Back to Egypt

Scripture: Jeremiah 42:5, Exodus 16:3, Jeremiah 40:7-16
Date: 12/26/2015 
Lesson: 12
"How often do we allow emotions or passions to cloud our judgment or even override a clear 'thus saith the Lord'? How can we protect ourselves from letting emotions and passions get the better of us?"
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Good morning, friends, and welcome again to Sabbath School Study Hour. A very warm welcome to our church members here at the Granite Bay church and those who are visiting, and also our friends who are watching - an extension of our Sabbath school class around the country and across the world - a very warm welcome to you. We've been studying through the book of Jeremiah in our lesson quarterly. Today we find ourselves on lesson #12 entitled back to Egypt. But before we get into our lesson, I'd like to tell you about a free offer that we have for today - a book written by Joe Crews entitled satan's confusing counterfeits and anybody in North America that would like to receive this book, just give us a call on our resource line.

The number is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #191. That number again is 866-788-3966. You can ask for the book satan's confusing counterfeits - that's offer #191. Well, before we get to our study this morning, let's begin by singing some wonderful hymns of praise. I'd like to welcome our singers forward.

Thank you, Pastor Ross. And hello and welcome. We're going to sing #118 - the first noel - and we're going to sing the first, second, fourth, and fifth verses so we're just eliminating the third one, okay? #118. The first noel the angel did say was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay; in fields where they lay keeping their sheep, on a cold winter's night that was so deep. Noel, noel, noel, noel, born is the King of Israel.

They looked up and saw a star shining in the east, beyond them far, and to the earth it gave great light, and so it continued both day and night. Noel, noel, noel, noel, born is the King of Israel. This star drew nigh to the northwest, o'er Bethlehem it took its rest, and there it did both stop and stay, right over the place where Jesus lay. Noel, noel, noel, noel, born is the King of Israel. Then entered in those wise men three, full reverently upon the knee, and offered there, in his presence, their gold, and myrrh, and frankincense.

Noel, noel, noel, noel, born is the King of Israel. Thank you so much for joining with us in song. And now Pastor Ross is going to have our opening prayer. I invite you just to bow your heads for prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, once again, we are so grateful to be able to gather together in your house on this the Sabbath to study the word.

And Lord, once again, we ask the Holy Spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds. In Jesus' Name, amen. As was mentioned just a little earlier in the program today, we're looking at lesson #12 in our study of Jeremiah. We've got one more week's study in our lesson quarterly on the book of Jeremiah. Then we start a brand-new series of lessons called rebellion and redemption.

It's all about the Great Controversy. I know here at the Granite Bay church we're typically three weeks ahead than what it actually says in your lesson quarterly, so next week we will have next week's - or next quarter's lessons ready for you and you're going to be able to pick up your own and study along with us. Well, with that, I'd like to invite Pastor Doug to come forward and he'll be teaching our lesson today. Thank you, Pastor Ross and welcome, once again, friends - those who are part of our regular Sabbath school group, these - this is a holiday weekend and so we have some of our regular folk maybe traveling - visiting family - and we have some who are visiting that are not regulars and we're glad that you're here with us. And then, of course, we want to welcome the Sabbath school class that is all over the world.

And the people that we see everywhere that we get the letters from and the notes and the e-mails and so, to our extended class, greetings. We're glad that you can join us for our study today and we're going to be dealing with some of the last chapters - not the last - that's next week, but some of the last chapters in the story of Jeremiah and today's lesson is called back to Egypt and it's going to be dealing with the chapter , verse 7 of Jeremiah, through chapter 44. And so really, that's our assignment and I was telling Karen on my way over, I said, 'that's a tough lesson today. There's just - there's not a lot of encouragement in the lesson today - I mean, we'll try and draw some out, but it's a record of sort of abysmal failure of God's people and a lot of very bad choices that led to a return of captivity. You know, the Exodus is a wonderful story because the Exodus talks about God bringing people from slavery to the promised land.

What happens in our study today is the Exodus in reverse. The people go from a place where they've got the hope of peace and a new beginning and all these promises of God, if they'll stay in the land. They don't believe and they want to go back to Egypt and they end up back in Egypt worshipping false Gods. And so, you can see why that's sort of a sad story. But there's some lessons there and warnings there for us because it didn't happen all at once.

So you know what I'd like to do? Let's dive in and go in your Bibles to Jeremiah chapter 40 and it starts - it starts with verse 7 - I'm going to back up to verse 6 - Jeremiah chapter , verse 6, "then Jeremiah went to gedaliah The Son of ahikam, to mizpah, and dwelt with him among the people who were left in the land." - Now, in case you missed the previous lessons, let me give you the background. After repeated warnings and opportunity, the children of Israel had chased away all their probation. They could have repented. They could have surrendered, but they refused - they rebelled. Nebuchadnezzar came, he destroyed the temple, he destroyed the city, he carried away most of the - well, those he did not kill - a lot of the leaders were executed - those who were not executed - any of the artisans or skilled people were carried off to Babylon, but he left some of the poorest of the people in the land because the promised land had some good land back then and they had a lot of - a lot of fruit and vineyards and fig trees and date trees and - and so the King, actually gets revenue from that.

