Day 182: Never Too Large to Fall

Jeremiah 46:20-24

“Egypt is a very beautiful heifer;
but destruction out of the north has come.
It has come.
Also her hired men in the middle of her are like calves of the stall,
for they also are turned back.
They have fled away together.
They didn’t stand,
for the day of their calamity has come on them,
the time of their visitation.
Its sound will go like the serpent,
for they will march with an army,
and come against her with axes, as wood cutters.
They will cut down her forest,” says Yahweh,
“though it can’t be searched;
because they are more than the locusts,
and are innumerable.
The daughter of Egypt will be disappointed;
she will be delivered into the hand of the people of the north.”

One of the problems that I have with stock market trading is illustrated in this prophesy. If you were to look at Egypt’s 10 year chart, you would see that investing in it would have looked like a pretty good risk. It had good medical facilities and according to this prophesy, it had one of the largest armies. This passage appears to be also telling us that they had contracted soldiers from other countries to help them as well. The country itself had been going strong for many years and was a power to contend with. If Egypt had sold stock, I would think that it would have been trading at a lower rate because of all of the political unrest in the area. It would probably have looked like an extremely good deal. The problem I have is that even when something looks this good, it is absolutely no guarantee that it will continue, even for one more year. If Egypt would have had their own stock market, the entire market was about to close because they were about to be destroyed by a distant power.

In this passage, God says that it doesn’t matter how beautiful they are or how many troops they have or how many people live there. They were about to be completely taken over by Babylon. Past performance was no guarantee of future results.

I think that the reason the stock market is so frustrating to me is that it doesn’t come with a guarantee. Even our banks are not secure because they are affected by governmental changes as well. Our savings accounts could be similar in function to what Egypt was to Judah. They may affect our decisions when God tells us to do something that seems unusual. What we should always do is simply obey God, but when our own understanding starts to interfere with what God’s says, we make very foolish choices. It’s important for us to trust in God for our well being instead of our own means. Then we will be secure, even if our entire bank account is threatened. That’s because God loves us and He will tell us what we should do next.

Day 160: The Sin of Omission

Jeremiah 38:19-23

Zedekiah the king said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews who have defected to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.”

But Jeremiah said, “They won’t deliver you. Obey, I beg you, Yahweh’s voice, in that which I speak to you; so it will be well with you, and your soul will live. But if you refuse to go out, this is the word that Yahweh has shown me: ‘Behold, all the women who are left in the king of Judah’s house will be brought out to the king of Babylon’s princes, and those women will say,

“Your familiar friends have turned on you,
and have prevailed over you.
Your feet are sunk in the mire,
they have turned away from you.”

They will bring out all your wives and your children to the Chaldeans. You won’t escape out of their hand, but will be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon. You will cause this city to be burned with fire.’ ”

One of the most wicked things we can do is to fail to do anything. It is often called the sin of omission. It’s especially deceptive because we tend to think that we aren’t doing anything wrong, simply because we aren’t do anything at all. That’s the situation that God put king Zedekiah in. It’s pretty obvious that God was well aware of the fact that Zedekiah was more afraid of the people than he was of God’s word. All God had to do was set up this simple situation. King Zedekiah had the choice to surrender to Babylon and save Jerusalem and his family, or to remain silent and allow his family to be taken and the city to be burned. God makes it clear here that by simply doing nothing, Zedekiah would “cause this city to be burned with fire.”

The reason that Zedekiah gave for not surrendering, was that he was afraid of the Jews who had already defected to Babylon. If this is true, the King actually distrusted his own people more than the Babylonians! I think that Zedekiah was, what we would call today, paranoid. God didn’t call this a disease. He called it sin and we know why. Zedekiah chose to believe his own thoughts rather than to believe the word of God. I believe that the Bible is clear on this. When we choose to trust in our own understanding, we will eventually go crazy. God had clearly directed the king’s path if only he would have stopped leaning on his own understanding.

Notice how wicked this sin of omission is. The one who commits it chooses to continue in sin for a season at the expense of the lives of those around him. The king could have saved the lives of his own family and the families of many other people in the city. He could have even preserved the temple and the city walls that would later have to be rebuilt, but because he decided to lean on his own understanding, his fear lead to self protection which lead to mass destruction. May God help us to stop leaning on our own understanding and help us to rely on God so that we can become a blessing rather than a curse.