Learning from Example

When I read Jeremiah telling the King exactly what to do to keep Jerusalem from being destroyed by the Babylonians, I wanted to yell "Just do it already!"

King Zedekiah defied what God said through Jeremiah and in the end, he lost his family, his eyes, and lived the remainder of his life in prison (Jeremiah 39). As I read this, I thought to myself, “The king had a prophet of God speaking to him and he still did what he wanted to do. How can that be?” But then I remember, wait, I have God’s words too, right there in my Bible, and still I turn and do my own thing.

 

In my quiet time lately, I’ve been reading the book of Jeremiah. He was a prophet to the people of Judah, called to warn them of God’s coming wrath for their sin. As I’ve read it, I’ve found myself wanting to do what my kids do while watching a game on TV: yell at the players, telling them what they should be doing.

When I read Jeremiah telling the King exactly what to do to keep Jerusalem from being destroyed by the Babylonians, I wanted to yell “Just do it already!”

“Thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If you will surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand” (Jeremiah 38:17-18).

Instead, King Zedekiah defied what God said through Jeremiah and in the end, he lost his family, his eyes, and lived the remainder of his life in prison (Jeremiah 39).

As I read this, I thought to myself, “The king had a prophet of God speaking to him and he still did what he wanted to do. How can that be?” But then I remember, wait, I have God’s words too, right there in my Bible, and still I turn and do my own thing.

I’ve had the same thoughts whenever I read the account of the Israelite’s leaving Egypt and wandering in the desert. I think, “How could they not believe God would be with them? They saw his power in the plagues, they saw him part the sea and defeat their enemies, and then they question whether he will give them water to drink or food to eat?”

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