted by the assassination of Gedaliah by Ishmael a member of the royal family. He and the King of Ammon conspired together to make Ishmael King who was going to join with Ammon and drive Babylon out.

When Gedaliah was told of the conspiracy against him he refused to believe it. That choice cost him his life. After his death the nation was in turmoil again and the people were afraid that Nebuchadnezzar will invade again for a fourth time so the people go to Jeremiah and ask him to seek the Lord and tell them what to do. However, after several days the people are becoming more and more fearful and they haven’t heard from Jeremiah. Because they are afraid they want to go to Egypt where they think they will be safe. When the people first sought Jeremiah’s counsel they said they would do whatever God said, but now, after ten days, they are unwilling to listen to Jeremiah and call him a liar when he tells them to remain in the land and they will be safe.

There is a healthy fear and an unhealthy fear. A healthy fear carries with it respect and seeks the truth. We are told to fear the Lord. This means we are to realize who God is and respect what He says for his Word is true.  In the case of Gedaliah he would have been well served to respect the source of the information and investigate in order to find the truth.

The people who came to Jeremiah started out well by seeking the truth but because they did not respect the Lord, (which was the problem all along) they did not believe the truth. Instead they believed the lie that they were going to be killed because Nebuchadnezzar was supposedly, going to invade again. Because they believed their fears, they had already made up their mind to flee to Egypt by the time Jeremiah told the people to remain in the land.

We all have fear. We also have faith. The difference between healthy and unhealthy fear is where we have put our faith. Gedaliah put his faith in denial. In essence he told himself a lie and believed it. The people also believed a lie based on fear. A lie repeated over and over becomes the “truth” to those who are afraid.  Sadly the result was the same for Gedaliah and the people who fled to Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar was planning an invasion and Egypt and Ammon were on his “to do” list. The people ended up running into what they feared instead of away from it.

Since we all have fear it is important that we have healthy fear based on the truth. This begins with our relationship with the Lord and respect for God’s Word so here are some verses to help us develop healthy fear.

Deuteronomy 6:13-19, 10:12&13, 31:12&13 Psalm 19:9-11, Psalm 91, Psalm 111:10.

Proverbs 8:13, 9:10, 10:27, 14:27, 15:33, 19:23. I John 4:18.

Pastor Dave