9"He who dwells in this city will die by the sword and by famine and by pestilence; but he who goes out and falls away to the Chaldeans who are besieging you will live, and he will have his own life as booty. (Jeremiah 21:8-9, NLT)
I shared this one with my Youth last night during Youth group. It's obviously from Jeremiah, one of God's prophets, telling Israel about the coming destruction for their rebellion.
God has Jeremiah tell them that they have a choice -- either life, or death. He then goes on to tell what brings about each of them. He starts out with the way to death. Ironically, He tells Jeremiah that it's the ones who stay and fight who will experience death. But, those who "fall away to the Chaldeans" will continue to live.
This is why the Bible is so amazing to me! Because, looking at both the Old and New Testaments, you see God's consistency! What He tells Jeremiah in the Old Testament is the same thing He tells us today....in order to live, we must surrender.
It's counter-intuitive. Think about being an Israelite. The Babylonians are coming, invading Jerusalem. The natural instinct is to stay and fight. If you've got a bunch of ugly, foreign invaders coming to you, you don't think, "hmmm, let me drop my weapons, becoming unarmed, and I'll surrender to them." To do that would seem like certain death. To fight, on the other hand, would seem to mean at least something of a chance. Sure, you may end up dying, but you could end up being victorious as well.
But that's not what God told His people. In order to live, they had to surrender to Babylon. To stay and fight would mean certain death.
That's how it is today. God gives us a choice of life and death. To gain life, we must surrender to God and His will. Like the Israelites being led to captivity, it may not be pleasant, and it may be an inconvenience. But God has a plan, and He knows what's best. If we trust in Him and surrender to Him, He will take care of us! It will bring us greater life than anything else we may have for ourselves.
He also gives us the choice to fight. We can try to fight God, trying to do things our way. We can say, "no thanks, God, I'm comfortable here, I'm not budging." We can choose to be proud and not surrender to God. But in the end, that's what leads to death. As Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death."
What will we choose today?