Friday, October 12

A lesson from Jeremiah

I've been reading through the book of Jeremiah, in the Bible. It's a long book filled with judgment...or so I thought for my whole life. But reading through it, I have found that it contains so much more. I could share so many tidbits with you, and maybe one day I'll share more, but today I'll just share one little passage, from Jeremiah 21:8-10:

"You shall also say to this people, 'Thus says the Lord, "Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. He who dwells in this city will die by the sword and by famine and by pestilence; but he who goes out and falls away to the Chaldeans (Babylonians) who are besieging you will live, and he will have his own life as booty. For I have set My face against this city for harm and not for good," declares the Lord.'"

When I read this passage, I was blown away by the implications of what it says. If they want to live, they must leave the "safety" of the city walls and walk into guaranteed captivity of the Babylonians. The walls of Jerusalem gave the illusion of safety and yet the Lord declares that if they stay there, they will certainly die.

My immediate next thought was of myself and the church, in general. I think it has become normal for us to want security, comfort and safety (whether or not that is okay is another issue for another day). Very few would seek instability, trials, or suffering. And yet, if God were to call us out of the safe area into a life of guaranteed trials, would we go? Would I go?

The story that follows is exactly what is promised in that passage. This declaration was given to the King who chose to stay behind his fortified city walls and ultimately the city was destroyed and the King was killed. But, while it is not stated in the book of Jeremiah, we do know that some people heard the words that Jeremiah spoke and obeyed. They chose to leave the city walls, go into captivity and lived...we have stories of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Mordecai, Esther, Ezra and Nehemiah.

Walking into a life of trials would definitely be a hard decision to make but this passage (as well as the fulfillment of this passage, as just discussed) reminds me that following God is ALWAYS worthwhile. Captivity and trials does not signify that God is not present or that God has abandoned His people...even then He is present and using people for His glory (read Daniel, Esther, or Nehemiah for confirmation). So if you are facing this hard decision, be bold and confident that God is in control and that God is good, even in the midst of pain.

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