So the Babylonian soldiers had not destroyed the farms because they needed those to eat. They had besieged Jerusalem. And so they leave the poor to continue caring for and tending the land so that it would help supply the king's city of Babylon and their soldiers and so forth. And he said, 'well I need to have someone here be governor over the poor people that reMained.' So the King found one man he thought had been loyal that he could trust named gedaliah and he made him the governor. You remember how, when Nehemiah came back from persia, he was made the governor? Because they're really a vassal state now.

They don't have their own freedom. So Nebuchadnezzar said, 'alright, gedaliah, you're in charge.' And he gives him an allowance. He left a few chaldean soldiers - Babylonian soldiers - there and they went to mizpah and that was going to be the new headquarters. Why? Jerusalem's all blackened and smoldering. It's destroyed.

It's very depressing, but the town of mizpah, it still had a little bit of a fortified area, so they're living there and that's further north of Jerusalem. And so Jeremiah says - you remember the guard, when he set Jeremiah free, he said, 'look, here's an allowance. You were faithful. You did not rebel against Nebuchadnezzar. Here's some money.

You want to go with me? Nebuzaradan - the captain of the guard for Nebuchadnezzar - he said, 'you want to go with me and the captives? We'll go back to Babylon and I'll take care of you there. You can live comfortably the rest of your days in Babylon. Or, if you want to stay here with your own people that are staying behind, you can stay with them.' And Jeremiah decided to stay with his people. Now I've got a verse I want someone to read. Do we have some of those handed out? Somebody's going to have Hebrews chapter 11, verse 24.

Who has that? "By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called The Son of pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin." Why didn't Jeremiah take the captain of the guard up on his offer? He said, 'go back to Babylon with me and I'll take good care of you and you'll have a good place in the Kingdom and you'll be fed from the royal table and you'll be tax free and - or you can stay with the poor people - your people that are left in the land.' He forsook, like Moses, the treasures of Babylon in preference for the suffering of affliction with the people of God. Jeremiah's heart, as a prophet of God, was with the people of God so he stayed behind. Jeremiah 40, verse 7, "and when all the captains of the armies who were in the fields, they and their men, heard that the King of Babylon had made gedaliah The Son of ahikam governor" - now who are these captains of the armies? Don't lose your place there, go to chapter 39, verse 4. After Nebuchadnezzar surrounds the city - he's besieged Jerusalem - he finally breaches the city wall, they managed to get within the outer wall - zedekiah realizes the city is going to be taken. The last night before they breach the inner wall, he thinks, 'this is our last chance.

' The soldiers say, 'look, we can't help the people anymore. If we're conquered, all the soldiers are going to be executed, that's for sure. He might let some of the poor people live, but the soldiers are going to be executed. And so they found - there was a little narrow opening that wasn't carefully guarded by the Babylonians - the soldiers broke through at night - the Babylonian forces went charging through with their horses, they made their way down from Jerusalem towards Jericho and in the morning the Babylonians had hard pursuit - they weren't so much concerned about catching the soldiers as zedekiah. So notice here - verse 4 - Jeremiah 39, "so it was, when zedekiah the King of judah and all the men of war saw" - that the city was taken, ".

..they fled and went out of the city by night," - he abandoned his people - "by way of the King's garden, by the gate between the two walls. And he went out by way of the plain." - Going down towards Jordan and Jericho - "but the chaldean army pursued them and overtook zedekiah" - not all the soldiers - the soldiers largely scattered from the King - "...overtook zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. And when they had captured him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar" - and they executed judgment on him. So you go back to chapter , verse 7, it says, "and when all the captains of the armies who were in the fields," - now you see how they were in the field? They had escaped the city. So some of the soldiers were still there even though the people had been carried off.

They came crawling out - when the Babylonian army Marched away with the captives to Babylon, the soldiers kind of - they walked out and they saw that Nebuchadnezzar had put somebody else in charge of the people and that really rankled with them. Now, if they had just submitted - I mean, they had already been conquered. The city was destroyed. The temple was burned. Everything Jeremiah said happened and now Jeremiah said, 'surrender and you'll live in peace.

' But they didn't want to do it. So it says when they came and they saw that gedaliah had the land committed to him and ", women, children, and the poorest of the land who had not been carried away captive to Babylon, then they came to gedaliah at mizpah - ishmael" - now, you know, there's another ishmael in the Bible. It's the brother of Isaac. This guy was named after him - "ishmael, The Son of nethaniah, johanan and jonathan The Sons of kareah, seraiah The Son of tanhumeth, The Sons of ephai the netophathite, and jezaniah The Son of a maachathite, they and their men. And gedaliah The Son of ahikam, The Son of shaphan, took an oath before them and their men saying, 'do not be afraid to serve the chaldeans.

Dwell in the land and serve the King of Babylon, and it shall be well with you.'" - 'We've got the whole land, the soldiers are gone, there's still food in the fields - "'as for me, I will indeed dwell at mizpah and serve the chaldeans who come to us. But you, gather wine and summer fruit and oil, put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken.' Likewise, when all the jews who were in moab, among the ammonites, in edom, and who were in all the countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of judah, and that he had set over them gedaliah The Son of ahikam, The Son of shaphan," - then all the jews returned out of all the places where they had been driven. Alright, just to give you the background again, while Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and they knew he was going to take the land, many of the jews were afraid. They fled to the outlying countries - edomites, moabites, ammonites - in the hills and caves. Finally word reaches them - Nebuchadnezzar has taken the captives - he and his soldiers, they're gone - he's made a new governor of the land.

