We have come a long way from shopping the Mom and Pop stores of my childhood, those old, beloved, hometown stores where everyone knew everyone, a place when we were all friends and family. First came the transition to indoor shopping malls, causing the small towns that dotted my river valley to shutter their windows and close their doors. Then the larger box stores and discount retailers arrived on the scene, offering lower prices and an all-in-one shopping experience, causing those shopping malls to implode. Now we are immersed in an on-line economy, purchasing everything from groceries to cars with a click on the computer and a withdrawal from PayPal. And as an enticement, many items are offered “on approval,” defined in a business dictionary as an arrangement under which items of a durable nature are provided to a prospective customer for a pre-purchase trial…returnable after a specified period in re-saleable condition if not accepted for purchase. In layman’s terms, buy it, try it, and if you don’t like it, ship it back!
As Jeremiah had warned for years, God’s judgment on Judah had finally come to fruition, Jerusalem had fallen after a violent, deadly battle, invaded by the ruthless kingdom of Babylon. The remnant remaining in that devastated city implored Jeremiah to “…pray for us unto the LORD thy God…that…God may show us the way wherein we may walk.” Seek out God’s will for us during these dark days, Jeremiah, and “we will obey the voice of the LORD, our God.” Jeremiah consents, visits with his God, and conveys God’s plan for His people: “If ye will still abide in this land, then I will build you up…” but if you decide to flee “into the land of Egypt…there ye shall die.” Simple directions, uncomplicated choice: stay in the land and be blessed; flee the land and face destruction.
Unfortunately, the decision had already been made in the hearts of this rebellious people, long before they sought the input of their God; they were simply seeking His rubber stamp of approval on their predetermined decision to flee to Egypt for safety and refuge. When the answer from God was a firm, unequivocal, NO!, they accused Jeremiah of speaking “falsely,” lying to them, and “they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: thus came they even to Tahpanhes (Egypt).” They didn’t get the answer they wanted, so they shipped it back, so to speak.
I wonder at times if I am an on-approval Christian? Do I view God’s plan for my life in terms of Show me what to do, Father, and then when He does, I can choose to do all of it, part of it, or none of it? Am I seeking God’s divine will on-approval, or am I all in regardless of what He decides is best for me? Am I seeking God’s stamp of approval on what I have already deemed best, or am I willing to follow His lead, even if it is contrary to my will, what I want? I want a no-return policy with my Father, so that when He clearly presents His path for me, I am willing to accept that path and to submit humbly to Him.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Lord, help me in this challenge of submission to You. When You clearly present You will for me, give me the grace to follow Your lead, knowing that You have my good in mind.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-1540-6575c0e25a81d' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=1540&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-1540-6575c0e25a81d' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-1540-6575c0e25a81d' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>