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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 46:20

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, November 22, 2014

20 Egypt is a lovely heifer,
      but a mosquito has come to her out of the north.

There are some things here to be explained. A heifer is a female cow, usually young, that has never had a calf. The Lord compares Egypt with such a cow (the feminine gender is typical of the way one talks about a nation in Hebrew), a prize that anyone in their culture would be delighted with. But an insect of some sort has come to bother her. This insect is a qerets. We don’t know exactly what kind of bug the qerets was. Some translations like to use “gadfly,” but fewer and fewer English readers know what a gadfly is. To say “fly” or “horsefly” wouldn’t be accurate, since most flies are not stinging insects, and this creature seems to have been a stinging and bothersome creature. A few more recent Hebrew lexicons (dictionaries) prefer the translation “mosquito,” and that at least is something everyone can identify with.

This insect from the north is once again a reference to the stinging Babylonians. The heifer would be happy in the pen, stall, pasture, or just lying around under a tree, but the Babylonian bug has come to bother her from the north.

15% of all of the Bible’s 150 mentions of the “north” are warnings in Jeremiah that the Babylonians were coming to make captives of Judah. That’s a lot of warnings. No one could say that the Lord did this suddenly, or with no call to repent. How many times do we have to hear the Lord’s call to repent before we turn from our sins? If you feel a mosquito, you swat it. A heifer would at least swish her tail. When temptation bugs you, what will you do? If it were a bug, you would swat it, or better yet, destroy it with a bug zapper. A bug zapper vaporizes insects instantly by sending a few thousand volts through their bodies when they fly into a grid. There’s usually nothing left of the bug after that. When Christ atoned for our sins, he left nothing of our sins behind. Zap! They’re gone forever. When we stand before God on Judgment Day, there will be no record of our sins at all, because Christ annihilated them with his sacrifice. Of course, anybody who rejects Christ re-writes the record of their sins, and insists that God judge those sins apart from Christ.

Hold on to Christ. He has made your record the only one that will stand up in the end. Embrace the hold he has on you through faith, and know that through Jesus, you have nothing to fear and everything to look forward to.

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.