This blog comes as another “Wildman” alert: In the days to come, you will be greatly tempted to complain and whine, like the Israelites in the wilderness, who “…whined like spoiled children” (Ps. 78:18 MGS). More than ever, as the confusion gathers and the dissidence intensifies, God will raise up men whose conversation will need to be “always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that [they] may know how to answer everyone” (Col 4:6). You may well be one of them!
Jeremiah was called to prophecy to a people who would not listen. This will also be true for you. “They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you” (Jer. 1:19). Jeremiah had God’s assurance that he could persevere. But He began to falter, being deeply conflicted in his calling to preach to a rebellious people.
In his self-pity he ended up blaming God. “Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? You are to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails.” (Jer. 15:18). The Message says, “You’re nothing, God, but a mirage.” “How well he must have known God to feel free to speak to God with such desperate honesty” (Bible Speaks Today). Men, be honest about whatever disillusionment you may encounter, as it is sure to affect you in the days to come. Be prepared for opposition.
In his disillusionment God warns Jeremiah not to be tempted to speak “worthless words.” This could certainly include whining and complaining. “If you utter worthy, not worthless words, you will be my spokesman” (15:19). God saw the heart of Jeremiah. Knowing he was having a hard time, he asks him to repent. “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me” (v. 19). He was being asked to check his attitude and repent. You and I will be asked to do a lot of repenting before the Lord as the darkness intensifies.
Jeremiah was not to speak “worthless words,” that is, being negative and destructive in his speech. Men, we need to keep a check on our patterns of speech. Through repentance and lament God will keep calling us back to himself. “God calls us up and out and back from such ‘worthless words.'” ( Bible Speaks Today).
God comes alongside his repentant prophet. “Let this people turn to you” is God’s advice. Don’t let them control the narrative: “…but you must not turn to them” (15:19). I have to continually do an “attitude check” so I don’t get negative. For men it is so easy to fall into complaining about the condition of our contentious society. With our words and presence we are to be lights in the darkness. Darkness only invites negativity and death. Light brings life (Psalm 36:9; John 1:4).
Men, hang unto the words God gave Jeremiah in his “recommissioning.” It is similar to what Jeremiah heard in the beginning. “I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you” (Jer. 15:20). This is a picture of a man with courage and conviction, willing through love and grace to stay in the battle.
May God put fire in your belly, like he did for Jeremiah. “The words are fire in my belly, a burning in my bones. I’m worn out trying to hold it in. I can’t do it any longer” (20:9-MSG). Let the Word God has given you burn like fire, even if you go through some pain in the process. It’s men who are aflame for God who will be able to confront the darkness that is coming in the days ahead.