Readings for the Day
Jeremiah 18-20, Psalm 93, John 17
Verses for the Day Jeremiah 20:7-9
7 You deceived me, Lord, 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 his word
or speak anymore 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.
Thoughts for the Day
In case you ever thought the job of prophet was an easy one, read these verses. Whenever Jeremiah speaks the word the Lord gives to him, he is insulted and abused. He is generally hated by everyone because of his words that not only present a gloom and doom prediction for their nation, but also rebukes them for their stubborn, sinful behavior. Instead of looking in the mirror and seeing their own error, they project their anger on to Jeremiah. And Jeremeiah is wearied by it. He is so depressed he says, "Cursed was the day I was born."
But whenever Jeremiah tries to resist speaking God's Word, it is in his heart like a fire. Even when he wants to hold it in he cannot. In fact, even if he were to try and keep it in he cannot keep it in. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:16, "For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!"
This is a good reminder that when we are doing God's work, although it can be frustrating and exhausting it is God who has called us to do His work. And it is through the conviction through the Holy Spirit that He communicates with us. We all have been given at least one spiritual gift that the Holy Spirit has distributed to us. A spiritual gift gives us the ability to help the church in a supernatural way.
When God gives us a gift, he usually also gives us a passion that goes with it. It can be a gift of evangelism for unbelievers to come to know Him. Or, a gift to teach believers how to be built up in Christ. Or, a modern day prophet who calls the church back to the truth. There are all kinds of other gifts, each uniquely important and valuable. Unlike Jeremiah, we exercise our gifts in the context of the body of Church where there is support, encouragement and training. But like Jeremiah, when God calls us to a ministry it burns in our hearts until we exercise it.
This is where obedience comes in. We can either hear God's call to ministry or run from it. It may not be full time ministry, but we are all called to be a part of a local church helping it in its mission to make disciples of all nations. Jeremiah was faithful under the worst of circumstances. God may not call you to be a Jeremiah, but he has called you uniquely based on the way He made you. May his word burn in our hearts until we cannot help but do what He has called us to do.