Have you noticed this? The media outlets are choosing sides and are so focused on their message that they seem to be zealots. They fling facts at the audience in desperate sound bites, without much back-up. No solutions are given. I think they have lost sight of the big picture.
I am reading Revelation, and I have made it to Chapter 11. While pondering the never-ending news, I came across Revelation 10:9:
“And I went to the angel and said to him,“Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth1.””
The wording caught my attention. Eat the book? God’s Words? There must be more, then I found a clue in the cross-reference to this verse. Looking up Jeremiah 15:16. I dug deeper to find:
“Your words were found and I ate them, And your word was to me joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by your name, O Lord of hosts.”
Okay, I thought. The Words of God bring joy here to Jeremiah, and sweetness and bitterness to John in Revelation? I looked further for the context in Jeremiah Chapters 14 and 15.
The Lord reveals Judah’s coming judgment. Three times, Jeremiah stands as an intercessor for Judah and each time, the Lord responds. After the first intercession, the Lord tells Jeremiah:
“11 Do not pray for this people, for their good. 12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry, and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering. I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.” [Jeremiah 14:11-12].
The second and third intercessions end in Chapter 15, with God refusing to lift his judgment from Judah for forsaking God. God even states to Jeremiah in verse six: “… I am weary of relenting!” Then God states in verse 9:
“She languishes who has borne seven; She has breathed her last; Her sun has gone down while it was yet day; She has been ashamed and confounded. And the remnant of them I will deliver to the sword before their enemies, says the Lord”
At these Words, Jeremiah is distraught. The Lord stated, He will destroy the remnant. God is so angry with his people that he would remove even His remnant. Reading further, I find a ray of hope; Jeremiah prays and God answers in Chapter 15:10–21:
“Woe is me, my mother, that you have borne me, a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent for interest, Nor have men lent to me for interest. Every one of them curses me.”
In verse 11, the Lord responds:
The Lord said: “Surely it will be well with your remnant; Surely I will cause the enemy to intercede with you in the time of adversity and in the time of affliction.”
The Lord is listening to our cries. He is tenderhearted and lends an ear to our troubles. But not everything is solved right away. In verses 15-18 Jeremiah prays:
15 O Lord, You know; Remember me and visit me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. Do not take me away in your longsuffering. Know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke.
16Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.
17 I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone because of Your hand, for You have filled me with indignation.
18 Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable, which refuses to be healed? Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, as waters that fail?
Verse 16 is where I started this search. With a bigger picture, I now see Jeremiah’s desire for God’s Words. He devours them. God’s words are life and breath to this faithful man of God. He does nothing without God’s Word, for it is the Word that brings Jeremiah joy amid the evil of his day. And God responds to Jeremiah in verses 19-21:
19 Therefore thus says the Lord:
“If you return,
Then I will bring you back;
You shall stand before Me;
If you take out the precious from the vile,
You shall be as My mouth.
Let them return to you,
But you must not return to them.
20 And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall;
And they will fight against you,
But they shall not prevail against you;
For I am with you to save you
And deliver you,” says the Lord.
21 “I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked,
And I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.”
Jeremiah Chapters 14–15 details a discussion between God and one of His faithful remnant. Yes, Jeremiah a prophet called by God. That is the calling God placed on Jeremiah. But who is Jeremiah the person? I see a man who loved God and his sinful country. I see a brave and faithful man bold enough to discuss with God the outcome decreed by the God of Heaven.
What does God give Jeremiah? three conditions with promises. He also gives Jeremiah a warning of what he will face. The conditions and promises are:
- “If you return,”
- Promise: “Then I will bring you back;”
- Promise: “You shall stand before Me;”
- “If you take out the precious from the vile,”
- Promise: “You shall be as My mouth.”
- “Let them return to you, but you must not return to them.”
- Promise: “And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall;”
- Warning: “And they will fight against you,”
- Promise: “But they shall not prevail against you;”
- Promise: “For I am with you to save you and deliver you,” says the Lord.
- Promise: “I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked,
- Promise: “And I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.”
The warning is in the promises: “… And they will fight against you…” God warns ahead of time, there will be a fight. God knows the forces of this world will not give up a soul without a fight. There are three conditions from God in this journey Jeremiah has chosen. Since I believe God never changes, If I choose this journey, the conditions would apply in my life too.
The first condition is for us to return. The promise is that God will bring us back and we will stand before Him. God’s second condition an action item. We must take the precious from the vile. What does that mean? I think it is different for each of us. Do we remove our precious children from evil? Maybe from a school system or bad influence. For me, I work to remove vile language from my talk. Do I slip up? With curses and gossip? Yes. Not as often as I used to, but I still repent and continue to work on speaking to please to God. The promise is we will be as God’s mouth. For me, I pray He will put His words in my writing.
Then He has a condition inside a condition. “Let them return to you.” BUT, and this is a big ‘but!’ “But you must not return to them.” Wondering about this, I find my heart understanding the passage in this way. Be forgiving. Allow people to return to you even when they hurt you. But do not allow them to pull you back into the world with them. If they are sincere, their path will parallel yours for a while.
This last condition rends my heart. Others will need to make a choice to return without my input. I am not to go seek them out and try to “save them.”. “Let them return to you, but you must not return to them.” When our country, churches, and even family go against God, the situation is serious. These are serious decisions. This is where the Lord separates the chaff from the wheat2. Those who remain faithful cannot return to the ways of the world. Every man, woman, and child must decide to stand with God on their own with their own free will.
The promises that follow are clear for those of us that return: They will fight us. Be prepared for battle knowing they will not prevail, for the Lord will save us. He will deliver us from the hand of the wicked, and He will redeem us from the grip of the terrible. That is the big picture. Keep praying and studying God’s Words. Then follow His lead. We must be on God’s side no matter where He places us.
Please Pray with me: Heavenly Father, Thank you for Your Word and encouragement. Keep us clearheaded and focused on You. We are Your remnant in this world. We return to You, shaking away the distractions. As we keep the precious you have placed in our care and throw out the vile from our lives, we draw closer to you. Let us be your mouthpiece as stand with You while we lean on your strength in the fight ahead. Thank you for delivering us from the wicked and redeeming us from the terrible. For You are our Lord. “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power, and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”3 In Jesus’ name, amen. In the name of the Father and the Son and Holy Spirit, amen.
So who encouraged Jeremiah? Well, I’m pretty sure it was the Lord. Just as he encourages me to keep going everyday. Blessings in your journey during these historic times,
Note: All emphasis in scripture is added by me
1All scripture is from the New King James Version: Prophecy Study Bible New King James Version, Editor John C. Hagee © 1997 by Thomas Nelson, a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.
2 Matthew 3:12
3 Revelation 7:12 NKJV