Jeremiah (24th Letter, Larry Crabb’s 66 Love Letters)
There is Water in the Well
What God is saying – I make no promise to protect you from suffering in this world. I do promise the power to believe in My goodness when bad things happen, the power to hope with confidence that a good plan is unfolding when nothing visible supports that hope, and the power to reveal the goodness of My love no matter how distraught or empty you feel, even to those who contribute to your distress and emptiness. That is the abundance I promise until you arrive at My party.
A 2006 book called “The Secret” said things like we deserve all good things life has to offer and that wishing will make it so. And sometimes we believe that, even Christians. We really don’t think we deserve hell, and we do believe that praying should bring into our lives all the good things we want and feel entitled to, like a diabetes free life. I feel the collision of kingdom’s most acutely when I sing some worship music in church and hear sermons about how to get God to bless us.
God says – No one hears my good news without trivializing it’s goodness, unless they first hear my bad news without softening its badness.
Kierkegaard confronted the culture of his day as Jeremiah confronted his, with these words “Not until a person has become so wretched that his only wish, his only consolation, is to die – not until then does Christianity begin.”
In King Josiah’s day the people’s trust was a disguised spirit of entitlement; they presumed God would keep them from suffering; their religion provided them with the illusion of safety.
Prophets who claimed to speak for God preached the false Gospel of indulgent love, blessing without holiness, no consequences for sin. And God’s people loved that lie then, and they love it now.
Jeremiah suffered and so will you. God rescued him from faithless unbelief, from hopeless despair and from unloving self-obsession. And now His Son has made it possible for us to live a life of abundant though severely tested faith, abundant those seriously challenged hope, and abundant though painfully sacrificial love.
JEREMIAH: A Profile of Courage – From Ray Stedman<-(click here for entire Bible summary)
Jeremiah’s ministry covered about forty years, and during all this time the prophet never once saw any signs of success in his ministry. His message was one of denunciation and reform, and the people never obeyed him. The other prophets saw in some measure the impact of their message upon the nation – but not Jeremiah. He was called to a ministry of failure, and yet he was enabled to keep going for forty long years and to be faithful to God and to accomplish God’s purpose: to witness to a decayed nation.
First of all, the prophecies of Jeremiah that have to do with the fate of the nation reflect the familiar theme of all the prophets. Jeremiah re-
minds this people that the beginning of error in their lives was their failure to take God seriously. They looked lightly upon what he said. They did not pay much attention to what he had told them, and they did what was right in their own eyes rather than carefully examining their behavior in the light of God’s revelation and word.
The message that he was told to proclaim was judgment: that the national rebellion would lead to national ruin.
Now, the second theme in Jeremiah relates to the feelings of the prophet. There is a great lesson for us in Jeremiah’s honest reactions to the situations he faces. You will find that he constantly fights a battle with discouragement. Who wouldn’t with a ministry like his? He sees absolutely no signs of his ministry’s success and the grim specter of discouragement and depression dogs his footsteps through all those forty years.
And when from a mire of depression and discouragement, the prophet is called back to the promise of God; when he is reminded that God is
greater than circumstances and that no matter how depressing they may be, or how negative, the God who calls him is the God who is able to sustain him in the midst of it; when he gets his eyes off himself and back on to God (like Peter walking on the water), he begins to walk again.
And in the strength he receives through this lesson he continues with his ministry, through all the discouraging circumstances, to at last be taken as a prisoner to Egypt, where he died. We have no record of his death, but Jeremiah was faithful to the end as he learned to walk in the strength of the Lord his God. And he gives us this wonderful prophecy of the grace of God in restoring lives and taking broken, battered, wounded, defeated spirits and making them over again into vessels pleasing to him.
Jeremiah – David Jeremiah (Understanding the 66 Books of the Bible)
Key thought: God expects us to persevere in His work, even when our heart is broken, our messages rejected, and our labor appears vain.
Key Verse: Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3
Key Action: We must go to all to whom He sends us and speak whatever He tells us (see Jeremiah 1:7).