To maintain the right perspective about yourself,
do the next thing; obey God's word at every point; refuse seeking greater things for yourself; realize that discipline by God and fathers lead to healing; do Lord's work heartily and reject pride; and beware of boasting in accomplishments, riches, comfort and self-confidence.
Serve the City By Doing the Next Thing
The commander of the guard told Jeremiah that the Lord took Israel captive to Babylon because of their sin and disobedience. Jeremiah stayed with Gedaliah, governor in Judah, with those left behind. Gedaliah told them to settle in the land and serve the Babylonians so it would go well with them. Jews from other countries like Moab, Ammon and Edom came back to Judah and harvested much wine and summer fruit after hearing a remnant remained in the land. When Gedaliah did not heed warnings, Ishmael killed him along with the Jews at Mizpah, Babylonian soldiers, and 70 men bringing grain offerings and incense. After Ishmael made captives of everyone in Mizpah, Johanan and the army officers fought him before Ishmael fled to the Ammonites. Johanan gathered the survivors in Mizpah before traveling to Egypt to escape the Babylonians (Jer. 40:1-41:18). Serve the city by doing the next thing during times of instability and sinfulness.
Obey God's Word at Every Point
Johanan asked Jeremiah to pray about where they should go and what they should do as a small remnant. After agreeing to hold nothing back concerning what God said to him, they told Jeremiah about their commitment to total obedience so it would go well with them. Ten days later, the Lord said for them to stay in the land to build and not tear down and to plant and not uproot for He grieved over the disaster inflicted upon them. They were to not fear the Babylonian king since God would save, deliver, show compassion and restore them to their land. If they decided to go to Egypt, the sword and famine would kill them as an object of cursing, condemnation and reproach. Jeremiah said they made a fatal mistake asking him to pray for them (Jer. 42:1-22). Obey God's word at every point so things go well for you.
Refuse Seeking Greater Things For Yourself
Johanan, army officers and the people disobeyed the Lord's command to stay in Judah. He led them to Egypt. God's word came to Jeremiah to bury large stones in clay in the brick pavement at the entrance to Pharaoh's palace in Tahpanhes. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon would attack Egypt and bring death and captivity to those destined for it. He would burn the temples, take their gods captive and demolish the sacred pillars. Burning incense to other gods led to destruction as an object of cursing and reproach among all nations. When they burned incense to the Queen of Heaven, they reported about food abundance without suffering harm. God would overthrow what He built and uproot what He planted throughout the land. They should not seek great things for themselves since He would bring disaster on all people but let them escape with their life (Jer. 43:1-45:5). Refuse seeking greater things for yourself that disobey God's word leading to death and destruction.
Realize that Discipline By God Leads to Healing
God instructed Egypt's army to prepare for battle even though Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon would defeat them. The swift could not flee nor the strong escape. They experienced no healing, missed opportunities and put to shame. The Lord Almighty punished Egypt's gods and those who relied on Pharaoh. Jacob had peace and security without fear as God disciplined them with justice. When the waters overflowed the Philistines' land, God destroyed the survivors who could help Tyre and Sidon. He commanded an attack on Ashkelon while people cried out and fathers failed to help their children (Jer. 46:1-47:7). Realize that discipline by God and fathers lead to healing, opportunities, peace and security.
Do Lord's Work Heartily and Reject Pride
God ruined Nebo and disgraced the stronghold of Kiriathaim in Moab. Heshbon men plotted her downfall to silence Moab. Those who trusted in their deeds and riches were taken captive and destroyed. A curse fell on those lax in doing the Lord's work and who kept their sword from bloodshed. Moab was ashamed because of idleness, pride, conceit, arrogance and having a haughty heart. God destroyed their ripened fruit and grapes. He stopped the flow of wine from their presses and eliminated joy, gladness and wealth. Moab became an object of ridicule and horror to those around her. The hearts of Moab's warriors became like a woman in labor. Defying the Lord caused them to be destroyed as a nation. Even though their sons and daughters were taken in exile and captivity, God restored their fortunes in the future (Jer. 48:1-47). Do the Lord's work heartily and reject pride in your own works.
Beware of Boasting in Accomplishments, Riches, Comfort and Self-Confidence
Molech took possession of Gad so Israel had no sons or heirs. Even though Ammon boasted in their fruitful valleys and trusted in their riches, God restored their fortunes in the future. God said wisdom and counsel perished from the prudent in Edom. He protected the orphans and widows who trusted in God. Their pride deceived them even though they lived in the clefts of the rocks. No shepherd could stand against God. Damascus became feeble, gripped with panic, and seized with anguish and pain. Her young men died and soldiers were silenced. Nebuchadnezzar devised a plan against Kedar and Hazor who lived alone at ease without gates nor bars. God broke the bow of Elam, the mainstay of their might, and destroyed her king and officials (Jer. 49:1-39). Beware of boasting in accomplishments, riches, comfort and self-confidence.
To maintain the right perspective about yourself, ask God to develop the following characteristics in your life:
1. Do the next thing
2. Obey God's word at every point
3. Refuse seeking greater things for yourself
4. Realize that discipline by God and fathers lead to healing
5. Do Lord's work heartily and reject pride
6. Beware of boasting in accomplishments, riches, comfort and self-confidence
Which one will you work on first?