When Jeremiah finished speaking to all the people all these words of the Lord their God, with which the Lord their God had sent him to them, Azariah the son of Hoshaiah and Johanan the son of Kareah and all the insolent men said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie. The Lord our God did not send you to say, ‘Do not go to Egypt to live there,’ but Baruch the son of Neriah has set you against us, to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they may kill us or take us into exile in Babylon.” So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces and all the people did not obey the voice of the Lord, to remain in the land of Judah. But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to live in the land of Judah from all the nations to which they had been driven—the men, the women, the children, the princesses, and every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan; also Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah. And they came into the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the Lord. And they arrived at Tahpanhes. Jeremiah 43:1-7 ESV
But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
Oh, that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him,
and their fate would last forever.
But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you. Psalm 81:11-16 ESV
Cassandra was a woman from Greek mythology who was cursed by the god Apollo. Apollo gave her the gift of prophecy, which meant that she could foretell the future. But he also punished her by giving her a curse. Even though she would be able to foretell the future perfectly, no one would ever believe what she said. Cassandra foresaw the disaster of the Trojan War, and what would cause it. She knew that a man named Paris was going to steal the beautiful Helen from her husband, and that it would cause the war. She tried to warn her people about what was going to happen, but no one ever listened to her, and she wasn’t able to stop a terrible war that went on for years and years.
Cassandra is only a story, but Jeremiah experienced the same thing that Cassandra experienced. He spoke the word of God truly and faithfully, but it seemed like no one ever believed him. When the people who were left in Jerusalem asked him whether they should go to Egypt or not, and promised to obey whatever God told them through Jeremiah, he told them that God wanted them to stay in their country. But they didn’t listen! They went to Egypt anyway, and they took the prophet with them. Time and again God’s people turned away from God’s word and disobeyed what he told them. The Lord wanted to bless them, but he ended up having to punish them instead.
We also disobey God time and again. But God sent Jesus to be our Savior, and Jesus took all the punishment for our disobedience when he died on the cross. Because of Jesus, God forgives our sins every day. We never have to doubt or be puzzled about what God wants, because he’s made his will clear to us in his word, the Bible. He sends his Holy Spirit to help us live new lives of faith and obedience to God, and is with us always to help us and to bless us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your word, and for Jesus, our Savior. Help us to trust and to obey you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.