Is it easier to ask permission or seek forgiveness? I can remember as a youth wanting to do something that instinctively I knew my parents would forbid. So, if I were to go through with it, I’d be asking for forgiveness instead. That is certainly not easy! While I was a rebellious teen, I did try to ask for permission as often as possible!
In our passage today, we see the leaders seeking God’s input to their situation. The people approached Jeremiah and asked him to pray to God. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? But it was almost as if their fingers were crossed behind their backs. They were putting on a good show, weren’t they?
We get a clue about the seriousness of their intentions by how they ask the question. They want Jeremiah to pray to “his” God. Did you notice how Jeremiah acknowledged their request and said he would pray to “their” God. Jeremiah would pray to God on their behalf, but he wanted to make it clear that that God was also their God. How do you think those leaders responded to that?
Why would they have asked for God’s response if they didn’t intend on following it? Jeremiah gave them two messages from God. The people could clearly see what the better choice would be, if they truly believed Jeremiah spoke for God.
Without reading ahead to see what they decide, Jeremiah seems to assume they are going to ignore God’s warning and go to Egypt. Not trusting Jeremiah is one thing, but not trust God is another matter.
Have you ever gone to the Lord with a request for clarity but doubted you’d receive a response? Maybe the response you received wasn’t what you had hoped for, so you did it your own way instead. How much better it could have been if you’d listened to God!
Matthew 7:7-8 is teaching from Jesus himself. “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
My take-away is that I should always desire God’s blessing on a situation. When a message to take Plan B is received instead, I need to be prepared to listen and follow God in that unexpected direction. Listening for and following God’s guidance should be a priority.
We’ll have to wait and see what direction the leaders in our story decide to take. While it was a good thing they asked for God’s leading, the significant impact will come if they listen and obey.
Let’s pray … Lord, thank you that you are available to hear our prayers and answer our calls for help. Continue to reveal to me how I can draw closer to you. Forgive me for those times that I’ve plowed ahead with my own plans without asking for your direction first. I am trying to do better at that. Help me to wait and listen for you response. In Jesus’ name. Amen.