By Mary Lindow through the Holy Spirit
Jeremiah was known as the 'weeping prophet’.
Some say he was called at the age of 17.
He was called to reprove a crumbling nation. The Israelite nation.
Unfortunately for them they didn’t listen to him. But during his day, people were so hardened by sin that they neither believed God nor feared him. They seem to find Jeremiah's constant warning of judgment overbearing and frankly, annoying.
It's the same with us now.
Those that hear our warning find us obnoxious!
But as believers we are supposed to follow God's instructions to warn a lost and dying world of upcoming judgment. Even though most are not listening, we still have to persevere in courageously speaking truth in order to rescue some from the terrible judgment that will inevitably come. If we are so easily discouraged at fighting the rude behavior of our peers what are we going to do, when we are confronted by demons?
The LORD rebukes Jeremiah for his impatience, in Jeremiah 12:5 saying,
“If you have raced with men on foot and they have tired you out, Then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace [where you feel secure], Then how will you do among the lions in the flooded jungle thicket beside the Jordan?”
If we are distraught when we can't make a car payment, what will we do when we lose our job?
If the footmen weary you what will the horses do?
If we are distressed at the terrorism going on overseas, what will we do when it’s in our own neighborhoods? Because it already is!
If the footmen weary you what will the horses do?
If we are overwhelmed with the work we have now, what will we do when a double or triple portion is required of us?
If the footmen weary you what will the horses do?
God is reminding Jeremiah (and us) that there is much more to be concerned about than what we’re complaining about .
There is something ahead of us in this season my friends that is of more concern than petty grievances against those who seem to be better off or live easier than we do.
God is telling Jeremiah “ If you are not able to encounter lesser dangers, how will you be able to overcome greater ones?”
Jesus said to us in John 16: 33 “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! Take Courage! I have overcome the world.”
It’s natural that our hardest days and most difficult trials are ahead of us, not behind us. If you are worried and in great upset about these things, what are you going to do when you are forced to face extremely difficult trials and troubles that are most certainly just around the bend?
Matthew Henry said, “The faith even of strong believers may sometimes be sorely shaken and ready to fail them. There will be storms that will try the firmest anchors.”
Now, Isn’t that the truth?
Jeremiah was consumed with grief about the prosperity of the wicked in Anathoth when just in a short time He would be beaten in Jerusalem by order of the priest Pashhur (instead of worrying about the prosperity of heathens in Anathoth, he was about to be severely punished by a priest in Jerusalem).
Let's take a sneak peek of what is in store for Jeremiah:
“He had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper gate of Benjamin at the LORD's temple.” Jer. 20:2
God saw this coming when Jeremiah was crying about the prosperity of the wicked!
If Jeremiah had known what was going to happen ahead of him, He wouldn't have wasted time complaining about the men of Anathoth. Jeremiah was concerned about something insignificant when something greater needed his attention.
And, His own family was secretly conspiring against him — they spoke well of him to his face but were trying to incite a mob against him behind his back. They seemed to be friendly but they were really his enemies.
God's faithful servants shouldn't think it's strange that their enemies are in their own family, some living under their own roof.
Jesus told us in Matthew 10:34-35
“For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man's enemies will be the members of his own household.”
So friends, If the footmen weary you what will the horses do?
I know I keep repeating the statement because it’s what the Holy Spirit would have me consistently say so that you hear the challenge and that you are strengthened to stand up and be courageous, now!
God's answer to Jeremiah was to be absolutely determined to stay solid and immovable in his walk with God, because there were bigger trials ahead of him that needed his attention. But God does let him know what will happen to Israel and her enemies. Although God punishes Israel by allowing her enemies to overtake the land, God would not let her enemies sacrilegiously use that land which belongs to Israel. Even their land is blessed!
“But after I uproot them, I WILL AGAIN HAVE COMPASSION and will bring each of them back to his own inheritance and his own country.” (Jeremiah 12:15)
God will again deliver his people from their enemies by uprooting them just as he did when they were suffering in Egypt.
God shows that even his enemies may receive compassion and grace.
“And if they learn well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, 'As surely as the LORD lives' even as they once taught my people to swear by Baal – then they will be established among my people.” (v.16)
God's Expectation Is Plain.
If Israel's enemies would pay homage to God the way they did for Baal, (a dead and dumb idol) if they could humble themselves to follow the God of Israel instead of teaching Israel to follow idols they would be rewarded, but if not...
