Friday, October 23, 2009

Jer 42

42:6. A very modern model of loyalty, enacted by the "remnant of Judah" (42:19). They had a predisposition when they went to Jeremiah, but didn't express it. Instead, they expressed one thing, and implemented another. Let's walk it through.

In 42:1-3, everybody comes to Jeremiah and wants to know what he's got to say. They want to know what he's going to say they should do next -- after all, he was the one who has been right before! Even the Babylonians knew that, and let him decide what he wanted; they didn't force him anywhere, and didn't even demand to know what he was going to do next (39:12; 40:4)! So here we have the amazing thing, that the Babylonians trust Jeremiah's judgment. Will the remnant of Judah do so too?

They start with the big words. Not only do they ask for mercy, they make oaths and promises to obey (42:5-6).

The word of the Lord to Jeremiah about all that is a big "if": "if you remain in this land ... but if you say 'we will not remain in this land' ...." So the prophet shows how much the Lord thinks of the words of 42:5-6, and 42:1-3 (and such things): no chance!

Why is this a very modern model of loyalty? Because it's an outcome-based loyalty. Their words are to elicit what Jeremiah has to say. Then, when he says it ... because they don't want that outcome ... their loyalty is gone! The leaders, and everybody from the top down, not only remain unconvinced by Jeremiah's conditions for God to build them up (42:10), they call him a liar, defy him, drag Jeremiah to Egypt -- then finally show what they had behind their backs to implement the whole time: 44:16-17.

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