Fire in My Bones
Holy Spirit of God, You pour out the beauty of the Lord upon me. Make of me something beautiful, something good.
Consider: So often we are more interested in what the Lord can do for us than in doing what he has called us to do. This is a choice between comfort and courage. Jeremiah has something to say about that.
Imagine that you alone dare to speak the truth--in your office or church. It is tough to be alone, and worse if you are ridiculed and persecuted. Jeremiah had it worse: he was beaten and thrown into jail (2) by the priest Pashhur, who was prophesying deceptive but easy-on-the-ears messages (6). After a night in jail, beaten and in stocks, would Jeremiah be more compliant? No, he defiantly and courageously continued to tell God's truth (Acts 5:17-21). He addressed Pashhur as Magor-Missabib ("Terror on Every Side," 3), prophesying that he and his friends would die as exiles. Jerusalem and Judah would be plundered by Babylon.
Just as a cancer patient needs to hear the bad news before treatment can begin, Jeremiah chose to tell the hard truth from God--even when no one listened. He had become a purveyor of bad news, of "violence and destruction" (8). The soul suffers from misery in the face of constant ridicule, mocking and opposition (cf. Psa. 22:6-8). Jeremiah felt relentless pressure and wondered whether he should go on with the thankless task--but he could not help it, for God's Word was like fire in his heart and bones, and he could not live without proclaiming it (cf. 1 Cor. 9:16). Yet it was difficult to live with the unpalatable consequences.
To prophesy faithfully or to shut up conveniently? Jeremiah was in a tight spot. He had to be true to God and yet bear the pain of doing so. At times it got to him agonizingly (14). Then he would break into song and praise (13). Songs and groans lived side by side in his soul. However, God did care for his suffering, faithful servant. Jeremiah would realize that "the Lord is with me" (11), and this carried him through the most depressing and difficult days (cf. Heb. 12:3).
Is God's Word frozen within you? Or is it like a fire? How could you speak the truth in love rather than remain silent?
Father, I need Your heart of love for others. I drift out of passion and compassion. Fan the flame of faith sharing within me.
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