It looks like there's going to be peace. They all came crawling from everywhere they'd been driven and thousands of people came pouring back - even though the captives had been carried away, they came pouring back into the promised land - then all the jews returned out of all places where they had been driven," - I'm in verse 12 - "and came to the land of judah, to gedaliah at mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruit in abundance." You see, all these farms were left there that had been unattended because the people had been carried away - and you could almost pick what house you wanted to live in. Now, you know, when the children of Israel came into the promised land, they drove out the canaanites who had been there for hundreds of years. And they had well-established cities and they had established vineyards, and they had farms, and they had fig trees and date trees and - and just picture, for a moment, if all of a sudden eighty percent of the people in the northern California area just fled. Weather's nice.

Everything's fine. All the, you know, internal working systems are working but they're just gone. And you get to decide what house you want to live in because they're all empty. Where would you go? And so they had the pick of the land. So when the children of Israel came into the promised land - this is what Moses told them - and I forget the verse - I think it's in Deuteronomy - he said, 'beware when you enter the land and you drink from wells that you did not dig, and when you eat from vineyards you did not plant, and when you eat from orchards that you did not plant, and when you move into houses that you did not build, that when you eat and you drink and you are fat,' - that's what he says - he says, 'beware, lest you forget the Lord that gave you all of this.

' So they had this abundant opportunity to just pick all these places that were built - just move in and inhabit it. This is what happens when Nebuchadnezzar goes. You know who's left behind? The poorest of the land. All the rich farmers have been carried off. And now the poor pickers, they get to say, 'I get to live in the rancher's house? All this food that's growing - that had been planted - I now get to harvest that?' They had the best opportunity to have years of peace, because the Babylonian kingdom was a fairly secure kingdom.

It was a world empire for seventy years. But those soldiers that came out of the hills that had been in hiding, were angry. They were still mad at the Babylonians. They did not want gedaliah to be king - they thought a son of David should be king - and so they just had their mind made up to rebel more. And this is what - this is what's happening.

Yeah, go to verse 13 - thank you - "moreover johanan The Son of kareah and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields came to gedaliah at mizpah, and said to him, 'do you certainly know that baalis the King of the ammonites has sent ishmael The Son of nethaniah to murder you?' But gedaliah The Son of ahikam did not believe them." Now, you can't duck and dodge and hide and flinch, when you're a leader, at every threat. Do you remember when Nehemiah was told 'you need to go hide in the temple because the samaritans have hired someone to kill you.' And what - do you remember what Nehemiah said? 'Should such a man as I flee?' He said, 'I'm the governor. I'm not going to hide.' And nothing did happen. It was a false report. But this was a true report.

Ishmael, who was in league with the King of the ammonites, who also didn't like the Babylonians, he was planning an assassination. "Then johanan The Son of kareah spoke secretly to gedaliah" - as governor - I'm in verse 15 - "in mizpah, saying, 'let me go, please, and I will kill ishmael The Son of nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he murder you, so that all the jews who are gathered to you would be scattered, and the remnant in judah perish?'" You see, God had left a remnant. Have you studied the subject of the remnant? You've got a remnant - Noah's a remnant that survives when everyone else is destroyed. And then they all turn to idolatry - the tower of babel - and God saves a remnant - Abraham.

It's like the remainder. And here, they've been carried off to Babylon, but God leaves a remnant and he promises to bless them if they will trust him. But this man, who was a loyal soldier, johanan, he says to gedaliah, 'look, you need to take this guy out. He's a bad egg. He's going to destroy everything for everybody.

He's going to assassinate you and then what's going to happen? Because you were chosen by Nebuchadnezzar? It'll look like another rebellion.' And he said, 'no, no, don't worry. I don't believe it. He would never do that.' "But gedaliah The Son of ahikam said to johanan The Son of kareah, 'you shall not do this thing, for you speak falsely concerning ishmael.'" Well, now you don't ever want to recommend an assassination. Or you don't ever want to recommend that kind of pre-emptive action, but you know, if he had given him permission it would have been good. Is there ever a time when a king needs to act - a leader needs to act in what may seem like a brutal way - to preserve peace? When Solomon came into power - you realize what Solomon's name - it's related to the name 'shalom' - and when he came into power, he knew he needed to deal very severely with two or three people.

One of them was adonijah, his older brother, was going to try again to take the throne, and as soon as he saw him making movements to take the throne, Solomon didn't fool around, he had him executed. Now you - I know, that sounds brutal. There was another man named shimei who had cursed David and shimei was a ring leader to try and give the throne back to the benjamites - you remember Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin - so shimei - talking about during the time of Solomon - Solomon's young - and he thinks, 'look, if I don't let them know that I'm in charge' - and so, when shimei misbehaved, Solomon executed him. And then he had to send abiathar, the priest - he banished him - because he was a priest he wouldn't execute him. When he dealt strongly with those things at the beginning, he had forty years of peace.

Now gedaliah's a new ruler. He's being told, 'this guy's going to challenge your rule.' It was a time for him to deal, in a strong way, with a rebellion. He should have listened to his counselors. But listen to what happened. So we're jumping over to - and, by the way, we're still reading the section under Sunday, political anarchy.

