RETURNING to ‘EGYPT’ is NOT an ‘OPTION’ for God’s PEOPLE
August 21 Bible Reading: Jeremiah Chapters 43-45
"So Johanan the son of Kareah, all the captains of the forces, and all the people would not obey the voice of the Lord, to remain in the land of Judah. But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the captains of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to dwell in the land of Judah, from all nations where they had been driven--so they went to the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the Lord. And they went as far as Tahpanhes." (Jer. 43:4-5, 7)
When we study the history of the people of Israel, the first time Egypt was introduced in the scriptures was when Joseph was sold by his own brothers to Ishmaelite traders, who took him down to Egypt along with their merchandise for sale (Gen. 37:26-28; 39:1). Even though Joseph started well in Potiphar’s home as an overseer, he was soon accused falsely by Potiphar’s wife of improper conduct (Gen. 39:11-18) and soon landed in prison (v. 20). But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy (v. 21), and by divine intervention he was elevated to be the overseer of Egypt (Gen. 41:39-41). He brought down his father, his siblings and their families to live with him in Egypt.
However, it was not God’s plan for His own people to continue living in Egypt. So, God made life intolerable for His people by hardening the heart of Pharaoh against them. At the same time, God chose Moses, who was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians (see Acts 7:22), to deliver His people out of Egypt with the objective that they would never return back to Egypt under any circumstances!
During the wilderness journey, some Israelites attempted to return back to Egypt (see Num. 14:1-4), but God prevented them as it was not His plan. After the Israelites lived in Canaan for many years, King Solomon made a treaty with the Egyptian Pharaoh, married his daughter and brought her to the City of David (1 Kings 3:1), and even had horses imported from Egypt (1 Kings 10:28). This was the beginning of King Solomon’s downfall. Returning to Egypt has never been an option for God’s people!
With relation to the above passage above, God specifically instructed to the remnant of Judah not to go back to Egypt. "The Lord has said concerning you, O remnant of Judah, 'Do not go to Egypt!' Know certainly that I have admonished you this day." (Jer. 42:19) In fact, God pronounced death sentence through prophet Jeremiah to the people returning to Egypt: "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Behold, I will send and bring Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant…when he comes, he shall strike the land of Egypt and deliver to death those appointed for death, and to captivity those appointed for captivity, and to the sword those appointed for the sword.'" (Jer. 43:10-11)
In the spiritual context, Egypt can be equated to the world around us and all the attraction that is enticing us all the time. This is what God’s Word speaks to us about our connection to the world: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17)