In these chapters, Jeremiah prophesies about King Nebuchadnezzar’s overtaking of the kingdom of Judah. He warns the people that they will be taken into captivity for 70 years as a manifestation of God’s judgement on the kingdom’s string of wicked leadership.
One key verse from this passage is Jeremiah 21:9
“Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine, or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives.”
This passage stuck out to me because of its reminder of how important it is to be surrendered to God’s plan. God was addressing the resistance of His people to His plan for them to be exiled by the Babylonians. God had clearly declared that the Babylonians were going to overtake the Kingdom of Judah, but He knew that there were still going to be people that would rip their fate out of God’s hands and try to save it themselves. I think of how often I can have the same attitude – wanting to reject what God has clearly showed me in His Word as the best way to do something so I can go about it how I want (the easier way, the way with quicker gratification, the more culturally acceptable way, etc.).
I think this gives me a clearer picture of God’s mercy and patience with us. As our Heavenly Father, God disciplines us to refine our character. This is often a painful process, but He still offers to spare us from additional pain if we would just yield to the ways He corrects us.
I will go with God by taking more time to reflect on what I could be hanging on to that God is calling me to surrender. Even though I resolved to give everything up to God when I became a Christian, I have slowly taken various aspects of my life out of God’s hands and back into my own – how I spend my money, what I choose to do with my free time, my dreams for the future – these are all things that I need to constantly re-surrender to God.
This passage reminds me of Jesus’ words in Luke 9:24. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life will save it.” Jesus preaches the same message of surrender so that we can save our spiritual lives.