The Word for today:
Jeremiah 42, 43
When Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, most of the people were carried off to Babylon. The leaders of the few who were left asked Jeremiah to seek God's will for them:
"Please hear our petition and pray to the LORD your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left. Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do." (1)
So Jeremiah took their questions to God. After ten days God answered Jeremiah, saying that if they remained in Jerusalem, they'd be safe. But if they left the city to go to Egypt, they would die there:
"This is what the LORD says: 'If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down. Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands. However, if you say, 'No, we will go and live in Egypt,' then the sword you fear will overtake you there, and the famine you dread will follow you into Egypt, and there you will die." (2)
Despite the fact that all his prophecies concerning Babylon had come to pass, the disobedient leaders accused Jeremiah of lying. Ignoring the Word of the LORD which they'd asked Jeremiah to seek, they set out for Egypt.
In so doing, they went out of God's protection into His judgment, as all who are disobedient to His Word do.
When God's Word specifically warns us that there is trouble down a certain road, there is trouble down that road. We don't have to test the Word of God as if it were just a theory. God's Word has been right in it's every particular utterance. In fact, I have a million dollars for anyone who can point to one instance where the Word of God has proven untrue. I will get no takers.
What "road" has God told you to avoid? Maybe you're not on the road to Egypt, but are you on the road to adultery? or unforgiveness? or gossip and back-stabbing? Are you on the way to self-centeredness? Are you nearing neglect of the gift he has given you? Are you getting closer and closer to faithlessness?
If you're on one of those roads, the Word of God guarantees trouble ahead. I have another million dollars for anyone who has taken the road to Egypt, and encountered no trouble there.
I'm always technologically behind the cue ball, so it wasn't until a month ago (when a friend loaned us one) that I ever used a GPS. All the way to Florida, I was astonished at its accuracy. And I had a blast fiddling with all the different voices on the little gizmo.
As the miles piled up and started to make me a little loopy, I began thinking how great it would be if there were a spiritual GPS, and I said so to Shelley.
"You--the biggest Bible banger south of the North Pole--are actually wishing that God would provide a spiritual GPS?"
I caught her irony. Rolling down I-95, I began to wonder what the actual voices of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit sound like, and how neat it would be...
(1) Jeremiah 42:2-3; (2) excerpted from Jeremiah 42:7-16