Scripture Memory for July – John 3:1 – 21
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6
Read “Seven Ways to See Change in Your Life Now” by Pastor Chappell
Read a previous post from this passage – “The Potter’s House”
“For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (Jeremiah 20:8 & 9)
In chapter 20 of today’s passage we read about Jeremiah being put in jail for preaching exactly what God had told him to preach. Jeremiah was not a popular guy. He was the voice of God at a time when the entire nation of Judah had slipped back into idolatry and immorality, and was content to stay there. As he continued to preach the message of imminent judgment due to the people’s lack of repentance, he became the enemy of all the people. They all thought he was crazy, perhaps a little “over the top”; too zealous, a radical. One thing is for sure, they were certainly not receiving the message. Jeremiah got sick and tired of preaching this message to deaf ears. After all, he was just as human as I am. I’m sure, every once in a while, he wanted to hear, “that was a good message, preacher”; or “that truth you preached from the Word of God really turned my life around”. He never heard those things. He was mocked and persecuted throughout his ministry, yet he was doing exactly what God had wanted him to do. So, what does he do? He quits. Wouldn’t you? I would not have lasted nearly as long as Jeremiah did. I like to have my ego stroked now and again.
However, Jeremiah could not stay. He could not refrain from preaching. Why? Because God’s Word was in his heart like a burning fire. Eventually the fire inside of him became too hot to keep inside of him and he had to let it out.
As a preacher, there are many times that I want to quit. Trials and tests come along; and, at times, it seems as if nothing is going the way it should go. There are also the critics, who feel it is their purpose in life to point out every flaw in my ministry, every mistake that I make. I begin to remember what life was like as a layman, and sometimes I desire to go back to those days. However, though I often struggle with the idea of quitting, I know that God’s Word is inside of me; and it must come out. As miserable as it may be at times inside the will of God, I know that trying to refrain from preaching and teaching the Word of God would make me more miserable.
I remember when God first called me into the ministry. He made it crystal clear to me that he wanted me to go away to school for training. I didn’t go right away. I decided that I would just stay there in South Toms River with Pastor Rick, work for my dad’s candy company, and serve there as a “lay” youth director for the rest of my life. All that would have been easier. I wouldn’t have to leave a very lucrative income; I wouldn’t have to sell my house; I wouldn’t have to leave my church; and I would not have to move my family, find a new job and go back to college. However, that was not God’s will for my life. I kind of drifted along out of the will of God for a while; but the more I drifted, the more miserable I became. God’s Word, and His will was in me; and it needed to come out. I finally surrendered to obey God’s will; and relief came.
What has God put inside of you to do for Him? You will never have peace until you surrender your will to His. By the way, the picture up top is of Bob Hamblen. He underwent major heart surgery a couple of years ago. The doctors don’t really want him to preach anymore; but he can’t stop. The Word is burning inside of him, and it must come out.
Posted in Thoughts from Jeremiah by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.