Friday, July 10, 2015

A Crash Course in How not to Respond to God

Poor Israelites. You can't help but feel bad for them. Not because they went into Babylonian captivity around the time of the events we will talk about today, but because that which they did to force God to send them there will always be a crash course in how not to live when met with God's grace.

Today, we examine a few things that happened after the Babylonians came into Jerusalem. The remnant are left of the Israelites staying in Israel. And then they stop ignoring the prophet Jeremiah for just a little bit. I guess they figured that his preaching of the impending captivity didn't seem so far-fetched anymore.

So they come to him, and ask him to beseech the Lord on their behalf. Finally, they are willing to serve the LORD! After all this time, they are prepared to make sacrifices. See what they ask Jeremiah in Jeremiah 42:1-6,
"Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near, And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the Lord thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:) That the Lord thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do. Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the Lord your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, that whatsoever thing the Lord shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep nothing back from you Then they said to Jeremiah, The Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the Lord thy God shall send thee to us 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."

I bet you're not surprised to learn that they don't actually obey the voice of the Lord. They want to head to Egypt, but the Lord tells Jeremiah that they shouldn't go to Egypt because they will die there, but the Lord would protect them if they remained in Jerusalem.

So, naturally, the Israelites would say that Jeremiah who hadn't steered them wrong yet, was obviously making this up and didn't actually hear any of this from the Lord. Yeah, that seems really smart.

So because the direction seemed outrageous, the Israelites rationalized that it wasn't from God. Just ridiculous. Well, the laugh is on them. The Lord obviously was telling the truth and they die in Egypt.

Let's try not to be messed up with the ridiculousness of a command that we refuse to accept that it is a command from the Lord. There will always be commands that seem ridiculous, but Isaiah 55:8-9 proclaims,
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

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