Study of Jeremiah, Chapters 43-44 Fear and Punishment

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fear

Have you ever been filled with so much fear that you allowed it to cloud your judgment and affect your decision-making?  We have all faced a time in our life that we have prayed and rejected God’s answer.  We attempt to fix our problems by following our own ideas instead of what God wants us to do.  But, each of our experiences that God directs us through leave us with a learning curve.

Jeremiah 43:1-3Jeremiah 43:1-3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

43 1 And it came to pass, that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all the people all the words of the LORD their God, for which the LORD their God had sent him to them, even all these words, 2 Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there: 3 But Baruch the son of Neriah setteth thee on against us, for to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they might put us to death, and carry us away captives into Babylon.  

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1 When Jeremiah had finished giving this message from the LORD their God to all the people, 2 Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the other proud men said to Jeremiah, “You lie!  The LORD our God hasn’t forbidden us to go to Egypt!  3 Baruch son of Neriah has convinced you to say this, because he wants us to stay here and be killed by the Babylonians or be carried off into exile.”

When Johanan and the other guerrilla leaders had come to Jeremiah requesting prayer on what they should do, they weren’t looking for God’s direction, they wanted God’s approval of the plan they had already devised.  They had a great fear of the Babylonians.  We should pray sincerely, and accept the answer God gives us to our prayers, regardless whether or not it is what we expect.

Jeremiah 43:4-7Jeremiah 43:4-7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

4 So Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, and all the people, obeyed not the voice of the LORD, to dwell in the land of Judah. 5 But Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, took all the remnant of Judah, that were returned from all nations, whither they had been driven, to dwell in the land of Judah; 6 Even men, and women, and children, and the king's daughters, and every person that 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. 7 So they came into the land of Egypt: for they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: thus came they even to Tahpanhes.  

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4 So Johanan and the other guerrilla leaders and all the people refused to obey the LORD’S command to stay in Judah.  5 Johanan and the other leaders took with them all the people who had returned from the nearby countries to which they had fled.  6 In the crowd were men, women, and children, the king’s daughters, and all those whom Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had left with Gedaliah.  The prophet Jeremiah and Baruch were also included.  7 The people refused to obey the voice of the LORD and went to Egypt, going as far as the city of Tahpanhes.

Refusing God’s command, Johanan and the leaders took all of the people, including Jeremiah and Baruch, with them and headed to Egypt.  They most likely felt that God would spare them if Jeremiah was with them.  With 40 years of Jeremiah prophesies, most of which had already come true, and the fact that he had turned down a very comfortable lifestyle in Babylon after the invasion, he was a security blanket for them.  Even with all of this, they still did not take his advice, but wanted him with them.

Jeremiah 43:8-13Jeremiah 43:8-13
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, 9 Take great stones in thine hand, and hide them in the clay in the brickkiln, which is at the entry of Pharaoh's house in Tahpanhes, in the sight of the men of Judah; 10 And say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon these stones that I have hid; and he shall spread his royal pavilion over them. 11 And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword. 12 And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives: and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment; and he shall go forth from thence in peace. 13 He shall break also the images of Bethshemesh, that is in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire. images: Heb. statues, or, standing images Bethshemesh: or, The house of the sun  

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8 Then at Tahpanhes, the LORD gave another message to Jeremiah.  He said, 9 “While the people of Judah are watching, take some large rocks and bury them under the pavement stones at the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace here in Tahpanhes.  10 Then say to the people of Judah, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:  I will certainly bring my servant Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, here to Egypt.  I will set his throne over these stones that I have hidden.  He will spread his royal canopy over them.  11 And when he comes, he will destroy the land of Egypt.  He will bring death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and war to those destined for war.  12 He will set fire to the temples of Egypt’s gods; he will burn the temples and carry the idols away as plunder.  He will pick clean the land of Egypt as a shepherd picks fleas from his cloak.  And he himself will leave unharmed.  13 He will break down the sacred pillars standing in the temple of the sun in Egypt, and he will burn down the temples of Egypt’s gods.'”

Egypt was invaded by Nebuchadnezzar in 568-567 B.C. and like Judah, Egypt was destroyed.  Remember, this was the nation that Judah looked to for protection.  God is telling the people that they will experience the same dreadful destruction in Egypt that they just went through in Judah.
In Ezekiel 29:17-20Ezekiel 29:17-20
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

17 And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 18 Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it: 19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army. take her spoil...: Heb. spoil her spoil, and prey her prey 20 I have given him the land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord GOD. for his...: or, for his hire  

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, we see that this Jeremiah’s words did come to pass in 568-567 B.C.  Nebuchadnezzar did invade Egypt in his twenty-seventh year of reign.

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mistakes

That old saying ‘we learn from our mistakes’ usually holds true in most circumstances.  We do something, find that it was a mistake, and learn that it is best if we don’t make that venture again.  But yet, there are times where we are just blind and deaf and refuse to listen to anyone about our situation.

