A most severe test comes upon the survivors within Israel. This is a time of turmoil, betrayal and fear. Johanan is correct regarding Ishmael’s plot. The test for Johanan is soon to come – will he believe God in the midst of the realisation of his fears.
Jeremiah chooses not to go into exile. He stays with the remnant of the remnant, the poor and lowly.
And a wonderful thing happens (albeit short-lived). Some of the people of Israel who had been driven from the land in the previous years/generations come back!
“… Then all the Judeans returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpath.”
It must have been tempting to think the words of the Lord were far-fetched, that perhaps those who remained were seeing a revival of sorts.
And there was blessing.
“And they gathered wine and summer fruits in great abudance.”
The problem though, as we’ll see, is that people (again, as we continue to do) take their eyes of the Lord. They forget His word. He has said the land would be in rest for 70 years, that the exiles must live and work for the good of the foreign city they are in.
And though there is blessing, there is much curse on the horizon. Political intrigue and bad decisions are coming.
* Dear Lord,
Please open our eyes each day to Your word, to what You would have us do.
Please make our hearts after Your own heart.