I know that the book of Jeremiah is filled with a lot of less than positive news, but, this is a transformative part of the history of Israel.
There were three deportations that King Neb (Nebuchadrezzar) orchestrated from Judah and Jerusalem to Babylon. But, as we discovered yesterday there was a remnant of people left in Jerusalem. Following the destruction that took place in the cities and the land of the Jews, the remnant became restless. They asked Jeremiah to tell them what they should do next. In chapter 42 they asked the following of Jeremiah:
"May our petition come before you; pray to the Lord your God on our behalf,
on behalf of this entire remnant (for few of us remain out of the many, as you can see with your own eyes),
that the Lord your God may tell us the way we should walk and the thing we should do." vv. 2-3
Ten days later God answered Jeremiah with His response. Basically, God said for the remnant to stay in Jerusalem and live on their land and do their work and He will bless them. But, if you decide to follow your fears of King Neb and vacate off to Egypt...I will follow you there and you will face disaster and destruction. In fact, your destruction will be brought on the king of Egypt and all the residents in that land.
I am amazed when I see people seeking God's leadership in their lives...ask God for direction in their lives...and then decide to go the opposite of God's leading. Do you remember Jonah? Jonah was a godly man who came from a godly family. He wanted to do God's will. So, he asked God where He wanted him to go. God told him to go to Nineveh...the enemy to Israel...and preach the message God had for them. Jonah was to be like Jeremiah and deliver God's word to them. But, Jonah thought he knew better. He ran in the opposite direction and hooked up with godless people...the "riff raff" of the day and ended up without a home, without money, without food, and literally went from sleeping in the basement of a boat to the belly of a great big fish!
You know that if Jonah could have pushed rewind on his life that he would have taken God's leadership and gone God's way and not his way. It nearly cost him his life.
Why do people today continue down the same path? Why do they ask God to give them direction and then turn to their own ways? Maybe they go to church and hear God giving them direction, but, instead of following what they hear they get angry with the messenger. They look for another church. Or...maybe they've had enough and they quit church and as a consequence, they ignore God's call in their lives.
What's wrong with people?!?! Have they become spiritual wackos?!?! There are a lot of people who have started following God and seeking His advice who have fallen into Satan's trap and went in the opposite direction.
Now, back to the remnant who stayed in Jerusalem seeking God's will through the message of Jeremiah.
When Jeremiah reported God's answer to them...the people called Jeremiah a liar and decided to go to Egypt and participate in the worship of gods like their fathers had done that led to their demise originally! Jeremiah told them:
"For I have told you today, but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God in everything He has sent me to tell you.
Now, therefore, know for certain that by the sword, famine, and plague you will die in the place where you desired to go to live..." 42:21-22
You can see that the results of rebelling against God's word lead to disaster. Serious disaster. It is imperative that we follow God's plan for our lives. Why do people ask for God's word to be told to them and then reject God's message? Isn't it obvious who is in control of our future? Are people so blinded by their own sin that they are oblivious to the acts of God in the past? Simple answer...YES, THEY ARE!!!
Today God is dealing with the same kinds of sin and rebellion from HIS PEOPLE. I know what we see and hear and experience now is going to one day come to an end. Just like the Jews...God's chosen people...He will not continue to put up with our sin and rejection.
There are some blatant acts of rebellion that are coming from people globally. Much of that rejection is coming from people in our own nation. I assure you that God will not allow this to continue. What God allowed King Neb to do in Israel He will do in America.
But, today, there is a remnant that God is blessing. Many of the ones who read these emails are a strategic part of God's remnant today. This remnant is the group of people who are truly God's people. They seek God for His direction. They realize that God is in control. They seek His counsel. They read His Word for instruction. They worship God daily. They know that He is the Way...The Truth...and the Life!
Like Jeremiah, they know that God will be victorious. God's people know today that God has history in His possession. History is "His Story".
The remnant of God's people today knows how to discern right from wrong. These people know the difference between man's will and God's will.
Jeremiah is called "The Weeping Prophet." Jeremiah knew God's will for his people. He knew God's plan for his people. He was God's prophet for the day and delivered the messages God had for the people of his nation. One thing that comes through in the life of Jeremiah is that he was a true patriot of Israel. It was his home. He desired the best for them. But...when God revealed to him His plan for his nation, Jeremiah became weary. Many times he cried. It broke his heart that the land that God had given to them was going to be destroyed because they lived in rebellion to God...from the priests to the politicians! From the temple to the castle!
The decisions of the leadership of our nation today are heartbreaking. They are NOT depending on the wisdom and direction of God.
Our job is to stay faithful to God's will. We are not citizens of this world. We are passing through on our way to the home God has prepared for us. BUT...while passing through we are to serve God and share His Gospel so we can take as many people as we can to heaven with us.
Herein is the reason we are more effective together...serving together...bundling our resources together...and like Jeremiah, we keep telling God's story.
May God Bless You!
TO GOD BE ALL GLORY!