“Do not go to Egypt” . . . So they went. (42:19, 43:7 NKJV)
A few more months, perhaps even a year or two, have gone by. Now the city is in ruins
and its last king is in exile, for the Babylonians have triumphed, as the prophet said
they would. As a final twist to the tale, the governor of the city appointed by the king
of Babylon has just been assassinated, and what is left of the nation is once more in
danger. The few survivors are afraid that Nebuchadnezzar’s forces will soon be back yet
again, with reprisals. Might they be safe in Egypt? They turn to Jeremiah for advice.
How sensible. For forty years the prophet has been God’s spokesman, and not one of his
prophecies has yet proved false. Wouldn’t you think that at last people might listen and
learn and obey?
But there are none so blind as those who will not see. Even after everything that has
happened, the survivors will do what God says only if it chimes in with their own ideas.
They call themselves the “remnant,” but a faithful remnant they certainly are not.
For us, the sorry tale can be fittingly rounded off with a prayer from the Litany in
the Church of England Prayer Book that I grew up with: “From hardness of heart, and
contempt of thy Word and Commandment, good Lord, deliver us.”
Yes, Lord, deliver us!