Jeremiah Chapter 43
Judgment Against Gods
When God announced that Babylon is coming to conquer Egypt, He also said that Egypt’s gods would be destroyed. God is particularly interested in bringing down the Egyptian gods. In the Exodus, the ten plagues were designed to demonstrate each god’s lack of authority over its element (i.e. Anubis, the Egyptian god of death, could not stop the Lord from claiming the firstborns in death). In the book of Isaiah, God warns against trusting in the armies and gods of Egypt, saying “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help… but they look not to the Holy One of Israel” (Isa. 31:1-6).
God is immensely concerned about those who turn to physical strength or false gods for protection and comfort. God alone is able to deliver. He knows that trusting to any god or man other than Himself will only lead you to destruction. Such is why He has gone to such great lengths to prove to men that other gods are merely the “works of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made” (Isa. 2:8). Other gods cannot help in times of trouble because they are merely statues or figments of man’s imagination. Only the Lord is the Living God. All others are imaginary.
Throughout history, God has prophesied of things to come and fulfilled them so that all the world may know that He is real. He works miracles to prove His divine authority. He redeems souls who testify of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost and His ability to fellowship with man. And He also destroys nations and religions to prove that their gods are not gods at all, but merely the creation of men who have rejected the truth about a holy, righteous God. Do not rely on any god other than the Living God. One day, all the other gods will be destroyed in judgment by the one true God.
Lessons from the text
Verse by Verse Commentary
1-3 Continuing from chapter 42, the people do exactly as God predicted; rather than listen to His words, they desire to go into Egypt so strongly that they accuse Jeremiah of lying to them. Baruch is the scribe who has helped Jeremiah in the past, even going in hiding with the prophet when King Jehoiakim sought their lives (Jer. 36:4-26). The people have no basis for this accusation against Baruch or Jeremiah.
4-7 Johanan emerges as the new leader for Israel. The remnant of the military and all the people agree with his decision and go into Egypt. Noteworthy is that Jeremiah and Baruch choose to go as well. Jeremiah sticks with the remnant regardless of their sin so that he can continue to fulfill his role of prophet to God’s people. Baruch stays loyal to Jeremiah and follows him wherever he goes.
8-11 God continues to use Jeremiah to prophesy on His behalf. The Jews thought they could escape Nebuchadnezzar by fleeing to Egypt, but God makes it clear that his kingdom will extend to Egypt as well. God has given all the nations of the earth to Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 27:6-7), so it is pointless for the Jews to try to outrun his reach. This emphasizes the point that the Jews should have accepted Babylonian rule and lived in peace in their own lands as God commanded them to do (Jer. 42:10-12, 19-22).
The placing of the stone in the foundation of Pharaoh’s seat has two significations. First, something has entered Pharaoh’s foundation. The rock represents the fact that something has lodged itself, or come into, Pharaoh’s kingdom that is not intended to be there. This element is foreign to Pharaoh’s rule and something that mars his authority (his house). Second, it signifies the beginning of a new foundation. The old Egypt will be cast down and a new, Babylonian Egypt will emerge under Nebuchadnezzar’s strong rule. The king of Babylon will even build himself a house on the very spot where Pharaoh lives.
12 Not only will Nebuchadnezzar overthrow the government of Egypt but also he will overthrow the religious system. Nebuchadnezzar is brutal and brilliant to completely destroy all elements of a society to make the people disheartened to the point of feeling required to serve Babylon and taking away all opportunity for the people to live a non Babylonian lifestyle. See Daniel 3:1-6 for an example.
13 God has a particular disdain for the Egyptian gods. In the Exodus, He proclaimed that He was not fighting just against Pharaoh but against the Egyptian gods (Exo. 12:12). God hates idols, for they lead people away from the truth.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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