Famous last words, “I’ll do whatever you say, Lord.” How many times are promises made to the Father which are not kept? (Maybe we have been guilty of that ourselves from time to time). In an emotional moment, there is nothing we won’t do. Then the promise gets harder, and… you know how it is.
Well, that’s the way it is with Johanan and all the “proud men” who are left in Judah. (43:2) Afraid that they will suffer a fate similar to Gedaliah, these men plan to go to Egypt. However, the Word from God as spoken through Jeremiah is “Don’t do it. If you go, I can’t bless you.”
Do they listen? Of course not. These “proud men” are just like the “proud men” of any era. They think that they are too smart for God’s man.
So they go to Egypt and even take Jeremiah with them.
Our Father’s plan had been to leave in Judah a remnant to “keep the fires burning” for His land. They would be blessed and be forerunners for the return of His people several decades later. However, not listening to Him, they forfeit that blessing.
Egypt, like Judah, is to be ravaged by Babylon. Alas.
There are times in our walk with God when we think we know what we should do, but He has other plans. Sometimes those plans may seem illogical, but if we know for sure that He is leading us in a certain direction, we must go there. Only our Father knows the end from the beginning, and His way is always the best way.
We must listen to Him.
We come to the most important principle in the Word for a successful Christian life. We come to the principle of Faith.
We often think of sin as mistreatment of others, or of unholy living. And indeed those things are sin. Yet God considers the greatest sin to be doubting Him.
The children of Israel are our example. When the Lord reached into Egypt and dramatically delivered this nation, He displayed great signs and wonders. There was no question left that God was God and all-powerful. He showed His ability for all the people to see. (Just think about seeing a great sea part in the middle, with the water standing up on either side so that they could walk across on dry ground).
So the Israelites come to the border of the Promised Land, and they send spies to see what the land is like. One from each tribe goes into the land and looks around. All of them come back reporting that the land is magnificent. The produce is huge and it’s generally a terrific place.
However, there are some giants there, and that sways most of the spies. 10 of the 12 spies report that the giants are too big and that they feel like grasshoppers in their presence. There are only two brave, faithful men in the bunch. Joshua and Caleb report that there are indeed giants, but they know that the mighty God who delivered them out of Egypt will carry them into the Land of Promise.
The majority of spies influence the masses of people, and they cry all night – blaming the Lord for bringing them out of Egypt just to die in the wilderness. Shocking! Such disbelief! So the Lord refuses to take them in. They cannot enter in because of unbelief.
So it’s your turn. Do you believe God? I mean really believe Him? Do you believe for miracles in your life and the lives of those around you? Do you believe for healing? Your family delivered? Your needs met?
When we are walking in God’s will, there are blessings which are promised to us. That’s our Promised Land: the land of our promises from Him. Now there are giants there (demonic forces which try to keep us from receiving), but we can conquer them if we believe Him and His Word. The key is having faith in what He says.
One of the most provocative scriptures in the Bible is Hebrews 4:2. “For the gospel was preached to us as well as them, but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”
We have a part in what our God does for us. He has promised us lots, but we have to mix those promises with our faith. Only when we believe what God says, do we profit from what He says. In fact, when we don’t believe Him, we displease our Father greatly.
This is a principle which we would do well to meditate on again and again. I would suggest reading and re-reading these two chapters until we “get it.”
When we become people of faith in God, we will see Him work amazingly in our lives. So let’s go after it!
Our God can do anything in our lives when we put our trust in Him.