So we're going to chapter 41, "now it came to pass in the seventh month that ishmael The Son of nethaniah, The Son of Elishama, of the royal family" - so he was from the royal family - "and of the officers of the King, came with ten men to gedaliah The Son of ahikam, at mizpah. And there they ate bread together in mizpah." - They said, 'oh yeah, we've come to visit you. Let's have a meal.' - "Then ishmael The Son of nethaniah, and the ten men who were with him, arose and struck gedaliah The Son of ahikam, The Son of shaphan," - this is the guy who was the governor of the land - "...and killed him." Kind of like brutus. You remember the story of how julius caesar was killed? All the senators gathered around and they all stabbed him. And he had these ten soldiers - they ate with him! Now does the Bible talk about someone eating with Jesus and then betraying him? 'Even my friend that ate bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.

' When you eat with someone, it's supposed to be the sign of a covenant of peace. And so they eat together - 'you don't need to worry about us.' - And then they kill him. They wanted to wait until they got the free food. That's pretty bad. Now that caused a lot of problems.

So now ishmael - and I don't know if I have time to read all of this - and some of this is - it's just a very sad story of intrigue - he "...struck down" - verse 3 - "all the jews who were with him, that is, with gedaliah at mizpah, and the chaldeans who were found there, the men of war." - There were a few soldiers that had been stationed by Nebuchadnezzar - not many - "and it happened, on the second day after he had killed gedaliah, when as yet no one knew it," - and he goes on and he talks about him killing another eighty men and throwing them in a pit. Your lesson leaves that out and I understand why. It's all pretty sad. And finally, johanan, the one who had stood up for gedaliah, he goes with some men, he tracks down - ishmael captures all the people. He says, 'go with me.

' He basically takes all these people and says, 'I'm your new king' - because he's from the royal family - 'I'm going to take you to Egypt.' And he keeps - takes all the people by brute force and he starts to carry them towards the ammonites but johanan, he goes and he rescues them - and that's verse 11 - "but when johanan The Son of kareah and all the captains of the forces that were with him heard of all the evil that ishmael The Son of nethaniah had done, they took all the men and went to fight with ishmael the son of nethaniah;" - by the way, that's Jeremiah :11 and 12 - "and they found him by the great pool that is in gibeon." - The great waters of gibeon - "so it was, when all the people who were with ishmael saw johanan The Son of kareah, and all the captains of the forces who were with him, that they were glad." - He'd come to rescue them. So ishmael and several of the soldiers fight and he manages to escape with eight men. He goes up to the King of the ammonites. Now the King of ammon - they were enemies even just a few chapters before - they were enemies of Israel - so what he's doing, it seems really treacherous. So now they don't know what to do.

I'm just going to try and give you - oh, someone's going to read for me Ecclesiastes 9:18, in just a moment. Whenever they're ready, you let me know. Now they've got to figure out what to do because Nebuchadnezzar had extracted another vow from the people: 'you serve me, you will have peace. I'll protect you. You're going to be a province of Babylon now, but you'll get to live in your own land.

You can worship your own God and gedaliah will be your governor and here's the rules.' And they all said, 'okay. All the King has said we will do.' But now they killed the King's governor. So when you kill the one appointed by the King as governor, it's an attack, again, on the government that the King had just set up. Now the people say, 'what will we do? Ishmael killed gedaliah. Even though we didn't want him to do it, we're going to have to run for our lives because Nebuchadnezzar's coming back again.

' And this would be the third or fourth time the King of Babylon had come to punish Israel. Go ahead, read Ecclesiastes 9:18. "Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one sinner destroys much good." Can you imagine how sad the poor people were? Here they finally had a chance for peace, they gathered food in abundance. Gedaliah said, 'fill all your vessels.' - They could have stored up food like Joseph. There was a such an abundance compared to what they needed because there weren't near as many people as there were farms.

And they could have moved into the best houses in the country. And these people were getting ready to enjoy life like they'd never had it before. And this angry captain and ten men ruin everything - 'one sinner destroys much good.' And because of what he had done now they're afraid again and they - instead of living in peace they're living in fear and they think they've got to run to Egypt because it's the only country that was still - had resisted Nebuchadnezzar so far. And so that's where we find ourselves when we go into chapter 42. So jump to chapter 42 and we'll read the first few verses here and give you a picture of what's going on.

Seeking divine guidance is this section. "Now all the captains of the forces, johanan the son of kareah, jezaniah The Son of hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, came near and said to Jeremiah the prophet," - oh, wait a second, I want you to notice where they are. If you go to verse 17 - if you're still in your Bible - chapter 41, verse 17 - they left mizpah and they departed and they went " the habitation of chimham, which is near Bethlehem...on their way to Egypt. They are heading back toward Egypt. Now what they're afraid of - I almost wish I had a big map - mizpah's further north - mizpah is kind of more down in a valley - great farming area - that's where the capital was.

When johanan came to rescue the people from ishmael, they were heading towards Jerusalem. They killed some of the soldiers. Ishmael escaped to the ammonites and now he's got this big crowd of poor people that are left in the land - some soldiers - and they go, 'now what do we do? If we go back to mizpah, ishmael has killed Babylonian soldiers. He killed the people that were chaldeans - these are from the royal caste. You've heard the term Babylonian, you've heard the term chaldean? Chaldean were the highest caste of the Babylonians.

