Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fire-Filled Bones

Jeremiah's  writings are full of beautiful passages that have spoken to me over the years. Most of the time, I read Jeremiah focused on what speaks to me. 

Lately, however, I've focused on the price Jeremiah paid as a prophet. He had it tough.

When God called him, He spoke words that would have frightened me. "Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you." (Jeremiah 1:5 nasb) Those words would've told me there would be something to fear, something from which I would need to be delivered. I might have run in the opposite direction, but not Jeremiah. 

When God said speak, he spoke. While false prophets promised victory and prosperity, Jeremiah prophesied judgment and coming captivity. His message wasn't popular, nor was he. 

Jeremiah stood in the court of the Lord's house and pronounced words that inflamed the priests. Judgment was coming because they had stiffened their necks against obeying God's word. 

Pashur (a priest and chief officer at the temple) had Jeremiah beaten and put in the stocks. When he was released, Jeremiah spoke the word of God even more boldly. 

Zedekiah, the king, shut Jeremiah up in the court of the guard because of his prophecies, but still he proclaimed the word of God.

Eventually, Pashur and a band of his buddies got permission from the king to deal with Jeremiah. They thought they had the perfect plan to silence him. They tied Jeremiah with ropes and lowered him into a cistern. There was no water but such a deep layer of mud that Jeremiah sank into it. 

After he was rescued, Jeremiah continued to proclaim the word of God, as if he were heedless of the danger.

Jeremiah was called by God to speak the truth, and he did it, regardless of the cost. If truth be told, I'm not that bold. I can't say with certainty that I'd persevere.

When I read Jeremiah 20, though, I'm reassured. Jeremiah did as commanded, but it wasn't easy for him. He was discouraged and heartbroken. There were times when he felt like God had deceived him into accepting his calling.

One truth, however, kept Jeremiah going. The fire of God in his bones.

"But if I say, 'I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,' then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it." Jeremiah 20:9 nasb

Jeremiah could not deny his faith because the truth blazed through him. He learned that the only thing worse than suffering for God was refusing to suffer for God. 

What is it, then, that keeps us from speaking the love of God to those around us? 

Today, let's pray that the name and word of God would become like a burning fire in our bones that refuses to be denied. Let's speak when the Spirit says speak and let God handle our consequences.
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Settling for Stagnant 

Here's the link to the world-wide prayer guide: The Prayer List