““But if you say, ‘We will not dwell in this land,’ disobeying the voice of the Lord your God, saying, ‘No, but we will go to the land of Egypt where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor be hungry for bread, and there we will dwell’— Then hear now the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah! Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘If you wholly set your faces to enter Egypt, and go to dwell there, then it shall be that the sword which you feared shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt; the famine of which you were afraid shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there you shall die.”
Jeremiah 42:13-16 NKJV
Shelter in place
I have discovered that God is One who will complete His work regardless of whatever changes we try and make to avoid the pain. I remember some of the difficult jobs I have had and how the Lord used them to refine me, to humble me, that I be a more useful servant. I recall leaving the jobs where I had demonstrated ineptitude, as I received due criticism for my failings. I moved on, hoping for a better circumstance. God brought the troubles with me, for He had a work He was doing, and He was relentless.
Finally I came to the understanding of God’s sovereignty, and I learned to stand and receive what the Lord had for me, because I knew that it was to His glory.
Reading Jeremiah chapter 42, I had this passage as a great reminder for me. Some who remained in Jerusalem, desired to go to Egypt to escape potential trouble, even though God had assured them that they would be safe. They had grown weary and were frightened after all they had witnessed. They had given into the sin of unbelief, and had lost faith in God. They had also opted to go back to a place of bondage, from which the Lord had freed them. Egypt in the Bible, is a symbol for sin.
This is a wonderful type and shadow for the New Testament believer, as many of us have a struggle, a place of warfare, where we are buffeted by a past temptation, and we are deceived into thinking that we can ease the tension by giving in a little to the sin that previously ensured us. We are like the those who want to go back to Egypt, hoping to find some relief.
“As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.”
Proverbs 26:11 NKJV
In these latter days, it is not time to revisit the sins of old, as the Lord is soon going to visit judgement on Egypt, in a spiritual sense, just as He did literally for those who sought to escape.
“And this shall be a sign to you,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will punish you in this place, that you may know that My words will surely stand against you for adversity.’ “Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will give Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies and into the hand of those who seek his life, as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his enemy who sought his life.’ ””
Jeremiah 44:29-30 NKJV
God is sovereign. There is no escaping His hand, and running back to sin will not spare you, but add bondage to the mix. In His sovereignty, God can do the impossible.
We have all heard of the struggles of the Christians in Afghanistan. There are some who have sought to escape, but there are many who have decided to shelter in place. In the short time of Taliban rule, miracles are being reported as Jesus is proclaiming His Almighty power in protecting those who trust in Him. The work in Afghanistan continues as the Gospel draws more and more people to salvation, even in hiding.
There is a reason that the church in Iran is the fastest growing church in the world, and that in Afghanistan is second and climbing fast. Ours is a religion bathed in blood: the blood of our Savior Jesus, the blood of Stephen, the blood of the disciples and now ours. It has received a divine watering, and is putting deep roots in the rich soil of persecution.
Brothers and sisters do not fear.
““And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.””
Luke 21:25-28 NKJV
Jesus is coming again!
Let us shelter in place, relying on our sovereign God who never changes. May we remember whose we are, who He is, and that He will complete His work come what may. Nothing can stand against a it. Nothing can separate us from His love.
Church could become a very unsafe place, but it is where we need to be. This speaks to me loudly, as I have opted to remain home since getting out of hospital. My body is most vulnerable and a bit of fear entered in to my soul. But I will return. Some may choose to stay away, hoping to be safe, but if it is God’s will that trouble find you, it will. Better to face that trouble in the house of the Lord.
In the darkest moments of life, be reminded that the Lord is in the midst of it. I can testify of His goodness, never ceasing, always present and there just when I need it.
Things on this planet are going to appear to spiral even more out of control, and threats against followers of Jesus will become common and applauded. But, friends, we are more than conquerors.
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:37-39 NKJV
Let us go and tell, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, telling our stories of what Jesus has done for us. Tell of our hopelessness, lost in sin, of our introduction to the Savior of the world, and the miracle that has happened in our very being.
In the darkness of the coming days, let us be light that leads others to the shelter found only in Jesus.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!