Today in my devotions I was reading in the book of Jeremiah and came across a very powerful rebuke from God to His people. He said, “But my people would not listen to me. They kept on doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward.” (Jeremiah 7:24, NLT)
I know that God was talking about the people of Judah, but it also sounds so much like us. We have a terrible tendency to follow our own desires instead of God’s plans for our lives. We forget that God’s ways are so much better than our own and we run off chasing after things that just don’t matter.
We should be like David who said in Psalm 17, “My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you.” (Psalm 17:5, NLT) But instead we are like those mentioned in Isaiah 53, “All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own…” (Isaiah53:6a, NLT)
What we don’t realize is that when we go our own way instead of God’s way, we are moving backward instead of forward. We are heading in the wrong direction. We don’t realize it, because our eyes are focused on the wrong things. We are like a hiker who finds himself lost, because he was focused on the wrong landmark. We get so focused on what we think we want and when we finally arrive at it we realize that things are really not quite what we had hoped for. But worse, we find ourselves alone and lost, looking around to figure out where God is. But God didn’t leave us. We left Him. We thought we were walking forward and all along we were walking backward.
I challenge you to stop and ask yourself, “am I going backward?” Are we chasing after our own desires instead of listening to God and following Him? We need to learn from that rebuke that we find in Jeremiah. It’s time for us to move forward!