They were, like, of the priests of the religious order. Even Nebuchadnezzar was from that order. They were educated in the sciences. They were the leaders. So ishmael had killed some of their soldiers and some of the chaldeans.

Word was going to get back to Babylon. He was going to send another army. They were afraid to stay now because it will look, once more, like they rebelled. The people didn't want to. This one guy, ishmael, did it all.

But they don't know if Nebuchadnezzar is going to believe them. So johanan's got all the people and he says, 'now where do we go?' And of all the places, where do they stop? It says they stop at chimham, which is near Bethlehem. So this big decision about where to go is at Bethlehem. They come to Jeremiah seeking the Word of God in Bethlehem - and you might be wondering, 'what is this place, chimham?' It belonged to David. I don't know how deep you want me to go into the history of this, but I'll go a little deeper.

Do you remember when David fled from absalom? There were some families that supported David when he fled from absalom. One old man who was very wealthy and powerful was named barzelei and he fed David and his soldiers when they fled from absalom and David said, 'come back with me' - after he won the battle against absalom he said, 'come back with me. I'll take care of you for the rest of your life.' Barzelei said, 'look, I'm eighty years old.' He said, 'I can't taste what I eat. I can't hear the sounds of music anymore. I'm just going to be a burden.

Why do you' - he says, 'take care of my son. Do something nice for my son, but don't - I'm just going to go home and die.' - That's what he said - and his son's name was chimham and so David gave a part of their family's possession that belonged to jesse, and David and his family, which was in the outskirts of Bethlehem, to this family and that's how it kept that name. So what you're talking about is the area around the village of Bethlehem is where they stopped. It had a name. It had belonged to David.

Bethlehem is where Jesus was born. Now, what is getting ready to happen in this territory of Bethlehem, where David was born, where Jesus was born? Very important spot - you know who else? Ruth. That all happened in Bethlehem, didn't it? Bethlehem means 'house of bread'. So now they're going to come to Jeremiah asking for the Word of God in Bethlehem. Maybe I'm making too much out of that, but I think it's interesting.

So all the people come to Jeremiah - he's still with them. You wonder, what was Jeremiah doing?' - Karen asked me last night, 'what was Jeremiah doing during all these battles and intrigue with ishmael?' I said, 'he was just staying with the people. Wherever they were, that's where he was. He was a pastor.' - "And they said to Jeremiah the prophet," - I'm in verse 2, Jeremiah 42, verse 2 - "'please, let our petition be acceptable to you,'" - listen to how sincere they are - "'and pray for us to the Lord your God, for'" - why don't they say 'our God'? You'll find out later - "'pray to the Lord your God, for all this remnant (since we are left but a few of many, as you can see), that the Lord your God may show us the way in which we should walk and the thing we should do.'" - We don't know what to do now. We're between a rock and a hard place - "then Jeremiah the prophet said to them, 'I have heard.

Indeed, I will pray to the Lord your God according" - you notice he says, 'the Lord your God'? - "According to Your Words, and it shall be, that whatever the Lord answers you, I will declare it to you. I will keep nothing back from you.'" - Good or bad, I'll tell you - "so they said to Jeremiah, 'let the Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not do according to everything which the Lord your God sends us by you." - Doesn't that sound familiar? When they came out of Egypt did it say, 'all the Lord has said we will do'? They said, 'whatever you tell us we're going to' - you know, Jeremiah had just said Babylon's going to fall, the King's going to be carried off, all these things are going to happen - or rather he said Jerusalem's going to fall to the Babylonians, the king'll be carried off - everything Jeremiah foretold, even though all the false prophets said, 'oh, it won't happen.' Everything Jeremiah said happened, so they're starting to think, 'Jeremiah's really a prophet.' And so now they're saying, 'okay Jeremiah, maybe you were right. So pray. Tell us what to do now.' So, yeah, 'I'll pray. I'll - and I'm going to tell you the truth.

' 'Oh, but whatever the Lord tells us - you - we'll do it. Just tell us. We want to know God's will.' You know what the most important thing is, if you want to know God's will? First most important criteria in knowing the will of God is to genuinely be willing to do it. If you're really willing to do it, he will tell you. So they said to Jeremiah, "let the Lord be a true and faithful witness.

..whether" - notice verse 6 - "whether it is pleasing or displeasing," - whether we like it or not - "we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God. And it happened after ten days" - you notice that number ten keeps coming up? We got ten people that slay gedaliah. Now you've got ten days - "and it happened after ten days that the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. Then he called johanan The Son of kareah, all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest and said to them, 'thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition before him: 'if you will still remain in this land, then I will build you and not pull you down, and I will plant you and not pluck you up. For I relent concerning the disaster that I brought upon you.

