Daily D – Jeremiah 10:23-24
I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die. JEREMIAH 10:23-24 (NLT)
My bride and I began taking golf lessons this summer. I took lessons thirty years ago when I moved to a town of three thousand residents with two eighteen-hole golf courses.
Soon after moving there, I was asked by an older gentleman, “Do you play golf?” When I responded that I did not, my new friend said, “The pastor of First Baptist Church has to play golf!” Who knew? This fact was not included in my seminary curriculum.
My golf instructor took an interest in me and taught me the best he knew how. After a couple of years of steady play, I stopped playing with any regularity. Now all these years later, I have discovered that almost everything my first instructor taught me was wrong.
If at first you don’t succeed, you’re about average. Trips to the driving range are much more enjoyable these days. I will not be as embarrassed at Top Golf anymore. All it took for me to become more comfortable and to have more fun was a bit of course correction.
Success in any endeavor requires course corrections. No baseball player bats a thousand for long. No one makes all the right decisions all the time. Knowing this to be true, why would we think we could plan our own lives with great precision? Many people act as if they are quite capable of captaining their own ship and are shocked when they end up in the wrong port, or worse.
What Jeremiah says in this text is appropriate for those who seek God’s direction day by day and moment by moment, as well as for those who only occasionally ask him what steps to take.
There are two parts of a good prayer that emerge from this text. First, ask for God’s direction day by day, and not only when you face a major life decision like marriage or a career change.
Second, invite God to provide course corrections as often as necessary. Life is a lot more fun when you know how to play the game. Also, life is more enjoyable when we do not place ourselves in situations where God’s correction is necessarily harsher.
My first golf instructor got one thing absolutely right. He brought a five-gallon bucket of balls to our lessons. He would dump a dozen or so on the ground and ask me to swing away. At one point he stopped me and said, “The object is not to hit all of the balls. The object is to hit each ball right.”
Enjoy your swings today. Swing as right as you know how. Ask God for better intentions and more proper execution.
I will seek God’s direction and correction.
Our Father, show me the way I should go. Correct me as often as necessary. I want to go where you want me to go and to do what you want me to do. You are a much better life planner than am I. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.