When we read the Bible, we see people behaving in ways that may seem strange to us. For example, look at what happens in these passages from Jeremiah.

Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah a son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, “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” (emphasis added).

Jeremiah 42:1-3 (NIV)

Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us. 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.”

Jeremiah 42:5-6 (NIV)

After fleeing from Judah, all these people go to Jeremiah and ask him to pray to God for guidance. Which is just plain awesome. They are finally doing the right thing. If you’re familiar with Jeremiah and the other prophets, you know that they (the Israelites) mostly ignored the Lord. Doing what they want to do. Yet, here they are, asking God for guidance. They even tell Jeremiah that they will accept God’s justice if they don’t do what God wants them to do. Things appear to be looking up for the people of Judah. Let’s see how they respond to what God tells them.

Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are lying! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt to settle there ‘ (emphasis added).

Jeremiah 43:2 (NIV)

God told them to stay in the land of Israel and that everything would work out for their good. God didn’t tell them everything would be good, only that it would work out for their good. Kinda like Romans 8:28.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

If you’re like me, when you read Jeremiah 42-43, you might shake your head at the Israelites and wonder why they turned to God to ask him what to do and then did their own thing anyway. However, instead of wondering about the Israelites, let’s approach the question from another angle. Why do we do the same thing?

We know the difference between right and wrong. Christian or not. People know because God put it into our hearts to know. However, we do what we want to do. Sometimes it’s not about right or wrong. After all, if you want to move from here to there, where is the evil in that? Unless God has told you to stay put and you’re leaving anyway, where’s the problem? Yet, how often do we decide to do something and go to God, hoping he will tell us to do what we have already decided to do?

Perhaps I’m the only person who’s ever done that. Decided I wanted to do one thing but then went to God before doing it to find out what he wanted me to do. Then, when he told me to do something else, I decided that it wasn’t really God who told me to do what I didn’t want to do, so I did what I wanted to do. That’s precisely what the Israelites did here in Jeremiah 42.

The Israelites went to God asking for guidance because they wanted a semblance of piety and of doing the right thing when what they really wanted was confirmation. They wanted assurance that their choice to go to Egypt was right. Even when they knew it wasn’t. What did Isaiah say about these people?

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.

Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)

God isn’t fooled when we go to him asking for his blessing on our choices. We might try and fool ourselves when we go to God, but we’re the only person being deceived. However, one thing I am learning is this. When I ask God for his guidance, even if I’ve already decided what I want to do, I can ask him for his help to change my heart to do what he wants me to do. And when I do it, to do it joyfully with praise and thanksgiving.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.