Friday, February 3, 2012

God's Plan...My Plan

Why would anyone ask for God’s direction and then reject the answer God gives? This is question I have been thinking about after reading Jeremiah 42:1-22 and 43: 1-13.

Because of their spiritual adultery, their refusal to repent and turn back to Lord, Judah will now experience God’s judgment and spend the next seventy years exiled in Babylon.

Our plan
Some of the leaders and tribes of Judah hatched another plan to save themselves. What if they aligned their interests with Egypt to their south? Conditions were good in Egypt; they could settle there out of the reach of the advancing Babylonians and still sustain their lifestyle. The plan looked good on paper but God was not in the plan.

The leaders came to Jeremiah, asking him to pray that they would know God’s will (even though their minds were already made up!). God’s will was already crystal clear. You know something is wrong when people come asking that God’s clear will be made clearer!

God's Plan
Jeremiah told them, “Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, declares the LORD, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand. I will grant you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and let you remain in your own land. Jeremiah 42:11-12

But this was not what they wanted to hear. They wanted God to confirm their plans. This is a dangerous thing to do. Expecting God to agree with your plans is to place limits on the wisdom of God. God needs our help; so let’s tell God what to do.

Full disclosure: I have done this, much to my own loss. I devise a plan or decision, fully aware of what God has said, but hoping and scheming God will bless my plans and make an exception. Solomon reminds us: Many are the plans in the mind of a person, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

 Rejecting God's Plan
God rejected their plans and they abused the Messenger: “You are telling a lie. The LORD our God did not send you to say, ‘Do not go to Egypt to live there,’… So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces and all the people did not obey the voice of the LORD, to remain in the land of Judah. Jeremiah 43:2-4

Why did they behave this way? Let me suggest a few reasons:
  • Fear instead of faith
  • Religious pretension instead of genuine devotion to God
  • Stubbornness instead of a repentant heart
  • Reliance on self instead of reliance on God
  • Personal ease instead of the glory of God
 The rich young ruler did the same thing: What must I do to inherit eternal life (Mark 10:17)? Jesus gave him the answer and he walked away. Did he really want eternal life? How sad when we try to make God fit our own experience instead of letting God shape us, as the potter shapes the clay.