Jeremiah holds so many nuggets of truth. It has reminded and taught me of many things. This week, reading Jeremiah’s response to the commanders of the armies reminded me of a very important practice we often forget when seeking wisdom and direction from the Lord. Let’s take a look.
Back then, you hadn’t been around long if you hadn’t heard of Jeremiah the prophet. So, it wasn’t surprising to find the commanders of the armies approaching him to “Please hear our petition and pray to the LORD your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left. Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.” (Jeremiah 42:2-3)
Like a good prophet, Jeremiah hears their requests and promises to pray for a response and tell them everything the Lord says in response to their request. The commanders even tell Jeremiah that they want to hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth even if it is unpleasant and not what they want to hear (v. 6) How many times do we pray like that?!
It’s verse seven that caught my attention. Now at the end of 10 days, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah (v. 7)
First, I’m pretty sure these commanders, in the thick of battle, were hoping for a quick answer. They needed to make some decisions and were relying on hearing from the Lord sooner rather than later. Second, Jeremiah could have just given them his opinion, but he knew better than that. Jeremiah prayed and waited! There is no evidence that shows he knew when the Lord would respond or how many times they may have checked back in with Jeremiah to see if he had heard anything yet, but I would venture to guess the commanders checked in a few times anxiously awaiting a response and some direction.
Jeremiah waited until he heard from the Lord! It was ten days later he received an answer. Now, in my book that’s a pretty quick turn around, but again they were strategizing and working on battle plans. Both Jeremiah and the commanders waited for the Lord’s reply. Jeremiah didn’t give his own answer because the Lord didn’t answer right away and the commanders didn’t make a move until they heard the word of the Lord from Jeremiah (although in the long run they didn’t listen anyway, but that’s another blog).
This reminded me of how quick I can be to give or take advice before seeking the Lord first. It also reminded me of the times I asked God for direction, got tired of waiting and acted on my own accord (never ending up very well). I know my life and all of our lives would look very different if we could seek the Lord for any and all direction we need, pause until we hear from Him and live out this example to our children and others.
It’s a tall order in this world of instant communication, instant grits, popcorn, gratification, communication. . . . You name it, and we can access it any minute of the day. Will you join me in trying to press the pause button when it comes to our prayer lives and our patience in waiting on the Lord’s direction? I’ll pray for your strength and courage to attain this goal and please pray for mine!