Day 33

Jeremiah’s Advice to Stay

from the Lent 2020: His Love Endures reading plan


Jeremiah 42:1-22, Jeremiah 43:1-13, Psalm 104:1-4, Romans 8:31

BY Kaitie Stoddard

Everyone in the whole city wanted to know God’s will for them, or so they said. But when the Lord’s instructions didn’t match up with what the people of Judah wanted to hear, they quickly made up excuses to dismiss the message and the messenger.

God spoke through Jeremiah and told the people to stay put, but they trusted their own plans over His. “Surely Egypt will be better,” they arrogantly thought. Much like when Eve bit into the forbidden fruit, the people placed themselves on the throne to judge what was best for their lives. In doing so, they failed to trust God. It’s a mistake that humankind has made repeatedly since the beginning of time. But just as God was trying to protect Adam and Eve when He warned them not to eat the fruit in the garden, He was trying to protect the people of Judah. It’s important to realize that God wasn’t being controlling or trying to ruin their fun, rather, He knew that if they followed their own path it would lead straight to death (Jeremiah 42:22).

I’m sure we’ve all asked God for wisdom and direction in big and small decisions. But can you think of a time when you weren’t really open to hearing the Father’s answer? Maybe you already had your mind made up about what you wanted to do or what you thought was best. But when God started to speak to you, were you willing to hear what He had to say? Was your heart ready to obey?

Like Adam and Eve, and the people Jeremiah prophesied to, most of the time we are not setting out to purposely rebel against God. The problem is actually more deeply rooted in our hearts than that. The reason we struggle to obey God is because we struggle to trust God. While we profess with our lips that God is a good and wise King, our actions sometimes show that we put more stock in our own judgment and abilities to run the show. But just as it was for the first man and woman, and the stubborn people of Judah, our own steps unguided by the light of the Holy Spirit always lead to the dead end of death.

We must trust God more and trust ourselves less; He must increase, and we must decrease (John 3:30). None of us are perfect in this area. Not one. But we don’t need to figure this out alone. God knows this fault in us, and it’s exactly why He came to save us from ourselves. We have a rescuer who will go after us no matter how far we’ve wandered from the path. Like a good Shepherd, our God will chase down the lost sheep and bring us back into the fold (Luke 15:4). And bit by bit, as we learn to trust God to lead our lives, we will experience life, abundant life.Through communion with God, we will be “transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Post Comments (65)

65 thoughts on "Jeremiah’s Advice to Stay"

  1. Laurie Crary says:

    Test.

  2. Rachel says:

    “I’m sure we’ve all asked God for wisdom and direction in big and small decisions. But can you think of a time when you weren’t really open to hearing the Father’s answer?”

    I’ve been struggling with this question for a long time now. I’ve been in an off-again, on-again relationship for some time. We have both had a strong faith for years but there’s just some red flags regarding our compatibility. It’s a tough one for me, the concept of trusting God and also understanding my authority to make decisions the best I can. The people of Judah had Jeremiah speaking God’s direction directly to them! Now I’m not saying I would have responded to Jeremiah in a different way, but I am always stumped on how we can move forward in this day confidently knowing we are making the right decisions. I know there is peace that comes from prayer and surrender…but how do we decipher that? By a feeling? I am hesitant to rely on my “feelings” and say it is God speaking…

    I guess what I struggle with is thinking I have surrendered time and time again and been open to God’s answer but then end up frustrated and regretful. Prayers would be appreciated with just experiencing peace in a way I never have and confidence to move forward in life knowing He is with me no matter what.

    Stay safe everyone! xoxo

    1. Emily Wolf says:

      Praying for you, Rachel. Jeremiah 42:7 said that Jeremiah’s answer came ten days later, which was a fresh reminder of how much faithful waiting there is in the Old Testament (and ten days was short compared to so many other stories!). I don’t know about you, but I often expect to pray at night and wake up with the answer. I’ve experienced a similar struggle to yours years ago, so I can empathize with your scenario. I did receive an overwhelming and unmistakable feeling of peace beyond human comprehension during my decision making, and I was so thankful that God blessed me with it and that it stayed with me. I’m praying that God makes a direction clear to you and that your eyes and ears are open to see or hear that direction, whether through his quiet voice, a friend’s words, a stranger’s words, a pastor’s words, or words in scripture. He speaks in so many ways and his peace is powerful.

  3. Lissa says:

    This is why God gave us His word, for such a time as this. Thanks be to God.
    …..and SRT.

