Devotional on Jeremiah

Some things are easier said than done
Jeremiah 42: I’m on your side, ready to save and deliver you from anything he might do.
Johanan and other Judean leaders know that the murder of Gedaliah is a very big deal. The Babylonian king is not known for his forgiving nature. Gedaliah was the person he left in charge and his murder will be seen as an uprising against his rule. There’s sure to be devastating punishment. Their solution is to prepare for exile by running in the opposite direction to Egypt, the other major power in the region. Johanan and others ask Jeremiah to pray for God’s direction in this, promising to do whatever the Lord says. However, the message from the Lord isn’t what they expect to hear. The Lord says to stay put and trust him. Again, this is totally unexpected and, from a human point of view, very unreasonable. They’ve already seen the wrath of the Babylonians. Thousands have been killed, multiplied thousands have been carried off into exile never to return, and devastation is all around them. For civic leaders to stick around, waiting for word of the governor’s murder to reach Babylonia is, in their eyes, an almost criminal inaction. Jeremiah says, “Just trust God and everything will be okay.” That’s one of those “easier said than done” statements. Happily, such extreme, life and death situations don’t come our way very often, if ever. For me to find applications in life I have to dial things back considerably. Still, there are times when we, too, are to stand still and trust God rather than take matters into our own hands. For instance, things down at the church may not be going well and several are jumping ship for the latest and greatest program down the road. We’re tempted to follow suit, but when we pray, we simply can’t feel free to do it. Others say, “Come on in, the water’s fine!” God seems to say, “Stay right where you are, I’ll take care of you and your family.” As a pastor it always concerns me when church people from other congregations show up at our door on a Sunday morning. I’m not saying there’s never a time to go, but I don’t want to be someone’s “Egypt” when the Lord wants them to stay put and be a part of the turning of the tide right where they are.
Take Away: If the Lord says “stay put” the only thing to do is, well, to stay put!

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