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Monday, January 14, 2013

Worthy

Usually, I don't get a lot of productive thinking done on airplanes.  I hate flying....a lot.  I don't know why, but getting on an airplane puts me in this fog of frustration.  Maybe because I'm attempting to be comfortable in vehicle the size of a cracker box.  But this past trip was a little different... I was able to spend a bit of time meditating on what I've been reading in Jeremiah.  And here's what I got...

Jeremiah is known as the "weeping prophet."  He had a lot to weep about.  The nation of Israel was going from bad to worse right before his eyes.  I've learned a lot about God from how He deals with this stubborn people, but what of the prophet himself?
First, he is overwhelmed having been assigned a task too great for him.  And in his pain and the danger in which he often finds himself, Jeremiah cries out for God's justice even as he weeps for God's mercy.  Jeremiah's view of God was like Isaiah's and Job's.  It's the same high and holy perspective of Him that we get from reading about Moses and the stories of Israel's wanderings.  This same God chose Jeremiah for the task of being a prophet when it was not safe or popular to be one.
What's incredible to me is that Jeremiah doesn't give up, though he clearly considers it.  He doesn't commit suicide or defect to become a Chaldean.  He presses on.....but WHY?  In the face of personal danger and imminent destruction and heavy sorrow...he prays and weeps and continues on.  He never asks God why all these burdens must be placed on him, or why he must be the prophet to this stubborn, sick nation. 

When I deal with pain and sorrow, especially when that suffering is due to obeying God, my first question is "WHY?"  I want to know why God thinks He has a right to take my comfort away when I was serving Him quite happily.  I so often forget that serving God is asking my comfort to be stripped away...
Jeremiah reveals that the ultimate question is not "why is this pain being inflicted on me" but "do I believe that God is worthy of this?"  In the pain and through the tears, Jeremiah presses on because God is worthy.  The prophet's view of himself is sufficiently low so as to see God as exalted and worthy of anything, even the deepest suffering.
The application?  There is no pain that He allows that I cannot endure joyfully in the Spirit and through His grace because He is worthy.  His own self (who He is as God) makes Him worthy, and His sacrifice magnifies this worthiness even more, because the cross (so the gospel)  is the embodiment of the justice and mercy that Jeremiah desired so much.

Jeremiah 12:5 is a stinging rebuke to me as a self-professed servant of God.  After Jeremiah questions God and mourns the state of his people in verses 1-4, God's response to Jeremiah first calls him back to the call of God before reminding the prophet of the plan of God.

"If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?"  

I have so much to learn. 

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