Sincerity; July 25, 2021

Jeremiah 42:6 “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.”

It is amazing how sometimes we can say the perfect thing and then turn around and do the opposite. I can’t read this without being painfully aware that “the rest of the story” is entirely different, but that’s tomorrow’s reading. By this point it was widely recognized, by both the Jews and the Babylonians, that Jeremiah heard accurately from the Lord, and that’s the backdrop to the Jews’ request to him. However, the Jews were still wanting a rubber stamp on what they wanted to do; their protestations of “listening obediently” to the Lord were just posturing. We see a great deal of that with politicians today. If all the fine-sounding pronouncements were genuinely sincere, we would live in a paradise on earth! In this particular instance, the Lord promised them the best possible outcome if they would follow His instructions. It’s interesting to think about how it might have changed history had they actually done so! The sad thing is, they probably thought they were being sincere in what they said to Jeremiah, but as James pointed out hundreds of years later, we can be remarkably adept at deceiving ourselves. (James 1:22) Noble words aren’t bad, but as the Bible makes abundantly clear, God sees through them all to our hearts, and He knows what we will do and why. We have a stubborn tendency to want to be in control, when we have neither the wisdom nor the ability to do it right. “Listening obediently” has got to be more than window dressing.

I am in the middle of another training session in this. We have what is for this church a major event planned for today. For some churches it would be minor, but we’re not used to such things. Cathy and I are quite stressed out about how it’s all going to go down, and we’ve got to release it into God’s hands. That’s a lot easier said than done! I am finding that less-appealing places in my heart are being exposed, and whereas that’s ultimately a good thing, it’s certainly not comfortable. I honestly do not know what the outcome of today will be, and I’ve got to be at peace with that. I know that if I will flow with the Holy Spirit on His schedule that the outcome will be blessed indeed, but there is something in me that keeps trying to grab the wheel (or the joystick or whatever). I feel like I have been obedient to do what I have been shown to this point, but there are many unknowns. I’ve got to choose faith and obedience at every turn, so that God’s plans may unfold on His schedule for His glory.

Father, thank You for this strong reminder. Thank You for all You did enable us to get done yesterday. Thank You for every detail of Your plans for today. Help us rest and relax enough to really rejoice in You, as You desire, for the sake of Your kingdom and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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