(Today's post by Adam Cooper)
Have you ever gone through the process of preparing for something important? You work for days, weeks, maybe years to make sure that everything is just right and that you have the proper tools and mindset to accomplish what you have before you. You were prepared. Or so you thought.
Remembering that time, I want to ask another question: have you ever been ready to move, prepared to DO, and then it seems like the armies of Satan are launched against you and your plan unravels furiously.
If you are a believer you may write this off as God’s will; you may say that your will and His will were not aligned and therefore He allowed your plan to fail. If you are a non-believer you may just look at this as bad luck; the stars were not aligned, or bad karma is punishing you for prior mistakes.
In Jeremiah 46 the Egyptians are armed to the teeth and prepared for battle. The Egyptians were feared warriors because of their chariots and their sheer numbers, but here we see them running in fear from the armies of Nebuchadnezzar. The will of the Jews, to use the Egyptians to free them from the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar’s oppression, was not in line with God’s will and we see here that the Egyptians failed because of that.
After Jeremiah tells of the destruction of the Egyptian armies he tells of the destruction of the Philistines. God is using Nebuchadnezzar to bring judgment upon those who have persecuted His people for centuries.
There are a couple of points I draw out of these two chapters:
First, God’s will is sovereign and ultimate in all things! We often attempt to accomplish our will and continue to beat our heads against the brick wall of defeat only to find out that if we had only listened to God we would have succeeded in what HE wanted us to do.
Second, God can use anyone to ensure that His will is carried out. God uses the pagan nation of Babylon to carry out His will by carrying the Jews away to their exile. He uses them again to thwart their plans to throw off the oppression of the one God has chosen to implement His will. Verses 6 and 7 in chapter 47, “6 ” 'Ah, sword of the LORD,' [ you cry,] 'how long till you rest? Return to your scabbard; cease and be still.' 7 But how can it rest when the LORD has commanded it, when he has ordered it to attack Ashkelon and the coast?” (NIV).
The Jews turned to themselves for an answer to their plight. They thought they could free themselves from the oppression that they found themselves in. If they had only turned to God, something the exile originally was supposed to accomplish, things would probably have been different. The thing that always seems to puzzle people is this: God knows everything that will happen BUT HE STILL GIVES US A CHANCE!
The Pavlovian response in dogs reminds me of our lives with God. If you set a bowl of food in front of a dog the dog is going to eat it. If you correct the dog every time it goes for the food you hope that eventually the dog will do something different, like not go for the food. With us we are continually tempted by the evil one. And every time we succumb to those temptations we are corrected, convicted, by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Eventually you would think we would do something different, like turn to God for guidance and wisdom.
My prayer for each reader today is that they don’t eat the food! Don’t succumb to the temptations to do things OUR way but instead wait on God. Pray, Pray, Pray. Then when God is ready you will be alert to His commands.