“'But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it,' declares the LORD” (v. 17)
God's call and Plan and Instructions for us can be summed up in
I Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
Our greatest difficulties are ahead of us, not behind us.
(If our troubles were always behind us, we would never grow as a Christian.)
We mustn’t waste time complaining about petty things.
Quickly put on your helmet, take up your sword and shield, tighten your armor and get ready! Get ready to run with the horses!
God offers Jeremiah a beautifully wise word picture for him to consider.
He essentially asks Jeremiah, “If footmen weary you, what will the horses do?”
Paul referred to life as a race.
Makes sense, after all, it has a beginning, a middle, and a strong determination to finish strong. It requires endurance, patience, devotion and a resolution to finish strong. At the end of his life Paul said, “I have finished the race.” And referring to Jeremiah's race God is saying: If running with others on foot, when everything is equal, what are you going to do when they are given horses?
In this verse the prophet Jeremiah has been complaining about his persecutors. God Divinely answers, and warns Jeremiah about his impatience, and then tells him that harder trials are in store for him.
What? More distressing times?
We all have had the experience of how in our lives, there are long stretches of uneventful days, and then, generally without warning, some crisis is sprung on us, which demands quite a different set of gifts to cope with it. Our monsoons in Colorado, generally come without any warning from a falling barometer.
We can at any moment be confronted with some hard duty which will exhaust our energy. We may at any moment be plunged in some huge calamity and the quiet course of our lives for years suddenly is interrupted with fierce storms and devastating fallout.
We won’t always have the easy foot race with footmen; there will some times come a call to strain our muscles to keep up with the gallop of the cavalry. We will have to struggle to keep our feet in the rising waters of difficultly, and must not expect to have a continual leisurely life in ‘a land of peace.’
With the power of Jesus in our spirits we shall never have to attempt
a duty that we are not first strengthened by Him to take on.
And we never have to face a danger in which He won’t defend us.
With His life in us we will be ready for the long hours of uneventful, unexciting duties, and for the short spurts that make precise calls on each of us to respond to. We ‘WILL run and not be weary; we will walk and not faint.’
As I finish this podcast I’d like to share what Oswald Chambers said about patience during the time of great difficulty and when the world is filled with uprising. It is so powerful and quite comforting.
The Duty of Patience
"Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth" (Rev. 3:10).
Jesus says we are to keep the word of His patience. There are so many things in this life that it seems much better to be impatient about.
The best picture to explain this is that of an archer:
He pulls the bow string further and further away from his bow with the arrow solidly fixed in its slot, then, when it is adjusted, with his eye on the target he lets it fly.
The Christian's life is like that. God is the archer.
He takes the saint like a bow which He stretches, and we get to a certain point and say,"I can't stand any more, I can't stand this test of patience any longer," but God goes on stretching.
He is not aiming at OUR TARGET mark, but at His own, and the patience of the saints is that we hold on until He lets the arrow fly straight to His goal.
Are you ready for a time of strengthening to come into your life?
The Lord promises that a dramatic transformation will take place in us when we abandon our agenda and open ourselves to His plan for us.
We can see this so clearly in the life of Saul before he had become the Apostle Paul. Saul had been intent upon his own evil strategy to persecute Christians. Then came his life-changing encounter with Jesus, when he asked the most important question of all in Acts 9:6:
“Lord, what do YOU want me to do?”
Are you ready to ask the Lord that same question?
Are you ready to give up your own fruitless designs in return for God’s better plan?
Let’s pray that together now.
Lord Jesus, I have been moving forward persistently with my own thoughts and plans. I have been intent upon seeing those accomplished. Now I see that despite my good intentions, my plans may not be in line with Yours.
Right now, I humble myself before You.
I take this moment to ask, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
In Your presence, I place my agenda on the shelf, and I open my heart and my hands to Your plans and purposes.
I belong to You, Lord. Please forgive me for any stubbornness that may have captivated me.
I pull down that stronghold right now—any thought that needs to be taken captive to the obedience of Christ.
I place my future in Your hands, Lord Jesus.
Have Your way—and only Your way—in my life. Amen.
Duplication and sharing of this writing is welcomed, as long as the complete message, website podcast link and information for Mary Lindow is included.
Thank You! 2022
"THE MESSENGER" - Mary Lindow
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