Have you ever had something you really didn’t want to do but you ended up having to do it anyway?
I love God. I love spending time with him. I love reading his bible. But, even though I have read the whole bible there were books I did not want to read for various reasons. Jeremiah was one of those books.
Having spent almost half my life fighting depression and anger, I did not want to read about a “weeping” prophet.
(You know, I’ve noticed something about God. Looking back I can see that almost every time I’ve said I don’t/won’t/will never do something, if it doesn’t contradict his word, I end up facing/ living/doing what I didn’t want to face.)
For the past several years the majority of my bible studies have been in Jeremiah and Romans.
Romans is the training ground for practical living of the Christian life. How to see yourself, how to see others, how God desires us to react to adverse situations. How to stand strong knowing who you are in Christ. But, Jeremiah…..
Jeremiah had a thankless, despised and spat upon job. He was prophet (truth speaker) to the nations in a time when they, like us today, didn’t want to hear the truth. One of the biggest things we are hearing nowadays is the “prosperity” preaching, the feel-good messages. The ones that don’t have anything in them about Jesus, about him dying on the cross to give us a permanent way out. It is rare to hear anyone speaking on the battle that takes place in our lives when we surrender control of our lives to Jesus.
In the book of Matthew we read about the sermon on the mount, the miracles, the healings, walking on the water, feeding the thousands, yet we don’t want to see the rest of Jesus ministry.
We don’t want to see the persecution of the Pharisees and Sadducees. We don’t want to see how his brothers ridiculed him and attempted to bait him to his death. How his hometown rejected his divinity so much so that he could not perform any miracles there. We read about Jesus casting out the demons into the herd of pigs, yet we don’t want to read about how he was cast out of that area afterwards because he impacted the finances when the pigs ran into the sea and drowned themselves. We want to see Jesus’ life as perfect, we want to believe that he was loved by everyone, that the only persecution, that the only pain he felt was at the end of his life.
We want to believe that Jesus can wave a magic wand and fix all of our problems. We want to believe that if Jesus/God really loves us that we will not have any problems/worries. We want to be cosseted, protected. We don’t want to know that there is a war going on. We don’t want to know that we are expected to be soldiers.
In Jeremiah 1:8 it says “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah was given the position not just of truth speaker but God’s truth speaker. A position not just of authority but of relationship. A relationship where he spoke back and forth with God, where he bared his soul, all his feeling of hurt, anger, desires for revenge, depression, isolation, rejection. A relationship where he dared to be more honest than we could ever imagine being.
Do we want to be that honest with God? He wants to be that honest with us. Jeremiah 15:20 states, “And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the Lord.”
He wants us to know that we will be persecuted, we will face trials, we will face even death. Death of our desires, our goals, habits, ways of thinking and sometimes our very self. The fighting will not just come from strangers but even from those who have been the most important in our lives. Just remember , He is with you, He will save you and He will deliver you.