Jeremiah 41:2, “Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him got up and struck down Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword, killing the one whom the king of Babylon had appointed as governor over the land.” (NIV)
The human heart is stubborn and rebellious. It views God’s authority as a threat, and longs to rid itself of divine order. So much of society speaks of mankind as being inherently good, and yet examples such as this one in Jeremiah prove the opposite. Without holy intervention, humanity would mortally damage, and destroy, itself. We would continue to harm each other, if not physically then emotionally and mentally.
Jeremiah 41 is an intriguing lesson. God punished Judah for their spiritual, corporate transgressions. As a result, Babylon ruled over them, and exiled many of the citizens. For those that remained in, and around, Jerusalem, Gedaliah was instilled as their leader. By all accounts Gedaliah maintained a proper perspective. He encouraged the people to not be afraid. He told them to settle in the land and harvest it (Jeremiah 40:9-10). Gedaliah was the governmental intermediary, and resolved himself to foster a working relationship with Babylon. And just when you might expect some measure of restoration to take place in Judah, Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, came along to upend everything. And thus we find the inescapable truth: the heart is stubborn and rebellious.
Thankfully, the human condition is not incurable. It is not without hope. God can redeem man, and provide us a new heart – a new spirit. But, it begins with recognizing that we need a new heart, and a new spirit, in the first place. The point being, the solution to man’s dilemma cannot be found within ourselves. We cannot self-correct our inherent immoral flaws and transgressions. Therefore, we need to find an external answer to the dilemma. And we have it in Jesus Christ, the One with the eternally pure heart. So let us look to Him daily for inspiration and instruction. Let Him save us, and set us on the path of morality and virtue. Let Christ repurpose these stubborn and rebellious hearts, and make them submissive and righteous.
Kevin Orr (8/28/2018)