Jeremiah was not popular among the people of Judah! His message from the Lord was primarily one of judgment, which lead to his life often being threatened. During his over 40 years of ministry Jeremiah often implored God to protect him…”Remember me, O Lord; remember me and care for me.” (Jeremiah 15:15) and “Let my persecutors be put to shame, but keep me from shame; let them be terrified, but keep me from terror.” (Jeremiah 17:18) Jeremiah had learned to put his absolute trust in God regardless of what the circumstances looked like around him…for he had discovered there’s no safer place to be than in the very center of God’s Will.
As human beings we think we are so smart! We’ve put people on the moon, developed cutting edge technology, and taken us from the horse and buggy era to modern transportation in a short span of time. But compared to God’s wisdom…we have nothing, for it was by God’s wisdom that He made the heavens and spread out the earth upon the waters, He made the great lights – the sun to govern the day and the moon and stars to govern the night. (Psalm 136: 5-9)… and I don’t think human wisdom will ever come close to duplicating that! So when the world in all its infinite “wisdom” looks at the Gospel Message…they scoff and laugh at the absurdity…”For the Message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18) Yes, as human beings we think we are so incredibility smart…but are we?
Very rarely will God take us completely out of the trial or battle we’re in…but why? Wouldn’t a loving Heavenly Father want to deliver His children from all the ugliness – the disease, sickness, and death – of the world? Yet so often we will find ourselves in the thick of a trial or battle and wonder why is God allowing this? There’s a couple of reasons God has positioned us there. I Samuel 12:16 says, “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes.” In many places in the Bible, including this verse, God promises He will fight the battle for us. (Exodus 14:14, Deuteronomy 1:30, Nehemiah 4:20, I Samuel 17:47) But He doesn’t want us to watch from the sidelines…He will take us into the middle of the battle, to stand still, and watch. For it’s only from this unique vantage point that we’ll be able to experience and then understand what He’s doing.
Isaiah speaks of this time when heaven will come down to earth. “I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in My people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.” (Isaiah 65:19) and in describing the people’s reaction he wrote, there will be everlasting joy and gladness for sorrow and sighing will flee. (Isaiah 35:10) It will be a time when the old and former way of the world will be abolished and God will set up His kingdom among His people…it will also be a time when Jesus Christ puts all His enemies under His feet, the last enemy to be destroyed being death. (I Corinthians 15:25-26)
Everyone wants to live a successful, satisfied, and secure life…but what if yours is anything but. Maybe you’re unhappy in your workplace with a overbearing Boss and back-stabbing co-workers? Have you ever considered praying for them? I Timothy 2:1-2 tells us to pray for all of those in authority over us that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Your intercessory prayers can change the atmosphere at work, and they can change people’s attitudes…yours included. Are you unhappy in your marriage or with family relationships? Would you be willing to start praying on behalf of those who are causing you pain right now? For again, your prayers can change situations, family dynamics, and bring peace into those difficult relationships. Because anytime we start praying for someone, our perspective changes about them…for we take on God’s view, not ours.
The early Church was forced to disperse after the stoning of Stephen, “for on that day a great persecution broke out against the Church at Jerusalem.” (Acts 8:1) Because they no longer had the support and encouragement of the Body of Believers around them they could of given up, gone into hiding, and denied their faith…but they didn’t. For it tells us in this verse that wherever they went they declared the Word of the Lord to those around them. They refused to allow persecution to silence them, and instead became Itinerant Evangelists sharing the Good News of Jesus.
The Writer of this proverb was pretty blunt…if you’re opposed to God’s correction in your life, you’re dumb! We know that God disciplines those He loves (Proverbs 3:12), but until we can realize it’s for our benefit not detriment…we’ll continue to rebel against His correction. Proverbs 9:9 says, ” Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.” Greater wisdom and understanding can only be found in the “education” of God’s discipline.