Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"I surrender!"

"Then Jeremiah said to (King) Zedekiah, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the god of Israel, If you will only surrender ot the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire and you and your house shall live.'"
(Jeremiah 38:17)

Faced with an onslaught by the invading Babylonian army, King Zedekiah of Judah was in a precarious situation.  "God will save us," cried many of his trusted advisers.  Jeremiah knew otherwise.  Defeat was immanent.  So his message to the king was simple: surrender!  Surrender & live.  Surrender & save the city.

Human nature is a flawed animal.  Pride reigns supreme - especially in us leaders.  To submit is to admit defeat (and weakness).  Zedekiah refused.  But instead of "fighting to the end," he and his officials chose to flee in the middle of the night.  They were caught, punished (his eyes were gouged out), and the city was destroyed.  If only he would have listened to God...

We're taught to "tough it out." To "fight to the end."  To "never give up & never surrender!"  And yet, could this story be telling us that there MAY be times when God might want us to surrender?  And I'm not talking about "surrendering our lives to Jesus," either.  We at least know how that's going to turn out.  No, I'm talking about surrendering in situations where it looks like we're giving in to "the enemy."  Where it seems as though to do so is to admit failure.  And yet, could it be that God might be wanting us to, on occasion, do just that?!?

In the 'BIG PICTURE' of things, the people of Israel needed to have those 70+ years in Babylonian exile to get re-centered and re-focused on God.  They'd been on a downward spiral for multiple generations prior and nothing God did seemed to make a difference.  So God allowed "the enemy" to win.  For a season at least.  Zedekiah tried to fight it (and look how that turned out!).

Now I'm not suggesting every calamity that strikes us is from God... nor that we should "give in" all the time.  But if God sends word to us - "Don't fight this... surrender... accept the momentary pain & humiliation, for I have a bigger picture in mind for you!"  Could we trust God through this kind of situation?  Could it be that God has a greater good in store for us, if only we'll surrender?!?

How crazy is that?!?

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