Daily D – Jeremiah 42:3
Jeremiah 42:3 “Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.” (NIV)
I wonder if one of the reasons we feel like God does not hear and answer our prayers is because he has heard and answered our prayers and we said, “No, thank you,”?
If the only thing we knew about Jeremiah 42 and 43 was the verse above, we would enjoy a warm, fuzzy moment. If we read Jeremiah’s response in verse 4, we would feel good. If we read as far as verses 5 and 6, we would come near saying “Amen!” right out loud in the middle of our quiet time. Go ahead and check out what these guys said:
“May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us.
Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you,
so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God.”
Ten days later (see verse 7), Jeremiah delivered God’s response. He provided simple, straightforward instructions with purpose and promise and protection. He also provided a rather strong warning in case they changed their minds since verses 3, 5, and 6.
Jeremiah 43 tells us the rest of the story. Here’s how it starts:
Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah,
“You are lying! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt to settle there.’”
Sigh. It appears what Azariah and Johanan wanted from God was a confirmation of their plans rather than seeking God’s plans. It seems as if they only believed God heard and answered their prayers when he agreed with them.
Aren’t you glad none of us pray like that? (Ahem)
Lesson: Do not pray to see if you want to do what God wants you to do. Pray to seek God’s will and ways because you know and trust his heart and mind, his guidance and provision.
Prayer is not a lever we pull to get what we want. Prayer is a practice, a discipline, to seek what God wants knowing what he wants for us is better than anything we want for ourselves.
Prayer is a reminder of who is the ultimate authority in our lives.
Here’s a good way to begin to pray: Whatever you want, I want also. Wherever you lead, I will follow. Whatever you ask, I say, “Yes!”
I will agree with what God says and does in response to my prayers.
Our Father, you answer our prayers better than we ask them. Whatever you want, I want also. Wherever you lead, I will follow. Whatever you ask, I say, “Yes!” Amen.
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Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.