Have you ever had a song playing over and over in your head? It’s never the entire song, either, usually a few lines. Well, I just heard The Clash singing, “Should I stay or should I go now?”, while reading Jeremiah 42 this morning. I think Johanan and his people might have been singing a different version, “Should we listen to God, or should we not?, Should we stay or should we go, now?”
The Prophet, Jeremiah, had just told them the word of God was to stay put, don’t fear the king, I’ve got your back. (Jer. 42:10). If you go to Egypt, the famine will follow you and you will die. (Jer. 42:16). Now, you might be wondering why they were fearing the King of Babylon in the first place. Well, here is a quick little story for you, better than any murder mystery on Lifetime.
You see there was this guy, Ishmael (different from Moby Dick character), back in Jeremiah 41 who decided it was a good idea to kill Gedaliah, the Governor King Nebuchadnezzar had appointed. Bad idea of the day! To make a long story short, Johanan with his army goes to avenge the death of the governor and other crimes Ishmael has committed. When they meet up with Ishmael all the people he took captive run to Johanan for safety and Ishmael gets away. No! I hate when that happens.
Decision time. Jo and his buddies were now afraid of the Babylonians, that they might retaliate against them, thanks to Ishmael now roaming free. What to do, stay as God commanded or flee to Egypt?
In our lives today we can get ourselves into predicaments as Johanan. We don’t like how our present circumstances are panning out and we think that a “geographical cure” will solve all of our problems. I am not talking about here when God opens doors for opportunities that may move us to new cities. I am talking about packing it all up just because we don’t like where we are and we haven’t either:
- Asked God at all for His direction,
- We have asked for God’s direction, but are too impatient to wait around for the answer.
- We asked for God’s direction, waited for the answer, and did our own thing anyway.
As I am writing this blog, I am studying God’s word as a member of a fabulous Bible Study through Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study (check them out on my home page!!) titled, “Seamless, Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story”, by author and speaker Angie Smith. (see a link to her site on my home page as well). In week two she discusses Abraham and in Genesis 12:4 reminds us of his obedience to God even though he didn’t fully know all the plans or what the outcomes would be when he “went as the Lord had told him!” (Genesis 12:4)”
In Abraham’s case God’s word was “go, trust me” (gen 4:12). In Johanna’s it was , “stay, trust me” (Jeremiah 42:11). So I ask, are we going to humble ourselves, trust God’s Word and be obedient like Abraham, or go our own way, like those who fled to Egypt. The outcome wasn’t too good for them, my friend.
I pray today that we will seek your word when we are not sure if we are to stay or go in our lives. I pray that we will humble ourselves to Your Word that is the only truth and be obedient when the message is delivered to our hearts. In your precious name, Amen.