"Lord, I just want to please you. Whatever you ask me to do, I’ll do it. I want to do your will. You lead the way, and I’ll follow." Isn’t that what we say? Don’t we tend to tell God that we’ll do whatever He says and go wherever He commands? But do we really mean it?
Because what if God tells you to go somewhere you don’t want to go? What if he tells you to do something you don’t want to do? Would you still want to do God’s will? Yes? Well, that’s what the children of Israel said too.
Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God.”
(Jeremiah 42:6 NIV)
The children of Israel asked the Prophet Jeremiah if he would go pray to God on their behalf. They wanted to know if they should or if they should not flee to Egypt. They were trying to escape Babylonian captivity and wanted to know if they were making the right decision in moving to Egypt.
I advocate that we all petition God in our decision making. We need to know if the choices we are making are approved by the God we claim to serve. However, in this case, the petition was unnecessary. God had already told them what to do in chapter 29.
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. (Jeremiah 29:4–5 NIV)
‘Get comfortable! You’re staying here for a while (70 years to be exact)’ is pretty much what God told them. ‘Grow where you are’ so to speak. But that’s not what they wanted to hear. The Israelites didn’t want to stay in Babylonian captivity.
And listen, I get it. Who wants to live in bondage? Yet, their oppression was their fault. For 23 years, God sent Jeremiah to preach to them—warning them of their impending doom if they continued in their sin. But they didn’t listen… for 23 years they didn’t listen. Thus, Babylonian captivity was their decision.
So, when they asked Jeremiah to petition God for them, it wasn’t a genuine petition. They knew exactly what they were supposed to do, but they didn’t want to do it. They just wanted God to co-sign their move to Egypt. Yet, the Israelites said favorable or unfavorable, they would do what God said. Listen at what they said when Jeremiah gave them God’s answer.
Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are lying! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt to settle there.’
(Jeremiah 43:2 NIV)
“Lies!” is what they said.
“Ain’t no way God wants me in this unfavorable position”, they reasoned. So, they rebuked God’s plan and continued towards Egypt. Unfortunately for them, their move towards ‘freedom’ ended up being a move towards destruction. And it was all because they rebuked God’s unfavorable plan. Are you rebuking an unfavorable plan that God put in place for you?
Because let’s be real for a second. All of God’s plans aren’t going to feel favorable. Joseph was thrown in a pit, lied on, and imprisoned. Unfavorable? Yes. Part of God’s plan? Yes.
David had to serve under King Saul, even though God anointed him as king, while King Saul was trying to kill him. Unfavorable? Yes. Part of God’s plan? Yes.
Let’s not forget about Christ dying a cruel, gruesome death on the cross for our sins. Unfavorable? Absolutely. Part of God’s redemption plan for His wayward children? Although we’ll never deserve it, yes.
When we say, "Lord, let your will be done", let’s mean it. Whether favorable or unfavorable, chose to accept and follow God’s plan. Because in the end, even if it feels unfavorable, it’ll work in your favor.
If I’m not mistaking, the Bible says, “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.” Ain’t that in your Bible??? Somewhere around Romans 8:28?
Joseph was eventually promoted as 2nd in command over Egypt, David eventually took his rightful place as king, and in three days Christ rose with all power in His hands. Their unfavorable circumstances turned favorable in due time. Life will have its ugly moments, but God makes everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
So, whether it’s favorable or unfavorable is besides the point. "Is it God’s plan?" is the true question. And if it’s in God’s plan, roll with it. If it’s a favorable plan, great! If it’s unfavorable, God will give you the grace and strength to get through it, until the unfavorable turns favorable.
Let’s use the Israelites as an example and realize that kicking against the pricks of God’s plan—whether favorable or unfavorable—could result in unfortunate ruin. Don’t jump out of the frying pan into the fire trying to escape God’s will for your life.
If God is holding your feet to the fire, think of yourself as gold. Because when the trying is over, you’ll come out pure. The unfavorable will give way to favorable if we remain steadfast and obedient.
That’s all I have for you guys today. Have a blessed week! ‘Til next time, take care.
Quin Arrington's debut book "And Then You Shall Have Good Success: Attaining Good Success God's Way" is available on Amazon in paperback and eBook format. Link to book listed below.