Gedaliah’s last supper
Jeremiah 41: His ten men jumped to their feet and knocked Gedaliah down and killed him.
You’d think that people would be weary of the bloodshed; that they’d consider themselves fortunate to now be on the back side of the Babylonian storm. However, it isn’t that way. Ishmael is a member of the royal family who escaped deportation and now he has his eye on the throne. The Babylonian-appointed governor, Gedaliah, welcomes those who had fled the siege of Jerusalem, apparently thinking the best of everyone. However, in doing so, he brings the traitor Ishmael right into his fold. It’s not that he isn’t warned about Ishmael, in fact, Johanan wants to do away with him right off, knowing he’ll destabilize the fragile state of Judah. Gedaliah is having none of that, in fact, he invites Ishmael and his men to come to, what turns out to be Gedaliah’s last meal. As I read about Gedaliah’s short tenure as governor of Judah I’m reminded of the instructions of Jesus to his disciples to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” In this passage, we have the shrewd Johanan who knows Ishmael means nothing but trouble. His solution is to knock him off. On the other hand we have the innocent Gedaliah who makes no provision for his own protection and pays for his wide-eyed innocence with his life. We Christians are supposed take the best from both of these men. We need to know the score, to be shrewd in how we go about living our lives. At the same time, we’re to do no intentional harm. I don’t have to scheme to do away with my enemies, but I don’t have to hand them my wallet either.
Take Away: As the people of the Lord we’re to use graceful and merciful common sense.
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