When the Safe Choice Is Anything but Safe

Jeremiah #56 – An exposition of Jeremiah 41:16-43:13. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, March 15, 2009.

It has to be part of our “fallenness” nothing else makes sense.  The signs says, “Wet Paint” but we have to touch it to see if it is in fact “wet” paint.  When I’m at a Mexican restaurant I hate it when the waiter says, “Be careful that plate is really hot.”  Because now I’m going to have to touch it to see if it is “really” hot!   I don’t know why that is – it just “is”.  It seems to me our judgment is impaired.  Our perspective is warped.  That is why it is dangerous to go by our gut or what “feels” right to us.  The writer of Proverbs says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).  We find a perfect example of that principle in the life of the surviving remnant of Judah following Nebuchadnezzar’s occupation of Jerusalem and the subsequent exile to Babylon.    Our text this evening is found in Jeremiah 41 – 43.

Text: Jeremiah 41:16-43:13

It was a time of great distress and turmoil. A very unsettling time. What do you do when your nation has been destroyed? What do you do when the best and brightest have been carried away to a distant land? What do you do when you are left with the poorest of the poor? How do you pick up the pieces? Sure God has promised great things, but let’s be practical.

Now in addition, the man appointed governor by Babylon has been assassinated.  Surely there will be reprisals.  Do you think Babylon is going to let that slide?  Do you think there will not be a price to pay?

What makes the most sense?

It seemed the wise move would be to head down to Egypt and seek to join forces with them.  Sure you’re not the closest of friends but politics makes for strange bedfellows.  Together you just might be able to survive.  Egypt is far enough away.  They have plenty of resources.  They are large enough.  It seemed the right thing to do.  But just a few miles down the road the remnant wondered if they should seek another opinion.

The story unfolds in three parts.

  1. A reasonable question in the face of uncertainty and turmoil.  (41:16-42:6)
  2. A shocking revelation and an impassioned plea.  (42:7-22)
  3. Willful disobedience leads to certain judgment.  (43:1-13)

Thesis: The safest place on earth is in the center of God’s will.  Conversely, no amount of plotting, planning or precaution can compensate for open, willful disobedience to God’s revealed will.

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