This is the first in a mini-series on adversity and the good that comes from it.
“Then he called . . . and said to them,
“Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel,
to whom you sent me to present your petition before Him:
“‘If you will still remain in this *land,
then I will build you and not pull [you] down,
and I will plant you and not pluck [you] up.
For I relent concerning the disaster that I have brought upon you.
Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid;
do not be afraid of him,’ says the LORD, ‘for I [am] with you,
to save you and deliver you from his hand. And I will show you mercy,
that he may have mercy on you and cause you to return to your own land.'”
~ Jeremiah 42: 8-12 ~
I was listening to a pastor share on Jeremiah 42 and the Israelites’ desperate situation. They were the remnant left after the Babylonians had taken most of the people of Jerusalem into captivity. They were fleeing to Egypt because they feared the Babylonians’ brutal reprisal for the murder of the governor Nebuchadnezzar had placed over them. They had stopped at a place called *Chimham (“longing”), which is near Bethlehem, and were waiting to hear, from Jeremiah, what God wanted them to do.
Jeremiah told them God’s desire was to be merciful toward them; to surround them, to protect them, and to provide for them. God promised to care for them if they stayed. He was going to show Himself strong on their behalf, in front of their enemies, but they did not give Him the opportunity.
Fear kept them from listening to what God said, therefore, they did not listen to nor obey Him. Their minds were firm — flee to Egypt to dwell in safety and peace, without war, famine, or pestilence.
Sadly, the people died in Egypt, just as God had foretold in Jeremiah 42: 16-17.
We are not all that different from the Israelites regarding adversity. Many times God places us in situations that are adverse to test, to teach, to strengthen, to build faith, to encourage, to make Himself known to us and to others, and to show Himself strong on our behalf.
We do, however, differ from the Israelites of long ago in one aspect, Jesus Christ. Our response to adversity should be different from that of the Israelites and those who do not know Jesus, but many times it is the same and we veer from God’s will for our lives.
Sometimes, we are in God’s will and the situation is still overwhelming; our response to it is key. Please join me tomorrow for the next part of “Adversity is Good?”