But when Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces who were with him, heard of all the evil that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had done, then they took all the men, and went to fight with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and found him by the great waters that are in Gibeon. Now when all the people who were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces who were with him, then they were glad. So all the people who Ishmael had carried away captive from Mizpah turned about and came back, and went to Johanan the son of Kareah. But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men, and went to the children of Ammon.
Then Johanan the son of Kareah and all the captains of the forces who were with him took all the remnant of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, from Mizpah, after he had killed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam—the men of war, with the women, the children, and the eunuchs, whom he had brought back from Gibeon. They departed and lived in Geruth Chimham, which is by Bethlehem, to go to enter into Egypt because of the Chaldeans; for they were afraid of them, because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had killed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon made governor over the land.
Everything that happens, and everything God has written into His book, is done for a reason. One of the mysteries for me is attempting to discover what those reasons are. In this passage we are told that Johanan was able to go after Ishmael and recover the Jews and others he had kidnapped. That is great, but why did God want us to know all of this? Why did he put this strange set of events into the Bible for all of us to read?
One thing that this reminds me of is that anything can happen. Some important and life-changing events cannot be planned for. I have noticed that my world tries to convince me that my destiny is my choice, but it really isn’t. I think that the poorer we are the less we believe in the idea that we make our own destiny. Perhaps age helps too. The only way to successfully plan your own future is to trust in God and what He says about us. I think that this is probably the reason why God is telling us these things. As we study these events in Jeremiah, we will find that it leads to a faith issue. Does this remnant really believe in God’s word and what He says about them, or are they still trying to make their own way?
Our fears often expose our faith. After Johanan retrieved his people from Ishamael, he was too afraid to go back tho Mizpah. He was afraid that Ishmael’s assassination of Gedaliah had harmed his relationship with the Chaldeans. We are told here that he was staying near Bethlehem, intending to go to Egypt. It would appear that he was thinking that Egypt would protect them from Babylon. Do you see a problem with this? Where’s God in all of this? Could it be that this is one reason that God has these events in the Bible for us today? I think you will probably agree that it is as we go on.