“But if you say, ‘We will not remain in this land,’ disobeying the voice of the Lord your God and saying, ‘No, we will go to the land of Egypt, where we shall not see war or hear the sound of the trumpet or be hungry for bread, and we will dwell there; then hear the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: If you set your faces to enter Egypt and go to live there, then the sword that you fear shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine of which you are afraid shall follow close after you to Egypt, and there you shall die.” Jeremiah 42:13-16
When challenges flow strongly into the day, are you “in,” or “out?” Too often, I’m out.
In the setting above, King Nebuchadnezzar was about to overtake Judah, and God was promising to preserve and prosper the soon-to-be-overtaken nation in their own land. But, they would need to submit to His leadership and remain there. He knew they would want to cut and run to Egypt, seeking what they thought would be safety there. They would want to be in peace without the sounds or threat of war, without the worry of daily needs pressing deeply upon them. In the middle of real trouble, they would seek to create their own ways and their own solutions instead of looking to and living in daily dependence on God in the middle of the unfamiliar challenge. They would want to trust their own, limited assessment of the facts and craft a way of ease and isolation. He warned them not to do it: in Egypt, they would be taken over by all they thought to flee from under Nebuchadnezzar at home.
They would want, “out.”
Many times in the middle of trouble or a challenge, instead of buckling down and persevering, I simply say, “I’m out,” and I bail. When things get hot, I want to run for cover and avoid the challenge. I don’t want to speak the truth to others when it is hard. I don’t want to hear the truth when I need it. I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to walk with a light ONLY to my path. I don’t want to walk by faith alone: I want to know. In those moments, my ways and my understanding, the road out to Egypt, seem so much more familiar and reasonable than working through or completely facing the hard work at hand.
At those times, Egypt looks pretty good, and I’m out.
But that way, my way, really isn’t the way: Obedience is the way. Following is the way. Enduring is the way. Trusting is the way. Gratitude is the way.
Staying in obedience is the way.
I am learning…can say from experience, and the passage above confirms confirms it: God sustains all who obey Him, and there is power and life in that.
Matthew Henry says this:
“Whatever loss or suffering we may fear from obedience, is provided against in God’s word; and he will protect and deliver all who trust in him and serve him. It is folly to quit our place, especially to quit a holy land, because we meet with trouble in it.”
God wants me to obey Him and in that obedience, to see and know more of His power, provision and protection. He wants me to be whole-heartedly “all in” on the way of life He is creating for me and for my family, and it’s best.
He wants me to stop seeking Egypt and remain in the way of life.
How about you?
“Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be.” Deuteronomy 33:25