Jeremiah 46 describes the way it will be for the army of Egypt as they come up against Nebuchadnezzar and his troops. Egypt thinks they are on top of the world and no one can get to them. Pharaoh Neco is sitting high and mighty and has the best of everything. He has called his troops to attention and ordered them to prepare for war. Only problem – they aren’t on that page and don’t want to fight. Egypt believes in their own mind that no army can come against them. They didn’t factor in God. They forgot the one true determination of what happens in the world. I love how scripture says it: “But it’s not your day. It’s the Master’s”. Pharaoh can think and say and do whatever he wants – but it is God that determines the outcome. He positions his troops and tries to get ready for battle but the reality is he has a bunch of cowards that don’t want to fight. Scripture tells us “When the going gets tough, they’ll take the easy way out”. Our enemy wants us to do the same, to take cover and run. When Satan comes against us he is banking on that. That is the only way he can defeat us, if we turn and run. So we need to keep focused on the truth. It is never his day, unless we let him have it by failing to keep it God’s. Every day is God’s day if we walk with Him. We have to stay connected to the source – we have to stay in line with the power – we need to march with the Master!
Scripture also describes Pharaoh in a very interesting way: “Big-talk-bad-luck”. I really like that. Pharaoh had it all together on paper. He was a big talker. He had assembled the finest army money could buy. He had great plans to take over the world. He looked to be on top of it all. Problem was – his luck goes bad – at least on the surface. The reality is – his luck goes bad because he didn’t take the God factor into account. His gods were of no value when it came time for battle. His gods could do nothing. But our God, the God of creation, had a plan and it wasn’t for Pharaoh to continue in his ways. In fact, as Pharaoh gets put in his place we are told “Egypt will be set back a thousand years”. Talk about the impact of a poor decision on the future. Did you catch that. Pharoah’s failure to get lined up with God and try to do things his own way will destroy 1000 years of past and future work. Do you see the impact here. That is a long time because this leader fails. Who said what we do doesn’t matter. It does – big time. Life matters. We have to live it like it does.
God’s motivation for all this is to restore his children who have been living in exile all over the place. He is now working to bring them together again. He affirms that promise to Jacob. But you need to catch what God says here as He is setting up the restoration: “I have more work left to do on you. I’ll punish you, but fairly”. Did you catch this? While God is winning wars and destroying nations, He doesn’t lose sight of the main thing. He is not finished working on making His people holy. While He is doing amazing things, changing the course of history, He does not lose sight of the real focus. And He doesn’t give His people a free pass either. Did you see that? They are going to be punished for their sin, but fairly. Did you ever consider that before? Punishment when we fail to be obedient doesn’t seem fair, at least to me. But in God’s economy it has to happen. God is all about growing us into maturity so we become holy like Himself. That means we have to get purged of the junk. It won’t seem fair, but know that it is, even when it doesn’t feel like it. No one ever wants to be punished. God has to do it to help us get on the holiness trail….