08/21 Follow Directions

Date: Tuesday August 21, 2012
Today’s Chapters: Jeremiah 40-42
Message Title: Follow Directions
Hello My Friend,

It can be hard to trust God through very difficult circumstances, but no matter what we are going through,
we must fix our eyes upon Him for directions and we must open our hearts to follow those directions, no matter where He tells us to go. “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” -Mark 8:34-36.
When God called Jeremiah to speak to the people of Judah about the judgment that they were about to face I imagine that he had no idea how difficult it would be to get them to listen to him. Perhaps he might have even thought that it would take a while to happen himself, but it was happening and he was right in the middle of it all. Now, he is sitting in a prison cell, maybe even wondering how he got there when he was just doing what God told him to do. Things were about to change when the captain of the guard found him among the other prisoners. He set Jeremiah free, but before he let him go he had something to say to him.
And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place. Now the LORD hath brought it, and done according as he hath said: because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you. And now, behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which were upon thine hand. If it seem good unto thee to come with me into Babylon, come; and I will look well unto thee: but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear: behold, all the land is before thee: whither it seemeth good and convenient for thee to go, thither go. Now while he was not yet gone back, he said, Go back also to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon hath made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people: or go wheresoever it seemeth convenient unto thee to go. So the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a reward, and let him go.” – Jeremiah 40:2-5.
The captain was well aware of the prophecies told by Jeremiah, and that God used them to place judgment upon the people for their sins. I imagine he was also aware of the prophecies foretelling God’s judgment placed upon them as well, but he was quick to glory over the Jews misfortunes. Many people know of God and even have read His Word, but are content to live the lives they live without Him. Sooner or later, they too will have to face God for the sins they have committed, even the devil himself will have to face Christ for judgment. Only those who have received Christ will be saved from that judgment. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” – James 2:10-13,19.
God sent Jeremiah to Gedaliah, a honest, trustworthy man, whom Nebuchadnezzar placed as governor over the people left in Judah. However, no sooner than Jeremiah got there things did not go so well for Gedaliah. A man named Ishmael, who thought he was next in line of the throne before Nebuchadnezzar took charge, did not take that news too well and killed Gedaliah. “Then arose Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and the ten men that were with him, and smote Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan with the sword, and slew him, whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land. Ishmael also slew all the Jews that were with him, even with Gedaliah, at Mizpah, and the Chaldeans that were found there, and the men of war. And it came to pass the second day after he had slain Gedaliah, and no man knew it, But when Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were with him, heard of all the evil that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had done, Then they took all the men, and went to fight with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and found him by the great waters that are in Gibeon. And they departed, and dwelt in the habitation of Chimham, which is by Bethlehem, to go to enter into Egypt,” – Jeremiah 41:2-4,11,12,17.
After the death of Gedaliah, the leaders called Jeremiah to seek God for a message from Him. “Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near, And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:) That the LORD thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do. Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the LORD your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, that whatsoever thing the LORD shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep nothing back from you.” – Jeremiah 42:1-4.
The people are telling Jeremiah that they want God to give them direction for their lives and their families, but these are the same people who did not listen to him when he warned them before the fall of Jerusalem. God is quick and willing to accept any person who comes to Him with a sincere heart, no matter what wrong they have done in the past. Although these people lived in sin and rejected God at one time God was willing to help them. Ten days after Johanan and the people went before Jeremiah God answered them. “If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you. Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand. And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land. But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the LORD your God, Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die.” – Jeremiah 42:10-13,16.
God has mercy on all who seek Him to be saved, but they must seek Him believing that they will be saved. Anyone seeking salvation with any doubts that Jesus alone is their salvation then they will not be saved from judgment. “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” – Romans 3:22-24,26.
Today’s Prayer: God, Because of Your amazing grace we are able to say no to ungodliness and yes to righteousness, no to lasciviousness and yes to self-control, no to the lust of the flesh and yes to the Spirit. We want to align our desires with Yours, rather than trying to align Your truths with our desires. Lord, transform me day by day to be more like Your Son, help me to be able to discern the truths from the lies and to live in obedience to Your instruction, no matter how strange it may seem. You always know what is best for me and I love You for that. In Jesus’ name. Amen.   

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