I’ve been reading through the book of Jeremiah and I never fail to be amazed by chapters 42-43. Just as Jeremiah had been prophesying, Judah was taken captive by Babylon. A leader was chosen for the remnant that was left in Judah but soon afterwards there was an insurrection. The guilty parties were killed but the Jewish remnant was now afraid of retaliation from Babylon. They planned to seek refuge in Egypt but before leaving they approached Jeremiah, asking him to inquire of the Lord on their behalf. And they told Jeremiah this:
Jeremiah 42:6 Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.
A few days later the Lord answered and told them NOT to go to Egypt, but to remain in the land and He would bless them there. But the truth is, they had already made up their minds as to what they wanted to do and they had hoped God would have the same idea. Well, He didn’t. And so all that talk about obeying Him whether it was pleasing or displeasing to them – turns out it was just words. They wanted what was pleasing to them more than they wanted God’s best for them. How strange that those would be two different things, but often they are.
There are times when the plan of God seems contrary to everything that we hoped for, when it seems displeasing to us, or perhaps even dangerous. Usually the problem lies in our lack of faith…our inability to believe that God knows what’s best for us better than we do. Oh how much faith we have in our finite minds and our own decision making skills which have often led us down a wrong, and sometimes damaging, path. To trust God in the details of life just seems so…hard.
Sooner or later, and hopefully sooner, we must realize that “it will be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God”. Can we believe that obedience to the One who loves us most will always lead us to a place we are delighted to be?