Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Meditations On the Call

The children of Israel had been ravaged by the King of Babylon. It was not without warning. For years, even decades, Jeremiah had been delivering the word of the Lord, calling them to repent, telling them of impending destruction if flagrant disobedience continued.

They dismissed his words. Readily.

Now they found themselves in desperate straits. The promised destruction had come. Broken and hurting, they search out Jeremiah, seeking a word from the Lord. And this was their pledge regarding the word:

"Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God." Jeremiah 42.6

Those are the right words. They should be our very own daily declaration. Oh, that we would so long to walk with Him that the path becomes irrelevant so long as He is on it with us. Oh, that we would hunger for His presence so much that our situation becomes insignificant in comparison to His relationship with us. To obey Him becomes our chief desire, to please Him our daily goal. Let Him take us where He will. Let Him bless us as He chooses. "Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey..."

But their hearts were not sincere. They were not broken enough, hungry enough, devoted enough. Jeremiah speaks only a few sentences more, delivering the call to live in the promised land and not return to Egypt, the land that represented no want or lack, no danger or war.

"But if you say, 'We will not dwell in this land,' disobeying the voice of the Lord your God, saying, 'No, but we will go to the land of Egypt where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor be hungry for bread, and there we will dwell,' ...none shall escape from the disaster that I will bring upon them." Jeremiah 42.13,14,17

Oh, how we prefer safety and ease. We do not like the trumpet sound, the call to war, the challenge to live without comfort, the opportunity to sacrifice. But sometimes the will of God requires us to respond to that trumpet, to wage war, to go without comfort. In fact, we are called to die daily. Imagine that.

A new year is upon us. Are we prepared to hear His voice, to answer the call, to take up the cross?

Now is the time. Stir yourselves once again. Put away the feasting, the pleasures. Renew your hearts desire to follow after Him, no matter where He leads. Prepare to hear the trumpet, to wage war, to sacrifice for His will.

He is, after all, the Lord of all. Forever and ever. Amen.