Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, and more specifically, is found in the forty-first chapter of the book. In order to properly understand what is taking place in the forty-first chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah, it’s necessary to understand how the previous chapter concludes. Looking back upon the fortieth chapter of the book of Jeremiah you will discover that not only were the poor of the land of Judah permitted to remain within the land of Judah, and granted vineyards and fields, but there was also appointed a governor who would help govern and rule those which remained. It’s worth noting and pointing out that even though there were a people permitted to remain within the land of the inheritance, they weren’t permitted to do so without and apart from authority and accountability. While it is true that the poor of the land were permitted to remain in the land, their remaining within the land would not be absent authority and accountability. The very fact that Gedaliah was appointed as governor over the remnant which remained in the land of Judah suggests that they could not remain within the land and live how they desired and pleased. They were given fields and vineyards, yet despite their being given fields and vineyards, they were placed under the authority of one who was appointed as governor over them. There were those whom the Lord would preserve in the land of the Chaldeans as they would dwell in a strange and foreign land and serve the king of Babylon. There were those who would be preserved and protected in a strange and foreign land as they served a foreign king, while there would be those who would be preserved and protected in the same land, and would be placed under the authority of another. We must pay careful and close attention to this, for we dare not think we can have the inheritance without and absent authority and accountability. INHERITANCE ABSENT AUTHORITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY LEADS TO ANARCHY! Those who attempt to have the inheritance without and apart from authority may very well in a matter of time find themselves in a place where they are living and walking in open rebellion before the Lord of hosts. I can’t help but wonder what it was like when the poor who were permitted to remain in the land were also given fields and vineyards in addition to that. What’s more, is that I can’t help but wonder what they thought when Gedaliah was appointed as governor over them. Those who were permitted to remain within the land of Judah were still called to serve the king of Babylon, yet not directly, but by serving the one whom he appointed as governor over the land. I am convinced there are a number of men and women who think they can have the inheritance without and apart from authority and accountability. Let me make it perfectly clear in this very moment—the Lord never intended on bringing you into the inheritance and dwelling in the midst of it absent authority and accountability. Of course we know and understand the ultimate authority is the Lord of hosts Himself, but there are those whom the Lord appointed as authority over us in the place of inheritance. Possession of the inheritance is all well and good, and conquering our foes and adversaries within the land is also good, yet none of that matters if we are not willing to come under the authority which has been established by the Lord of hosts. There are those who may think they can possess the inheritance without and apart from authority and accountability, yet the truth of the matter is that that simply isn’t the case. The poor which remained in the land of Judah were given fields and vineyards which they were to steward and watch over, yet in just a short manner of time there was one appointed as governor over them. The Lord would preserve a remnant within the inheritance, yet that remnant would still be required to live in a place of submission to authority. One of the most interesting truths concerning this particular period of time in the history of Judah and Jerusalem is that there were those who were preserved in and through captivity, and there were others who were preserved in and within the inheritance. There were those whom the Lord permitted to remain within the inheritance rather than being carried away captive into the land of the Chaldeans, and it was from that place of remaining the Lord would preserve a remnant before Him in the land. How incredibly interesting it is to think that the Lord not only preserved a remnant in captivity, but the Lord also preserved a remnant in inheritance as well. There were those the Lord preserved without bringing them into captivity, while there were those the Lord preserved with and by bringing them into captivity. There were those whom the Lord had to remove from the midst of the city of Jerusalem and from the land of Judah in order to preserve them outside the inheritance, yet there were those whom the Lord would allow to remain in the inheritance, and from that place of remaining and abiding they would be preserved. In either case, the Lord was preserving a remnant in the earth—one remnant that would remain in the inheritance and come under the authority of a governor, while the other remnant would be carried away captive into the land of the Chaldeans and serve the king of Babylon.
If you begin reading the seventh verse of the fortieth chapter, you will uncover something truly remarkable concerning those which remained in the land and place of inheritance, as well as concerning Gedaliah who had been appointed governor over the land. “Now when all the captains of the forces which were in the fields, even they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed unto him men, and women, and children, and of the poor of the land, of them that were not carried away captive to Babylon; then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah…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. As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mzpah 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. Likewise when all the Jews that were in Moab, and Amon the Ammonites, and in Edom, and that were in all the countries heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan; even all the Jews returned out of all places whither they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much” (Jeremiah 40:7-12). One of the things I find to be so incredibly interesting about the appointment of Gedaliah as governor over the land of Judah, and the permission of certain of the poor to remain in the land, is that the news and report of that reached those who had been scattered in the nations and lands round about. In the eleventh verse, we read that when all the Jews that were in Moab, and among the ammonites, and in Edom, and that were in all the countries, heard that the king of of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, they all returned out of all the places whither they had been driven, and came to the land of Judah. What was it that caused these men and women to come forth from the nations and lands in which they had been living? That which drew them out of the nations in which they were living was the report of how the Lord had caused a remnant to remain within the land. It was the report of the remnant remaining that caused those who had dwelt in other nations and lands to return. It was the report that the there were still those who were permitted to remain in the land—and not only remain, but also gather wine and fruit—that caused them to come forth from the nations to which they had been scattered.
