Going to Egypt

Jeremiah 39 – 43

Locked in chains, he was pulled along with the other prisoners. They were filthy and starving. The smell alone was enough to make him wretch. They stumbled down the broken streets. Jerusalem, his home, had just fallen to the Babylonians. It was 586 BC and the prophesied fall of Judah had finally come. Jeremiah’s heart was broken.

The captain of the guard rode his horse up and down the columns of captives being marched to Babylon. He shouted orders to his guards, first in one direction, then in another. His eyes fell on Jeremiah the prophet. “This is all God’s work.” He told Jeremiah. “The disobedience of your people has brought the justice of God. But today I will free you from the chains on your wrists. You may choose anywhere to live. Don’t worry, you will be taken care of wherever you decide to go.”

Jeremiah, along with the others who had been left behind, settled under the newly appointed governor, Gedaliah (GEH-dah-li-uh). He promised peace and security. The few remaining people moved into the empty towns. They worked the vineyards and the orchards. The wine and fruit they harvested overflowed.

A top officer for the deposed king, Ishmael had eluded the Babylonian army.  He returned to meet with the new governor, to talk of the country and the people, to share a meal. Between the second and third courses Ishmael and his men rose, drew their swords and struck down Gedaliah.

News of the murder spread like wildfire. The people could talk of nothing else. “Why did he do it? Surely the Babylonians will make us pay! They will come and burn the fields and vineyards. They will carry us off to exile along with the others! We should run away. Quick, we can get half way to Egypt before they get here.”

Someone in the crowd shouted, “Ask Jeremiah the Prophet what we should do!”

They went as one people – the army officers, the greatest nobles and the poorest field workers.

“Please, Jeremiah. Pray that God will tell us where we should go and what we should do. We will do everything God says. Whether we like it or not, we promise to obey.”

Jeremiah locked himself into his prayer closet, fasting and praying.

One day. Two days. Three days…Ten days. Then Jeremiah heard from God.

He spoke to them as one people – the army officers, the greatest nobles and the poorest field workers.

“This is what God says to you. ‘If you stay, I will bless you greatly, your enemy will have compassion on you. If you disobey and run off to Egypt, your enemy will overtake you and you will never see your land again. Do not go to Egypt.’”

The arrogant men stepped forward. “Jeremiah, you are lying! This is a trick. We are going to Egypt.”

 

How often do we pray for God’s will and direction in our lives? How often do we rationalize away our obedience? God’s judgement came on Judah because of their disobedience and when the people ran away to Egypt they took their disobedience with them. God promised them that if they went to Egypt, they would never see their homeland again. The Babylonians did indeed invade Egypt in 568-567 BC.

Lesson From Jeremiah

  1. Commit time to prayer. Jeremiah did not hear instantly from God. He spent days praying and listening. Sometimes it takes weeks or months. Never stop praying. Luke 18:1-8
  2. Listen for God’s voice. Prayer is conversation. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we listen. Still your busy thoughts and turn your attention to God, wait expectantly for His answer. Be still and know that He is God. Psalm 46:1
  3. Obey. Instead of looking at your own circumstances, worried and fretting, take God’s hand and walk in obedience. Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. John 14:23

 

Bullets of Satan

Why is it that accusatory thoughts repeatedly float through my mind?

Laying in bed in the early morning, just waking up, the room gradually growing light. The thoughts begin their work.

Remember when the kids were small, how you over punished them that one day? That was terrible. You were a terrible mother.

            Remember when you were in college, there was that one study group with that girl you didn’t like? You sure told her off, that was so unchristian like. She will always remember you as the mean one.

Remember how you were so demanding of your ex-husband? No wonder he couldn’t put up with you. You ruined that marriage.

If I let myself begin my day after this barrage, I find that I take out my hurt feelings on my family and friends. Yes, I have made mistakes in my life, I do have regrets. But no, I was not a terrible mother, I did not ruin my marriage. Those are lies that Satan builds out of our humanness. Those bullets of Satan change me into a demanding and unforgiving person.

When I refuse to accept those lies, turn to Scripture and ask for God’s help—everything changes. Christ fills me with a love for others, and myself. I turn my thoughts to the new creation that God has made in me.

Remember last week when you gave groceries to that single mother and her kids? You were a godly friend.

Remember the forgiveness you have received through Christ and in turn forgave that harsh word that flew out of your friend’s mouth.

Remember when you taught Sunday School and the kids were amazed at the story of Gideon? You passed on the Word and the Love.

Laying in bed at night, just before I fall asleep, the bullets of Satan also begin their work. No! I refuse to listen. And you can too.

I pull out my Bible and read. Satan’s bullets disappear.

Take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Ephesians 6:16

Science and God

 

Science and God!?

(Already I can feel the room go tense.)

The Story of Galileo   (Oh, that story is o.k. –  audible relief is heard.)

 

From 1589 to 1610, Galileo was chair of mathematics at universities in Italy. While he was there he made significant contributions to the study of physics. In 1609 Galileo improved the Dutch telescope and in 1610 he discovered that Jupiter had moons. His telescope also enabled him to see the surface of our moon and many additional stars in the Milky Way.

At that time the scientific community and the church believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and was stationary. They also held that the universe was a place of perfection.

When Galileo published his findings he became the target of those who thought he was against God. The jagged and harsh surface of the moon could not be real. God wouldn’t make it like that! The moons around Jupiter could not be revolving around Jupiter, they have to revolve around the Earth. God wouldn’t make it like that!

In 1616 the church banned Copernicus’ book which explained that the universe was centered around the sun (heliocentric). They then commanded Galileo to not support this view publicly.

In 1633 Galileo was convicted of heresy and threatened with torture if he did not admit he was wrong. The church placed him under house arrest for the remaining nine years of his life.

 

Fast forward to today.

 

Creation versus Evolution  (Tension returns to the room.)

An internet search for “age of earth controversy” produces 15,7000,000 results.

A search for “Darwin and the church” produces 5,170,000 results.

I have been listening to this debate myself for 30 years. The conclusions I have arrived at are:

  1. This argument will not be settled soon.
  2. Heated debates create animosity on both sides.
  3. This method of sharing the Good News is ineffective.

 

Science is not evil. Scientists are not evil. Science saves millions of lives every year. Science is a fascinating way to study creation and history. God has given us incredible brains and an inconceivably complex world. To use our brains and study our world is to honor the creator of both.

Science is a gift. Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17  Some scientists acknowledge the creator and some do not. This fact in itself does not make science the opposite of belief.

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:12

While we are busy fighting “science” what is Satan getting away with?

 

What was Christ’s purpose in coming and dying? He came to show His love and save us to heaven where we will be with Him forever. John 3:16

Do not devote yourselves “to endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work – which is by faith.”  1Tim. 1:4

Jesus taught that the greatest commandment is to “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matt 22:37

Love touches hearts in a way that intellectual debate does not.

Yes, you should study this topic and know what you believe. Yes, you should be able to explain your thoughts and beliefs to seekers. However, don’t let history repeat itself. Let’s not condemn someone because we are “sure” that God would not do it that way.

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Rom 10:10

 

http://www.history.com/topics/galileo-galilei