The Anatomy of Disobedience
Several weeks back I disobeyed God. I knew what I was supposed to do. I had heard from the Lord. I was determined to do his will. And then…the moment of truth. Temptation. Rationalization. Fall.
We human beings have a bad habit. We say we want to hear from God, but all too often we’ve already made up our minds. After the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem, the temple and the city walls were destroyed. The ravages of war dotted the landscape. Most of the people were sent into exile in a foreign land. The few that remained felt vulnerable. Would the Babylonians return to kill them?
After the end of ten days, the prophet summoned the people together. The Lord had spoken. Here was his word for them: they were not to fear the king of Babylon. They were to remain in the land of Israel where God would show them mercy. No more harm would fall on them. However, if they disobeyed the Lord and went to Egypt to find security, then all of them would die by the sword and famine.
Tragically, the people had already made up their minds. They were going to Egypt. To justify their actions, they claimed that Jeremiah intentionally lied to them so that the Babylonians would kill them. The remnant of the Israelites weren’t really concerned about what God had to say to them. They wanted God only if he would approve their plans.
That’s what I wanted too. I wasn’t interested in real submission to God’s will just approval of what I had already determined in my heart. The essence of any disobedience is just that: the conviction I know what is best. I’m God of my life.
But that is a lie—one that has gotten me into trouble so many times in my life. I was grieved that day by my disobedience and knew I had to repent not just of the specific act of disobedience, but of the entrenched conviction that I know best and my future rests upon me.
We will never overcome our addiction to disobedience until we grasp what John the Baptist understood, “He must increase and I must decrease” (Jn 3:30).