"'If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I am grieved over the disaster I have inflicted on you. Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. Do not be afraid of him, declares the LORD, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands. I will show you compassion so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your land.' "However, if you say, 'We will not stay in this land,' and so disobey the LORD your God, and if you say, 'No, we will go and live in Egypt, where we will not see war or hear the trumpet or be hungry for bread,'
then hear the word of the LORD, O remnant of Judah. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'If you are determined to go to Egypt and you do go to settle there, then the sword you fear will overtake you there, and the famine you dread will follow you into Egypt, and there you will die. Indeed, all who are determined to go to Egypt to settle there will die by the sword, famine and plague; not one of them will survive or escape the disaster I will bring on them.' This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'As my anger and wrath have been poured out on those who lived in Jerusalem, so will my wrath be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. You will be an object of cursing and horror, of condemnation and reproach; you will never see this place again.'" Jeremiah 42:10-18 NIV
George, of Worthy News Ministries, wrote this devotional today. He referenced Jeremiah 42, specifically noting the verses underlined above....I've included the ones he left out of his actual 'quotation' because they spoke to me also today. Here's what George wrote:
"Perhaps this scripture just hit me harder when I read it, living here in Israel under the circumstances but I believe there is a word for all of us here. God has called each of us to something specific and He wants to plant us in a way that our roots can grow deep in Him and in that particular calling. He wants us to become solely dependent on His nourishment there, that we might grow to be strong, solid leaders with the capacity to serve and guide those around us who are in need where He's called us.
The Lord warns us about being double-minded. We're double-minded when become too busy to seek God's will for lives and the empowerment to fulfill it. We're double-minded when we allow our fear and anxiety to get in the way of us getting to and staying in that place to which He's called us. Let's not run from the Lord. He has so many blessings for those who seek Him and follow after Him whole-heartedly. Let's give our all to Him today and strive to be single minded in His calling upon our lives!"
George speaks wise words….but the sorrow in my heart isn't from the realization of being double-minded in the sense of fearing and being anxious for the direction He's enticing me to or staying put in the darkness with only the campfire of His truth to keep some light going……..its from the realization that where He wants me to go….where there is war, trumpet calls and hunger….is far from where I once was…and I fear the coming battles, because I am getting a taste of their costs…….everything I love, desire, cherish and hope for have to lie upon the offering table of the Lord's sacrifice….for I have nothing else to give.
This past week has been a precursor to things that this week I was not prepared for; a friendship that was deeper than most I have ever know, that has survived the throes of this world and its sorrows, ended last night in a spectacular explosion of irrationality and accusations as I stood upon this ground I've found, this faith that defies my attempts to replicate it and a belief that refuses to move. It wasn't the outcome I had expected nor the one I would've chose but I think that decision was made some time ago in our history and it's been on life-support ever since. They chose to go the way of Indian mysticism, Wicca and Self-awareness and now accuse me of being intolerant, male-dominant relationally and looking for a 'yes-sir' wife in any woman I meet 'since I found religion.' Totally against the lessons I learned, against the faith I know and the God-designed relational design for a marriage….but this is what I was accused of; without merit, because they have never once tried to read and understand the motivations of my faith.
Intolerance….have I not hear enough of that word this week and last. I have been jumping at sounds in the darkness, distracted by the imagination of my fear as to what I hear, only to be surprised from behind from the true attack…it lays me on my back because it hurts, these surprise collisions with alleged friends, supporters and fellow family members (in the body). Accusations of intolerance, unsuitability, making trouble, causing trouble….and being characteristically unfair and judgmental…. They've torn open old wounds and created fresh ones…….
All coming down to one thing: my faith.
The motivation for my friendships, relationships and direction.
The drive for my battering myself against the corporate wall of human invention that calls itself 'church.'
The desire to know the Truth, the source of its being and the reality of its obedience.
Not for my own vanity or glory….anyone who knows the story of Christ and the tenets of His followers will quickly point out that it isn't about us being right but about Him being right.
So I can stand in the darkness and say, "No, don't go here…..see this wound….feel this scar…..this is what lies that way. God's way is better and His designs for this are truer than what this way offers." I may not be a poster child for the 'right way' but I definitely can point out the wrong way to do things. That's my testimony.
No doubt the fallout from my friend's deflection will be worse than it appears right now as their 'friends' gather around them and alienate me as intolerant Christian, one who refuses to accept another viewpoint 'just because it differs from their own,' though they have not and will not ask me for clarification. It's the human condition, we think we know someone else and therefore 'lump' similarities together in judgment.
You know, one of 'those' people, who claim Truth that defies human logic that sets standard and refuses to surrender to the 'self-serving' ideal that all truth is subjective…who will tell you why they believe what they believe and then allow you to discuss yours even though it has more holes in it than Swiss cheese, who give you the grace and respect because you believe it and bank the wholeness of your being on a cultural religion, mystical religion, natural religion, scientific religion and human religion. Not so they can argue you down, but have a honest discussion about why they believe what they believe is the truth.
Because I accept there is something beyond human control, human influence and human authority and hence, not subjected to my understanding of Truth but exist outside of it, I am considered intolerant and unworthy of discussion before any evidence can be obtained. I am alienated in a world that doesn't want absolute truth because it knows humanity cannot be its author, only its subject.
Because I don't believe their religions are true because the governing motivations of them are nothing more than the typical self-protecting, self-serving humanity that we all are born with, called sin by the One who created each and every one of us. The lesson mankind has learned is to take some Truth and dress it up in the clothing of their made doctrine to confound those who would object to its tenets….well, look here….well, see we think this……and then throw discord in any dissention made…..
Because I have seen the damage and the deception that comes from confusing subjective truth with absolute truth from the events in my own life, in my relationships and love someone else enough to try and show them an alternative to their choice. Because I don't want that any should perish….and I know that many will refuse to hear the Truth because it isn't a pleasant thing to learn of wasted time, misguided dreams and dead ends.
I refuse to head back to Egypt……
I will stay in the land of God's promise and fear not the enemies surrounding me….