Today's devotion from Jeremiah 37.The leaders of Judah had made a vital mistake. Well, more accurately, they had many many questionable decisions, but now they had added another to a growing list. They had placed their faith in, of all peoples and countries, Egypt. The Chaldeans were coming against them when they heard that the Egyptian force was coming. Egypt was still a formidable foe. So, the Chaldeans ceased their siege of Jerusalem, and withdrew. In this moment, it must have seemed as if their gambit had paid off. No doubt they used this time to assess the threat and prepare for what might come. Meanwhile, Jerusalem undoubtedly breathed a sigh of relief. It would be short lived.
Jeremiah decided to take the opportunity to leave the city. At the gate, he was captured, labeled a traitor, and imprisoned. His only true crime was being honest. He had faithfully delivered the Word of God time and again. Yet, the people didn't seem to interpret his actions as being faithful to their cause. So, Jeremiah was placed in the guard's courtyard and provided a loaf of bread each day until there was none.
Missteps precede this event. Mistakes form the basis of this event. Misguided actions will prove to be the end of an era as the city is on the threshold of destruction.
One of the most powerful lessons we might learn from this chapter is that we may find an earthly answer to our problem, it may provide some level of relief, but pharaoh's army can never accomplish what the hand of God alone can. Only God can provide true and lasting answers to the issues pressing in on us at this moment. We may believe we can trust an earthly alliance, our own cunning strategy, a better doctor, or a topnotch marriage counselor. But the truth is that these stopgaps are no substitute for God.
God may use them, just as, in this case, He is using the Babylonians to purify Israel. He may use a marriage counselor to help your relationship. He may use your God-given talents and gifts. He may use a profoundly gifted physician. However, these must be seen as instruments, not answers. God alone could answer Jerusalem's prayer. Instead they placed their trust in an army that would never arrive. Don't make the same mistake.