Sunday, August 16, 2009

Surrender

One of the highlights of my year has been reading through the Bible from cover to cover, in chronological order. I've enjoyed it every time I've done this, but this year has been one blessing after another for me. Just this last week I finished reading Jeremiah, and I'm still chewing over some of the lessons I found in there.

Jerusalem was under siege, again, and things weren't looking good. (Jeremiah 38:14-28) King Zedekiah called for Jeremiah and asked him what he should do. Jeremiah gave him very clear instructions. He said to surrender and not only would Zedekiah's life be spared, but so would his family's, and Jerusalem wouldn't be burned. He only had to obey.

When the time came, instead of surrendering as God had told him to King Zedekiah and his ruling officials ducked out a hole in the wall during the night and ran. There were great consequences, just as Jeremiah told him there would be. He was hunted down then forced to watch his family's execution. That was the last thing he saw because they gouged out his eyes and hauled him off into captivity. (2 Kings 25:1-7) Jerusalem, his city, was burned, too. Instead of things going well for him even though he was in captivity, as they could have, they went horribly wrong.

All Zedekiah had to do was listen, trust and obey. He had asked for God's direction and received it, but he ignored it. He didn't act on what he knew to do. How many times have I done the same thing? I've known what to do but chose to do things my way. The consequences might not be as immediate nor as severe as Zedekiah's were, but there are still consequences. At times there may even be lives at stake or spiritual lives—whether I know it or not.

Can you imagine what Zedekiah's life was like in captivity? Put yourself in his shoes. He knew what he should have done and he knew that if he had obeyed, his family would not have been killed and his city burned. Instead, I'm sure those images were freeze-framed in his blackness.

There are times in life when we'll be able to really live only after we have surrendered –even though it seems to go against logic. Just like it was only by surrendering themselves that the people in Jerusalem were spared and allowed to live, it's only by surrendering to God Almighty that we truly live. Surrendering allows God to work in and through us.

I don't know about you, but there are things I need to surrender so that I can really live.

4 comments:

  1. Oh yes - I have done this WAY too many times. I KNEW what to do, but didn't do it. And I get frustrated when my kids do the same thing. Gee - wonder where they get it from ;)
    Glad I wasn't barefoot when I read this one! :D Thanks, Patty.

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  2. It has always been one of the most awesome, yet most perplexing, things about Christianity--this idea of personal surrender. No other religion asks their members to be STRONG by surrendering to Someone else (at least--not someone of Spirit!). And how does this happen? When we surrender, THEN, we are strong. God knows what He asks of us--our everything--so that HE can become the strength of our lives...so easy to say and so hard to do. I'm glad He never gives up being my strength--when I allow Him to! And how puny is my mind when I think I can take on the world--what HE has created--without His help.

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  3. I can picture God holding me by the scruff of the neck. I'm twisting and turning, running as fast as I can but getting nowhere. All the while he's whispering in my ear: "If you'll stop, I'll let you down and we can walk together."

    Good post.

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  4. Ouch, this one touched a raw spot for me... especially today. Thanks for the reminder Patty, very uplifting words!

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