41:1-42:6 – Terrible things were happening! Things were going from bad to worse. ‘What next?’ – The people were wondering where it would all end. What are we to do when everything seems to be getting totally out of control? There is one thing we must never forget. It is the most important thing of all. We must ‘pray to the Lord our God’. We must ask Him to ‘show us the way we should go’. He will ‘show us the thing that we should do’ (42:2-3). It’s time to stop complaining and start praying. ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!… Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer!… Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer!’ (Mission Praise, 746).
42:7-43:7 – ‘Do not go to Egypt’ (19). We may never set foot in the country known as ‘Egypt’ – but the spirit of ‘Egypt’ may be in our hearts: ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him…?’ (Exodus 5:2). ‘Egypt’ is an attitude of the heart. It is an attitude of rebellion against God. We must say ‘No’ to ‘Egypt’. We must say ‘No’ to the spirit of rebellion against God. For God’s people, ‘Egypt’ was a place of slavery, a place from which they needed to be set free by God (Exodus 2:23-25; 3:7-10). Each of us must choose how we will live. We can remain in the place of slavery – ‘slaves of sin’ – , or we can be ‘obedient from the heart’, stepping out from that place into the place of freedom, ‘the new life of the Spirit’ – ‘`the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death’ (Romans 6:17-18; 7:6; 8:2).
43:8-44:14 – ‘The Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah’ (43:8). The Lord speaks His Word to those who are prepared to make time for listening to Him. Come to God’s Word, praying that it will be ‘a lamp to your feet and a light to your path’. Come with the prayer, ‘Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Word’. See that you ‘live according to His Word’: ‘I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You’ (Psalm 119:105,18,9,11). Pray that God will ‘speak’ to you. ‘Listen’ to what He says to you (1 Samuel 3:10). ‘Say to them, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says…”’ (43:10). Don’t keep God’s Word to yourself. Share His Word. We are not to listen to God without also speaking for Him. We must remember that we cannot really speak for Him unless we are also listening to Him.
44:15-45:5 – ‘Egypt’ was to be a place of punishment. To those who remain in the the place of rebellion, God says, ‘I will punish you in this place’. This is His Word of warning. We don’t need to remain in the place of rebellion and punishment. We can ‘return’ to ‘Judah’, the place of obedience and blessing (28-29). This is not about places we will find on a map of the world. It’s a call to look into the secret places of our hearts. We must ask God to search our hearts. What will He find when He looks into our hearts? Will He find rebellion? Will He find obedience? God wants us to leave the place of rebellion and punishment. He wants us to return to the place of obedience and blessing. ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart!… See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!’ (Psalm 139:23-24).