“For you sent me to the Lord, your God, saying pray for us to the Lord, our God. Whatever the Lord our God says declare to us and we will do it and I of this day declared it to you but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, your God, and anything that He sent me to tell you.”
– Jeremiah 42:20–21
You read Jeremiah and you would think by this point in Jeremiah 42:20–21, after Jeremiah has prophesied the fall of Jerusalem, the exile to come after that, that people would listen to him now that it’s happened. What Jeremiah said would happen has happened. So you might think in the wake of this destruction that people would be listening now to Jeremiah. “Hey, we should listen to him in the first place. Let’s listen to him now.” Initially, that’s exactly what they say, they say, “Hey tell us. Pray to God for us and bring us his word and we’ll do it.” Then the reality is, they don’t do it.
Even though Jeremiah continues to speak the word of God, they don’t want to hear it and they don’t want to obey it. Instead, they still want to follow their own ways, devise their own plans.
Do we really want to obey God, or do we hope that God will bless what we want to do? He knows what is best for us. God, help us to long for your ways and to delight in You.
Here’s the key. What they want instead of aligning their plans with God’s plans, they want God’s blessing on their plans. You see the difference there? They want God to bless their plans, what they think is best, instead of being willing to totally transform their plans, their ways according to God’s word. You think about that tendency in your life, it’s in my life. Do we really want to obey God, whatever he wants us to do, or do we really want to do what we want to do and hope that God will bless what we want to do.
That is a critical question we must continually ask. Do we really want God’s ways? More than our own ways? In such a way that we are willing to totally rethink our plans, to totally do that which is different from what we are inclined to do if that is what God’s word says to do, that we will reorient, transform our thinking and our planning and our doing, our obeying around his word, no matter what it says instead of just coming up with our own ideas and asking God to bless them.
Jeremiah 42:20–21 Demonstrates an Inclination To Follow What We Want Rather Than What God Wants
Oh God. Deliver us from this tendency in our hearts to come up with our own ideas for what is best for our lives and ask you to bless them. Lord, help us to trust your ideas for our lives, your ways for our lives, your plans for our lives, ultimately your word. Help us to trust your word. Help us to align our ways with your word, our plans with your plans. The purposes we have for our lives with your purposes.
God, help us not to in mere religious motions say, “Yeah, I want to follow God,” but then when your word comes, we don’t actually want to follow it. God, help us to follow it. And God, help us to obey you, even when it doesn’t make sense to us. Help us to trust and obey you we pray. Align our lives with your word. Transform our lives according to your word, we pray. Keep us from asking you to bless our plans and our ideas because we know when it comes down to it, our plans and our ideas are nowhere near as good as your plans, your ways for our lives. Help us to trust and obey you, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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