I’ve been reading through Jeremiah these past few months, using Moody’s Today in the Word’s September 2012 issue. Great bible study material! I save all the issues and pray over which one God would have me study. In the book of Jeremiah, God has gripped me with the practicalities of walking with God, something God’s own people had difficulty with in the Old Testament days.
Today I read chapters 40-44 and found myself shocked with the situation the Israelites faced at that point. The Babylonians had conquered Jerusalem and God had repeatedly spoken through Jeremiah to the people that they should stay and handle the difficulties and included the promise that He would restore them once they turned back to Him. Jonanon and the people just got up and left Jerusalem and were about to retreat to Egypt when they stopped to ask Jeremiah to seek God’s will in their travel. Jeremiah, not used to having them listen to God’s prophecy, made sure they really wanted to know and follow God’s purpose. The Israelites promised to obey whatever God’s response would be (even though He had already made this known to them previously.) When Jeremiah finally returned days later with the God’s response to stay, the people and leaders called him a liar and took him unwillingly with them towards Egypt. Really? I couldn’t believe the stupidity!
Then God spoke into my heart during my time of asking for forgiveness. Didn’t I do exactly what the Israelites had done in Jeremiah, going on my daily trip (work, errands, grandchildren…) all the while expecting Him to go where I – me, myself and I – wanted to go? Jeremiah’s story is everyone’s story – either being carried away on someone else’s headstrong journey or being headstrong myself on my own journey. Do I even bother to ask God, before or in the midst of my journey, whether I should stay or go?
There are so many times God wants us to stay in very difficult circumstances, because He gets us through them and brings us closer to Him. I’ve been through many such situations and have stayed – through difficult times with marriage, parenting, family life and more. Often He asks me to stay, despite it all, promising that if I stay and seek Him that He will see me through it and bring me oh, so close to Him (carrying me if need be.) If only I would seek Him and His travels rather than my own Egypt-bound journey, God would be sovereign and I would follow, content and at peace knowing I was where He needed me.