“Pray to the Lord for us … that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go…” Jeremiah xlii.2
After Jerusalem fell to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 BC, a group of men – “from the least to the greatest” – approached prophet Jeremiah to learn God’s specific will concerning their immediate future. They appeared to be genuinely devoted to God. They pleaded with Jeremiah to enquire of God on their behalf so that they could know “the way we should go.” They could either stay in their own land amidst the ruins of their kingdom, move on to Babylon or flee to Egypt. They even wished to summon God as a witness to vouch for their commitment to obey His will, “whether it is good or bad.” (xlii:5, 6)
God was merciful enough to speak to these men. He wanted this “remnant of Judah” to remain in their own land. He also warned them against migrating to Egypt. If we were present there, we would have expected this group of people to be grateful to God for giving them such clear directions. They should have been grateful to prophet Jeremiah for praying for them and waiting upon God for ten days until He spoke.
However, the “insolent” men under the leadership of Azariah questioned Jeremiah’s integrity. They refused to submit to God’s will. They moved to Tahpanhes in Egypt (xliii.7). They would have thought that that was the end of the matter. God thought otherwise. He will never be mocked. God sent His prophet after them to Tahpanhes to pronounce His judgment on them (ch. xliv). God wanted to prove to them “whose word will stand, mine or theirs.” (xliv. 28)
It is indeed a good practice to seek God’s will before we take a major decision in our lives. It is sad to note that most Christians do not consider it necessary to consult God before making important decisions in their life. God loves to guide us. We must expect to hear His voice and to receive His guidance.
However, it is one thing to seek God’s will and to express a desire to follow it unconditionally. Obedience to God’s will, although imperative and necessary, is not easy – especially when we realise that it runs contrary to our wishes and expectations. Those who are unaware of God’s will are probably better off than those who seek God’s will, hear His voice, and then rebel against God’s specific guidance.
God is interested in guiding us everyday. We can refer to Him as our Shepherd and Lord just as long as we seek and obey His will in our life. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John x.27, 28) When was the last time you consulted the Lord Jesus to know His specific will for a particular situation in your life?