Jeremiah 40:13-41:18 – What a Gift!

Read Jeremiah 40:13-41:18

small colorful wrapped gifts with bows

Why do you think Gedaliah didn’t believe that Ishmael would be plotting against him? Was it that hard to believe that his own people would rise up? Clearly Gedaliah was in denial believing that he was somehow safe because of his association with the Babylonians. Apparently, that same association made him unpopular and perhaps an easy target.

Gedaliah’s own military leader tried to warn him that Ishmael was being used by the king of Ammon to kill Gedaliah. I wrote about this event from the perspective in 2 Kings 25. We now see what happened through Jeremiah’s eyes. If the target was the newly appointed governor, there was collateral damage when Ishmael went on a killing spree.

Did you wonder about Jeremiah and where he was during this assassination and attack from Ishmael and his men? It’s possible Jeremiah was one of those described in verse 10: “Then Ishmael made captives of the king’s daughters and the other people who had been left under Gedaliah’s care in Mizpah by Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard. Taking them with him, he started back toward the land of Ammon.”

Thankfully, God had orchestrated a protection or gift for his people. The Babylonians had failed to accomplish the same that day. I see God’s hand at work in seeing that Johanan, the one who had tried to warn Gedaliah, and the other military leaders were not part of the captured group. They were free to assist in their fellow Israelites’ safe return.

Somewhere along the way, Ishmael lost two of his men. Unfortunately, those that survived escaped harm during Johanan’s rescue attempt. Johanan succeeded in rescuing his people from Ishmael’s plot. However, if the plan was also a mission to kill Ishmael or bring him to justice for his offenses, that outcome was not as positive.

An optimistic person would look at this story as a victory ignoring the fact that Ishmael escaped capture. Do you tend to be that “glass half full” kind of person, too? When is the last time you struggled to find the good in some bad situation? If you’re still struggling, ask God to reveal the good and trust that he will show you. Answered prayer is another “gift” from God.

Our story doesn’t end here. Because Ishmael is on the run, the people are left fearful. They could be attacked again without warning by Ishmael. Without a leader, it was totally unknown what would happen to those left behind to tend the land. How would the Babylonians respond having had casualties of their own in this massacre. The people’s response was to plan their flight to Egypt. They were fleeing for their lives!

Have you ever experienced fear like that? Other than having nightmares where I’m running from some unknown creature or “bad guy,” I don’t know if I’ve felt fear like that in “real life.” Thanking God right now for that provision! God’s gifts are continual. We just need to look for them.

Where did you see God the clearest in this story? Look around what’s happening around you. Where are God’s fingerprints on your life today? Thank him for the gift!

colorful animation of prayer hands and hearts and flowers

Let’s pray … Lord, you alone are the best gift in my life! I am overwhelmed with awe at your love and protection for your people. I feel privileged to belong to you. Help me to focus on finding you in all situations. May I honor you in every interaction I have. Use me to point others to you, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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