Ishmael son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, who was of royal blood and had been one of the king’s officers, came with ten men to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. While they were eating together there, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him got up and struck down Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword, killing the one whom the king of Babylon had appointed as governor over the land. Jeremiah 41:1-2
Ishmael behaved in a devious manner, killing the governor that Babylon had appointed, in the hope of being king. Furthermore assassinating him while he was eating was a huge betrayal. In eastern culture eating together was a sign of friendship. Then the next day Ishmael feigns grief to lure more people to their deaths (verses 6-7).
Constable comments in his Commentary on Jeremiah. “Everything about Ishmael disgraced the name of David his forebear who had resisted every impulse to ‘wade through slaughter to a throne’ and had awaited God’s time and his people’s will … even the well-meaning may be tempted to get things done, especially in corporate projects. That is, by guile rather than openness; by pressure rather than patience and prayer; in a word, by carnal weapons rather than spiritual, and towards ends of one’s own choosing.”
While we don’t resort to murder, we’re tempted to use guile and pressure to enforce our agenda. We might even justify our actions especially if we believe a certain course of action is God’s will. Yet even when our plans line up with God’s will, we often need to wait for his timing and confirmation from others.
How easy it is to push through with our agendas rather than waiting for God to reveal his ways.