Focus Verse: Then Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him led away all the people of Mizpah who had survived, whom Johanan had recovered from Ishmael son of Nethaniah after Ishmael had assassinated Gedaliah son of Ahikam—the soldiers, women, children and court officials he had recovered from Gibeon. (16)
In the previous chapter (40), Johanan warned Gedaliah that Ishmael was out to assassinate him. Gedaliah did not listen to him, and as a result, he was killed. Ishmael also slaughtered several other people and took captive the ones who were left. When Johanan heard about the plight that these captives were in, he gathered his men and went to fight Ishmael in order to rescue them. He didn’t leave them to suffer just because they hadn’t listened to his warning the first time.
Focus Verse: Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God.” (6)
This should be our attitude toward the word of the Lord. What He tells us to do – whether we like it or not – we should do. Where He tells us to go – whether we agree with it or not – we should go. This was also Jesus’ attitude toward His Father. God wanted Him to go to Calvary, and Philippians 2:8 says that He was obedient unto death – even death on a cross! Today, Jesus the Christ is alive and well, sitting on the right hand of God in Heaven. If we want things to go well with us, we too will obey the Lord.
Focus Verse: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (11)
Augustine was spot on when he said, “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” There was no way that Abel saw he would be rewarded for bringing a better offering than his brother Cain, but he had faith to do so. Noah could not see the coming flood, but by faith he built an ark. Abraham and Sarah could not see how God would give them a son in their old age and from this one son, cause their descendants to become as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore; but by faith they believed His promises and made their home in the promised land.
We cannot see God, but by faith we believe that He exists. We cannot see Heaven, but by faith we look forward to the city whose architect and builder is God. We cannot see all the promises that God has made to us, but by faith we believe that we will receive each and every one of them. Only by faith is it possible for us to please God. Walk by faith, not by sight.