Jeremiah 40: Trust in the World
In Jeremiah 40, we have the fallout from the Babylonian invasion. Jeremiah had decided to remain with the remnant of poor people who the Babylonians had left behind to occupy the land of Judah while the rest of the nation was taken away. Gedaliah was the man who was chosen to be the governor over Judah, and he made it rather simple for the people.
Jer 40:9 And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan sware unto them and to their men, saying, Fear not to serve the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you.
Jer 40:10 As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah to serve the Chaldeans, which will come unto us: but ye, gather ye wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have taken.
Basically, as long as everyone did their jobs, there would be no problem from the higher levels of government. In my mind, this seems reasonable. If I was one of those who was commanded to remain in Judah, I would not have been thrilled of course to be under foreign rule, but in terms of oppression, this was a lot better than it could have been without a doubt.
It is interesting how even in this rather tame situation, it seemed as if discord was only one rumor away.
Jer 40:15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Let me go, I pray thee, and I will slay Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it: wherefore should he slay thee, that all the Jews which are gathered unto thee should be scattered, and the remnant in Judah perish?
Gedaliah did not seem to be worried about this plot, but he should have been as we will find out tomorrow (my apologies for the spoiler).
I bring up this story because it is important to remember that our position on earth is precarious. Gedaliah seemed to be doing some decent things. He was trying to make life as good as he could for the people in Judah, but people were nevertheless beginning to spread rumors and eventually acted on those rumors.
If we put all of our trust in the world (I am not saying that Gedaliah necessarily was; I don’t know an awful lot about his spiritual life), it very well might turn on us even if we are doing good things for the people. How much better is it to make sure that we put our trust in God? We certainly still can and should do good things for the world, but it is done with the recognition that we are now working for a higher authority who is not going to betray us regardless of what the world does.