to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
September 17, 2019 – Tuesday
Jeremiah 43:4-7 NIV
4 So Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers and all the people disobeyed the Lord’s command to stay in the land of Judah.
5 Instead, Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers led away all the remnant of Judah who had come back to live in the land of Judah from all the nations where they had been scattered.
6 They also led away all those whom Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had left with Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan—the men, the women, the children and the king’s daughters. And they took Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch son of Neriah along with them.
7 So they entered Egypt in disobedience to the Lord and went as far as Tahpanhes.
Remember yesterday in chapter forty-two
1 Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached 2 Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, “Please hear our petition and pray to the Lord your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left. 3 Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.”
They heard from Jeremiah ten days later after he had heard from the Lord. They were told what would happen if they obeyed and what would happen if they disobeyed. It was wonderful news if they trusted God and obeyed and outright disaster if they did not trust God and disobeyed. In fact chapter forty-two ended with
19 “Remnant of Judah, the Lord has told you, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Be sure of this: I warn you today 20 that you made a fatal mistake when you sent me to the Lord your God and said, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us; tell us everything He says and we will do it.’ 21 I have told you today, but you still have not obeyed the Lord your God in all He sent me to tell you. 22 So now, be sure of this: You will die by the sword, famine and plague in the place where you want to go to settle.”
Before they disobeyed and left for Egypt they replied in great anger to Jeremiah when they got the answer they did not want.
1 When Jeremiah had finished telling the people all the words of the Lord their God—everything the Lord had sent him to tell them—2 Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are lying! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt to settle there.’ 3 But Baruch son of Neriah is inciting you against us to hand us over to the Babylonians, so they may kill us or carry us into exile to Babylon.”
They are described as arrogant men and indeed they were arrogant. First they ask God’s prophet what they should do and stated unequivocally they would follow whatever directions God gave them through Jeremiah. They lied. They lied most likely to themselves in hopes they would get the answer they wanted. They didn’t get the answer they wanted and immediately accused Jeremiah of lying. Additionally it was not enough for Johanan and the people to disobey God. They also took by force everyone else, forcing them to come with them to Egypt.
In our verses for today we read they stopped at in lower Egypt at Tahpanhes. It was at this place that, according to St. Jerome, tradition says the faithful Jeremiah was stoned to death by these rebellious wretches; for whose welfare he had watched, prayed, gone through many indignities, and suffered every kind of hardship. And now he sealed the truth of his Divine mission with his blood.” (Clarke)
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)