At some point in our life, if we have more than a few decades of experience behind us, we have heard someone say “Ignorance is bliss.” But when is this? Under what circumstances can “ignorance” possibly be “bliss?” Perhaps a short summary of time when the Lord sort of encouraged His people, Israel, with such a thought will serve to strengthen you in these current, very perilous times!
Nebuchadnezzar had defeated Israel and had taken multitudes of them to Babylon to serve him and his purposes. But he had not done this on his own. Rather, the Lord told the people through the prophet Jeremiah that “I have caused [you] to be carried away” (Jer. 29:4). Why? Because they had listened to false prophets and their own desperately wicked hearts (Jer. 17:9), and rebelled against the Lord and His commandments.
A free people had their freedom taken away. A noble people were reduced to the lowest servitude. The honorable were demeaned. The rich had their wealth take from them. They were forced to live in a land filled with idolatry, immorality, disrespect for truth, and an absolute disregard for the true God, their God. Sound familiar?
Well, what were they to do? Certain leaders who had escaped being taken captive, began planning a counterattack. They intended to take back what had been taken from them. They went about stirring up the people to not submit to the rule of the pagan government. Instead, they exhorted the people to become part of their movement to “take back what is ours.”
But the Lord had other advice. He had Jeremiah send a letter to the people who had been taken captive and carried away to Babylon. In the letter, the prophet was to give them the plain but unexpected commandment of the Lord, which was, in essence, “Rest in My judgment, and honor me as you do.” Specifically,
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, “Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.” For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,” declares the Lord. For thus says the Lord, “When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.” (Jer. 29:4-10)
And then He gave them the reason why they should willingly obey this unexpected counsel which was, in fact, the very encouragement they would need to be strong to do His will under circumstances which would tend to blind them to the truth which secured them (and us) in “whatever”:
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)
We cannot know what lies ahead for American Christians. But what we do know is that the one God, our heavenly Father, rules over all things. After suffering a severe personal judgment for his arrogance, pride and unbelief, Nebuchadnezzar would learn this truth for himself, and give God glory with his testimony.
“But at the end of that [judgment], I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (Daniel 4:34-37)
Have you learned what Nebuchadnezzar learned? God rules over all things, over all governments, over all circumstances. And this God, this almighty God, is the true believer’s Father! “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom. 8:31)
So when is ignorance bliss? When we come to the point in our life that we can rest in the fact that whether or not we understand things, when life’s circumstances seem overwhelming, even beyond comprehension, our Lord, our heavenly Father, despite our “ignorance” of His invisible workings behind the scenes of our life, is accomplishing His perfect will for us, His “plans for [our] welfare…to give [us] a future and a hope.”
What joy, what “bliss” we believers have in being able to walk victoriously by faith rather than sight. What security to know that our Lord is making “all things work together for [our] good” whether or not we can see or understand the “how’s” or “when’s” or “why’s.”
How about you? Do you truly have this security, this joy?
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