'" - What does 'relent' mean? 'I'm sorry' - 'I regret' - all - now God is saying, 'I'm looking at the smoldering ruins of Jerusalem and the broken-down temple and I think it's enough. I'm sorry.' Did the Lord relent from the judgment that he was going to send to nineveh? You know, God's - you know, one time, the Bible says, 'I'm sorry that I made man.' He said, 'look, I'm going to forgive you. It wasn't your fault.' And he goes on and says, "'do not be afraid'" - verse 11 - of the King of Babylon, of whom you are afraid; do not be afraid of him,' says the Lord, 'for I am with you, to save you and deliver you from his hand.'" - He'll understand. He's not going to come and destroy you now - "'and I will show you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and cause you to return to your own land.' But if you say, 'we will not dwell in this land,' disobeying the voice of the Lord your God, saying, 'no, but we will go to the land of Egypt where we shall see no war,'" - they thought, 'well, the economy's good there. The Babylonians haven't reached there yet' - "'nor hear the sound of the trumpet,'" - they had just gone through a terrible battle.

They were shell shocked - "'nor be hungry for bread,'" - they had just gone through a famine - "'and there we will dwell' - then hear now the word of the Lord, o remnant of judah!' Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: 'if you wholly set your faces to enter Egypt, and go to dwell there, then it shall be that the sword which you feared shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt; the famine of which you were afraid shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there you shall die. So shall it be with all the men who set their faces to go to Egypt to dwell there. They shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. And none of them shall remain or escape from the disaster that I will bring upon them.' For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: 'as my anger and my fury have been poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so will my fury be poured out on you when you enter Egypt. And you shall be an oath, an astonishment, a curse, and a reproach; and you shall see this place no more.

' the Lord has said concerning you, o remnant of judah," - he was being as clear as he could - "'do not go to Egypt!' Know certainly that I have admonished you this day." - Now does God know their hearts? And he says in verse 20, "for you were hypocrites in your hearts when you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, 'pray for us to the Lord our God, and according to all that the Lord your God says, so declare to us and we will do it.' And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God, or anything which he has sent you by me." - It says you haven't listened to anything I've said so far. Why would things change now? - "Now therefore, know certainly that you shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place where you desire to go to dwell." In the ten days from when they had asked Jeremiah - 'whatever God says we'll do it' - they had talked themselves into what they had wanted to do. They had convinced themselves 'Nebuchadnezzar is going to come. He's going to punish us because ishmael killed gedaliah and the only safe place to go is Egypt. The Babylonians are probably done with war for now.

They're not going to attack Egypt. We'll be safe there. The economy is good there. There's food there. We've got already a settlement there.

Egypt's the place to go.' And they had all, kind of, taken a council and decided to go to Egypt and Jeremiah says, 'don't go to Egypt. Stay in the land. God'll bless you. He'll plant you. You'll prosper.

You'll have peace.' Oh, you know, you look back on history and sometimes you wish you could do time travel. Do you ever think - you ever read the Bible and wish you could do time travel? Every time I read the story of the cross I wish I could get in a time machine and go back and be there in the palace when pilate is thinking of releasing Jesus and talking to him. And you wish you could change things. Things could have been so different. I wish I could go back.

And you could reason with the people and said, 'oh, you're getting ready to make a big mistake. Nebuchadnezzar is coming to Egypt too and it's going to be worse for you down in Egypt.' And what do we learn from this? Do we sometimes see what God says in His Word and we say, 'I know what His Word says.' And I said, 'Lord, I love you and I want to follow you, but I want to do what I want to do.' And in spite of the fact we know what God says and in spite of the fact we know what the wages of sin are, we still say, 'but I know what I want and I want what I want when I want it.' And that's the way we are sometimes. And this is the way the people were. So now we've got to go on - moving right along to chapter 43 and we're under the section returning to Egypt - better known as the Exodus in reverse. "Now it happened, when Jeremiah had stopped speaking" - he told them exactly what God said.

Now would you want to do that? If you were Jeremiah - is that the way to be popular? How do you think his offerings were at church the next week? (Laughter) probably not much. Jeremiah didn't care. He said, 'I'm going to be faithful and tell you what the Lord says.' But - "now it happened, when Jeremiah had stopped speaking to all the people all the words of the Lord their God, for which the Lord their God had sent him to them, all these words, that azariah The Son of hoshaiah, johanan The Son of kareah, and all the proud men spoke, saying to Jeremiah, 'you speak falsely!'" - They thought he was a true prophet before - "'the Lord our God has not sent you to say, 'do not go to Egypt to dwell there.' But baruch The Son of neriah has set you against us, to deliver us into the hand of the chaldeans, that they may put us to death or carry us away captive to Babylon.' So johanan The Son of kareah, all the captains of the forces, and all the people would not obey the voice of the Lord, to remain in the land of judah. But johanan The Son of kareah and all the captains of the forces took all the remnant of judah who had returned to dwell in the land of judah, from all nations where they had been driven - men, women, children, the King's daughters, and every person whom nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with gedaliah The Son of ahikam, The Son of shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet and baruch The Son of neriah. So they went to the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the Lord.

And they went as far as tahpanhes." - Tahpanhes is a town in the eastern delta, not too far from the mediterranean in Egypt. Now, someone's going to read for me Nehemiah 9:17 and just - alright, we'll get ready for that. I'm going to read Numbers 4:14 - 3, rather - Numbers :3 and 4. Was this the first time they said, 'let's go back to Egypt'? When they came out of Egypt - first of all, all you have to do is go to Exodus 16 and they began to complain about why God brought them out there to kill them with thirst, but they're a little more specific when you get to Numbers 14 when the spies came back and said, 'oh, we're never going to be able to enter this land. That promised land - there's giants there.

