Jeremiah 42:7 Ten days later the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.
Yesterday’s reading showed that the king was a hypocrite, and today’s story shows that the people were right in step with their king. You have to read all the way to the end of chapter 43 to get the whole story, but there could not be a more explicit example of people saying the right thing and then doing another. God’s judgment on Judah was not just because of leadership, because the rot extended throughout the society of the day. Exactly the same thing may be said of America today. God’s actions back then were entirely justified, and I can only pray that He will be merciful on America in these days. That said, this verse is very interesting to me. Jeremiah was a proven prophet, one who heard from the Lord frequently and accurately. However, contrary to what we might expect today, it was 10 days after He started asking the Lord for specific guidance on this issue that he got what he was asking for. Today, that would seem interminable! We are very much an “instant” society, without the maturity that brings tolerance for delayed gratification. We are all too prone to ask the Lord for guidance, and when we haven’t gotten it within half an hour, we go off and do whatever seems good to us, without any real pretense of waiting on the Lord. I think we miss out on a great deal by such behavior. The Bible is filled with references to waiting on the Lord. Most often they are in a form that would be rendered more accurately as “wait expectantly,” or “wait in hope.” However, they indisputably speak of waiting, of not running off and doing your own thing. We don’t like that! As the perfect parent, God often gives us training in delayed gratification. Human parents who fail to do that with their children are doing them no favors. If your child “pitches a hissy fit” because they don’t get what they want immediately, then it’s time to “apply the board of education to the seat of learning.” Psychologists agree that tolerance for delayed gratification is one of the surest marks of maturity. God wants mature children, and we should too.
I like instant gratification as much as the next person, but I have learned that delayed gratification often multiplies the appreciation and enjoyment when the need or desire is met. I have had to learn, sometimes the hard way, that it’s not good to start cooking up a scheme to get what I’m after if God doesn’t supply it in my specified time frame. Right now we are in a period of training in that very area, because the owner of the land next door won’t give us assurance that he won’t sell the land to someone else before we will have the necessary funds a year from now. However, there are things we can do and should do as we wait, and that too is training in listening to God. We are not to be passively spinning our wheels, but rather actively seeking how God would have us use each day, each minute, to accomplish His purposes on His schedule rather than our own, for His glory.
Father, thank You for all that got done yesterday, and that it was all done safely. Thank You that all sorts of things are falling into place perfectly, far better than I could have planned them. Thank You that I’ll have my dental work completed in time to enjoy my birthday dinner next week. That one’s almost “last second,” but it’s entirely in time, and that is sufficient. Help us trust You with every detail of our lives, not only for what happens but when it happens, so that we may indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!