“I will tell you everything the LORD says and will keep nothing back from you.”
– Jeremiah 42:4
There are few people in the Bible as gritty and in-your-face as the prophet Jeremiah. Not one to mince words, he often found himself at odds with the leadership of his day. They mocked him and ridiculed him, threw him into a well, and put him under house arrest. And, as we read today in our Pause Bible Reading Plan, they took him captive to Egypt.
What Jeremiah knew, but what these leaders could not understand, was that God’s punishment on Judah had, by this point, been completed. The temple was destroyed. The local industry was ruined. The injustice and idolatry that reigned in Judah were unmasked, uncovered, and undone. Now, a promise remained for the poor who were left behind – the “remnant.” If they would stay in the land – if they would keep nothing back in their own way – God would relent and save them.
But, sadly, the leaders of the people could not believe it. They asked Jeremiah to give it to them straight, but in the end, they wanted what was safe, not what was true. They took Jeremiah and the poor of the land away and, with them, the promises of God. They, like Lot’s wife, turned back to the land from which God delivered them.
How easy it is to ask for God’s Word; how hard it is to live by it, especially when our misguided ideas of safety and prosperity are threatened by it.
As it turns out, Jeremiah was one in a long line of prophets, each of whom was “not without honor except in his own town,” leading up to Jesus Himself (Matthew 13:57). Jesus, too, came to His people, and Jesus, too, kept nothing back. But some of the things Jesus said were also hard – things people didn’t want to hear – so they gave up trying to follow Him. But a few gave up everything to follow Him; a few held to His word and were set free.
To this day, the world is in short supply not only of prophets who speak God’s Word like Jeremiah, but of people who are willing to hear it – people who keep nothing back.
“Remember Lot’s wife. Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it.” – Luke 17:32-33
Pastor Jon Berglund