Sunday Scriptures — When We Refuse to Listen to God

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

How often do we go to God in prayer asking him to approve the plan we have, instead of seeking the plan God has for us? When his plan deviates from our plan, we refuse to listen.

In the forty-second chapter of the book of Jeremiah a group of army men, led by Johanan, came to Jeremiah asking the prophet to pray to God that he would tell them where they should go, and what they should do.

These men recently engaged in a fight with Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and rescued Ishmael’s captives. But Ishmael and eight of his men escaped, and ran away to the Ammonites.

Fearing reprisal from the Babylonians, Johanan and his men decided to run away to Egypt. Before they reached Egypt, they asked Jeremiah to seek God’s will for them. That’s what they said, at least. It seems what they really wanted was God to approve their plan.

Jeremiah went to God on the men’s behalf and promised to tell them everything God said. And that’s exactly what the prophet did.

Only …

Jeremiah told Johanan God said if Johanan stayed in Judah he need not fear the Babylonians. God would protect them. But if he disobeyed and went to Egypt, it would not go well. There would be war, famine, and disease from which Johanan would not escape.

Given that choice you would think Johanan listened to what God told him, but Johanan refused to listen. Instead he accused Jeremiah of lying to make them stay and be killed by the Babylonians.

Johanan said he wanted God’s clear direction, but in truth he wanted God’s approval of the plan Johanan knew he was going to go ahead with no matter what Jeremiah said.

This takes me back to my original question. How often do we go to God in prayer asking him to approve the plan we have instead of seeking, and accepting, the plan God has for us?

Just as things did not go well with Johanan and his men when they refused to listen to God, it does not go well with us when we go to God in prayer with our plans all laid out and refuse to alter them when God gives us an answer we don’t particularly care for.

Instead of refusing to listen to God’s direction, don’t you think we should stop stubbornly insisting on our own way, and trust God knows what he’s doing?

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Johanan son of Kareah and the army officers, and the people along with them, wouldn’t listen to God’s Message that they stay in the land of Judah and live there. Jeremiah 43:4 (MSG)

I wish you well.


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