And it happened after ten days that the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. Jeremiah 42:7
The people were confused and uncertain; they needed a word of guidance from the prophet. Jeremiah agreed to seek the Lord on their behalf, and he prayed. He waited ten days, till at last the word of the Lord came. Why does God wait to speak to us? Isaiah 30:18 teaches that God waits that He may be gracious to us. When we ask God to speak, we are often already conditioned to the kind of thing we want Him to say, and if that is what He wants to say, we are immediately ready to hear. But if He wants to speak something we are not expecting to hear, then He must wait – till frustration and impatience have died down, and our hearts are open to whatever He wants to say. The longer we wait, the more we will be open to hear something that we had not expected. So it was with Jeremiah. He had prophesied for years that the Jews should accept the inevitable and either go into exile in Babylon or die. In Jeremiah 42 the remnant of the people asked whether they should go into exile into Egypt. Jeremiah was given the answer that they were not to go into Egypt, or they would die there! God knows why He waits to speak. He is waiting till things come into the place, either in our circumstances or in our hearts, where we are able to receive His guidance.
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