The nation of Judah had been carried off in captivity to Babylon with only a small remnant left behind in the land of Israel. The prophet Jeremiah remained with the remnant. Fearful that Babylon would return against them, the remnant of Judah favored seeking refuge in Egypt, but requested Jeremiah first ask God if they should go. They vowed before the prophet, “Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God” (Jeremiah 42:6).
God responded, instructing them to remain in the land, “Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, declares the Lord, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand” (Jeremiah 42:11). A short time later, “they came into the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the Lord” (Jeremiah 43:7). The people vowed to obey, then rebelled when God answered. What happened?
The answer is found between the request and the rebellion, “at the end of ten days the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah” (Jeremiah 42:7). God is always late (it seems), because “‘my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8)). In our prayers, we seek answers. In our prayers, God seeks faith.
The silence tested their faith. God took ten days to answer, which gave the people ten days to ponder whom they feared, and they feared the Babylonians they could see more than they feared the God they could not, so they disobeyed the word of God. Time is a test of faith. They should have waited.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” ~Hebrews 11:1
Almighty God, You are forever faithful and true. I place my trust in You because You are the Rock, the Solid Foundation on which to build my life.
You are my God and I will wait for You and Your Word, because it is worth the wait. You are my God. I will place my faith in the One who is always faithful.