We received a Word from the Lord that this year is a year of Enlarging our Tents of influence, and I believe the promise of God has not failed. It is still true! As a ministry, we have been able to touch lives through various avenues. The Lord has enabled us to provide for those in need through Touch of Love. We are able to reach more regions and train more people through our online classes and webinars. We have certainly seen an enlargement of influence.
As we edge closer to the end of the year, are you saying in your heart, “I have got some unfulfilled promises?” Hold on, you will see its fulfilment. The promises of the Lord are ‘yes and amen’ in Him. Hallelujah!
Today, I want you to embark with me on a journey of unravelling insights from the life and ministry of Jeremiah. I promise you this is going to get exciting as we travel together, exploring the nuances and lessons that Jeremiah’s life offers.
Jeremiah was assigned to deliver a rather difficult message of judgment to the kingdom of Judah because the nation was declining spiritually. The last revival that the nation witnessed was the revival of King Josiah. Jeremiah was called to prophetic service at a most challenging time as Josiah’s revival came to an end and the final decline was underway. In his ministry spanning a period of more than 40 years, the people of Judah completely rejected the message he preached – ‘Babylon would take them under captivity because of their ongoing rebellion to God’. The people, nobles and kings considered him a traitor and tried to put him to death. However, Jeremiah tenaciously pursued his God assigned task through the successive years of rejection and persecution. Let us look at the man and his message.
1. His first encounter with God and commission– The Lord spoke to Jeremiah when he was a boy that he would be used as a prophetic messenger to the people of Israel. God asked him to be confident in himself and not be afraid of how the people responded to his message. If they did react fiercely, the Lord promised him, that He would rescue him from their plots and stand with him – as he would be speaking His words and not his own. The Lord then supernaturally touched his mouth, put His words in it, and thereby gave him authority over nations and kingdoms to destroy what is not from Him and build His kingdom. (Jeremiah 1: 4-10)
2. His life of obedience and passion– Soon after this supernatural encounter, the Lord showed the prophet what He felt in His heart about the people. He was not happy with the way they lived and was about to send judgment on them. He spoke to Jeremiah through visions and inner promptings to go to the inhabitants of Judah, their prophets and priests, their kings and elite leaders and warn them of a coming judgment if they did not repent. He was sent to various places where people gathered for worship, business and legislative gatherings, to speak out the heart of God. In all those places, Jeremiah went and did demonstrative acts to show them how unhappy God was about the way they lived and encouraged them to change their behavior and return to God in affectionate obedience. The result- they rejected him, repeatedly, because his message went against their easygoing superficially religious, carnal lives and made it difficult for them to continue so.
When the people rejected Jeremiah, he got discouraged, went to the Lord, and told Him what He felt. And there in His presence, he found strength in listening to God speak to him and got refreshed each time. His boldness then came back to speak the Word of the Lord again to the same people who rejected him and hated his face. God’s Word began to burn in his heart like fire and the people became as wood consumed by it (Jeremiah 5:14).
3. His Message:
To people in general– ‘Is not life getting evil and bitter without the Lord?’ (Jeremiah 2:19). ‘Pause a moment, look back and observe how godly men and women lived in the past, follow the same pattern and you will find peace of mind’ (Jeremiah 6:16). This is what the Lord is saying, ‘If you could give Me the first place in your lives and keep My Word as your guide, then I’d be so pleased with you. Know this, if you cling to Me as a belt is around the waist of a man, I’d turn you into a vessel of honor among the nations. Only lead yourself well and keep at it!’ (Jeremiah 9:23-24, 7: 11, 26:13)
To the prophets and priests– ‘If you would continually pursue the Lord and obey Him, you will never fail to have a Word in season to those who come to you. They would soon change their ways after meeting you. So powerful will be My anointing on you.’ (Jeremiah 23:22)
To the suffering and weighed down– ‘Even if you are going through a rough patch now, know that the Father has laid up good plans for your future. You will come through this season. Only trust and obey. Your hope will not disappoint. Call upon Me when you need clarity and I promise to show you things beyond human comprehension. I am able.’ (Jeremiah 29:11, 33:3)
4. God, the defender of the faithful– The people who were disturbed by Jeremiah’s words and were unrepentant, began to plot to kill him. Pashur, a priest had him beaten and imprisoned because he prophesied! People who supported Jeremiah, rescued him from men’s rage and death sentence. He was imprisoned the second time by King Zedekiah for speaking words of judgment on Jerusalem. The officials beat and imprisoned him the third time because they thought he was defecting to the Babylonians. After that, they threw him into a deep dry well and left him to die. (Jeremiah 8:18, 20:1-2, 26:24, 32:2, 37:15, 38:6)
All through his journey, the Lord stood beside him as his personal bodyguard, and hence his persecutors failed. When Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, saw Jeremiah, he acknowledged him as a true prophet, and gave orders to his captain not to harm him but to do for him whatever he asks. The Lord stood by His promise to never leave His servant at the mercy of men. (Jeremiah 20:11, 38:7-13, 39:11-12, 40:5)
If you have journeyed with me so far, I want to encourage you, from the life of this servant prophet that God is always with us to finish the destiny that he has for us. He never leaves us hanging in doubt. We can always experience the warmth of His presence in the toughest days. His hope shines out in the darkest alleys of life. Yet, after we have done all that has been assigned to us, with all humility let us say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ And to them, the Lord would say, ‘whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.’ (Luke 17:10; John 12:26) Let us serve passionately, let’s keep our hope fixed on Jesus. God be with you.