Day 179: Willfully Ignorant

Jeremiah 46:1-6

Yahweh’s word which came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations.

Of Egypt: concerning the army of Pharaoh Necoh king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon struck in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah.
“Prepare the buckler and shield,
and draw near to battle!
Harness the horses, and get up, you horsemen,
and stand up with your helmets.
Polish the spears,
put on the coats of mail.
Why have I seen it?
They are dismayed and are turned backward.
Their mighty ones are beaten down,
have fled in haste,
and don’t look back.
Terror is on every side,”
says Yahweh.
“Don’t let the swift flee away,
nor the mighty man escape.
In the north by the river Euphrates
they have stumbled and fallen.

At this point, Jeremiah records his revelation concerning a battle that happened earlier in Egypt. One of the things that surprised me is that this battle was lost before Babylon took Judah into captivity. We just read that the remnant that decided to go to Egypt, went there later because they thought that they would be safe there. Here we can see that they weren’t even taking the historical facts into account. Pharaoh Necoh had already been defeated in a battle with the very same king of Babylon some time earlier. If Egypt’s gods were helping them, they weren’t doing a very good job.

Another thing that this tells us is that the people should have known to listen to Jeremiah’s words and not doubt them. The way that they were to determine if a prophet was from God was to look at his resume. Jeremiah had not only predicted the fall of Jerusalem, but he had also predicted the defeat of Pharaoh Necoh. This demonstrates how completely irrationally the remnant of Judah was acting. Not only did they have to ignore the fact that Jeremiah was never wrong about any of his predictions, but that Egypt was not even a safe place based on historical losses to Babylon. To top it all off, the queen of the sky was clearly unable to help anyone.

One thing that we should be aware of as Christians is that the Bible teaches that people are willfully ignorant of God. They actually know God in their minds but they refuse to recognize Him. They actually suppress the truth in an effort to rebel against God and do what they want to do. All of the reasoning and explaining in the world can’t help a person who has decided to rebel against God. God may use us like Jeremiah to tell them the truth, but the only way that they will actually change their minds and repent, is for God to bring about that change. We cannot do it.