9/27 Jeremiah 7:23-24

23 But this command I gave them: 'Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.' 24 But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.

God is searching for those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23). We have His voice. When Jeremiah wrote, it was God's voice through His prophets that applied the Word of God to a specific people at a specific time. Since Pentecost, we have the voice of the Holy Spirit, that still small voice in our spirit. He does a similar work to what He did through the prophets. He reminds us of the Word and applies it to our lives (John 14:26; 16:13-14).

We also have the written commands of God. The commands are our guidelines. They help us discern whether or not what we are hearing is God's spirit or our own. They give us our general instructions to help us know when we are in our old nature or our new life in Christ. In this passage, God was saying that they were commanded to obey both His voice and His commands, "that it may be well with you." God speaks to us for our good. Everything He directs us to do and say is because He loves us and wants the best for us. If we really believed that, our heart would be much more inclined to listen and obey.

At this point in history, the people of Judah refused to obey or even attempt to listen. They did what they thought best for themselves. Their hearts were stubborn and evil. By going their own way, they ended up going backward, away from what was really best for them. To listen to God and obey would have taken them forward to what was ultimately best for them, but they refused.

Consider: Are you going forward or backward?