Majority and Minority
Jeremiah is a fascinating book in the Old Testament. It is packed with accounts of Jewish history from the time of King Josiah until the return from Captivity. In a nutshell, for those of you who may not read the Old Testament through, God chose Israel for a special blessing and the nation grew from fledgling to mighty but had its shortcomings as well as victories. Much of the nation’s history is after the crossing of the Red Sea in the flight from Egypt. They survived the years of leadership victories and failings as well. During the whole history, God always provided the voices of prophets (whom we would call preachers) to issue warnings and provided spiritual leadership.
Jeremiah endured hardship after hardship as a prophet, but he could not be quiet. He saw the coming Seventy Year Captivity, and he even survived the years of Captivity. When the Israelites were released from Persian rule to return to Judah where the capital city of Jerusalem lay in ruins, I find it odd that a majority of those freed to return decided instead to go to Egypt! Those who wanted Egypt were reared to hate their own homeland and reject the God who wanted only to bestow blessings upon loving, obedient behavior.
It is a mystery to me, but not to them. You see, they had not been taught their heritage over that time of seventy years—that is obvious. Why would they want to go to the country that had held their ancestors in slavery for 430 years? Jeremiah sets out to warn them in chapters 41-44.
Jeremiah was not a harsh, brow-beating preacher. He had a tender heart not only for God, but also for God’s people. So, why didn’t the rabble rousers want to listen? The finger must be pointed at the parents. It was likely the parents who had been carried away live captives by the Babylonians 70 years prior. They had been worshipping idols and doing horrid, wretched sinful things. Instead of repentance, bitterness set in. They didn’t teach their offspring the blessings of being a nation especially chosen by God. Instead they instilled bitterness. Bitterness breeds bitterness.
There is a glimmer of hope, however, to those, the minority, who remained faithful because the parents had remained faithful through it all. Verse 28 of chapter 44 tells of the blessings reserved for those who return to Jerusalem. God keeps His promises. That faithful group returned to Jerusalem, and although they faced enormous challenges financially, they rebuilt the city and the city walls. Ezra and Nehemiah record those strivings for restoration victories.
The point here is: parents beware. Your attitude whether positive or indifferent affects your children and it affects them far into their adult years. If you are teaching your children how to face the challenges of sinful living and come out victorious, you are preserving a remnant for righteousness. Good for you. If you are entertaining sinful lifestyles in word and deed, shame on you.