It’s not enough to merely speak of the return of these Jews who had lived and dwelt in the lands of Edom, Ammon and Moab—three nations which had a familial connection with Israel through Abraham. You will recalls that Edom was the descendants of Esaua who was the brother of Jacob, and Moab and Ammon were the descendants of the two sons which were born unto Lot through the incestuous relations his two daughters had with him after fleeing from Sodom and Gomorrah. In order to understand the tremendous power and significance in returning from these lands, it’s necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand what would cause men and women to leave the place of the inheritance, and journey into a land that was not their own. Perhaps one of the most notable examples of this reality is found in the Old Testament book of Ruth, which is a book named not after a Jewish woman, but rather a Moabite woman who first married a Jewish man from Bethlehem, and would later marry Boaz who was the kinsman redeemer. Consider if you will the context that surrounds the departure from the place of inheritance—and not just a departure from the place of inheritance, but a departure from the place of bread [Bethelehem actually means “house of bread]. “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem-Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilton, Ephrathites of Bethlehem-Judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continues there. And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilton died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband” (Ruth 1:1-5). If you journey forward into the book of First Samuel, you will find the account of David—and specifically the account of David when he was fleeing for his life from the hand of Saul. “And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the PHilisetines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand. And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him unto Achish, the son of March, king of Gath. And David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the JEzreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s wife. And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath: and he sought no more again for him” (1 Samuel 27:1-4).
IF you journey to the Old Testament book of Genesis, you will discover another example and account of one who left the place of inheritance and journeyed into a land that was not his own. In the twelfth chapter of the book of Genesis you will find Abram leaving the land and place of inheritance and journeying into the land of Egypt because of a famine that had struck the land. “And there was a famine in the land: and Abraham went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: Therefore is shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee” (Genesis 12:10-13). Within these three passages of Scripture we notice two distinct realities that drove certain of the people of God from the place of inheritance, and from the place of promise. What is that could possibly drive men and women from the place of inheritance, promise and blessing? If you read these passages of Scripture, you will notice that the two realities which caused men and women to leave and flee the place of inheritance, promise and blessing was either fear or famine. In the case of David, it was fear that caused him to leave the place of inheritance, while in the case of Elimelech, his wife Naomi, their two sons, and in the case of Abram, it was a famine within the land. Please recognize and pay close attention to these two realities, for if there are two things that can drive you forth from the place of promise, from the place of inheritance, from the place of blessing, and the place of favor, it is either fear, or famine, or perhaps a combination of both. What’s more, is that I am convinced that that which would drive men and women from the place of inheritance, promise and blessing is the very same thing that would keep men and women out of and away from the place of inheritance, promise and blessing. If you journey to the Old Testament book of Numbers, you will discover the account of the children of Israel, and that which kept them from rising up, entering in and taking possession of the inheritance. “And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely if floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan…But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And the children of Israel murmured agianst Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would God we had died in this wilderness. And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt” (Numbers 13:27-14:4).
