Then all the commanders of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest, came near and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Let our plea for mercy come before you, and pray to the Lord your God for us, for all this remnant—because we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us—that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.” Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard you. Behold, I will pray to the Lord your God according to your request, and whatever the Lord answers you I will tell you. I will keep nothing back from you.” Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the Lord your God sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.” Jeremiah 42:1-6 ESV
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules. Psalm 119:103-106 ESV
Have you ever heard how the city of Portland, Oregon got its name? In 1835 two men, Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove, settled on a land claim near the two rivers that flow by today’s city of Portland. Early settlers helped establish a small townsite on the claim as the two men developed it, and at first it was called The Clearing or The Village. Lovejoy and Pettygrove decided that their growing town needed a different name. One man was from Portland, Maine, and the other was from Boston, Massachusetts, and each man wanted to name the new town after his hometown. So they flipped a penny three times, and whichever man won the “heads or tails” contest two out of three times would get to name the town. Pettygrove, who was from Portland, Maine, won the contest, and that’s how Portland, Oregon got its name!
Sometimes when people can’t decide something, they flip a coin, and let the “heads or tails” decide what they should do. If a decision isn’t very important, that isn’t too bad of a way to decide, but for a very important decision it’s awfully silly to ask a coin what to do! The few people left around Jerusalem after it had been destroyed were afraid that Nebuchadnezzar would come back, and they felt very weak and helpless. They decided to ask God’s prophet, Jeremiah, what they should do. So they came to him to ask him to talk to God for them and get the Lord’s guidance at this difficult time. Jeremiah promised to pray for them and to tell them everything that God revealed to him, and the people promised to do whatever the Lord told them to do.
Sometimes we face difficult decisions as well, and it can be hard to know what to do. To pray and ask God for help, and to talk to parents or other trusted adults are good ideas. God gives us his best wisdom and guidance in his word, the Bible. The Bible doesn’t tell us every detail we want to know, but it helps us to know God and his will for us and for the world, and what is right and wrong. We can trust that God will help us understand everything we need to know through his word.
The best thing the Bible tells us is that Jesus loves us and died on the cross for us. Sometimes we make foolish or wrong decisions and rebel against God, but because of what Jesus did God will always forgive our sins. He will help us get back on track and follow his ways, and give us the strength we need every day to follow him.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your word, the Bible, and for our Savior, Jesus. In His Name, Amen.