As we begin this Spiritual Life Emphasis, "Trading Your If Only Regrets for God's What if Possibilities," I was thinking about a verse the author of our devotional book shares in chapter one. It is Jeremiah 46:17. I like how the NIV puts it, "There they will exclaim, 'Pharaoh king of Egypt is only a loud noise; he has missed his opportunity." In Isaiah 30:1, Egypt is called "the do- nothing." There is a fascinating story behind these verses that our devotional writer does not tell you. Let me tell you about it!
If I were to say to you, Lexington and Concord or Normandy Beach, or the Twin Towers—your mind might automatically go to the Revolutionary War, WWII, or the terrorist attack on 9/11. Well, in the times that the Old Testament was written, if someone said, "Carchemish," everyone would think of one of the greatest battles in the ancient world. At Carchemish, Babylon smashed Egypt. Egypt was the world's reigning superpower—but this battle changed everything. It was a decisive victory. The balance of power in the Middle East changed forever because of this battle. If you are a New England Patriots fan, maybe you remember when the Pats beat the Titans 59-0 on Oct. 19, 2009. There was no doubt who won! Well, at Carchemish, Babylon won. Hands down.
However, a strange thing happened after the battle. The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, returned to his homeland because he had heard his father died. Pharaoh had a window of opportunity where he could have pressed in against Babylon, and won back what was lost. But he did nothing - the big do-nothing. He missed his opportunity. And he and Egypt had to live in the shadow of the defeat—but things could have been different, if only.
So many times we live in the shadow of what could have been. But God does not want us to live in the shadow of our failures and faults. He wants us to live in the opportunities of the cross and the new relationship with Him that the cross opens up for us to have. We can live by faith not fear. That is what this series is all about. It is a call to step out in faith based on what Christ has done and who He empowers us to be in Him. That might be a step of service or risking a new relationship or to stop living in the past and live in the future of all Christ has for us.
As we begin this series, I wonder, what opportunity does Christ living in you open? In what way do you want to move past your "if only" regrets and move into God's "what if" possibilities?
I would love if you could respond to this question in the blog by commenting below. And, then we will come back at the end of the series and talk about what happened in our life along the way. Let's believe together, as we follow Christ, for God to open the door to new possibilities in our lives!