Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

You are here

Thursday, July 1, 2021

I Belong to the Lord, My Very Steps (Jeremiah 10:23)

It is a constant temptation to think that we are our own, that we are in charge of our own lives. But for Christians, we belong to him, and when we walk, even then He directs our steps. This is what the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism is all about.


¶ I would echo Ryan Tame's [YouTube posted] comment about this verse not being about the Christian. Even if someone were to further draw an analogy between the nation of Israel and the body of Christ, it is still a verse taken out of context, despite its potential sentimental appeal to a valid principle we hold; Jeremiah 10:23 does not recite that! Let's look at the context, starting two verses before [NASB'95]: ¶ "For the shepherds have become stupid And have not sought the LORD; Therefore they have not prospered, And all their flock is scattered. The sound of a report! Behold, it comes— A great commotion out of the land of the north— To make the cities of Judah A desolation, a haunt of jackals. I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O LORD, but with justice; Not with Your anger, or You will bring me to nothing. Pour out Your wrath on the nations that do not know You And on the families that do not call Your name;" ¶ So, you see that it is a rebuke of faithless people who are "stupid," etc., who, as we would now say in Christian terminology, walk after the flesh. It is not talking about God directing our steps in either a hyper-calvinist sense of predestination or the Christian sense of being led by the Holy Spirit. In the Old Covenant sense they should have sought the Lord instead of futilely trying to direct their own steps according to their own ways. The writer's appeal is for "correction with justice, not anger," and for the Lord to, rather, pour out his wrath on the nations that do not know him and the families who do not call on his name.