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ROWING YOUR OWN BOAT

November 5, 2016

Text: “The Lord has said to you, O remnant of Judah, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Know for a certainty that I have warned you this day 20 that you have gone astray at the cost of your lives. For you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the Lord our God, and whatever the Lord our God says, declare to us and we will do it.’ 21 And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God in anything that he sent me to tell you.” Jeremiah 42:19-21

In 586 B.C. the Babyonians returned to Jerusalem to quell the activities of the rebellious Judahites. Josiah king of Judah was killed by the Pharoah Neco II in 609 B.C. when Josiah made a foolish attempt to cut off an Egyptian foray against the Babylonians.  His sons were elevated to the kingship in a fools’ parade until the last of them (Mattaniah) was established as governor of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar who changed his name to Gedaliah. He was killed by Judahite renegades.

The citizens of Judah debated whether they should remain in their homeland, fearing violence and death, or steal away to settle in Egypt. They implored Jeremiah to come and live with them in Egypt. He refused. Then the military men went to Jeremiah to plead for him to seek an answer from Jehovah  about  whether to stay or go. Ten days later  Jeremiah came with God’s answer.   The Lord has said to you, O remnant of Judah, ‘Do not go to Egypt.” Jeremiah 42:19a  Plain as day! So what happens?  The people of God disobeyed him.  They pack their  stuff, kidnap Jeremiah and take him along, and go directly to Egypt! They rebel and disobey resolutely!  

Humans place a great deal of pride in being able to pilot their own lives, work out their own problems, and be independent. Here in America we sometimes call this “rowing your own boat”. Making our own decisions is also something in which we take pride.  These things help us to feel secure, be independent, and maintain our capabilities. We are bent on “making my own decisions”. And we are insistent on doing exactly what we want, no matter who legislates against it.  Come to find out, we are pretty  much like those Israelites who wanted to flee to Egypt. We have the bad habit of ignoring  what God said and doing what we want!

Let’s think about some things that promote disobedience to God’s commands.

We are creatures that, by practice and culture, think of ourselves as being
self-directed.
We refuse to relinquish our self-direction; it is unthinkable for anyone else to be allowed to give us orders. We covet choosing the destination for our lives. After the creation of Adam and Eve they were told by God, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16b-17 They succumbed to temptation because they had disregard for the word of God. 

Humanity has a bad habit of distrusting God. His divine powers are frequently called into question. Or the miracles in the Bible  may be ridiculed.  Two years after the people of Israel escaped Egyptian bondage they were poised on the southern edge of Canaan anticipating carrying out an invasion of the land. They sent twelve spies northward to reconnoiter the layout and people they might expect to war against. When they returned to Moses and were asked for a report, two of the spies (Joshua and Caleb) were the only ones who were confident. Caleb said to the people,  ““Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Numbers 13:30 The people of Israel refused to go to war for the land, thus God punished the people by assessing 40 years  more to wander in the wilderness forty more years.  Are you doubtful of God’s promises or powers?

Another  one of our human foibles is stubbornness.  An old saying is: “You’re as stubborn as a mule!” I’ll bet mules say, “Your’re as stubborn as a human!”  Judah’s persistent disobedience finally outlasted God’s patience with them, and Jeremiah brought his charges against the people, As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lordwe will not listen to you. But they did not listen or incline their ear, to turn from their evil and make no offerings to other gods.” Jeremiah 44:4-5 The citizens of Judah were steeped in sin.  No difference God’s warnings, they were implacable!  Stubbornness will thwart obedience and abort progress. 

To tie it all up, humans all have a bad case of self-deception. Man has and utilizes a huge capacity to convince himself of anything!  Some are convinced that there are extra-terrestrial  aliens living here  among us. Others believe that Elvis is still living. We will not go into modern day miracles or conspiracy theories. Nor was it untrue of their times. Jeremiah chastened them for vacillating between obeying  Jehovah or burning tokens to the “queen of heaven”. Finally he tells them,  “‘Your trusted friends have deceived you and prevailed against you…” Jeremiah 38:22  All God’s children get deceived now and then. Remember your gullibility. Practice what God teaches. “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”Proverbs 6:8

REM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our duty to evangelize the world, are we assured that God can help?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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