  4. Angie says:

    SRT ladies, I praise God for you. I praise God for your hearts of love. I praise God for His creation of you with your various voices that speak His truth, His hope, His encouragement, His love. We are all at different stages in this walk with Jesus. Each one makes a difference. Everyone matters. Spiritually young or mature, God loves us, His children. As I read your posts I thank Him for you, each of you…whether in the depth of your faith, or the questioning of a difficult situation. Always, as I look for your posts, I thank God for you, and do two things: I pray He will make us as bold and true in our lived-out-lives as we are in our digital, and give Him the glory and praise for our boldness and changed lives lived-out and digital.

    Vulnerably I ask for prayer for my sister. I pray for her every day. She is young in her faith walk of sold-out living for Christ, while old enough in years of life, that her choice in a desperate situation will have lasting consequences either way. It is a mess, and it appears that evil is winning. She and I talked last night. Then my husband and I talked. And, I’ve been praying. It seemed like there was an evident answer. Then this morning I read our scripture from Jeremiah and I questioned if the evident answer, might not be so evident. It is one thing when I make a choice in my life that causes sacrifice or suffering. It is another when someone I care about asks for advice, to give council, that could cause suffering.

    In today’s reading, I was struck with just how powerless Jeremiah was. The leaders asked for God’s council promising to obey. Jeremiah gave it. They disobeyed anyway. Jeremiah was taken with them in their disobedience. He didn’t have the option of staying and obeying what God was proclaiming.

    Please pray with me that my sister (Cindy) would first clearly hear, and then obey the guidance the Lord gives her, whatever that may be. I pray for her to be in the center of God’s will. (Also, she is a nurse, she lives about 8 hours from me-so I feel helpless with hands-on help. She is dealing with this virus stuff on the front lines.)

    At the same time I present this request, I proclaim the greatness of our God! My Bible app verse today was, Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The picture of himself He gave me from Psalm this morning is amazing, AND, not even minutely close to His majesty and greatness.

    Thank you prayer-warrior SRT sisters. Thank you, thank you, thank you God, our good, good Father.

  5. Megan Ruth says:

    As I read God’s answer to the remnant of the people —of His desire to relent, to rebuild, to pour out compassion, I thought of the story in 2 Samuel 24 where David numbers the people of Israel. Just as in the book of Jeremiah there were consequences for sin. In Jeremiah God sends Nebuchadnezzar. In 2 Samuel 24 David is actually given 3 choices for consequences. In Jeremiah God repeatedly tells the people to surrender to the invaders and promises to preserve them even in the midst of their captivity but they refuse to listen. They refuse to see what David understood so well. His message to Gad, the prophet, was this: “Please let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are great”. He understood that now matter what judgement would befall them the safest place to be was in the hands of God.
    Let us trust in the mercies of our great God and rest in His sovereign control!

    1. Jen Brewer says:

      ❤️

  6. Seattle Bev says:

    Is anyone else enjoying the irony of today’s message?
    “Stay put!”
    Is anyone else inwardly rebelling?
    “No!”
    I don’t think an OT story has ever hit so close to home (literally) as this passage does for me today.
    I am also keeping track in my SRT Journal and today is day 33/49. The end of Lent is near – and this too shall pass. Praise the LORD!

  7. Erin Barth says:

    Can I express an unpopular viewpoint in a Jeremiah study? Lol. Bible jokes, but really:

    I had to comment because I’m just mystified by the groupthink I see everywhere during this epidemic, and wonder in Jeremiah felt the same way as he watched his people all nod their heads to each other over their great plans. Have we forgotten that he was an unpopular voice?

    Honestly, I see us doing the same in the way we given god-level authority to “the plan” our culture has to fix the problem at hand. To me, the “easy path” is just not rocking the boat, and nodding as even small churches are shut down (but not abortion clinics). Obviously this virus is problematic to our vulnerable loved ones, but we forget that the church has continued to meet through plague and far, far worse trusting God— because meeting as the church body (even in small groups) IS essential. Does scripture call for safety at all costs, the way our self preserving culture does? No. Is it risky and unpopular right now to express these thoughts (ala Jeremiah) of faithfulness to God before all else. Yes. We do need to be wise, but also courageous.

    So am I staying home and trying to be a good citizen? Yes. But honestly, influenza and car accidents (separately) have killed more people than Covid-19. Yet we are frozen. By. Fear.

