Tag: Save



Jeremiah 42:11  “Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid; be not afraid of him, says the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand.”

Jeremiah 42-43 tells us an amazing story. Judah has now been conquered by Babylon.  The Babylonian army has taken the strongest, the brightest and most productive men and women into slavery and left only the sickly, elderly and very small children to fend for themselves in the land.  However, the King of Babylon appointed a Jewish governor to rule the land of while under occupation.  The King of Babylon appointed a man named Gedaliah Ben Achikam to be a puppet leader for Judah.  When many who had sought refuge in surrounding countries such as Ammon, Moab and Edom heard of this appointment, they returned to the land of Israel and enjoyed some sense of freedom and normal life attending to the vineyards given to them by the King of Babylon.  In fact Judah was well on its way to recovery with the Babylonian garrison even providing protection to this remnant from any hostile enemies.  A sort of peace was formed between the Babylonian King and the remnant and the people were allowed to carry on a normal life.
For whatever reason the King of Ammon was hostile or envious of the remnant of Judah and he collaborated with a Jew named Ishmael Ben Netaniah who was a descendant of the royal line of King Zedekiah the last king of Judah.  Ishmael wanted to be king of Judah and plotted with the King of Ammon to overthrow the Babylonian rulers in Judah and establish himself as king.  The first step in this process was to assassinate Gedaliah and his followers as well as the Babylonians who supported Gedaliah.  The attempt was made and Gedaliah, his followers as well as many Babylonians were assassinated.  To this day the Jews declare what is known as Tzom Gedaliah (Fast of Gedaliah) to be observed the day after Rosh Hashanah to commemorate this event.
 The rest of the coup attempt quickly failed with Ishmael, tail tucked behind him, fleeing to Ammon for safety.  The people of Judah were left to take the blame and pay for this attempted coup and were terrified that the King of Babylon would avenge the death of the Gedaliah and the Babylonians.  So in Jeremiah 42 we learn that the people were packing their bags and preparing to flee to Egypt for safety.  They came to Jeremiah and asked him to seek a word from God as to what they should do.  The general feeling was that they should all flee to Egypt to seek protection from the vengeance of the King of Babylon. It was now 900 years since the Exodus from Egypt and the people felt they would find a haven in Egypt.  Which, historically they did but is would prove to be short lived as the Pharaoh Hophra was himself assassinated and the King of Babylon used that opportunity to invade and conqueror Egypt, including the Jewish refugees who faced the terrors of a Babylonian invasion a second time. 

Jeremiah sought a word from God on what they should do and it took ten days to get an answer. No commentator has been able to explain why God made them wait ten days for answer, the general feeling is that God allowed this time for the immediate panic to subside so they would hear His message.  One thing I have experienced is that sometimes I get into a messy situation and I declare to God: “I need an answer right now.”  Yet an answer does not come right away.  Sometimes you have to wait.
When the answer came the people found it hard to believe.  Basically Jeremiah said: “Hey, everything’s cool, you will live in peace, you will prosper in the land, don’t go to Egypt and depend upon the arm of the flesh, for God will save you and He willdeliver you out of the hand of the King of Babylon.
God will do two things, He will save and deliver.   It seems these two words are the same, but they are not.  The first thing to note is that both words have a preposition (to or for) in front of them and both are followed by a third person plural separable pronoun.  So God is saying: “I am going to be a salvation for you and a deliverer for you.”  These are the two things that the Jews sought from Egypt.  They wanted Egypt, the arm of the flesh, to be a salvation for them and a deliverer for them.  History shows that by going to Egypt, these Jews began to worship the Egyptian gods and fell into paganism forgetting their first love God Jehovah.

This word save is hosi’a from the root word yasha which means to help, set free or deliver.  This word traditionally means a setting free, a helping or delivering in a physical and a spiritual sense. When used in conjunction with the next verb hatsil(deliver) from the root word natsalhatsil (deliver) in this context would mean to strip away, snatch, or to plunder.   Both verbs are in a Hiphal form, so God would set into motion events which would not only save His people from the hand of the King of Babylon who would seek vengeance, but He would also plunder him for the sake of His people, He would see to it that the people would again prosper under the King of Babylon.
Daniel, who was one taken into captivity by the King of Babylon, knew this promise first hand. He was not only saved from the King’s wrath to destroy all the wise men, but he and his three friends actually enjoyed the prosperity and influence of the King after Daniel interpreted the King’s dream.   Note in Jeremiah 43:10 God calls this pagan Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, His servant.   The one they most feared was merely God’s servant.
What do you fear most today? A boss would can fire you or lay you off, an illness, a broken relationship?  All these in the hands of the Almighty God are merely his servants.  The word for my servant here in the Hebrew here is ‘avadi which is one who is a servant without realizing it.  God is promising that those things you fear the most are merely His servants and He will not only save you from them, but will plunder or use them to make you prosperous physically and/or spiritually once again.

Ah, but when you’ve got an angry king (problem, boss, illness, or broken relationship) breathing down you neck, you can be like the remnant and look toward Egypt (the arm of the flesh), something you can see, something that in your own understanding to save you and prosper you rather than just trust God.

{Word Study} Take, Seize “Lakach”

I Samuel 4:3: “And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us today before the Philistines?  Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.”

Take, Seize – Hebrew: lakach – Take, fetch, to seize control or take possession of something that is not yours.
In the Hebrew the nation of Israel is asking: “Why did God defeat us? ” Israel was shocked that God had let them down.   I am surprised too, the only sin that is mentioned is with the house of Eli and his corrupt sons running the worship services.  Is God punishing the whole nation because of the sins of the religious leadership? Their sin was not in their acts but their hearts. Perhaps the next move by Israel is a clue as to the heart of the nation which shows they were no better than their leadership.

The elders said: “Let us take the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us.”  The word for “take” or “fetch” is “lakach” which is taking possession or control of something that is not rightfully yours.   They then added the word: “elinu” which is rendered “unto us.”  Using this form suggest a play on words for “our god.”    In other words they were saying they would seize control of the ark of the covenant to be a god for them.  Then they said “that it might save us.”  Some translations will say that “he might save us.”  Indeed there is no neuter pronoun in Hebrew, but the syntax does suggest that the elders are saying “it” the ark of the covenant and not “He” or God will save us.

Think about it. The most sacred object in the land, the object where the very presence of God rested became an idol, a god.  They knew enough to know that the ark could only be carried by a priest and they either bribed or forced the sons of Eli to carry the ark into battle.  However, they did not know enough to know that it really didn’t matter for apparently the presence of God was not going to manifest itself at this time on the ark. The midrash suggests that the nation of Israel was to consult the ark.  Apparently, they did not need to carry the ark into battle, only consult with God as to what to do in battle.  In other words, the elders had the right idea, but the wrong approach.

In my own life when I enter into battle and get defeated and crawl back licking my wounds, I begin to ask: “God, why did you let me down?”   Then just like Israel I go and seize the Ark.   I start to carry my Bible around, I make sure I read it every day, I play only religious music and spiritual songs.  I begin praising and worshipping because I have heard that brings the power and presence of God.  I listen to testimonies of others who were victorious and try to follow their steps to victory.  I am then ready to go back into battled.  I now have the Ark with me and I  am certain that “it” will save me, yet I end up suffering even a worst defeat.  So what went wrong?  All my good religious practices were “elinu” for me, or a god to me.   They were used to bribe God but not to consult God.

Sometimes the enemy can use even the most sacred thing in our lives to deflect us away from the heart of God. That little cross we carry in our pocket or around our necks become objects or good luck charms to ward off evil things rather than serving as a simple reminder of the one we love.