Tag Archives: promises

The Promise of Obedience (Jeremiah 41-45)

I confess that I can wake up in the morning and, before I get out of bed pray, “I give you this day, Lord. Anything you want me to do I will do it! I’m ready.”

But then when God lays on my heart the name of a person I need to call, I know I should, but I don’t. God nudges me to change the channel from an ungodly TV show, but I don’t. He prompts me to speak to someone about sin, but I talk myself out of it. I overeat, I gossip, I think bad thoughts, I get jealous. I don’t love like Jesus loves.

I am like the Jews who told Jeremiah that they’d do anything God told them to do. But when Jeremiah told them what God wanted them to do they said, “anything but that.” They flat out disobeyed God, and they paid the consequences.

I am reminded that God doesn’t want me to promise to obey Him. We demands that I obey Him. He doesn’t want me to say the words I think He wants to hear, He wants me do the things He asks me to do. God is not impressed with my promises, or my good intentions. He tells me to be holy, to love my neighbor, to go and make disciples, to flee temptation, and be set apart.

He will accept nothing less. And neither should I.

Jeremiah 43-45; If You… I Will…

“God, I promise if You’ll heal my loved one, I’ll start going back to church.” “If you let me have this promotion, or win the lottery, I promise I’ll give lots of money to missions.” “Just answer my prayer and I’ll do whatever you want.”

That’s exactly what the Jews told Jeremiah. But the Jews, like most of us, couldn’t or wouldn’t keep their end of the bargain.

I imagine most of us have been at a point sometime in our lives when we find ourselves trying to cut a deal with God. “If You… I will…” Scripture is very clear, however. God is NOT the Great Negotiator.

Do any of us really think God wants us to love Him so much He’d let us determine the rules of the relationship? Do we think God is so weak He gives in to our lip service like a young mother trying to get her toddler to obey?

Here’s the deal: God is God. Obey Him. Period.

He says if we obey we’ll be blessed. If we don’t obey, there are severe consequences to pay. There is no room for negotiation. God doesn’t need to hear our lofty promises. He demands to see our obedience.

The next time you are tempted to make some promise to God in exchange for something you want, save your breath. There is only one “If you… I will…” that God honors. And He’ll honor it every time. It’s when He says to us…

“If you obey Me, I will bless You.”

 

August 23 – Sure you will

Jeremiah 41-45

The Jews asked Jeremiah to pray for them. They wanted God to tell them what to do. They even proclaimed complete obedience: Whatever God says, we’ll do.

Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the Lord our God. (42:6)

Anything you want us to do, Lord, we’ll do!

Sure you will.

When Jeremiah told them God didn’t want them going into Egypt, all the arrogant men said, “You are telling a lie!” They promptly headed for Egypt.

Have you ever promised God you’d go anywhere, do anything He asked of you? You might have even meant it at the time. But when he impressed on your heart to befriend that weirdo down the street, did you do a Jonah and take your pastor’s wife to lunch instead?

Did you ever promise God that you would NEVER repeat a sin you’ve confessed, only to do it again anyway?

Sometimes I think God hears our lofty goals, our heart-felt promises, and thinks, “Sure you will.” He sees our hearts, but He also knows our weaknesses.

The prayer that begins with “I” – I won’t repeat that sin, I will obey You at any cost, I’ll go where You want me to go – is doomed to failure. Let’s face it, we just don’t have what it takes to do anything on our own.

But the sincere prayer of “God help me, God show me, God be my strength,” is the prayer that can never fail. God is able. God is eager. And God answers prayer.

You know what? When I pray I don’t want God to say, “Sure you will.” Instead I want Him to be able to say, “We sure will!”