    But Jeremiah had to let his people go their own way. I don’t know the right course, but in the midst of all of the misinformation of the Internet, I just keep hearing God say: “I’ve chosen to blind these people to sense. You may be frustrated by the illogic of this whole situation, but I’m allowing their pride to make them dumb.”‍♀️

    I know these are inconvenient questions to ask (fear almost kept me from posting this), but I do hope we are at least wrestling with these things.

    1. Kyah Collins says:

      Courageous in the way that we serve others who are currently suffering, yes absolutely. We change our lives and become “uncomfortable” (by some definition) so that others have a chance to live. I am so grateful for the internet and how it allows the church to meet during these times. Change is hard on a lot of people. But change can also be so good for the soul. I see more courage than fear. It takes courage and faith to keep others safe. Praying for all of those on the front lines who are doing the hard work right now.

    2. Jennifer Anapol says:

      Thank you for sharing this Erin. I too have wrestled with the social distancing thing. I understand the importance of it, but I think our society has taken it too far. I see all the people who are loosing their jobs, parents who are trying to juggle too many things and kids who aren’t learning what they should. don’t think we should put our government on the same level as Jeremiah, who was actively seeking the Lord’s guidance on what to do. I don’t know that our leaders are doing that. I have been praying the Lord leads them in what to do. I ask myself what the early church would do in the similar situation. I’m not entirely sure what the best course of action is, this is a whole new territory. Sorry for my jumbled thoughts, processing out loud. Thank you for your courage in sharing.

    3. Candy B says:

      Thank you, Erin. I can honestly say, I am obeying the “social distancing” out of feeling the need to submit to the authority set before me at this time. I am trying to live out the mandate to love my neighbor as myself. I do not agree in totality with social distancing, but I feel it is a good “lesson” for all of us on submission, especially being that we as a society run from submitting to anything except our own fleshly desires.
      I do feel God sees our hearts and He knows that our true desire is to please Him and honor and fear Him above man.
      God has been using this time to speak to me through His Word more than ever before. I feel the distractions of everyday life had been in the way of me hearing Him so clearly. Instead of being gripped by fear, I have a peace that passes all understanding right now that can only come from Him.
      As far as the church is concerned, I do feel God was cleaning house before all of this began and this is a continuation of that. I keep feeling that He wants a spotless Bride and ones whose hearts are all for Him, His ways, and His purposes. Our humanness in the church in regard to platforms and programs were getting in the way of people seeing the true heart of God. This social distancing is allowing everyone – every single person – to be on the same playing field, so to speak. Anyone can come to church on Sundays by tuning in on a radio or live streaming. It is quite amazing. Those that never would have set foot in a church due to hurts, habits or hang ups have been given an opportunity to meet God in their own living room.
      Yes, I do agree with you about churches not being allowed to meet. But I also see God being glorified and magnified in all the earth through this in ways that we, even as the church, were not doing.

      1. Cathy Frey says:

        Amen Candy! So well put. Thank you for sharing. I love seeing the ways that The Lord is getting our attention and being glorified. What an opportunity we have been presented with to bring the hope and light of Christ during a challenging situation. We have the opportunity to be The Church in unexpected ways to our neighbors. Love it.

    4. Missi Young says:

      Thanks for your honesty. I don’t think it has always been explained well as to why we have to do this. But here is how I understand it. I live in Seattle, one the earlier places hit hard by the CV. We have been social distancing for a while now and are waiting and preparing for our large wave of patients with COVID 19 to hit the hospitals. Yet our hospitals are already getting full. As a result we currently have a field hospital set up on a large soccer field and a second one coming to Centurylink Field – where the Seahawks play! No elective procedures have been allowed for a couple of weeks already – including dental cleanings and eye appts – to save the equipment for COVID 19 patients. While it’s true that car accidents and the flu are deadlier, they occur over time. Not at once. We are doing this so as not to overwhelm our health care system. And so far the hardest hit American cities have a lot of healthcare available – hospitals, medical schools, etc. I too miss going to church but have enjoyed streaming as a family in our PJs. That said, I have experienced tons of emotions and keep asking God what He is trying to teach us here. I’m not sure.

    5. Kathryn Green says:

      I agree heartily Erin!

  8. Indiana Elaine says:

    Praying for you, Monie. I pray everyday for the healthcare workers that God would give you rest, refreshment, strength and energy to serve wherever you are. I have a daughter, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law who work in the health field. Thank you for you service to our communities and sacrificing for our wellbeing. God bless you and protect you!

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