Sunday, December 13, 2015

This week's lesson (December 12-18): Back to Egypt

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. -- Psalm 91:5-7, NIV
Jerusalem was not a good place to be.

That did not mean someplace else was better.

Read Jeremiah 41-43, after all, and its clear why God's people wanted to move on.
  • The Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem.
  • The Babylonians had wiped out most of Jerusalem's people -- had killed them, or taken them into exile.
  • And when the Babylonians picked a puppet to rule Judah, he was assassinated by the locals -- an assassination the Babylonians were sure to avenge.
No, things weren't looking so good in Jerusalem.
That's why the smart people were all packing their bags, buying their tickets, and checking out the real estate in Egypt.
Yes, Egypt looked safe . . .
Even though God disagreed.
"If you stay in this land, [says the LORD,] 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 will deliver you from his hand. I will sho you compassion so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your land."  
. . . [But] "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." -- Jeremiah 32:10f &15f, NIV.
And if that seems crazy, then remember all the dangerous places they'd already been with God.
  • During the Great Flood, remember, God's people were protected by nothing more than that thin, wooden eggshell we call "Noah's ark" -- yet God kept them safe.
  • During the Exodus, God's people lived in the Sinai Desert with snakes and the scorpions and the wild desert tribes for 40-years -- yet God kept them safe.  
  • And Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would all be thrown into a fiery furnace there in Babylon -- the same Babylon that threatened God's people there in Jerusalem . . . and there they discovered that no place was safer than that fiery furnace -- not if God was with them; not if God wanted them there.
In short, Jerusalem may not have been a good place -- but it was the place God wanted them to be.
And no, God doesn't always put you in a good place.
But the place God puts you?
That's the best place you can be.

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