And now therefore hear the word of the LORD, ye remnant of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there; Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die.
The people thought they could get around what God had said by taking matters into their own hands. They had come up with their own solution to avoid the judgment, thinking they would be safe in Egypt. They had been delivered from there so long ago, and yet they continually wanted to return there, seeking refuge in a place that oppressed them for years. But they refused to listen to Jeremiah and they refused to listen to God. So if they did what they wanted to do and went to Egypt, the sword and the famine and their demise would simply follow them there.
Disobedience makes our greatest fears come true. Forsaking God’s commands brings about exactly what we didn’t want to happen. Turning our backs and choosing our own way leads us into what we were trying to avoid. May this be a lesson to us that we can’t disobey and expect to be blessed for doing so. We can’t do what God tells us not to and be surprised when there are consequences. We can’t try to run from Him without Him catching up with us. And if we defy Him to His face, His judgment will come upon us.
God didn’t warn the people that these things were going to happen in order to drive them far from Him. He wasn’t trying to scare them away or force them to seek out something else. What He wanted was for them to turn back to Him wholeheartedly. What He wanted was for them to forsake their other gods and honor Him and fellowship with Him and obey Him. They had brought His judgment on themselves from their continuous rebellion, and sometimes we have to face things because of our own wrong choices. And we can’t blame God, and we can’t try to weasel our way out, and there’s nowhere we could ever run and get way from Him. If He’s trying to teach us a lesson, we best learn it and submit to Him.
God never promised us an easy and trouble-free life, and sometimes we have to face fearful things, whether as a consequence of something we’ve done or not. But let’s face them with the right attitude. Let’s recognize when God is trying to draw us back to Him and return to Him willingly. Let’s trust Him in what He asks of us even if we don’t understand and not try to come up with our own solutions. A life lived in obedience to God is really the best kind of life to live, no matter where it may take us.