August 21 (Daily reading: Jeremiah 41-45, NIV) Our walk with God will lead us to make choices. Sometimes these choices put logical thinking up against what God seems to be saying to us. This is the situation in our reading today. From the perspective of those left in Judah after others were taken into exile, Jerusalem was a dangerous place. Ishmael had killed Gedaliah, the governor appointed by the king of Babylon. He had also killed some Babylonian soldiers. Johanan led a group to capture Ishmael. He got away, but Johanan was able to rescue many people that Ishmael had taken captive.
What followed is typical of human nature. Johanan, his officers, and those he had rescued were afraid of reprisals for Ishmael’s actions. They were “on their way to Egypt to escape the Babylonians” (41:17). After making the decision to flee, they sought help from Jeremiah: “Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do” (42:3). This is like the preacher who had been invited to become pastor of a larger church. He said to his wife, “You pack while I pray.” They proved that they had already made up their mind, because when God answered that they should stay in the land and not go to Egypt, Johanan and others said, “You are lying! The LORD our God has not sent you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt’” (43:2). They did not really want to know where they should go, since they had already made up their minds.
Notice they asked Jeremiah to pray to “the LORD YOUR God,” but when they did not get the answer they wanted, they said, “the LORD OUR God has not sent you.” Is He only OUR God when He tells us what we want to hear? When we find that His word is clear on an issue, it is not situational, and it is not negotiable!
– Al Gary
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