When I read the fortieth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah, and specifically the account of those who had dwelt in the lands of Moab, Ammon and Edom, I can’t help but think that such men, women, children and families were driven forth from the place of their inheritance for the very same reason that David was driven forth from the inheritance, and the same reason the children of Israel refused to rise up and enter into the land of Canaan—fear. In order to understand the incredible and awesome magnitude of the people living in these three nations and lands returning to the land and place of their inheritance, it’s first important to understand what may very well have driven them away from and outside the inheritance in the first place. I am convinced it was fear which drove them forth from the midst of the inheritance, yet it was news and a report of a remnant being permitted to remain in the land that caused them return to the land from which they had fled, left, and perhaps even abandoned. I believe that there were a number of men and women who fled the land of Judah when news of the king of Babylon marching against Judah reached the land of Judah. I am convinced there were a number of men who fled to the nations of Edom, Ammon and Moab in an attempt to flee the devastation and destruction that was going to befall the land of Judah and the city of Jerusalem. Undoubtedly there were a number of men and women who fled the place of their inheritance because of fear of the adversary and enemy, yet how absolutely incredible it is to consider that upon hearing the report of a remnant being permitted to remain in the land, their fear seemed to be stilled. It was the report of a remnant being permitted to remain in the land that almost stood and served as a call to come forth from the nations and lands to which they had been scattered. I can’t help but consider the Jews who came forth from the lands of Moab, Ammon and Edom and returned to the land of Judah as being a type and shadow of a people that would emerge from the land of the Chaldeans seventy years later. THE FORESHADOW AND FIRSTFRUITS OF RELEASE AND RETURN! THE FORESHADOW AND FIRSTFRUITS OF RESURRECTION. In the Old Testament book of Jeremiah we find a people coming forth from the lands of Ammon, Moab and Edom upon hearing the report of a remnant being permitted to remain in the land, and I can’t help but see these people as a powerful shadow and type of a people that would one day rise up and return from the land of their captivity and exile. Similarly, I can’t help but be reminded of all those tombs that were opened on the day when Jesus was crucified, and how a number of men and women who were once dead came forth from their tombs and once more walked among the living. Those whose tombs and graves were opened on the day Jesus was crucified were undoubtedly a powerful shadow and picture of an even greater resurrection that would take place in the future, as those who died in Christ will be resurrected and raised from the dead. There was a group of people who stood as a foreshadow and first fruits of resurrection and being raised from death to life, while there was a group of people who stood as a foreshadow and first fruits of being released from captivity and returning to the place of inheritance.
I believe with everything in me right now that there are a number of men and women whom the Lord is calling forth from the places they have been scattered due to fear, and perhaps even famine. There are those who have left, fled, abandoned, and perhaps even forsaken the place of inheritance, promise and blessing in and before the Lord because fear has so gripped their hearts. THE LORD IS ABOUT TO RELEASE A REPORT THAT WILL DRAW YOU FORTH FROM THE PLACES YOU HAVE BEEN SCATTERED! COME OUT, COME OUT WHEREVER YOU ARE! I believe the Spirit of the Lord is calling men and women out of hiding in the midst of those places to which they have fled to in order to escape that which has so gripped and seized their hearts with fear. I believe with all my heart the Spirit of the Lord is causing a report to be released in the earth that will call men and women out from the places in which they have been hiding in order to somehow elude and evade the assaults and attacks of the enemy and adversary. There is not a doubt in my mind that those who lived and dwelt in the lands of Moab, Ammon and Edom fled to those lands out of fear when they began hearing rumors and reports of Nebuchadnezzar moving upon the earth, and marching toward and against Jerusalem. There are countless men and women who have left their post and have abandoned the place of their inheritance because of fear of the advance of the enemy. There are men and women who have been driven from the place of their inheritance because of fear—either fear of the enemy, or perhaps even fear of those who have raised up their hand against them as was the case of David and Saul. David fled the place of inheritance because of the hand of Saul which was raised and lifted up against him. Oh there are men and women—even those within the Church today—who have fled from and left the place of inheritance, promise and blessing in Christ out of fear of that one, or perhaps even those few who have stretched forth and raised their hands against them. There are those who like David have fled into the territory of the enemy because of their being pursued and hunted in the place of inheritance, promise and blessing. Did you know that it is possible to feel like the only place where you can find safety, solace, shelter and rest is the territory of the enemy because the hand(s) of another has risen up against you in the place of inheritance. That place which you should have felt safe and secure has actually turned into a place where you are constantly fleeing for your life—fleeing from those who have stretched forth their hands against you. David fled into the territory of the enemy because of the murderous hand of Saul which was raised up against him, while the Jewish people fled into the territories around them because of the threat of the enemy marching against them. I can’t help but ask the question today regarding what has caused you to flee from, abandon and even forsake the place of inheritance, and what has caused you to seek refuge, safety and solace outside of the inheritance, and in those places the Lord never designed or intended you to be.
