“They said, Please pray to the Lord your God for us. As you can see, we are only a tiny remnant compared to what we were before. Pray that the Lord your God will show us what to do and where to go…Whether we like it or not, we will obey the Lord our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us… And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the Lord your God any better now than you have in the past” (Jeremiah 42:2,3,6,21, NLT).
Following the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, King Nebuchadnezzar appointed a governor over Judah. The new governor encouraged the people of Judah who had fled to neighboring countries to return to Judah and farm the land.
Meanwhile, a small band of men led by a former member of the royal family of Judah conspired with the King of Ammon and murdered the Babylonian-appointed governor. The people who had returned to Judah feared reprisal from the king of Babylon because of the murder of the governor, so they asked Jeremiah the prophet what they should do: remain in Jerusalem or flee to Egypt for refuge.
Just like their ancestors, this group of Jews trusted in the Egyptians to protect them rather than God. These people eventually took refuge in Egypt against Jeremiah’s (and God’s) advice. They adopted the pagan religions of Egypt and so God’s judgment followed them to Egypt. A few years later the Babylonians invaded and subdued Egypt and its king and only a small remnant of the Jewish refugees in Egypt survived to return to Judah.
Have you ever asked God for His guidance in a big decision and your mind was already made up? Sure, you may not have admitted it to yourself at the time, but asking God for help was really a pretense, an attempt to justify doing what you had already decided to do.
The main problem with asking God for guidance is that He often requires us to wait and trust Him and we don’t like to wait.
Whatever it is we’re asking God about, we want it now; we want to make it happen. After all, doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible that God helps those who help themselves?
So what was God’s answer to these insincere people when they asked for His guidance? The prophet Jeremiah told them God’s plan: “Stay here in this land. If you do, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you. For I am sorry about all the punishment I have had to bring upon you. Do not fear the king of Babylon anymore, says the Lord. For I am with you and will save you and rescue you from his power.” (vs. 10-11).
That sounds like a fairly simple way to obey God–just stay put, just keep doing what you are doing no matter how bleak the surrounding circumstances may appear!
But staying put required this group of people to trust God to be their provider rather than taking things into their own hands.
We can miss some of God’s greatest blessings when we take things into our own hands instead of waiting for God. But, remember, God wants to save us, rescue us, and bless us.
So, maybe your current circumstances seem hopeless or maybe you just think it’s time for a change. But earnestly seek God and obey His guidance because He may want to bless you right where you are!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope..” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)
- Bloom Where You’re Planted (kellertxdad.com)