Practical Living through Biblical Principles

A Simple Act of Obedience

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By Denise Kennedy

Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” KJV

Background – In the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign, God gave a word to Jeremiah that God would hand the countries of Kings Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon over to Nebuchadnezzar and that all nations would serve Nebuchadnezzar. God continues to say that He will punish any nation and Kingdom that refuses to serve Nebuchadnezzar or bow its neck under his yoke.  However, if any nation bowed its neck under the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar, God would let the nation remain its own land to till it and live there. God’s instructions were that they were not to listen to false prophets that claimed that they were not to serve Nebuchadnezzar.  God’s message was very clear, they were to submit to God’s word or face destruction. The time had come for the people of Judah to be exiled to Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar’s rule.  However, not everyone was on board with serving Nebuchadnezzar and wanted to go back to the life that they knew.  So, it may not come as a surprise that the people of Judah listened to Hananiah (and other false prophets alike) when he falsely prophesied to them saying that the yoke of the King of Babylon had been broken and they would be returned in two years.  Hananiah’s words were a contradiction to Jeremiah’s prophesy from God and brought false hope to the people. Conditions for the people of Judah grew harder because they listened to Hananiah’s false prophesy when God had instructed them not to listen to false prophets. Because God had not sent Hananiah to give such prophesy and taught rebellion against God, Hananiah was struck down by death.  The people of Judah were still under Nebuchadnezzar’s rule until God created a new covenant with them and restored their hope.

There is a great message to learn from this passage.  The people of Judah spent much of their time in captivity in agony all because they failed to obey God’s word.  They were so focused on ‘what was’ and paid less time focusing on ‘what is’ and ‘what will be’.  Sometimes the test is not for us to be immediately rescued from the storm, but for us to trust God enough to sustain us through it.  I could only imagine what their time under Nebuchadnezzar would’ve been like if they had listened to God’s word.  I would like to believe that when God instructed Jeremiah to write a letter to the people of Judah with a message (Jeremiah 29:11), God intended to restore the hope that they had loss.  God needed them to know that He had not forgotten about them and His plan was to give them deliverance through ‘peace’, both externally and internally.  Because they had been so focused on getting back to what was before, they were missing that present moment of freedom that God wanted for them physically, emotionally, and mentally.  God wants the same freedom for you too and maybe all it takes is a simple act of obedience.

Action: Take this passage and think about where you are on your journey.  What from your past are you still clinging onto that God removed you from?  Maybe you’ve heard God give you clear instructions that would help you bear this new season in your life.  Are you trusting and obeying His word, or has His words fallen on deaf ears? Focus on these scriptures:

  • Deuteronomy 28:1 “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. NLT
  • Joshua 1:9 “This is my command – be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” NLT
  • Psalms 56:3-4 “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.  I praise God for what he has promised.  I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?  What can mere mortals do to me?” NLT

Prayer: Dear gracious and heavenly Father, I thank you! Forgive me for any lack of trusts that I’ve had. Help me not to lose hope and to remain persistent in the growing of my faith and obedience.  Lord, give me a heart that is open and ready to receive the great blessings you have in store for me. I declare that I am free from any past hurt, trauma, and mistakes.  I walk fully in the fullness of who you say that I am.  I bind the hands of the enemy, that would have me believe that I am forgotten and unworthy of your blessings. In Jesus’ name Amen.

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