Thursday, July 12, 2012

Obedience - When It's Hard

For a moment, picture the following:
There is a mighty king, renowned for his power and victories. Wherever he fights, he comes away victorious, burning the enemy city and carrying away hundreds of captives. This king is now coming against your nation, and you are totally unable to defend yourself. There is only one place to go where you can escape this king’s invasion. Would it not be wise to flee?

The tribe of Judah faced this decision (Jeremiah 42-43). King Nebuchadnezzar was coming to fight against Judah and they were unable to defend themselves. The nation that they thought was the habitation of safety was Egypt. Before taking the journey down to Egypt, however, they came before Jeremiah the prophet and asked him to seek God (Jeremiah 42:1-3). They assured Jeremiah, “Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.” (Jeremiah 42:6)

God gave Judah two options: 1) Stay in the land and be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, or 2) Flee to Egypt for and be overtaken by the sword and famine. God’s will was for the remnant of Judah to stay and be delivered into the hand of Babylon.

The thought process of Judah was understandable. Egypt appeared to be quiet and free from fear, whereas staying in the land and living through King Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion was not an appealing alternative. They were faced with a choice: obey God and stay in the land, or disobey God and flee to Egypt. Which did they choose? They chose Egypt: “for they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: thus came they even to Tahpanhes.” (Jeremiah 43:7) What was the result? Jeremiah’s prophecy was fulfilled,
“And when [King Nebuchadnezzar] cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword. And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives: and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment; and he shall go forth from thence in peace. He shall break also the images of Beth-she'mesh, that is in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire.” (Jeremiah 43:11-13)

What can we learn from Judah’s example?

1) Obedience is not simply saying, “I will obey” (like Judah did in Jeremiah 24:6), but in actively obeying.
2) Obedience is not always easy – in fact, to obey might mean to let go of our way of thinking and follow God – even when things do not seem to make sense.
3) There is safety in obeying God. Had Judah obeyed God and stayed in their land, God would have saved them, delivered them, and guided King Nebuchadnezzar to have mercy on them (see Jeremiah 42:11-12).
4) God loves us too much to allow us to continually disobey Him. He will bring correction if we willfully disobey Him (see Jeremiah 46:28).

Sometimes we face tough choices like the tribe of Judah did. Will we take the easy route and disobey God’s commands, or will we follow Him, no matter what the cost?




I have greatly enjoyed sharing "Thoughtful Thursdays" with you each week, but for the time being, I will have to lull my weekly posting. I will still share articles, but not as frequently. :) Thank you for all of your input.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow - thank you for this, Amanda! May God help us to be obedient, to listen to His voice.

With love,
Patience

Amanda said...

Thanks for your comment, Patience!!! I still struggle in learning how to completely obey and am thankful for the things that God is teaching me! I am glad that He used my few words to encourage you.
~Amanda

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