Archive for December 2nd, 2017

This passage expands the information in 2 Kings 25:22-26 about Gedaliah’s governorship and we discover much more about his character and conduct. He is a good man. A man of peace and honour. He has an invidious job to do in representing the occupied power – Babylon. For the first time, perhaps since the time of Josiah, the people of God have a godly leader. He understands that the remnant left in Judah was by the design of the king of Babylon and therefore gives confidence for the people spared exile to settle down and return to relative normal life.

He was a focus for unity – commanders and companies rallied to him –  and encouraged by this sense of security refugees returned to their homeland. We can imagine perhaps the relief and the joy tinged with the pain of loss and the destruction they walked into. There was an abundance of harvest awaiting them – the land had naturally produced its good in their absence.  There is a process of resettlement which includes the allocation of property, community laws and the exercise of authority.  All seems well.

But it was not to last. Barely 3 months later Gedaliah was dead – the victim of plots and assassination by Ishmael, a descendent of David no less. Massacre led to massacre, violence bred violence. Eventually, most of those who initially follow and support Ishmael desert him, join with Johanan and flee to the illusory safe waters of Egypt.

There is very little enquiry of the Lord here. Gedaliah fails to weigh the warnings given to him about Ishmael – perhaps the pressure of busyness and the tyranny of the urgent. Johanan fails to seek clarity from God as to whether he should stay or flee. Ishmael simply uses brute force to attempt to do what he thinks is right – bulldozing his way into a cul-de-sac and breaking most of the 10 commandments in the process.

However, it is the goodness of Gedaliah that catches our attention. Even to the extent of wanting to believe good about Ishmael rather than bad. In the end this does prove to be naïve and leads to his downfall. But, surely our culture is much more inclined to believe every rumour and accusation before proper investigation has taken place. We can be in those conversations where something is being said about someone else without the person’s presence to deny or confirm.  Sometimes it is down to us to be the one who says: ‘What you are saying about x is not true – or perhaps ‘fair’. What Gedaliah should have done is put Ishmael in the room. Let’s do the same if we have reason to suppose that someone’s life needs correction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pray for the leaders of our nation, local community and church today.

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