Sunday, July 25, 2010

So I intended to write about passion, using a scripture most of us have heard, Jeremiah 20:9 “his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.” But then I read the passage this originates from.

In verses 1-6, we’re given the setting. Jeremiah gives the word of the Lord. It’s a word of disaster, a word of warning. But the people of Israel don’t take it very well.

So Pashhur, the head priest, has Jeremiah beaten and put into the stocks overnight. For proclaiming God’s word. And, then, we get to verse 7.

7 O LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived;
       you overpowered me and prevailed.
       I am ridiculed all day long;
       everyone mocks me.
 8 Whenever I speak, I cry out
       proclaiming violence and destruction.
       So the word of the LORD has brought me
       insult and reproach all day long.
 9 But if I say, "I will not mention him
       or speak any more in his name,"
       his word is in my heart like a fire,
       a fire shut up in my bones.
       I am weary of holding it in;
       indeed, I cannot.

It goes on from there, Jeremiah mourning his own existence, even his birth, wishing that he’d been stillborn. This is the same guy who God spoke to, saying “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you.” And this is just a couple of pages over from “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a destiny and a hope.” But here he is now, absolute rock bottom.

I’ve often heard the “fire shut up in my bones” as sort of a good thing. As in, “God’s Word is so good, I just can’t contain it!”

What we actually see here is the Word of God as a burden to Jeremiah. He was mocked, beaten, laughed at, locked up for proclaiming God’s word. Just like any of us, we’d want to keep it to ourselves instead of going through that again.

But the burden is so great, the words strain at his lips to get out. Fire in his bones. Not happy, shiny fireworks, but a towering inferno that feels like it’ll destroy him from the inside out.

Sometimes in life, we have to make the hard choice. Do we do God’s will, even though it will alienate us from everyone else? Or do we give in to the pressures of life and try to look the other way.

Jeremiah couldn’t. Didn’t work out too well for Jonah, either. But that’s another story.

But God has promised never to leave us OR forsake us. Even if we make the hard choice, He’s going to stand by us. And those that love Him will stand by you, too.

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