Jeremiah 42:1-3 All the army officers, led by Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, accompanied by all the people, small and great, came to Jeremiah the prophet and said, “We have a request. Please listen. Pray to your God for us, what’s left of us. You can see for yourself how few we are! Pray that your God will tell us the way we should go and what we should do.”
4Jeremiah the prophet said, “I hear your request. And I will pray to your God as you have asked. Whatever God says, I’ll pass on to you. I’ll tell you everything, holding nothing back.”
5-6They said to Jeremiah, “Let God be our witness, a true and faithful witness against us, if we don’t do everything that your God directs you to tell us. Whether we like it or not, we’ll do it. We’ll obey whatever our God tells us. Yes, count on us. We’ll do it.”
7-8Ten days later God’s Message came to Jeremiah. 9-12He then spoke: “This is the Message from God, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your prayer. He says, ‘If you are ready to stick it out in this land, I will build you up and not drag you down, I will plant you and not pull you up like a weed. I feel deep compassion on account of the doom I have visited on you. You don’t have to fear the king of Babylon. Your fears are for nothing. I’m on your side, ready to save and deliver you from anything he might do. I’ll pour mercy on you. What’s more, he will show you mercy! He’ll let you come back to your very own land.’
13-17″But do not say, ‘We’re not staying around this place,’ refusing to obey the command of your God and saying instead, ‘No! We’re off to Egypt, where things are peaceful—no wars, no attacking armies, plenty of food. We’re going to live there.’ If what’s left of Judah is headed down that road, then listen to God’s Message. This is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies says: ‘If you have determined to go to Egypt and make that your home, then the very wars you fear will catch up with you in Egypt and the starvation you dread will track you down in Egypt. You’ll die there! Every last one of you who is determined to go to Egypt and make it your home will either be killed, starve, or get sick and die. No survivors, not one! No one will escape the doom that I’ll bring upon you.’
The people found themselves in a situation that was not good and the had asked Jeremiah to pray and get some answers. Just get us some answers and we will do what ever God tells us to do. God heard the prayers of Jeremiah and he asnwered those prayers with some pretty specific advice. “Stick it out in this land, I will build you up.” God told them, you don’t have anything to worry about. I’m on your side and will save and deliver you. But you can’t go back to Egypt. Stay here in the midst of turmoil and I’ve got your back. Go to Egypt where things are peaceful and you will die there.
God gave some pretty specific instructions in this prayer. He didn’t beat around the bush, cut corners and leave anyone guessing as to what was meant. God wanted these people to stay where they were and depend upon Him. Yet they thought they knew better than God…especially when God’s Word was not what they wanted to hear. That is so often the case with humanity. We seek the guidance of God as long as God leads us in the direction we want to go. As long as everything is pleasant, we enjoy following and desire to follow God. Yet, when things go extremely bad (the times we need to depend on God the most) we want to handle them our own way; we want control of the situation. I believe some of this comes from our wanting to be in control, but I think more of it comes from a lack of trust that God will do what is best for us. Of course, we often times have a difference of opinion with God in what is best for ourselves and we often choose to do it our way.
In our relationship with God, we are going to find ourselves in situations where we have to trust in God and it’s probably not going to make sense to the rest of the world (it may not make sense to you). I can’t help but to think about Noah building this great big boat in the middle of the desert and the ridicule, torment, laughter and doubt that must have crept into his mind. Yet he trusted God, suffered through the laughter and continued building. Time and time again, there are instances in the Bible of people who have been put out there and all they had was their trust in God and God NEVER failed them.
Gracious and loving God. You have so much in store for our lives and so many adventures to take us on. Some will be hard and test our trust in you. Some will not make any sense and we will have an urge to do things our own way…the way that makes sense to us, usually the easist least painful way. But through those tough, hard times, we find ourselves being drawn closer to you. We find our relationship growing closer and stronger. So Lord, I ask that you help me resist the urge to do things my own way and to think that I know more than You. Help my trust to deepen in you. In Christ. Amen