Have you ever gone through periods in your life where you knew what God wanted you to do but were afraid to obey because of circumstances? I have a friend whose marriage is going badly. He knows from the counsel he has received and from God’s Word that divorce is wrong and, in his situation, not an option. But his wife treats him badly and he is tired of trying to improve their relationship. He is reluctant to apply any advice he receives. He says it is time he took care of himself and was free to do what he wants to do. So he filed for divorce and bought a new car thinking now his problems should end.
King Zedekiah was the weak ruler of Judah. After hundreds of years of Judah’s rebelliousness, God finally had enough and led King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army to attack His wayward people. It was during this period that the prophet Jeremiah ministered. Many times Zedekiah called the prophet into his presence to hear the Word of the Lord. Faithfully, Jeremiah relayed God’s will and plan. Finally in Jeremiah 38:15, “Jeremiah replied to Zedekiah, “If I tell you, you will kill me, won’t you? Besides, if I give you advice, you won’t listen to me anyway.’”
All the king had to do was follow God’s instruction to surrender! Instead, he hesitated for two and a half years, while Jerusalem was under siege. In verse 19 of chapter 38, we learn the source of Zedekiah’s unwillingness to obey God. “But King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am worried about the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans. They may hand me over to the Judeans to abuse me.” Despite God’s assurances of protection, the king wavered and wobbled. In the end, he fled and was captured. In the town of Riblah in the land of Hamath, King Nebuchadnezzar pronounced sentence, putting Zedekiah’s sons to death in the sight of their father and then putting out the eyes of Zedekiah before binding him with bronze shackles and sending him to Babylon. The worst nightmare of a hesitant king was fulfilled.
There is a saying, “He who hesitates is lost.” But what makes us vacillate and refrain from doing what God asks? Perhaps it is fear that God cannot deliver what He promises or that we will not obtain what we want if we do God’s will. Further distilled, our hesitancy reflects a flawed understanding of eternity. We see time through distorted lens and act or refrain from acting to please our fleeting needs. In contrast, our timeless Father knows what is best for us.
If you know what God wants you to do—do it! Never sacrifice obedience with its eternal blessings for temporary desires that in the end will not matter! May the God who makes all things possible give you the strength to trust and obey.
One day in July, a farmer sat in front of his shack, smoking his corncob pipe. Along came a stranger who asked, “How's your cotton coming?” “Ain't got none,” was the answer. “Didn't plant none. ‘Fraid of the boll weevil.” “Well, how's your corn?” “Didn't plant none. ‘Fraid o’ drought.”
“How about your potatoes?” “Ain't got none. Scared of tater bugs.” The stranger finally asked, “Well, what did you plant?” “Nothin’,” answered the farmer. “I just played it safe.”—James S. Hewett in Illustrations Unlimited
©2005 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)