Ok, so I know that missed last weeks but I truly did not mean to! Honestly, I had planned to sit down and write after church because something that we had studied during Sunday School really spoke to me. But I think at that moment I was still trying to digest it all and make sense of the thoughts in my head! Needless to say, that did not happen But I think I am finally ready to share them with you. So please bear with me since this might get a little rambley! Sorry if it does.
And they went and stayed at Geruth Chimham near Bethlehem, intending to go to Egypt because of the Chaldeans. For they were afraid of them, because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land. Jeremiah 41:17-18
So I little background here. Johanan and his group freed some captives from Ishmael who then killed Gedaliah. Johanan and his group then became afraid of retaliation because Gedaliah had been appointed by the king of Babylon. So they quickly made plans to travel into Egypt to try to escape from the Chaldeans. But in the middle of the plans they had already made, they decided they better go and ask Jeremiah what the Lord wanted them to do.
Then all the commanders of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest, came near and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Let our plea for mercy come before you, and pray to the LORD your God for us, for all this remnant—because we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us— that the LORD your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.” Jeremiah 42:1-3
So the first thing that really struck me about this passage that we were studying is how after they had made plans and started to follow through on those plans, they decided that they needed to see if this is what God wanted them to do. How many times in my life have I made plans, started to carry out those plans and then said “please bless this father and show me if it is your will?” I don’t go to God seeking his will for my life, instead I go to Him with what I want to be His will for my life and ask him to make it so. I am not trusting Him enough to wait, instead I have to plan. And this is where I get into a lot of trouble, because I am a planner. I don’t really like the unplanned or spontaneous things. Just ask my husband. I must have a plan and then a contingency plan if that doesn’t work right. And then sometimes I even have to have ANOTHER backup plan, just in case! When I do this to God, how much am I limiting Him? How many extra blessings and gifts do I miss out on because I have to plan for any and every little thing that can happen. And how much glory am I taking away from him? These were all questions running through my head as we were going over this lesson. But there is more!
Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the LORD your God sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.” Jeremiah 42:5-6
So not only did they go to Jeremiah and ask him to seek out what God wanted them to do on their behalf. They said that no matter if it is good or bad we will obey the Lord! Wow, that is a powerful statement. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the Lord our God. How many times have I told God that no matter what He asks of me I will do it, good or bad. No matter what He gives to me I will accept it, good or bad. There have been times in my life when I have prayed and prayed and prayed for something, prayed for the outcome I wanted and then when it hasn’t happened been disappointed and even mad about it. That isn’t what I have told God when I prayed. I prayed that His will be done and that glory be brought to him. Could glory be brought to Him if it looked like I did it all on my own? Like my planning had made all the difference? I guess it could, but how much more glory comes to Him when the outcome is something that I couldn’t have planned for or controlled or done on my own? So much more!
So I don’t paste almost the entire rest of the chapter here, I am going to sum it up for. Jeremiah seeks the Lord on their behalf and after 10 days (yes 10 days!) he gets an answer from God. He tells them that God does not want them going to Egypt and that if they remain where they are, He will build them up and not tear them down. However if they go to Egypt, they will be overtaken by the sword they fear, they will face famine, and none of them will survive. I think another important thing to notice in this passage is that it takes Jeremiah 10 days to hear from the Lord. 10 days! Wow, how long do I wait for the Lord to answer my prayers? Sometimes, I don’t even wait a day before proceeding on with what I want. I really need to take time to seek God’s face and wait for him to answer.
Their answer in response to God’s word that really gets me.
Johanan the son of Kareah and all the insolent men said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie. The LORD our God did not send you to say, ‘Do not go to Egypt to live there,’ but Baruch the son of Neriah has set you against us, to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they may kill us or take us into exile in Babylon.” So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces and all the people did not obey the voice of the LORD, to remain in the land of Judah. But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to live in the land of Judah from all the nations to which they had been driven— the men, the women, the children, the princesses, and every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan; also Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah. And they came into the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the LORD. Jeremiah 43:2-7
They called the prophet of God a LIAR! Wow! And they did want they wanted to do and planned to do from the very start! How many times do I do the same exact thing? Maybe not calling the wise counsel of the Godly liars but disregarding them none the less! At the moment we were reading this passage, the cry of my heart was “oh God please forgive me!” I realized that there are many times that I plan and then half-heartedly pray or seek wise counsel, disregard what I hear God telling me through prayer or counsel and go right on ahead with my plans! How many half-hearted prayers of “your will be done” have I prayed lately? Not really wanting or caring if what I wanted was in God’s will for my life? I can honestly say too many to count! And that is sad. Not only is it sad but it is sin on my part, the sin of pride– thinking that I know better or more than the God of this universe! Sin that shames me and sin that I had to confess to my Savior.
My prayer after this week of seeking out God and really meditating on this and other passages is that I will always, whole-heartedly seek God’s will for my life before I make any plans. And I need to wait on the Lord, knowing that He will answer and that His answer is the best. And I pray that you will do likewise if you aren’t already.
The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:25-26
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1