[The truth will set you free]
I won’t lie, an honest answer can be difficult to receive, but it can also be absolutely wonderful.
Jeremiah wasn’t one of my favorite books of the Bible; the subject matter can make it a difficult read. However, I’ve had a change of heart. This book of the Bible has become a real treasure trove to me.
Jeremiah had quite a few complaints, but I really enjoyed reading all of them. His feelings were honest, and he had a real working relationship with God.
When Jeremiah complained, God’s answers were just as honest. One of my favorite responses is this one: If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5) Jeremiah’s entire complaint, and God’s full response can be found here.
God addresses Jeremiah’s impatience, his fear, and his lack of strength and steadfastness. He also revealed that there were greater challenges in store for him.
This news couldn’t have been easy for Jeremiah to hear.
Jeremiah’s task was far more sorrowful than the task given to any other prophet of God; he had to deliver God’s message of destruction and punishment. He spoke the truth, but no one believed him. Because his message wasn’t accepted, Jeremiah’s life was always in danger. God not only corrected this prophet of God, but he also mercifully warned him not to trust even his own family who had betrayed him. (Jeremiah 12:6 )
Jeremiah cried out to the Lord many times throughout his service for Him, revealing that He felt his situation was hopeless. He even told God–in no less than poetic metaphor–that this wasn’t what He expected. He felt that his God was failing Him, thus his words reveal his despair and disillusionment.
Here in Jeremiah 15:8 he refers to the Lord as a deceptive brook. He saw no end in sight and no cure for what was grieving him.
“Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? You are to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails.” –Jeremiah 15:18
Can you relate to Jeremiah’s surprise at his situation?
The path that God leads us down can certainly have its twists and turns. Sometimes it gets tougher than we ever anticipated. Jeremiah’s ministry was no cakewalk. He faced more opposition and hatred than any other prophet.
God’s response to Jeremiah this time, however, was quite firm. The Lord doesn’t accept our excuses. Jeremiah had lost sight of His calling, and He’d become focused on what he desired (an easier path and his own comfort.) God’s will and destiny for Jeremiah was something very different: Jeremiah was born to be a prophet to the nations.
As followers of Christ we have the same commission: delivering God’s message (the gospel of Jesus) to all people of the world.
This reluctant prophet needed to refocus.
Jeremiah was told to repent, and that He would be restored to service if he would speak worthy, not worthless words. If Jeremiah would do this, he could speak for God. He was then told to let the people of Judah turn to him, but that he mustn’t turn to them. (Jeremiah 15:19)
God’s answer to Jeremiah is similar to the words were given in Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.
We’re to go into the world, (as Jeremiah was to take God’s message to Judah and Jerusalem, but we’re not to become friends with the world. (James 4:4) Jesus did the same; he was called a friend of sinners, but he kept Himself pure.
Jeremiah had to trust His Sovereign Lord
Jeremiah would have to turn away from what he desired, and get back to the matter at hand. He wasn’t to coddle anyone in their sins (including himself) as the false prophets had done. They had lead God’s people astray with their own poor example. Jeremiah too was slipping, allowing his thoughts and words to become weak. Jesus words in the book of Matthew, however, teaches us what happens when the blind lead the blind.
“Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” –Matthew 15:14
God didn’t just rebuke and redirect Jeremiah.
The Lord also gave Jeremiah a promise. Jeremiah would gain the strength that he needed if he would change his heart and come back to Him. (or in other words Jeremiah needed to accept God’s plan for his life.)
“I will make you as strong as a wall to this people. You will be as strong as a wall of bronze. They will fight you. But they will not defeat you. This is because I am with you. I will rescue you and save you,” says the Lord. I will save you from these evil people. I will save you from these cruel people.” –Jeremiah 15:20-21
An Honest Answer Saves Lives!
We don’t always appreciate our honest answers, or want to receive our own truthful witnesses. However, truthful witnesses save lives. (Proverbs 14:25 )
The flesh (or body) is weak, so we can prefer comfortable over convertible. Even this great prophet, Jeremiah, became side tracked. Nevertheless, when corrected he chose to accept God’s will, becoming that wall of bronze and continuing on in his ministry, with God’s great help.
To be used by God we must be willingly to accept the truth. We allow God to use us as He wants to use us, and we strive to do what’s pleasing to His heart.
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” —John 8:31-32