In God We Trust?
“The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will punish Amon, the god of Thebes, and all the other gods of Egypt. I will punish its rulers and Pharaoh, too, and all who trust in him. I will hand them over to those who want them killed — to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his army. But afterward the land will recover from the ravages of war. I, the Lord, have spoken!'” – Jeremiah 46:25-26 NLT
These chapters contain oracles against the nations, in which God reveals what He is going to do to the various nations that existed during the time that Jeremiah prophesied. These are not necessarily statements regarding their punishment because of their mistreatment of Judah. In fact, we’re not really told why these nations are being destroyed, other than for their pride. But the oracles seem to be reminders to the people of Judah not to make alliances with these nations in an attempt to stop the coming destruction predicted by God. During the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, there was a strong pro-Egyptian party in Judah that was pressing the king to make an alliance with Egypt in order to resist the advances of the Babylonians. God seems to be telling Judah that these plans would be useless. He had told King Jehoiakim to surrender to the Babylonians and not try to resist them. Any attempts to do so would not end well. And any attempts to form alliances with other nations would prove disastrous. These oracles are reminders that any plans we attempt to make that are contrary to the plans of God are doomed to failure.
Resisting God’s will is never a bright idea. It will never end well. And yet, how often are we tempted to “make alliances” with the world in an attempt to forestall or simply ignore what God has told us to do? This world and its resources are always unreliable replacements for obedience to God. Anything that you and I turn to other than God, in an attempt to find peace, comfort, security, salvation, or protection will always fail us. Sometimes God has to physically remove those things from our lives to prove to us just how unreliable they really are. Finances are not inherently wrong or evil, but if I put all my trust and security in how much money I have in the bank or how well my investments are doing, I am allowing those things to replace my trust in God. They can become my source of hope and help. I can spend more time obsessing over my financial stability than I do my God.
God reminded His people that they were not to be afraid. In spite of all the predictions about coming destruction, He was going to be with them and protect them. Things were going to look bad, but God was still good. He promises, “But do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel. For I will bring you home again from distant lands, and your children will return from their exile. Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet, and no one will terrorize them. Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, for I am with you. I will completely destroy the nations to which I have exiled you, but I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you, but with justice; I cannot let you go unpunished” (Jeremiah 46:27-28 NLT). God was with them. He had a reason for everything that He was doing. They just needed to trust Him. Turning to Egypt was not the answer. Replacing their trust in God with trust in someone or something else was not a wise alternative. It never is.
Father, it is amazing how easy it is to turn to something other than You for help and hope. I can do it without even realizing it is happening. When I become fearful I can find myself scheming and planning for ways to come up with a solution. But I know I need to turn to You instead. Help me trust You more. Open my eyes so that I might see the “Egypts” in my life. Don’t let me make alliances with this world. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men