Listen to today’s devo!

And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. (Jer. 18:9–10)

Expanded Passage: Jeremiah 18:9-10

God presents nations and kingdoms like Israel with an option: live your fullest life by depending on him; or take matters into your own hands and discover a life without his presence. Every one of us is presented with this same choice—will I lean on my own understanding or on God’s wisdom?

In 1972, researchers from Stanford University gave a group of young children each a marshmallow. The scientists then told the kids that they were going to leave, and if their treats were still there when they came back, they would get another one. In other words, they could have one marshmallow now, or two when the researchers returned.

Some children ate their marshmallows immediately. Others delayed their gratification and waited for the second marshmallow. The researchers kept in contact with the children into adulthood. They found that the choices of the children were a fairly accurate predictor of their success in everything from their educational achievements to their physical health.

God told Jeremiah that he knows how the choices of Israel, or any nation or individual, will play out. Instant gratification throughout life will lead to a life of struggle. And a life without God’s guidance will predictably result in a life without his blessing, comfort, and joy. God wants to build us up and plant us—will we give him that opportunity?

God wants to bless our lives. Choose to be receptive to him.

Stephen Simpson is a graduate of Wesley Seminary. He has served at Wesleyan churches—in one form or another—since childhood.

© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.