' And they said, 'why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword that our wives and our children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?' So they said to one another, 'let us select a leader and return to Egypt.'" - They picked the wrong leader. It's what happened when they picked Saul instead of Samuel - or the Lord, really, to be their leader. Go ahead, read here - I'm sorry, Nehemiah 9:17, please. "They refused to obey, and they were not mindful of your wonders that you performed among them. But they stiffened their necks, and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.

" Alright, that's a little more specific. What is Egypt a symbol of? Slavery of Egypt - what were they returning to? So if you're a believer - Christ saves us from slavery to what? He saves us from slavery. It's amazing that anybody would say, 'I would rather leave my freedom and go back to my slavery.' But that's what ends up happening. And here they thought if they left the promised land and went back to Egypt, it would somehow be better with them. And Jeremiah said, 'you are going to be consumed by the sword, by famine, by disease.

You're going back to disaster. When you leave the Lord's land, when you don't obey the word of the Lord, you're heading for disaster. If you'll stay in the land - you might have to live by faith - God'll take care of you. How does that apply today? Have you, in your Christian life - you know, being a Christian is a battle every day. You've got to live by faith.

You struggle with sin and temptation. Sometimes you see what looks like the wicked around you prospering and you think, 'it's hard to be a Christian.' Well, you know, the Bible says, 'the way of the transgressor is hard.' It's much harder to be lost than to be saved, but sometimes the devil talks us into thinking, 'oh, you know, why even try anymore. Just throw your hands in the air and be like the world and stop trying to swim against the current all the time. I'm just going to float back to Egypt.' But is it better in Egypt? No, you just look - it always ends up being a disaster and this is what happened here. It's not the first time God's people said, 'let's go back to Egypt.

' Sometimes we, in our hearts, pray to go back to Egypt. It's the same kind of thing. You can look in Exodus 16 - I think I already quoted that one to you. Look in 1 Corinthians 10 - 1 Corinthians 10, verse 5, "but with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things" - that the Israelites went through coming out of Egypt - ".

..these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, 'the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.' Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things" - it's the second time it's saying it - "all these things happened to them as examples," - what happened to Israel are examples. Paul said this, of course, two thousand years ago so what happened to them were examples to Paul.

They're certainly examples for us today. "All these things happened to them as examples and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come." Now have the ends of the ages come upon us? And maybe these things are written for us - that sometimes the church is going back to Egypt. You look at what's happening in the world and in the church today and it seems like - Karen and I were talking about this this morning - more and more we seem to be modifying the message that God has given his people to try and reach the culture and we keep morphing the message and compromising the message thinking 'if we could just make it more attractive somehow' - and what we do is, we dilute it. Amen. And the whole idea is we think, 'well, you know, if we just get a little closer to Egypt it'll be more attractive to them.

' And the next thing you know, we're making a golden calf. And little by little - but people are choosing other Gods and this - I better hurry up because that happens in our story too. So they got discouraged and they wanted to go back to Egypt. Taken into exile - so finally they go to tahpanhes - they're in Egypt. Jeremiah goes with them.

You know, when the children of Israel did not have enough faith to enter the promised land, Joshua and caleb had enough faith, but when they had to wander for forty years because of a lack of faith, did Joshua and caleb leave them or did they wander with them? With them. He wandered with them. So Jeremiah - they go to Egypt - he could have ran away and gone to Babylon, but he said, 'no, I'll go with you because I love God's people.' So, at least for the time being, he went with them and now you go to Jeremiah 43, verse 8, "then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in tahpanhes, saying, 'take large stones in your hand,'" - he's going to illustrate another prophecy - "'and hide them in the sight of the men of judah, in the clay in the brick courtyard which is at the entrance to pharaoh's house in tahpanhes;'" - so they're right there in the capital. They've gone right near pharaoh's house. They've left the Lord's house and they've gone to pharaoh's house - "'and say to them, 'thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: 'behold, I will send and bring Nebuchadnezzar the King''" - boy, you realize - do you realize how Jeremiah could be killed for what he's saying? Here Jeremiah is not far from the pharaoh's house and he put some stones in the courtyard near the pharaoh's house and he says, 'king Nebuchadnezzar is going to come right here.

He's going to capture you. He's going to conquer you.' He said it to the King of Israel - that takes courage - now he's saying it right next door to the pharaoh's house. That's called treason and you could be in a lot of trouble for doing that. It seems like a lack of patriotism. "'Thus says the Lord of hosts.

..'Behold, I will send and bring Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne above these stones that I have hidden. And he will spread his royal pavilion over them.''" - Right here is where he's going to be - "''when he comes, he shall strike the land of Egypt and deliver to death those appointed for death, and to captivity those appointed for captivity, and to the sword those appointed for the sword. I will kindle a fire in the houses of the Gods of Egypt, and he shall burn them and carry them away captive.''" - Just like he carried away the articles from the Lord's house - "''and he shall array himself with the land''" - he'll take all the good of the land, that means - "'' a shepherd puts on his garment, and he shall go out from there in peace. He shall also break the sacred pillars of beth shemesh that are in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the Gods of the Egyptians he shall burn with fire.''" Wow, he's basically saying, 'you fled to Egypt for protection. You are afraid of Nebuchadnezzar.

