Who knows best?

And though the LORD has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. They said, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the LORD gave to you and your fathers for ever and ever.

Jeremiah 25:4-5

Why is it that we always think we know best?  When I’m teaching my A Level students, I always give them plenty advice on how to write an essay, but they always ignore me, thinking that they know best.  When I ask for advice from my parents, I often end up ignoring what they have advised, because I think that I know best.  Sometimes we just don’t know what’s good for us, and don’t listen to those who actually are in a position to advise us.

This is often the case in the Bible.  In our current Mark Marathon article, Jesus is rejected by his neighbours because they think that they know best; why is this carpenter whom they have known his whole life now in a position to tell them what to do?  This is just one example of humankind ignoring God because we think we know best dating right back to the Garden of Eden.  In today’s reading, Jeremiah says that God has sent prophets to us time and time again, and yet on every occasion, people have ignored what the prophet has to say; people ignored them because they thought that they knew best.

This is clearly not the case, however.  Jeremiah advised the people of Judah that if each and every one of them would only turn away from sin and live a more blameless life, they and their children could stay in God’s promised land for ever.

If we listen to Christ, and take on board what he is saying to us, the promises are even greater; we can have eternal life in God’s promised land, the new creation.  All we need to do is turn from our evil ways, listen to what Christ is saying to us, and, rather than simply rejecting what he says because we think we know best, like the people of Nazareth, accept that maybe Jesus knows best.

That’s quite a bold claim.  We all like to be in control of our own lives and our own destinies, but if we submit to Christ, listen to what he says, and follow his advice, the rewards will be so much better than if we arrogantly follow our own directions.  God knows best, not us.

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