Jeremiah 44:1-6Jeremiah 44:1-6
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

44 1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying, 2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, and upon all the cities of Judah; and, behold, this day they are a desolation, and no man dwelleth therein, 3 Because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke me to anger, in that they went to burn incense, and to serve other gods, whom they knew not, neither they, ye, nor your fathers. 4 Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate. 5 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense unto other gods. 6 Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as at this day.  

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1 This is the message Jeremiah received concerning the Judeans living in northern Egypt in the cities of Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis, and in souther Egypt as well:  2 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:  You saw the calamity I brought on Jerusalem and all the towns of Judah.  They now lie deserted and in ruins.  3 They provoked my anger with all their wickedness.  They burned incense and worshiped other gods – gods that neither they nor you nor any of your ancestors had ever even known.
4 Again and again I sent my servants, the prophets, to plead with them, ‘Don’t do these horrible things that I hate so much.’  5 But my people would not listen or turn back from their wicked ways.  They kept on burning incense to these gods.  6 And so my fury boiled over and fell like fire on the towns of Judah and into the streets of Jerusalem, and they are still a desolate ruin today.

Verses 2-6 recants Israel’s history.  Although Jeremiah was in Egypt against his will, he continued to deliver God’s message to the people.  He reminded them of the destruction their sinful nature had brought upon Judah and Jerusalem.
This chapter reminds me very much of people of today.  There is a sinful nature that is spreading across our nations at an accelerated rate, much of which has been seen in just a few, short months.  Many refuse to listen to the Word of God and take heed.  Those who continue to do the horrible things that God hates so much will suffer God’s wrath.  We have been given the information of what to expect on this earth in the Book of Revelation, along with Daniel, Zechariah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and many others.  God wants His children to submit themselves to Him so that He may do His work through us.  We are all sinners, and we will all face judgment before our King.  We will be held accountable for all that we have thought, said, and done, just as the Judeans.

Jeremiah 44:7-10Jeremiah 44:7-10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 Therefore now thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; Wherefore commit ye this great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, child and suckling, out of Judah, to leave you none to remain; out...: Heb. out of the midst of Judah 8 In that ye provoke me unto wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense unto other gods in the land of Egypt, whither ye be gone to dwell, that ye might cut yourselves off, and that ye might be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth? 9 Have ye forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, and the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, and your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they have committed in the land of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem? wickedness...: Heb. wickednesses, or, punishments, etc 10 They are not humbled even unto this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers. humbled: Heb. contrite  

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7 “And now the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, asks you:  Why are you destroying yourselves?  For not one of you will survive – not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in your arms.  8 Why provoke my anger by burning incense to the idols you have made here in Egypt?  You will only destroy yourselves and make yourselves an object of cursing and mockery for all the nations of the earth.  9 Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, and the sins you and your wives committed in Judah and Jerusalem?  10 To this very hour you have shown no remorse or reverence.  No one has chosen to follow my word and the decrees I gave to you and your ancestors before you.

Our past is our school of experience.  If we continue to repeat our mistakes, we become a failure, going nowhere and accomplishing nothing.  The people of Judah didn’t want to learn from their mistakes.  God presents to them that they are destroying themselves, but they refuse to listen.  They have made a choice not to follow God and His Word.
For those out there that think they have the world conquered, you are deceiving yourself.  More so, Satan is deceiving you!  We can’t make it through this world without God.  You may say, “well, I have a great life! I don’t need God. I have money, a great job, nice car and home, and a wonderful family!”  That’s wonderful!  Congratulations!  But, what about after all of that?  You can’t take any of that with you when you die, can you?  When you stand before God and He asks you why you should go to heaven, what will you answer?  Think very carefully about this question, because it deserves a very real answer.  What will YOU answer?
Many insist on having proof that there is a God.  If they were truly open to this answer, all they would need to do is look around and see God in everything we see.  But, it goes much deeper than that!  Those who have faith, believing in someone they cannot see, KNOW there is a God and He is very real to them.  We, as believers, can feel His presence in our life throughout our days and nights.  We can see the work He does through us each day, and the lives He touches before us.  We can see the miracles of healing that He performs at His time.  What a glorious life that is to live!  The nice car, or nice home and family is not going to matter in the end.  The only thing that will matter is the relationship that has been developed, or not developed, between YOU and God!

Jeremiah 44:11-14Jeremiah 44:11-14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

11 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah. 12 And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach. 13 For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: 14 So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape. have...: Heb. lift up their soul  

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11 “Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:  I am determined to destroy every one of you!  12 I will take this remnant of Judah – those who were determined to come here and live in Egypt – and I will consume them.  They will fall here in Egypt, killed by war and famine.  All will die, from the least to the greatest.  They will be an object of damnation, horror, cursing, and mockery.  13 I will punish them in Egypt just as I punished them in Jerusalem, by war, famine, and disease.  14 Of that remnant who fled to Egypt, hoping someday to return to Judah, there will be no survivors.  Even though they long to return home, only a handful will do so.”

repentance

God has asked for such a small thing from His people:  repentance and obedience.  Neither of which the people were willing to give.  They enjoyed their life and wanted to live it their way.  They had no use for God, nor were they willing to change even after hearing what laid ahead of them.
We are no different now, then back in Jeremiah’s day.  Preachers all over have preached the sermon of repentance and obedience to God for years…centuries!  But, how many people are listening?  People enjoy their lives here on earth.  People have a difficult time comprehending a life after death. More people struggle with the thought of God destroying this earth in the end.  The Bible is very clear on the events to expect in the end, which I believe is getting closer by the day.  The seven year period of Jacob’s Troubles, or Daniel’s 70th Week, are what believers call the Tribulation Period in which God will pour out His wrath on this earth.  People question how such a loving God could do that to His people.  He is trying to get people’s attention!  They haven’t listened yet, so He is doing what has to be done.  Will you be one who has listened to His message?  Or, will you be left here on earth getting a ‘wake-up‘ call?