If you had stayed in the promised land, Nebuchadnezzar would have let you live there in peace, but now he's coming here.' You ever hear the expression, 'you can run, but you can't hide'? I think it's in the book of Amos, it talks about a person who's running from a bear and, you know, he encounters a wolf or something and then he runs into the house to hide from the wolf and he leans against the wall and a snake bites him. And it's just saying, 'if you're out of God's will, there is no place you can hide. There is no peace. There's a lion in the way, as they say. And, you know, that's exactly what happened, if you read your history.

Nebuchadnezzar did finally take Egypt. You look at the map of the golden kingdom of Babylon, you'll notice that when Nebuchadnezzar had finished his conquest, it includes Egypt. And so, they did not find peace by hiding in the land of Egypt. Alright, now let's jump down to Jeremiah 44, verse 7. Someone's going to read for me Jeremiah 7:18 - okay, in just a moment.

I'm going to read verses 7 and 8 of Jeremiah 44, "now therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: 'why do you commit this great evil against yourselves, to cut off from you man and woman, child and infant, out of judah, leaving none to remain, in that you provoke me to wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense to other Gods in the land of Egypt" - you know, if you're in Egypt worshiping the Lord, that's one thing, but now you're worshiping the Gods of Egypt - "where you have gone to dwell, that you may cut yourselves off and be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth?" - And what, particularly, was he talking about? If you go to Jeremiah :16 - or verse 18 - it says, 'they were burning incense to the queen of heaven' - verse 17 - "but we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven" - where does it say one of God's names is the queen of heaven? What were they doing burning incense to the queen of heaven? Now, some of you who have grown up with maybe a roman catholic background, recognize that term because that is a term that is sometimes used for mary. But it actually comes from paganism because they often believed that the sun was the primary God and the moon reflecting the sun was the feminine side of the God of the day - she was the God of the night and the mother of the other Gods and so they would burn incense to the queen of heaven. It was sort of a combination of moon worship and also worshiping the sun, the moon, and the stars and all those things they weren't supposed to worship. It wasn't the first time it's mentioned in Jeremiah. Go ahead, read for us your verse in Jeremiah 7:18.

"The children gather wood and The Fathers kindle the fire and the women knead their dough to make cakes to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings onto other Gods that they may provoke me to anger." Now notice, this is Jeremiah 7 she just read - that was back in judah. They were worshiping the queen of heaven there. And burning cakes - you ever heard of hot cross buns? Burning cakes - these - this is something - what they used to do to the Greek Gods and burning buns - so even - that's part of the reason that the plague came - they were worshiping other Gods. Look at what the thing is that king josiah - one of the things he was trying to expunge from the land - look in 2 Kings 23 - 2 Kings 23, verse 5, "then he (josiah) removed the idolatrous priests whom the Kings of judah had ordained to burn incense on the high places in the cities of judah and in the places all around Jerusalem, and those who burned incense to baal, to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations, and to all the host of heaven." So josiah, even - he had brought a revival in this area because they had started getting involved in worshiping the sun and the moon and the stars and he expunged it from the land and they went back to it again and - one more time, you know what it said there in Jeremiah 7:18? 'The children gather wood, The Fathers kindle the fire, the women knead dough" - it looks like family worship - that's wonderful, except they're worshiping the wrong God. It's what they continued to do.

They kept going after the Gods of Egypt and now they're in Egypt, worshiping the Gods of Egypt, and this was the whole reason that they had left. So do you realize what's just happened? When they're destroyed and carried off to Babylon, it was the whole plan of salvation in reverse. Instead of being saved from their slavery and brought to the promised land, because they - after being saved - they worshiped false Gods - they now went back to their slavery. They're back in Egypt. They said, 'let us go back to Egypt.

' God finally gave them what they wanted. They're in Egypt. They're worshiping false Gods and Jeremiah said, 'judgment is coming.' This is what happens. Some people have been saved and like the prodigals, they run back to Egypt and, if they don't get out of Egypt, he says judgement is coming on the land. And so, you've just witnessed, through the story of Jeremiah, his saving the people - now who ends up becoming the ones who keep the truth? The ones who are carried to Babylon: Daniel is faithful.

Ezekiel is faithful. The - Ezra - those who come back from Babylon end up being the remnant. It could have been the ones who stayed in the land, if they had worshiped the Lord. God ended up bringing a remnant out of Babylon, back into the promised land, but this group, they just experienced the whole Exodus in reverse. And so, it's kind of a sad story.

What happens to Jeremiah? You're going to have to wait until next week. (Laughter) we're out of time. But hopefully you have learned something new from that. Don't forget, we have a free offer and the free offer is satan's confusing counterfeits. We'll send that to you for asking.

It's offer #191 - you can also download it for free by going to If you want to call in for a copy, it's 866-788-3966. And, in the meantime, God bless you and we'll continue studying His Word and, God willing, we'll study together again next week. Did you know this boat could share the Gospel with 20,000 people? Or a car like this one could reach 10,000 souls seeking hope in Jesus. If you have a vehicle you're not using and would like to reach hearts for the Kingdom of God, prayerfully consider donating your vehicle to Amazing Facts today.

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