BLIND TRUST in PEOPLE may have ‘GRAVE’ CONSEQUENCES
August 20 Bible Reading: Jeremiah Chapters 40-42
Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and said to him, "Do you certainly know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to murder you?" But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam did not believe them. Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah in Mizpah, saying, "Let me go, please, and I will kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he murder you, so that all the Jews who are gathered to you would be scattered, and the remnant in Judah perish?" But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, "You shall not do this thing, for you speak falsely concerning Ishmael." (Jer. 40:13-16)
Gedaliah was the son of the godly Ahikam (26:24; 2 Kings 22:12–14), son of Shaphan who was Josiah’s scribe (2 Kings 22:8). As the son of a family with a rich history of faithful participation in governmental service, Gedaliah may have had considerable experience that qualified him for the important post of being Babylon’s district governor. He was appointed governor of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem, until he was assassinated just after two months in office (25:22–26; 40:7–41:3).
The real tragedy was that Gedaliah’s assassination could have been avoided! Johanan had led a group of leaders to Gedaliah to warn him of a plot hatched by Ishmael and the Ammonite king to assassinate the governor. Johanan had even asked Gedaliah permission to kill Ishmael secretly as he feared reprisal from Babylon. Unfortunately, Gedaliah was far too trusting of Ishmael and so he rejected warnings concerning a plot to kill him (40:13–16). In the seventh month, just two months after the fall of Jerusalem, Gedaliah was assassinated. His tragic death, commemorated as a Jewish day of fasting, led to the flight of Jerusalem’s survivors to Egypt against the protests of Jeremiah (42:1–43:13).
Was Gedaliah too naïve and trusting? Yes, and we can see from the turn of events that blind trust in people may have grave consequences! Gedaliah should at least have taken precautions to protect his life as Ishmael was loyal to Zedekiah (41:1) and had rejected the rule of the governor. Our Lord Jesus Christ has exhorted us with these words: "be wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matt. 10:16).
Let us understand that to be naïve and blindly trust people is a sign of immaturity. Immature people are usually gullible and easy target of cheats and criminals (like Ishmael in this incident). However, when a person matures, one of the ways to recognize maturity is seeing how well the person can distinguish right from wrong and good from evil. "But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:14). Let us earnestly attempt to grow in maturity, even up to the stature of Jesus Christ!