Devotional Thoughts for Today
“In God We Trust”
So Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers and all the people disobeyed the Lord’s command to stay in the land of Judah. 5 Instead, Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers led away all the remnant of Judah who had come back to live in the land of Judah from all the nations where they had been scattered. 6 They also led away all those whom Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had left with Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan—the men, the women, the children and the king’s daughters. And they took Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch son of Neriah along with them. 7 So they entered Egypt in disobedience to the Lord and went as far as Tahpanhes.
In the Bible, Egypt is not just a place where God rescued the Israelites from—but it is a representation of the world. It is a place of slavery, idol worship, wickedness, and persecution. The Lord did not want the Israelites to go back to Egypt, nor did He want His people to create an alliance with them, because in doing so, the Israelites would once again be under Egypt’s spiritual and physical oppression. Simply put, Egypt represents sin, and God wants His people to stay far away from it.
In today’s passage, the Israelite leaders ignore the Lord’s warnings, and they decide to escape to Egypt . If you remember from chapter 41, this decision was made by Johanan, because he was afraid that the Chaldeans (Babylonians) might avenge the murder of their appointed governor for the land of Israel. Instead of trusting in the Lord for help, they put their trust in the great nation of Egypt. Angered by their decision, the Lord commands Jeremiah to tell the Israelites that they will fall under the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon.
Ever since moving to East Asia, many of my insecurities have surfaced as a leader. And through these insecurities, I’m starting to realize that I do not trust in the Lord as much as I thought I did. I find myself relying on my limited experiences, talking to mentors, and reading different leadership material. While these things maybe not seem like “Egypt,” I find myself relying on these things more than trusting in the Lord.
Trusting in the Lord is difficult for a variety of reasons: we cannot control the situation, we think we know better, or we don’t see the “results” right away. Because of these reasons we look for security in more tangible areas such as money, relationships, or ourselves. While all of these things are not bad, they can become our “Egypts,” because they distract us from our true security: Jesus.
One way that I’ve been training myself to trust in the Lord is by remembering His faithfulness in my life. When I have pockets of time, whether on the subway or walking to school, I can just think about how God has led me up to this point. Oftentimes, I fail to trust in the Lord because I forget what He has done for me in the past.
I want to encourage you to use those pockets of time—whether on your drive to school or work, or waiting while standing in line—to remember God’s faithfulness!
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness to Your people. Lord, help me to rely on You and not on our “Egypts,” for those things are temporary fixes that are fleeting, but You are forever. Help me to remember the lyrics of the hymnist Daniel B. Towner: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way. To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” Amen.
Bible Reading For Today: 1 Kings 14
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 6:25-34: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Questions to Consider
- In which two ways does Matthew encourage us not to worry about our lives? (vv. 26-27)
- Who does Matthew say worry about these things? Why is this important? (v. 32)
- As Christians, how do we fight this worry?
- Matthew reminds us that the birds do not worry about storing food, because the Lord always provides for them. He also reminds us that flowers do not worry about the “clothes” they wear, because God provides for them. He accentuates Jesus’ teaching by saying that Solomon’s splendor does not come close to a flower’s beauty.
- Matthew reminds us that pagans worry about what to eat, drink and wear. As God’s people, we have full access to the Creator of the Universe who provides for our every need; therefore, we are to be different, and one way to set ourselves apart is by not worrying.
- We fight this worry by seeking God. When we make God the center of our lives, then as a loving Father, He will provide everything for us.
Before you go to bed, take a moment to reflect on one time that God has been faithful. Take a moment to write it down, and give thanks to Him. May we become intentional in trusting in Him.