The Choice is Clear ... or Is It?

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 40:7-16; 41; 42; 43; 44; 51:64b

The Israelites requested Jeremiah to ask God for direction, and promised to obey everything the Lord said to do, "whether it is favorable or unfavorable" (42:6). Yet, when God's answer wasn't what they had hoped for, they called Jeremiah a liar and did what they wanted to anyway.

God made their options clear. They could experience God's presence, protection, compassion, restoration, and rebuilding if they stayed in Judah, or they could suffer reproach and death by the sword, famine and plague if they went to Egypt. Hmm. Tough choice! Yet, in their minds, they saw the choice as: death or torture by the murderous Babylonians if they stayed in Judah, versus prosperity and peace if they escaped to their friendly allies in Egypt. They had asked for God's direction, but when his answer differed from their plans and seemed to make no sense from their point of view, they were unwilling to believe and accept what he had to say. Once again, they rejected God. Once again, God shook his head in despair and asked, "Why bring such great disaster on yourselves...? Why provoke me to anger...?" (44:7-8).

The Israelites' response seems foolish, yet I have responded similarly when God's answers have fallen short of my hopes and expectations ...when his plans and purposes have escaped my understanding. I have found it hard to believe that the path which seems most difficult and fearful could lead to restoration and rebuilding, while the seemingly obvious path to peace and prosperity could actually lead to destruction. Instead of facing a hard situation in which I am promised God's presence, protection and compassion, I have rejected God's plan as too scary, too risky, or too painful. I have asked God, "Why?" All the while, God has been asking the same question of me: "Why?" "Why won't you trust me? ...Why won't you follow me? ...Why won't you love me?"

Lord, when your will for me leads me down fearful paths, help me to trust in you, realizing that my perspective is limited. Give me the courage to follow your will. Let me feel your presence and recognize your protection and compassion as I walk in your truths. When I don't see the good in what you are doing, help me to see the good in you. When I don't understand, help me to rest in the knowledge that you understand. Rebuild and restore me as I yield to your will.