Jeremiah 33:1-3 While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it–the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'”
As came out yesterday, Jeremiah’s greatest reward on this earth for serving God was hearing from God, unmistakably and in considerable detail. Many people think they would like that, but I don’t think they would like the rest of Jeremiah’s life! After all, at this point he was imprisoned, and he was even thrown into a cistern, where he sank into the mud! (Jeremiah 38) Jeremiah’s circumstances were so poor that he focused his thoughts fully on God as a way of escape, and his reward was magnificent. I think a major reason we don’t hear from God more often is that our attention is so completely taken up with the things of this world. We are so obsessed with our electronic devices that we don’t even hear each other! As it says so famously in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” We seldom get still enough to listen! Every parent has experienced trying to get through to a squirming youngster. The child has the double problem of distractions and the inability to comprehend the words and/or concepts the parent is expressing. We are the same way with God, which is hardly surprising since we are His children. It is a measure of maturity to be able to get quiet before God and allow Him to place His thoughts into our heart and mind. That’s one of the biggest purposes of a daily devotional time. That is deliberately setting aside time, with as few distractions as possible, to talk to God and let Him talk to us through His Word. The rewards are essentially limitless!
Since our church is having Thanksgiving dinner this evening, before I could even be sure what part of today’s passage the Lord wanted to speak to me I had to put down my Bible and go take the turkey out of the refrigerator, as my wife had asked me to do. (It is now well thawed, and ready for all she will do to it before the service this morning.) With that weighing on my mind, I couldn’t focus on listening to God. (Actually, I think He reminded me of the turkey. He loves my wife, too, and doesn’t want her mad at me!) It has been many years since I got into the habit of consistent devotions first thing in the morning, and I’m grateful to say that it is becoming easier for me to get quiet before God several times throughout the day. I probably don’t have a Bible open, but He brings passages to mind, or a song that focuses on Him, and it is a great blessing. As a pastor, I think my greatest desire for the members of this church is that they too discover the blessings of listening to God. I have learned that if we don’t have the mindset of obedience before we hear what He is saying, He isn’t likely to talk to us much. Once you are a believer, James 1:22 is one of the most important verses in the Bible! I am to lead others into listening obediently to God by doing so myself. If I don’t go there, no one will follow! God is neither mute nor stingy, and I want everyone to know that.
Father, thank You for this reminder, particularly as we are entering into the very busy Advent season. Help us have quiet hearts before You, even as our bodies are busy, so that we may hear and obey all that You are saying. For Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!