Bible Reading: Jeremiah 42:1-22

“If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I relent of the disaster that I did to you. Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, declares the Lord, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand.” (Jeremiah 42:10-11)

After the Babylonians took over Jerusalem and Judah, all the healthy and wealthy men were exiled back to Babylon. There was only a remnant of poor and helpless people left in Judah. Recently, the governor who the Babylonians appointed in their land was murdered by an Ammonite, and these poor and helpless people feared retaliation from the Babylonians because their governor was killed. The only way out they could think of was to run away to Egypt. 

But, when they inquired with Jeremiah, the prophet, God had other plans. God commanded His remnant people who had been spared from exile to stay within the land, for God will restore it. He would also protect them from the Babylonians, so they needed not fear. 

Let us put ourselves in the shoes of these remnant people. From the outset, trusting God seems like a cliche term we always throw around. But, what is the reality of trusting God in action? 

Trusting God means to obey God despite how absurdly illogical and incomprehensible it seems to us. If we were the helpless remnant people who previously were beggars and widows who had no experience in warfare, how would we respond? Running away as a refugee was the only feasible option for survival. If they stayed and the Babylonians attacked them, they would all be slaughtered without a fight because they had no idea how to fight. Even though God said that He would protect them, there was no physical way this seemed possible. 

Sometimes, learning to trust God feels like putting our lives on the line (sometimes, we literally put our lives on the line). If God fails to work out His promise, then our lives and futures would be horribly doomed. This is what those remnant people would have felt like. However, these are the lessons that God wants to teach His people. 

God wants to teach us to trust Him no matter how difficult it seems. He wants us to surrender all our uncertainties about our future, our hopes and dreams, and our very life itself into His hands. He wants us to obey Him and make that the ultimate priority in our lives. God calls us to obey Him in our schoolwork. We do our best, and we surrender our results and our futures into God’s hands. God calls us to evangelise and spread His kingdom. We make that a priority in our lives, and we surrender our reputation, image, what we will eat tomorrow, and our very comfort and safety into God’s hands. 

The very nature of this life is uncertain. Out of nowhere, young people worldwide are infected with COVID; others find out they have cancer, others wake up helplessly paralysed by unknown diseases. Others are tragically hit by cars or die from other accidents that are bound to happen. There is no reason why these things will not overtake us next. 

Trusting in God is the only way to live. We may be able to hinder one bad thing by trusting ourselves. However, other calamities are bound to strike us in our blindspots. This is why Jesus teaches us not to worry about tomorrow. Instead, we should seek first God’s kingdom, meaning to trust and obey Him. 

The remnant people decided to run away from God to Egypt. They thought they could run away from what seemed to be inevitable death. However, the sword, famine and pestilence they feared only followed them to Egypt. God is the one who is sovereign and in control. Therefore, let us trust Him wholeheartedly and learn to obey Him. 

Lord, You are sovereign and in control of all things. Please help us to trust and obey You. Forgive us when we are confident in ourselves. You know how frail our life is. It is like the withering grass that is here today and gone tomorrow. You are our strength and our refuge. Please help us to trust You and serve You with all the grace that You have given us. We praise You in Jesus’ name, amen.