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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 24:8-10

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, March 11, 2015

8 But like the bad figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten—this is what the LORD says—this is how I will deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials, and the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who live in the land of Egypt. 9 I will make them an object of horror and of evil among all the nations of the earth, to be a disgrace, a proverb, a taunt and a curse in all the places where I banish them. 10 I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they have perished from the land that I gave to them and to their fathers.”

There were not many choices for many of the Jews when the Babylonians came: flee, hide, or be taken. Those who were sick, elderly or poor would probably be passed over, but once the deportations began, more and more of the people were transported eastward. Those who tried to escape were certainly caught and executed. A few might have been away on business and could have escaped by not returning home. But for the most part, the Babylonians took away everyone who had an important role in government, in the army, or in business—something like a quarter of all the Jews were removed to Babylon.

Jeremiah’s warning to these people was to go ahead and go the Babylon. If anyone tried to escape, or to flee to Egypt, they would not be blessed the way that the exiles were blessed. They would be pursued wherever they went by “sword, famine and plague.”

It will be with some irony that we see Jeremiah himself ending up in Egypt, although not by his own choice. He was forced to go there—I have sometimes said that he was crated up in a box and mailed there. Actually, he was forced to go, probably in bonds, but I doubt that he was caged or crated up (chapters 41-44). These words were spoken to an earlier group, planning to flee or already fled.

There is not much evidence of the Jews who tried to escape the Babylonian exile. Wherever they fled to, the evidence is long gone; they are scarcely remembered, or they are forgotten utterly.

When we pray with the great Psalmist, “Do not forsake me utterly,” (Psalm 119:8), we know that Jesus assumed our flesh as his own in order to rescue us from our sins, from our rebellions, and from those times—so many, many times!—when we tore ourselves away from God’s embrace to have our own way. “In him,” Paul said, “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7). No matter how we look at our lives, we always come up needing Jesus—and no matter what our sins might be, Jesus is always there.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.