The Lord has spoken to you, O remnant of Judah, “Do not go into Egypt!” — Jeremiah 42:19
It’s difficult to follow directions and obey instructions. Even with a pamphlet of instructions, we often ditch that and try to assemble a furniture or equipment on our own, only to find that we’ve left out a vital part to make the furniture stable or the equipment function smoothly.
It’s the same way with the Bible and us. We pray for God’s leading, His direction in our lives and when God does lead us to the right direction, we ditch His directions and proudly go our way. More often, we don’t even wait for our loving Father’s leading but fly away expecting that He would follow us.
I used to do that — to go on my merry way despite God’s warning — and sometimes, to my shame, I still do. I’ve found that in those instances, I’ve mentally made-up my mind on what action to take even before praying. And if God’s advise does not coincide with mine, then perhaps He missed out on a few facts. ‘Lord, it’s a higher paying job and the money would cover all our basic needs. No more debts!’ Or ‘It’s just so much better to migrate there. I could be more productive.’
We all have our valid excuse and most of it is because we are dissatisfied with our present circumstance and the new opportunity seems heaven-sent. The new window of opportunity would answer several immediate concerns and for someone, even God, to say otherwise is hard to accept.
But looks could be deceiving and not all presents tied in a beautiful, bright bow are God-sent. God warned Johanan and his followers not to go to Egypt (Jeremiah 42-43). God wanted His people to stay in ravaged, war-torn Judah. Defenseless with hardly any food and shelter, Judah was not the most logical place to live in. Prosperous, fortified Egypt seemed to be a safer, more comfortable place. Human logic says that Egypt is the better place. But God does not deal with logic; He deals with faith. God promised restoration, life, security and compassion to those who would stay in Judah (Jeremiah 42:10-12); and death to those who would go to Egypt (v. 15-17). He longed for the trust and obedience of His people. He wanted to shower them with compassion and let them experience His mighty work — if they would only have faith and follow Him.
Our present circumstance, our Judah, may be of trial, difficulty and need. But if the God Who Sees asks, warns, advises and directs us to stay and remain where we are, then it is for our own good. Nay, it is for our best. The temptation to go back to our comfort zone, our Egypt or former life, may be great and may seem to be the most logical solution to our problem. But God’s thoughts are far more deep and wider than we could ever imagine. He knows our circumstance, our heartaches, needs and dreams. And He promises restoration, life, security and compassion to those who would obey Him.
Johanan and his followers refused to trust God as they were too proud and stubborn. Are you going to remain proud and stubborn too? Are you going to settle for temporary, immediate relief or choose to believe the One who wants what is best for you? Are you going to humble yourself, trust and follow the One who loves you the most?