Praying Through the Bible #87
TEXT: Jeremiah 42:1-7
Last week, we began looking at the insincere prayer of Johanan and the people of Israel. They had been left behind after the Babylonians took many of their fellow countrymen captive. They had already determined to go down to Egypt to escape further Babylonian wrath. However, they gave a pretense of spirituality and being in tune with God by asking Jeremiah to pray for them and to seek God’s direction on their behalf.
We saw, first, a case of false humility -- the children of Israel were not truly humble before God. They were still determined to have their own way. They were only pretending to want God’s direction for their situation, and if God’s answer to their prayer did not line up with what they wanted to do, they had already decided that they were going to ignore what God said.
2. In the sad case of Johanon and the remnant of Israel, we have a case of determined willfulness. Now, Johanon and his people already had their minds made up that they were going to go down to Egypt. But in verse 5, they said to Jeremiah, “The Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the Lord thy God shall send thee to us." We will see that these are simply pious words from people who still have sinful hearts.
The children of Israel do not really desire the Lord’s guidance on this matter. In fact, they already know what God is going to say about it because God's prophets, including Jeremiah, had warned Israel and Judah against turning to Egypt for help numerous times. What they are really doing here is asking God to condone what they have already planned to do.
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