Man’s Steering Problem

Jeremiah 10:23-24 “I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O LORD, but in justice; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing”

Scripture is full of examples of people who stopped looking to, relying on and/or waiting on God to act. Instead, they took matters into their own hands and inevitably heartbreak and disaster followed. Adam and Eve did it and mankind was placed under a curse that lasted four thousand years. Abraham did it and gave birth to Ishmael whose descendants are at odds with the descendants of Jacob to this day. The Israelites did it in the wilderness and it cost them 40 years of wandering and the death of an entire generation. On and on we see the repeated pattern of men acting in their own wisdom without waiting on God and catastrophe ensuing.

In Jeremiah 10, Jeremiah is observing that same pattern repeating itself. When humans chart their own course in opposition to God’s leadership, the end is always death. Jeremiah KNOWS this. We know it too if we’re honest. Apart from God we’re like an engine without a steering wheel. We are a car that has no hope of staying on the road. The first step to avoiding disaster is to acknowledge our own limitations in this regard, to acknowledge our need for him.

But even as we affirm our own inability to direct our path, we can be full of joy because God hasn’t left us on our own! He continues to love us and want what’s best for us. We can ask, as Jeremiah asks in v.24, “Correct me, O LORD, but in justice; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.” God uses his Holy Spirit, his word, prayer and our Christian brothers and sisters to correct our course, to steer us toward eternal life, and to transform us into the image of our Lord Jesus. These corrections should not be seen as signs of God’s rejection, but rather signs of him lovingly guiding us home.