The Bible Speaks
Thus says the Lord, “Do not deceive yourselves saying, ‘The Chaldeans (Babylonians) will surely go away from us,’ for they will not go.” Jeremiah 37:9
In the final years before the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and took the people captive, the Egyptians came up against the Babylonian army and engaged her troops, thus drawing them away from their siege of Jerusalem. Many in the city, the king and some prophets included, believed they would be spared the wrath of their warring adversary. They hoped Egypt would defeat them or wear them down and they would be weary of war and cease attacking Israel. Jeremiah, the true prophet of the Lord, tells them it will not happen. He goes on in the next verse to say that even if all the Babylonian army had left were wounded men, the holy city would still be destroyed. Because of their sins, and refusal to repent, they were under the judgment of God. The conflict was not simply the circumstances of warring with a formidable adversary. Historical events have HEAVENLY CAUSES. God was behind it as He is behind and before all the events of human history.
Some think that God is like “Father Time,” watching the unfolding of human history as an observer. Others think He is like “Mother Nature,” who started it all, created natural laws and then restrained Himself from any further involvement. Such views of God are completely false for the word of God says, “He declares the end from the beginning; (He) acts and who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:13 & 46:10) He is supremely interested in every action and word of man. He is involved in every detail of human events and, though He restrains justice due to His great mercy and patience, orders those events according to His divine will.
Every one of us has a free-will. We can choose good or evil, right or wrong, obedience or rebellion. However, our free-will operates within the confines of God’s greater will and plan for all mankind. Jeremiah told the king not to “deceive himself.” We so easily convince ourselves that we are in control of our own destiny. The king of Judah thought they could save the land if they defeated their enemies, but their enemy was not an army of foreign soldiers from the north — it was God Himself! He was moving the king of Babylon to attack and He was holding back the king of Egypt from assisting Jerusalem. He was intricately involved in the affairs of men as He always was and always will be. We are foolish to think otherwise. God orders the events of history to His ultimate end, yet He allows man a free-will to make his own choices. It is a mystery, but it is an established fact none the less.
The Bible speaks and urges us to find the will of God and align ourselves with it. Use your free-will and conform to the will of God. Don’t deceive yourself!
The Rev. Bruce MacInnes is pastor at Turner’s Chapel.