October 23: “Obeying Even the Most Unpleasing of Commands”

7 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Jeremiah 42:1–44:23
2 Timothy 2:1-21
Psalms 92:1–93:5
Proverbs 26:3-5

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Jeremiah 42:5-6 (NLT): “Then they said to Jeremiah, ‘May the LORD your God be a faithful witness against us if we refuse to obey whatever he tells us to do! Whether we like it or not, we will obey the LORD our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us.’”

Reflections from Scripture:

The words in Proverbs 42:5-6 are incredible! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you and I and every other follower of the Lord said and lived out such words!

Yet, there is a bigger story in which these words were declared. If you read the verses that start Jeremiah 42, you will realize that the ones saying these words to Jeremiah are the leaders of the small remnant of Jews left behind. They had seen an invading army arrive, kill many of their family and friends, and take thousands upon thousands of them into captivity. This small group was left behind.

So, they approached Jeremiah to hear what he had to say. They committed to the prophet of God that whatever the Lord told them, they would obey.

Yet, if you read Jeremiah 42:7 and the following verses, you will realize that Jeremiah did get a word from the Lord. But, when he spoke it to the people, he noticed by their responses that they were going to reject God’s message. It became apparent that their initial promise to obey God’s words was contingent upon whether God’s words would be pleasing to them. So, when they heard Jeremiah speak on behalf of God and they found his words utterly displeasing, they rejected God’s words and refused to obey … to their own harm.

Friend, how do you respond to God’s Word? Do you believe that Jeremiah 42:7 represents the intent of your heart?

If so, good! But, intentions aren’t enough. The Jews in today’s reading had good intentions. What they lacked was loyalty to their God and a commitment to obey His words regardless of what they were.

So, friend, do you have that sort of loyalty to your God and His Word? Do you regularly read His Word looking for adjustments to make in your thinking and behavior? Or, do you skip over the unpleasant parts and only respond to the sections of Scripture that are pleasing to you?

If so, you are dangerously close to acting like the Jews in our story.

Why not resolve to make Jeremiah 42:7 the intention AND resolve of your heart. Re-surrender your life to Jesus, committing to obey wholly and promptly anything He reveals to you.

Jeremiah 42:5-6 (NLT): “Then they said to Jeremiah, ‘May the LORD your God be a faithful witness against us if we refuse to obey whatever he tells us to do! Whether we like it or not, we will obey the LORD our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us.’”

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I want to obey You. Each time I read Your Word, I want to comply with each principle that is relevant to me, no matter how difficult or unpleasing it may be. Please help me to do this. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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