Obeying at All Cost
Then they said to Jeremiah, The Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the Lord thy God shall send thee to us. Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the Lord our God. Jeremiah 42:5–6
suggested further reading: Hebrews 11:1–10
Jeremiah acts as a kind of mediator here, addressing the people in God’s name as though he has been sent from heaven. The people respond by saying they will do whatever God commands. They say even more emphatically: Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God.
In saying this, the people do not suggest that God’s word is wrong or in any way unjust; rather, they use the word good in the sense of being joyful, and evil as being sad or grievous. They ask for nothing more than that God will declare to them what pleases him, to which they will be so submissive that they will refuse him nothing, even if it is contrary to the flesh.
If this declaration proceeds from the heart, it is a testimony of true piety; for the minds of the godly ought so to be framed as to obey God without making any exception, whether he commands what is contrary to their purpose or leads them where they do not wish to go. By contrast, those who wish to make an agreement with God, saying he should require nothing but what is agreeable to them, show that they do not know what it means to serve God.
True obedience of faith requires that we renounce our desires and do not set up our own arguments and wishes against the Word of God. We do not object to what God requires of us, saying it is too hard or not quite agreeable to us. So whether it is good or evil, meaning agreeable to or contrary to the feelings of the flesh, we ought to embrace what God requires and commands. This is the foundational measure of true religion.
for meditation: When God commands us to do something unpleasant, we often try to excuse ourselves from that particular duty, demonstrating the insincerity of our promise. Let us instead strive for the obedience of faith that Calvin talks about and renounce our selfish thoughts.