Jeremiah 44:15-18Jeremiah 44:15-18
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

15 Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, 16 As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. 17 But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. queen...: or, frame of heaven victuals: Heb. bread 18 But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.  

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15 Then all the women present and all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to idols – a great crowd of all the Judeans living in northern Egypt and southern Egypt -answered Jeremiah, 16 “We will not listen to your messages from the LORD!  17 We will do whatever we want.  We will burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven just as much as we like – Just as we, and our ancestors, and our kings and officials have always done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem.  For in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles!  18 But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her with liquid offerings, we have been in great trouble and have been dying from war and famine.”

The further we move away from God, the more confused our thinking becomes.  The people of Judah flat-out refuse to listen to God’s message.  Even though their cities were destroyed, they focused on everything they had before the destruction, and were seeking that again.  They truly believed that the troubles they were experiencing now were because they had neglected their idols, where in reality, their troubles were because they walked away from God’s direction.
The same it will be in the end of times.  Anyone who believes in the Antichrist and worships him will have everything they want, or I should say for a very short time.  They will endure much suffering at the Hand of God.

Jeremiah 44:19-25Jeremiah 44:19-25
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

19 And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men? men: or, husbands? 20 Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying, 21 The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind? 22 So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day. 23 Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day. 24 Moreover Jeremiah said unto all the people, and to all the women, Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah that are in the land of Egypt: 25 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.  

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19 “Besides,” the women added, “do you suppose that we were burning incense and pouring out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven, and making cakes marked with her image, without our husband knowing it and helping us?  Of course not!”
20 Then Jeremiah said to all of them, men and women alike, who had given him that answer, 21 “Do you think the LORD did not know that you and your ancestors, your kings and officials, and all the people were burning incense to idols in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?  22 It was because the LORD could no longer bear all the disgusting things you were doing that he made your land an object of cursing – a desolate ruin without inhabitants – as it is today.  23 All these terrible things happened to you because you have burned incense to idols and sinned against the LORD.  You have refused to obey him and have not followed his instructions, his decrees, and his laws.”
24 Then Jeremiah said to them all, including the women, “Listen to this message from the LORD, all you citizens of Judah who live in Egypt.  25 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:  ‘You and your wives have said, “We will keep our promises to burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven,” and you have proved by your actions that you meant it.  So go ahead and carry out your promises and vows to her!’

The women admit to their idol worshiping, but also point their finger at the men of the household.  Jeremiah affirms that God already knows what they were doing.  God knows our every thought, word, and deed, right down to the numbers of hair on our head!  There is nothing that we can do that He doesn’t already know.
God tells His people that they have already committed to worshiping idols in their hearts by their actions, and that they should go ahead and carry out what they said they would continue to do.  The people had made vows to God that they were unable to keep.  How did they think they would be able to keep a vow they made to an idol?

Jeremiah 44:26-30Jeremiah 44:26-30
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

26 Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth. 27 Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them. 28 Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, mine, or theirs. mine...: Heb. from me, or, from them 29 And this shall be a sign unto you, saith the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, that ye may know that my words shall surely stand against you for evil: 30 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.  

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26 “But listen to this message from the LORD, all you Judeans now living in Egypt:  ‘I have sworn by my great name,’ says the LORD, ‘that my name will no longer be spoken by any of the Judeans in the land of Egypt.  None of you may invoke my name or use this oath:  “As surely as the Sovereign LORD lives.”  27 For I will watch over you to bring you disaster and not good.  Everyone from Judah who is now living in Egypt will suffer war and famine until all of you are dead.  28 Only a small number will escape death and return to Judah from Egypt.  Then all those who came to Egypt will find out whose words are true- mine or theirs!
29 “‘And this is the proof I give you,’ says the LORD, ‘That all I have threatened will happen to you and that I will punish you here.’  30 This is what the LORD says:  ‘I will turn Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, over to his enemies who want to kill him, just as I turned King Zedekiah of Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.'”

God will knock at your heart’s door time after time, but He will not force Himself on anyone.  There comes a point though, that God will harden your heart. You will be deceived by believing lies.  2 Thessalonians 2:112 Thessalonians 2:11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:  

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tells us that God will send strong delusions that they should believe a lie.  The people of this world will rather believe a lie, than to believe in God.
God tells His people that they will suffer much and die in Egypt.  The very few that escape death and return to Judah will by no doubt know the true power of God.

Written by Mary Hudak-Collins

Mary Hudak-Collins

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