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August 16: Jeremiah 44
1 Samuel 7–8; Romans 6; Jeremiah 44; Psalms 20–21
The remnant of Israel flees to Egypt, instead of obeying God (chapter 43). By going to Egypt, they “commit a great evil against themselves” (44:7), because God is preserving a surviving remnant through the Babylonian captivity. Those in Egypt, sadly, will not survive (12-14).
In Egypt, Israel comes full-circle, completely unwinding the Exodus. Yet the unwinding goes back further, back to the Garden. In the Fall, instead of God reigning over man, the woman under the man as his helpmate, and both of them reigning over all creation, the structure was inverted: the serpent led the woman, the woman led the man, and God, in a sense, was erased. So it goes with the refugees in Egypt: they respond to Jeremiah that they will continue sacrificing to the queen of heaven - probably the sun (17); the women lead the men in this, while yet blaming the men (19); and besides, it’s all God’s fault, they say (17): all of our trouble started (so they think) when King Josiah made his “reforms.”
A couple observations, first about Jeremiah himself. God’s servants do not get to pick our fights, nor our foxholes. The question is not whether we win every battle, but whether we will do our duty, wherever God assigns us. “Good” soldiers don’t necessarily win, but they always fight with a single-minded goal of pleasing their General (2 Tim. 2:3-4).
Secondly, Israel’s recalcitrance pictures how desperately we all need more than good tips for living better - we need new hearts. We need resurrection (31:31-34).
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