In my quiet time this morning, I was reading Jeremiah 38-39. There is a very interesting story in chapter 38, and I hope that what God showed me as I read will speak to you as well today.
In chapter 38, King Zedekiah’s officials throw Jeremiah into a cistern (well) because he is delivering God’s Word to Jerusalem and it isn’t what they want to hear. However one of the court officials, Ebed-melech, goes to the king and informs him of what has been done to Jeremiah. The king orders him to take 30 men with him to go and pull Jeremiah up out of the well.
When God speaks to us, He tells us what we need to hear and not always what we want to hear. Such was the case here. Jeremiah was delivering God’s message to tell the people of Jerusalem that if they surrender to the Babylonians, the city will survive and they will live. The high ranking officials knew that surrender would mean a great loss of power for them, so they devise a plan to silence Jeremiah by throwing him into a cistern with no food and water and leaving him there to die.
When God tells us something we don’t want to hear, we often have the same type of reaction. If the message comes to us from a 3rd party, we attempt to discredit that person. We tell ourselves that if God wanted me to know that He would have showed me Himself. Ironically we never stop to think that maybe He’s been trying to show us and we haven’t been paying attention.
This common attitude of our human nature is what makes things like the prosperity gospel so appealing to the masses. Who doesn’t want to believe that God wants His children to be rich? Wouldn’t it be awesome to not have to worry about money?
That isn’t what God says. Here in Jeremiah 38, God warns Jerusalem that surrender, while painful, is the right choice for them. Surrender is always painful. We want to be in control. We want to call the shots. Allowing someone else to call the shots in our lives doesn’t seem right. Allowing God to call the shots is equally as difficult. He knows what is best for us. The best for us isn’t always the easiest or most pleasant for us.
Are hard times staring you down? Is life spinning out of control faster than you can even keep track of? Maybe God is trying to give you the hard message that it’s time to take your hands off the wheel and surrender to him. Try it. I can’t promise that it will be easy, but I do know that it will be the right thing for you.