God’s blessings come our way when we are committed to Him. If we commit to our willful ways, the Lord cannot bless our lives. When we go our own way… follow our own paths… blaze our own trails in life, we step out of our Heavenly Father’s divine grace. We set aside His wisdom and direction and pursue our own paths. Stubbornness waylays us from His best.

“From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, ‘Obey Me’. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts.”Jeremiah 11:7-8

God chooses the Israelites to be a light to the world… a channel for Him to pour out His blessings upon the nations. Yet they rebel against their Lord. Their relentless stubbornness causes them to miss out on His wonderful plan for them. He would forever be willing to forgive their wayward ways if only they would repent and return to Him.

In His unending mercy, God sends prophet after prophet to the nations of Israel and Judah to warn them of the consequences of their wayward ways… but to no avail. The people do not want to hear the prophecies of doom that these prophets bring from the Lord. Not even the threat of captivity by foreign nations can change their hearts. They refuse to listen.

“’You have rejected Me,’ declares the Lord. ‘You keep on backsliding… If you repent, I will restore you.’” Jeremiah 15:6, 19

The prophet Jeremiah has the challenging and unrewarding task of giving God’s message to a people who will not listen. He is called and anointed by God to prophesy to the people of Judah. Over his 40-year ministry, he continues to boldly speak a message of repentance. He urges the people to return to the one True God.

Jeremiah reminds the people of the covenant God lovingly made with their ancestors. If they will only turn from their errant ways and follow Him, He will send His promised blessings. If they refuse and adhere to their willful ways, He will turn away and allow them to face the consequences.

God wants only to be their God and they His people. He desires their change of heart. He longs to give them all the promises He has planned for them. Yet generation after generation refuses. The people seek guidance everywhere except from the Lord. They allow their stubbornness to impede His divine plan. Their hearts become hard, causing them to live a life hostile to God.

“Everyone walked in the stubbornness of his evil heart. Therefore I brought upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.”Jeremiah 11:8

Jeremiah prophesies that if Judah follows in the path of the northern kingdom of Israel, they will fall to the Babylonians and be taken captive by this foreign nation. Israel has already fallen to the Assyrians because of their waywardness. Despite the prophet’s warnings, Judah stubbornly refuses to repent. Jeremiah’s prophecy is fulfilled.

Both Israel and Judah break their covenant with God. They cut themselves off from His presence and blessings by their willfulness. They block His plan for their future. No longer will they be His light to a lost world. His message will go out to a people who will listen to Him… who will be obedient and follow in His ways… who will accept His Son as their Savior.

“Ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”Jeremiah 6:16

We are God’s chosen people. No longer under the Law, we live under the New Covenant of grace in Christ Jesus. When we follow in obedience to God’s ways, we reap His promised blessings. If we refuse to listen to His words… if we continue in our willful ways… if we turn away from Him, we risk hardening our hearts and living life counter to the Lord.

God may let us go our own way… seek our own path of rebellion. Yet He is always faithful. He will forever be there for us. For He knows that when we see the error of our ways, we will learn that His way is best. We will return to Him.

Are you missing out on God’s amazing plan for your life because of willfulness? Are you following your own light… blazing your own trail… choosing your own wisdom and guidance?

Our Lord longs for us to stay close to Him. We have a choice… to follow His true path or our own rebellious ways. Let us not let our stubbornness block His divine plan. Let us seek His wise and loving guidance for our lives. Let us repent and return to our gracious God… the One who will always forgive and lead us back upon His path. For there we will find rest for our souls.