Self-Willed 

Jeremiah 43:4
“So Johanan the son of Kareah, all the captains of the forces, and all the people would not obey the voice of the Lord, to remain in the land of Judah.”

After the fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar’s forces, the inhabitants of Judah began to look to Egypt as a place of refuge. Jeremiah warned them that fleeing to Pharaoh would result in further death and destruction. The same people who refused to listen when the prophet told them to willingly go to Babylon, are the people who are now fleeing to Egypt. On the one hand, the Word of God told them to go, on the other, it told them to stay. In both cases they chose to disobey. It is not the commands of God that are the problem, but the will of men. Disobedience is always driven by self-will.

Scripture is filled with examples of people choosing to place their will above the will of God. We find Jacob wanting his brothers things, so he lies, cheats, swindles and steals to get it. We read of the multitude of Israel erecting false gods, looking for a leader who will lead them back to Israel, and refusing to enter the promised land. We recall men like Samson who continued to pursue the lust of his flesh to his own demise, or Saul who initially refused to accept the position of king and later refused to let it go. The details may vary, but the one constant in every case of disobedience is placing self-will above the will of God. We often do this because we are driven by fear, misunderstanding, or a lack of trust.

The inhabitants of Judah could not process how staying in Jerusalem and submitting themselves under Babylonian rule could ever be a good idea. They had seen Nebuchadnezzar’s forces come multiple times over a period of 15 years, taking waves of people as prisoners of war. What they failed to realize was the cause of the fall in the first place; their unwillingness to submit to the authority of God and His word. They were developing a pattern of living however they wanted, then blaming God for the outcome. As time unfolds, the command of God will make perfect sense. It would not be long before Pharaoh and his forces were defeated and those who allied themselves with Egypt became the enemies of Babylon.

Don’t allow your inability to understand the ways of God limit you from being willing to do what His word says.

Pastor Jim

 

Looking Ahead

1 Chronicles 28:8
“Now therefore, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, be careful to seek out all the commandments of the Lord your God, that you may possess this good land, and leave it as an inheritance for your children after you forever.”

David lists two very important reasons, even motivators, for keeping the commands of God. First, he states by doing so, they would posses the land. Second, they would have something to leave behind for the next generation. These same principles should motivate each of us to live according to the Word of God.

The land of Israel was an integral part of the promise of God. Declaring they would possess the good land, was a way of saying they would experience the life God intended for them. Jesus referred to abundant life as the possession of every one of His followers (John 10:10b). This life is found when a person receives Christ, and walks according to the Word of God. Instead of making decisions that will bring immediate gratification, we should be seeking the ways of God, and making decisions based on His promises.

Realizing the effect on the generations that follow us, is another great motivator for walking with the Lord. Too many decisions are made in life without considering the long term consequences. Marriages end because things have become difficult; not realizing others are watching and our decisions effect everyone around us, especially our children. Laws are passed that give a generation freedom to behave in immoral ways. These decisions will have a long term, devastating effect upon the generations to come. They not only weaken the nation and put us under divine judgment, but they also confuse young people, causing them to grow up with baggage that will make the rest of life difficult to navigate.

We would all do well to take the advice of David and seek the commandments of God.

Pastor Jim