“You shall say to this people, ‘Yahweh says: “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. He who remains in this city will die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he who goes out and passes over to the Chaldeans who besiege you, he will live, and he will escape with his life. For I have set my face on this city for evil, and not for good,” says Yahweh. “It will be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire.” ’
This may seem a bit philosophical but because of how important it is here in the Bible, I believe it’s something God expects us to consider. Do you have to believe in the Bible in order to believe in God? Obviously, we should believe in both, but the reason I bring it up is because it is possible to think you believe in God without really trusting in His word. The reality is that you really can’t know anything about God if you don’t believe His word because it is His word that tells us about God. When we start to think that, by our own intuition, we can simply trust God without His words, we are in a dangerous position. We may actually miss the way of life. That’s because we are placing our own intuition or tradition above God’s word. If this is true in your life, God may give you a life or death decision like He did to Judah here.
God set up a situation in which Judah had to simply trust God’s word instead of trusting everything they had come to know about God and Jerusalem. I am sure that most every Jew in Jerusalem knew that it was God’s city and that if they wanted protection they should stay as close to God as possible, yet, God’s word through Jeremiah was that they must flee to their enemies now and live. They probably knew the story of Hezekiah and Rabshakeh in 2 Kings 18 very well. At that time, King Hezekiah told the people to not defect to the enemy but to stay in the city. God’s word in the past was the exact opposite of what Jeremiah was telling them to do now! God set this situation up in such a way that they were not able to trust in their own intuition or in the events of the past. They were forced to either trust God’s word now and live or die by trusting their own beliefs about what God thinks.
This is the way it has always been for mankind. God has given us the choice. We either trust in His word and live or we die because of our lack of faith. The choice we have before us now is the option to trust that Jesus is God and that He really did die to take away the sins of the world. Everyone who believes in God’s word, no matter how intuitive or scientific they think it is, will live. Those who don’t will suffer. It may go against everything that we think is right. God wants us to stop trusting in ourselves and turn to faith in His word alone because only faith in God’s word will save us.