“This is what the Lord said to me” (Jeremiah 13.1).
Jeremiah had a tough row to hoe: God didn’t ask him to do easy things. Yet, he was in the habit of saying “yes” to God. We read that Jeremiah is to take a belt and do what we might consider silly stuff with it. He had to be wondering what could possibly be the purpose of these ridiculous actions. Then, after he completed what God told him to do, his task became harder. He had to continue to preach an unheeded message of repentance.
Jeremiah offers us a practical picture of faithful obedience, even when we feel like giving up. Just as God asked Jeremiah to do some mundane tasks without explanation, so God calls us to faithful obedience. At times, this obedience may be to a large task, but usually it is obedience to the small, everyday tasks. To love our husband or wife. To be a good boss or employee. To forgive. To care for an aging parent.
Just as Jeremiah didn’t know the purpose of the belt ahead of time, so God doesn’t owe us an explanation. We shouldn’t always have to understand the reason for doing something in order to obey.
However, this obedience isn’t blind obedience. Our obedience is based upon a relationship with a trustworthy God who has our best in mind and knows how to lead us to an abundant life. Israel continually forgot about God’s faithfulness and disobeyed.
As you reflect on the faithful obedience of Jeremiah in a hard situation, identify what God is asking you to do, even if you feel like giving up. Write it down and place it somewhere you will find it to make sure you don’t put God off by saying “later.” As you faithfully obey, remember God is with you (Jeremiah 1.8).
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