Scripture: Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, “Please hear our petition and pray to the Lord your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left. Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.” “I have heard you,” replied Jeremiah the prophet. “I will certainly pray to the Lord your God as you have requested; I will tell you everything the Lord says and will keep nothing back from you.” Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us. Jeremiah 42:1-5 NIV
He said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition, says: ‘If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I am grieved over the disaster I have inflicted on you. Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. Do not be afraid of him, declares the Lord, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands. Jeremiah 42:9-11 NIV
Observation: The Jewish remnant is in their land and their leaders ask Jeremiah to pray for guidance from the Lord as to what they should do. I was particularly struck by the way the Jews asked Jeremiah to pray for them, “…pray to the Lord your God…” Jeremiah put it right back on them and told them he would seek guidance from “their God.” I thought that these interpretations from the original texts were odd. Surely the Jews had misspoke in their request.
Application: As I read on in Jeremiah 43 it became clear, “When Jeremiah finished telling the people all the words of the Lord their God—everything the Lord had sent him to tell them— Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, ‘You are lying! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, “You must not go to Egypt to settle there.” ‘ ” Jeremiah 43:1&2 NIV They asked Jeremiah to seek of his Lord because they had become so corrupted over time that they truly did not know God…not unlike a certain country that I live in and love. Like the nation of Israel, America has lost its way; its moral compass. This country was founded on Christian principles, faith in God, freedom to worship. Like that remnant of Israel our country denies God’s sovereignty or the need to cede to any “higher” authority than man. We are certainly the worse for it! We are in desperate need for God to extend grace to us and save us from ourselves.
Prayer: Father, you are sovereign! I ask that you save this country from itself. We don’t deserve your grace but we need it desperately. We have done everything within our power to offend you and to deny, defy, and distance ourselves from your Devine protection. I’m ashamed of what America has become in many ways because we have thrown you out of every aspect of our lives and our society. Forgive us, Father. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen