“The Lord gave a message to Jeremiah after Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had released him at Ramah. He had found Jeremiah bound in chains among all the other captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being sent to exile in Babylon.


The captain of the guard called for Jeremiah and said, “The Lord your God has brought this disaster on this land, just as he said he would. For these people have sinned against the Lord and disobeyed him. That is why it happened. But I am going to take off your chains and let you go. If you want to come with me to Babylon, you are welcome. I will see that you are well cared for. But if you don’t want to come, you may stay here. The whole land is before you—go wherever you like. If you decide to stay, then return to Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan. He has been appointed governor of Judah by the king of Babylon. Stay there with the people he rules. But it’s up to you; go wherever you like.”


Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, gave Jeremiah some food and money and let him go.  So Jeremiah returned to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah, and he lived in Judah with the few who were still left in the land.” Jeremiah 40: 1-6 (NLT)



Jeremiah had predicted the exile of the Israelites over and over to the people. He had been imprisoned because of his message, but he relentlessly obeyed God and was faithful to deliver His word as a prophet of God. When the Babylonians came to seize Jerusalem and take all the people back to Babylon, the commander stopped with Jeremiah. The people surrounding him would have been surprised. Jeremiah was a prisoner, in chains, and seemingly had no authority. The Israelites had heard Jeremiah’s message over and over about the looming judgment God was sending. The commander gave Jeremiah a clear choice: he could stay or he could go. He could stay with the few poor people left behind in a desolate land or he could go to Babylon and be taken care of for the rest of his life. This crossroad decision didn’t just have to do with his pleasure; it was intricately woven together with his calling. Interestingly, God used Nebuzaradan to bless Jeremiah’s decision through financial provision.


In our lives, we experience crossroad decisions where God gives us the choice of whether we want to stay or go. It may be a result of the circumstances in our lives or a desire placed in our hearts. It’s really important that these decisions are not just based on our opinion. Decisions that can thrust us into a new direction require us to make sure that it is in alignment with what God has previously directed us to do. Jeremiah did not sacrifice his calling as a prophet of God to go and relax in Babylon. He was committed to what God had asked him to do. We also have to be conscious of what God has asked us to do and make decisions in alignment. Sometimes God simply leaves the decision up to us. If you are facing a decision in your life where you are contemplating if you should stay or if you should go, remember the words God has previously spoken to you, heed the words of Godly council, and walk in a choice of obedience.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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About Hona Amer

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