Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Advice for the Stubborn


For you were hypocrites in your hearts when you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the Lord our God, and according to all that the Lord your God says, so declare to us and we will do it.’ “ – Jeremiah 42:20


Have you ever prayed to God for His direction, and then been disobedient to what He said?  I think we all have done it at least once.  We want what we want, and we want God to just slap a seal of approval on our already made decision.  But friends, God doesn’t work that way.  He looks out for our best and doesn’t abide by our wishes.

The remnant of Jerusalem after Babylon overtook her and took most away captive came to Jeremiah asking him to pray for them and where they should go.  They specifically said in verse 6, “ Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.”  Yet, in their hearts, they wanted God to agree with them that they should go to Egypt.  Yet, God’s word back to Jeremiah was that they were not to go anywhere.  They were to stay in Jerusalem.  And God gave them encouraging words to trust, to help them see the future He planned for them.  He said in verse 10, “If you will still remain in this land, then I will build you and not pull you down, and I will plant you and not pluck you up. For I relent concerning the disaster that I have brought upon you. “.  God wanted a new future for them, one which He had prepared.  To enforce their staying, He also gave a vivid view of what their future would be if they went to Egypt in verse 17.  They would die by the sword, by famine, and pestilence.  None of them would escape what He would bring upon them.

So, on the right hand, you have being build up, planted, and living under God’s favor.  On the left hand, they would die by sword, starvation, or pestilence.  It would seem like a simple decision to make.  Pros and Cons are very clear on this one my friends!  Yet, when we have our minds made up was to what we are going to do – we’re as stubborn as a mule!  The first thing they said in return to Jeremiah’s message was to accuse him of lying! 

When we pray, we don’t always want the truth.  Sometimes we want to twist God’s arm and have Him just agree with our premade decisions. 

I’ve walked that path myself.  Years ago, I was given a job opportunity making far more money! It was exciting – enticing even!  So, I prayed and prayed.  I convinced myself God would want me to go.  After all – it was a brighter future with more money, right?  Along the way I would find things like mallard ducks walking the street of Chicago on my first trip to visit the new company.  I would say to myself, “See, God really does want me to do that – that’s something He knows I like.”  Yet only a couple of months later I was miserable, crying at my desk, and begging God to set me free from my terrible decision.  And yes, He gracefully answered that cry and put me back in the company I had left.

Oh, my dear friends!  Search yourself when you’re praying for God’s direction and be willing to take His answer.  He knows the future as history and is the only one who can safely lead you through this world with the best for your life.  If He says no, it is for your own good.  Trust Him and pray for Him to show you why it was a no.

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