Obey the Word (Jeremiah 7:23) - Radical

Obey the Word (Jeremiah 7:23)

But this command I gave them, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people, and walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.”
– Jeremiah 7:23

Jeremiah 7 is such an important chapter in the whole Bible, and, specifically, in the Old Testament, and this verse, verse 23, summarizes why, because it encapsulates in one verse God’s message to his people all throughout the Old Testament, and much of that message revolves around one keyword.

Jeremiah 7:23 is a calling to wholehearted obedience.

In verse 23 here, it says, “This command I gave them, ‘Obey my voice,'” and the word for obey there in the Hebrew is Shema, and Shema is such a unique and significant word in the Old Testament. It’s translated “obey” here, but other times in the Bible it’s translated “here.” Maybe one of the most well-known times is in Deuteronomy 6, when God says, “Hear, O Israel, hear, my people, the Lord, your God, the Lord is one. So love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind with all you have.”

It was the most important commandment from God to his people in the Old Testament, reiterated by Jesus in the New Testament, and it’s prefaced with the word Shema. “Hear and obey this,” like in one word, “Hear, listen to the Word of God, and obey the Word of God.” So picture, “hear” and “obey” as one word.

Jeremiah 7:23 is a calling to a flourishing spiritual life.

That’s what you have in the Shema, and the picture here in Jeremiah 7 is God saying to his people through Jeremiah, “You’ve not heard my Word, and you’ve not obeyed it. You’ve forsaken me,” and he’s telling them, “I gave them this command. ‘Obey my voice. Hear and do what I’m calling you to do, and I will be your God. You will be my people. Walk in the way that I command you, and it will be well with you.'” God is saying, “I love you. I want what is good for you. Listen to me and walk with me. Obey me. Shema.”

And so I just want to encourage you today with this word that is so significant throughout the Old Testament, that you and I would meditate on it and apply it in our lives today. Hear and obey. Hear the Word of God. Take time today, beyond even just this couple minutes on a podcast, to listen to the Word of God, to meditate on it, to let it soak into your mind and your heart, to memorize it, to hear the Word of God, and don’t just hear it, obey it. Do it. Do what God is calling us to do through it. Live according to it. Align our lives with it, and we will experience the goodness, joy, and blessing that is found in knowing God, in being his people and experiencing his good ways for our lives.

This verse is a calling to believe the promises of obedience.

Oh, God, we pray you would help us Shema, to hear and obey your Word. God, we pray that that word would mark our lives. I pray that in my life, I pray that for every single person listening to this right now. God, that Shema would be true of us, that we are listening to you daily and obeying you wholeheartedly. God, we want to love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength with all that we have. We praise you for your love for us.

God, we praise you for promising that things will go well for us when we hear and obey you. And we know, we know from your Word that doesn’t mean things will be easy in this world… That we won’t experience trials or challenges in this world… But that we will walk through them with you, you with us, you, our God… We, as your people, and it will go well with us.

Prayer for the North Sumatera Malay People

Oh, God, we pray, help us to Shema… To hear and obey your Word daily in our lives. And God, to spread this Word to people who’ve not heard it. God, we pray today for the North Sumatera Malay of Indonesia, this people group of 2.3 million Muslims, most of whom have never heard your love for them in Jesus, and what Jesus has done to die on the cross and rise from the grave for their salvation. God, we pray that they would hear and receive your Word, and trust it and believe it, and obey it. We pray Shema over the North Sumatera Malay of Indonesia. We pray all this according to your Word… And specifically according to this word, Shema, that we see in Jeremiah 7:23. All of this in Jesus’s name. Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

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