When we come to the forty-first chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah we find something incredibly interesting taking place in the land of Judah after a people had been permitted to remain in the land, and one was appointed as governor over them. In the forty-first chapter of the book of Jeremiah we find Ishmael the son of Nethaniah the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, and the princes of the king, even ten men with him coming unto Gedaliah in the midst of the land and smote him with these sword. What’s more is that as you continue reading this passage of Scripture, you will find that Ishmael didn’t merely stop with slaying Gedaliah with the sword, but he also slew all the Jews that were with him, and the Chaldeans that were found there, and the men of war. As you come to the fourth verse, you will find that Ishmael’s murderous rampage didn’t conclude with the slaughtering of all the Jews which were with Gedaliah, and the Chaldeans that were found there, and the men of war, but continued, for he slaughtered fourscore men who came from Shechem, from Shiloah and from Samaria. Ishmael slaughtered that one who was appointed governor over the people who remained in the land, he slaughtered the men of war, and now we find him slaughtering those who came forth. Into the land with their clothes rent, having cut themselves, with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring them to the house of the Lord. It’s worth examining Ishmael’s actions, for his actions are reflective of those who refuse to bring their neck under the authority of the Lord. Undoubtedly Ishmael was aware of the great number of men and women who had been carried away captive from the land of Judah, and he was unwilling to allow any to remain who would serve the king of Babylon. Ishmael slaughtered that one that was appointed governor, he slaughtered those who were skilled in battle and war, and he slaughtered those who sought to worship the Lord. WHEN WORSHIPPERS AND WARRIORS ARE TARGETED WHEN A REPORT OF REMNANT IS HEARD. I sit here and read this passage, and I can’t help but think there are men and women among us who are greatly offended by those who are capable of war, and those who have it in their hearts to worship the Lord. There were those in Mizpah who were skilled in war, and Ishmael slaughtered them all. There were those who came forth from Shechem, Shiloh and Samaria to worship the Lord, and Ishmael slaughtered them. In the days when men and women come forth out of the place of fear and terror, the adversary and enemy targets the men of war and those whose hearts are set on worshipping the Lord. Undoubtedly, Ishmael wanted to cut off both the worshipper and the warrior from the land—a reality we would be wise to pay close attention to.
CUTTING OFF THE WARRIOR AND WORSHIPPER FROM THE PLACE OF INHERITANCE. As I sit here and read this passage of Scripture, I can’t help but see a powerful tactic of the enemy during times when men and women are carried away captive. I can’t help but see a powerful strategy of the enemy when men and women are forced into chains, and are brought into a place of captivity and exile in their lives. While it is true that there were those who were permitted to remain in the land, and while it is true that there were those who returned to the land from the nations to which they had fled, it is also true that there arose one among them who sought to cut off both worshipper and warrior alike. Ishmael neither wanted worshippers nor warriors to remain in the midst of the land, and effectively cut them off by the sword. Oh that we would recognize and pay close attention to this reality, for the enemy and adversary is seeking to do the same thing in this generation. The enemy and adversary watches as men and women come forth from the places to which they have fled out of fear, and watches them return to the place of inheritance, promise and blessing, and he seeks to utterly and completely slaughter them from the midst of the land. WHEN WORSHIPERS AND WARRIORS ARE CUT OFF FROM THE LAND, AND PITS ARE FILLED WITH NEEDLESS CASUALTIES. Within this passage we not only find Ishmael slaughtering the men of war and those who came to worship the Lord at His house, but we also find him taking all those bodies and casting them in a pit as if it were nothing. Oh that we would read this passage of Scripture and understand that which the adversary desires to do in this generation and in these Last Days, for the adversary can and will seek to destroy all those who are preserved in the inheritance while under the authority of another. Scripture is unclear the motives of Ishmael in the slaughtering of Gedaliah, the men of war, those who came to worship the Lord, and even the Chaldeans, but one thing is certain—he wanted to make a full and complete end of those who agreed to serve the king of Babylon. I would dare say that that which drove Ishmael to slaughter all those mentioned in this passage was an unwillingness to serve the king of Babylon, and he slaughtered all those who agreed to do such. It’s important to recognize that those permitted to remain in the land, and those who were carried away captive from the land weren’t merely serving the king of Babylon alone, but they were serving the Lord who had raised up the king of Babylon, and had permitted everything that happened to happen. This passage is utterly and completely interesting, for within this passage we not only find Ishmael slaughtering the men of war, and those who came to bring their offerings to the Lord, but we also find Ishmael carrying away captive those who remained in the land, in order that they might go over to the Ammonites. It is safe to say the adversary wanted absolutely no one from the people of God to remain in the land, so he raised up Ishmael to both slaughter worshipper and warrior alike, and to take others captive and bring them into the land of the Ammonites. Let us read this passage of Scripture and understand the operation of our adversary, and his struggle and war to prevent us from dwelling within, and occupying the place of inheritance, promise and blessing.