Today: [Jeremiah 46] The End of all False Dependencies. In this chapter Jeremiah speaks against the nation of Egypt that has so long seduced Judah and Jerusalem from the altar of God. Egypt represents the world and all those things we turn to – other than God when we are under pressure. God is a jealous God. What you allow to come between you and God – God will remove. This is truly the case with ancient Egypt who now that Judah has fallen and the city of Jerusalem destroyed, Egypt will now face the consequences of colluding with the people of God to turn their hearts to the idolatry and sin that has now destroyed them.
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[Jer 46:1-28 KJV] 1 The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles; 2 Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah. 3 Order ye the buckler and shield, and draw near to battle. 4 Harness the horses; and get up, ye horsemen, and stand forth with [your] helmets; furbish the spears, [and] put on the brigandines. 5 Wherefore have I seen them dismayed [and] turned away back? and their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled apace, and look not back: [for] fear [was] round about, saith the LORD. 6 Let not the swift flee away, nor the mighty man escape; they shall stumble, and fall toward the north by the river Euphrates. 7 Who [is] this [that] cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers? 8 Egypt riseth up like a flood, and [his] waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, [and] will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof. 9 Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle [and] bend the bow. 10 For this [is] the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.
Beginning in this chapter through the end of the book Jeremiah turns his attention from prophesying to the southern kingdom and focuses on the bordering nations that have been so complicit in seducing the people to other gods. Chapter 46 deals with the nation of Egypt, that age old enemy and nemesis of the people of God. From the time of Isaiah to the ministry of Jeremiah the kings of Judah have courted the Egypt in the hopes that they would serve as a mercenary force to protect them first from the invasion of the Assyrians and then from the Babylonians. Isaiah in prophesying against these false hopes declared that Jerusalem, though once faithful to trust itself in God alone, had become a harlot to the nations round about it. The people abandoned their faith in God and called on the policy of joining with pagan nations and their gods for their safety and security:
[Isa 8:9 KJV] 9 Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces.
Now in Jeremiah’s day that the southern kingdom is decimated, the city of Jerusalem burned with fire and the temple destroyed, Jeremiah speaks against these nations that the people trusted in as their hope – beginning with Egypt.
For us, Egypt is a type of the world. They are described as “gentiles”. What does that word connote? The word translated “gentile” comes from a word that describes the back of a person’s body. In other words a picture of someone who turns their back on God either by open rebellion or implied attitude because of false trust. In the wilderness the people murmured against Moses and continually wanted to go BACK to Egypt. Even though they knew Egypt meant captivity and shame, they preferred it over the demand to live in daily faith for the manna on the ground every morning and the water from the rock that God gave them. We have to find a way to apply this to ourselves. There are areas of our lives where we make a choice – do we trust in God and turn to God in a time of need or do we simply pay lip service to our faith while we look to man or to man’s resources to deliver us? This can apply in an area of financial need, relationship challenges, raising our children or struggling in a difficult marriage. In the midst of our challenge, how do we turn to God? We turn to Him in prayer and we turn to Him (rejecting Egypt and it’s bondage) by obeying the clear mandates of His word.
11 Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; [for] thou shalt not be cured. 12 The nations have heard of thy shame, and thy cry hath filled the land: for the mighty man hath stumbled against the mighty, [and] they are fallen both together. 13 The word that the LORD spake to Jeremiah the prophet, how Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon should come [and] smite the land of Egypt. 14 Declare ye in Egypt, and publish in Migdol, and publish in Noph and in Tahpanhes: say ye, Stand fast, and prepare thee; for the sword shall devour round about thee. 15 Why are thy valiant [men] swept away? they stood not, because the LORD did drive them. 16 He made many to fall, yea, one fell upon another: and they said, Arise, and let us go again to our own people, and to the land of our nativity, from the oppressing sword. 17 They did cry there, Pharaoh king of Egypt [is but] a noise; he hath passed the time appointed. 18 [As] I live, saith the King, whose name [is] the LORD of hosts, Surely as Tabor [is] among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, [so] shall he come. 19 O thou daughter dwelling in Egypt, furnish thyself to go into captivity: for Noph shall be waste and desolate without an inhabitant.
In verse 11 Egypt is told to forsake the many remedies she has offered to others and uses herself to solve their problems. The only relief to be found is the balm of Gilead – which is Christ Himself. We are reminded of the woman with the issue of blood:
[Mar 5:26-28 KJV] 26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
When you are suffering, where do you turn? Increasingly in our society people turn to drugs and other dependencies as as verse 11 tells us, they contain no cure. Where do you turn when you are under pressure? Do you resort to prayer, or to taking matters into your own hands? This is the difference between being a spiritual gentile (turning your back on God) and being a well beloved child of God. We can easily apply this to what others should do or should have done but it is a much more difficult and challenging thing to look into our own lives and realize that there are times we have shown our back and not our face to God because our faith faltered at critical times – and as a result we stumbled and are not healed. Our example is that of the woman with the issue of blood. We have to PRESS past what is PRESSURING us and simply TOUCH the hem of His garment and things will change!
20 Egypt [is like] a very fair heifer, [but] destruction cometh; it cometh out of the north. 21 Also her hired men [are] in the midst of her like fatted bullocks; for they also are turned back, [and] are fled away together: they did not stand, because the day of their calamity was come upon them, [and] the time of their visitation. 22 The voice thereof shall go like a serpent; for they shall march with an army, and come against her with axes, as hewers of wood. 23 They shall cut down her forest, saith the LORD, though it cannot be searched; because they are more than the grasshoppers, and [are] innumerable. 24 The daughter of Egypt shall be confounded; she shall be delivered into the hand of the people of the north. 25 The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and [all] them that trust in him: 26 And I will deliver them into the hand of those that seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants: and afterward it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith the LORD. 27 But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make [him] afraid. 28 Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I [am] with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.
Verse 20 describes Egypt (the world’s solutions and resources) as a “fair heifer”. Sin is pleasurable for a season. Big Pharma continually bombards us with pleasant images of happy people who have found their lives allegedly transformed by simply telling their physician to prescribe them the latest pill. Egypt is in evidence by every strategy or solution we call upon outside of Christ. Like Egypt the end of all such vanities are manifest in a day of calamity and difficulty because our God is a jealous God and will countenance no other dependency in our heart than fully leaning upon Him as our all in all.
Verse 24 says that Egypt will be confounded. We see this every day on the world scene. Governments struggle to deal with threats without and turmoil within. They call for change and reform but have no formula or policies that ever seem to make things better. Is this the devil – working against us or is it the hand of God refusing to countenance a world that has turned its back on the Living God who sent His son to die as the only true answer to the ills and problems of the world. Today that suggestion has been drowned in a sea of pluralism and secular snobbery. How dare we suggest that Jesus is the only answer? To say that no man comes to the Father but by Him even in many Christian circles is considered an obscene, prejudicial, racist, and elitist statement. Yet all the while the world careens deeper into an abyss of confusion, difficulty and suffering.
In the midst of all this turmoil however verse 27 gives us great hope when Jeremiah speaks through prophetic utterance “fear thou not of my servant Jacob…” Notice the reference to Jacob. This is the “heel grabber” and the “supplanter” that Jacob was before his nature and character was changed through wrestling with the angel. This is who you are I are in our vanity, in our unsanctified opinions, in our failure to obey God and the excuses we make but God still holds out to us immeasurable mercy, saying while we will not go unpunished, without consequences, yet He will ultimately deliver us out of our captivity and into the rest and ease found only in Christ.
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