Sometimes there are connections in Scripture that you just don’t find in cross references. Connections that, as we read the Word of God, the Spirit makes in our hearts. This morning was one of those times. Two passages that can strike a wearied heart and bring encouragement. Two passages that probably are not beside one another in a commentary or cross reference. Yet two passages that the Lord connected for me today.
The two (which are because I am currently reading through Jeremiah and re-reading daily through the psalms of ascent) passages are:
Jeremiah 10:23-24 NLT
“I know Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.”
“I am counting on the Lord;
Yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word.
I long for the Lord,
More than sentries long for the dawn,
Yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.”
Jeremiah is praying. The weeping prophet is struggling. In fact, from this point on (after chapter 10), he struggles with God and Judah. As the nation faces invasion, Jeremiah struggles to serve God faithfully. He is surprised by opposition (11:1-12:17), stunned over feeling betrayed by God (13:1-15:21), yet renewed by God (16:1-17:18), again burdened by opposition (17:19-18:23), and once again strengthen and prepared to continue serving (19:1-20:18).
So in his prayer in chapter 10, Jeremiah realizes that his life is not his to lay claim on. The ESV says, “the way of man is not in himself.” What he is really saying though, which actually the New Living Translation better renders, is that “a person’s life cannot be considered his own as though he is free to direct his own steps. God is in control, and only those who let God direct their ways will be truly blessed” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jeremiah 10:23).
Jeremiah lets go. He lets go because he knows that he would only be acting against God if he holds the reigns on his own life. “We are not able to plan our own course.” We can’t. I can’t. I tried, but all it does it make it that much harder when the reigns are taken out of our hands.
So he asks Yahweh for mercy. That’s always how we come to him. In need of something that we do not deserve. And it starts with his listening ear. If he were to correct me with his holy righteousness, I would die. Jeremiah knows that he would be toast standing before a holy God if it weren’t for mercy.
So why the connection to Psalm 130. For me, on this day, Jeremiah’s pray resonates in my heart and pushes me to my need for the Lord and the reading in Psalm 130 is the best expression for a weak, thirsty, weary soul.
“I am counting on the Lord.”
“I have put my hope in his word.”
“I long for the Lord.”
I am counting on God because I am at the end of a short rope. I have no answers, no wisdom, no cunning plan, no strength, no clever tricks to get me out of the mess of life right now. I am counting on his goodness, his control over every molecule, his love that endures into eternity, his mercies that are new every second, and his justice that will make all wrongs, right.
I have put my hope in his word because it is the only thing in my life that does not change. There is one sure thing that I can have confidence in. In the midst of everything spinning out of control, his word brings me back to the center—God and his glorious magnificent personhood.
I long for him not because I want an escape, but because I want to know him and see as much of his glory as he will allow me to see. That will only happen when he comes for me and ushers us into his kingdom of light. I’ve never longed for him like I do now.
My life is not my own. I can not plan its course, but I am counting on Him, trusting in his word, and longing to see him.
Jesus, you are my everything. Your redemption has overflowed to me, an unworthy pilgrim who wanders and trips along the way. Thank you for making the way for me, for not just clearing the path, but bring the path (way), the truth, and the light. God, help my weak soul to find strength in you alone. Help my broken spirit to be renewed and mended by your love that brings spring blossoms out of the dead of winter. Help me to see you with eyes that are without distractions. Give me a heart that hopes in you, waits for you, and looks for your coming!