Friday, September 26, 2014

When it is time to stand Alone

Read Jeremiah 15.

Though repeatedly warned over long period of time, Judah refused to turn back to God.  Their sins had overtaken them, but at the root was "you have rejected me, declares the LORD; you keep going backward." (v.6)  Judgment was now sure.  It would come in different forms: pestilence, sword, famine, captivity.  Everyone in the nation would suffer one of those four punishments.

Even the relatively few who remained faithful to the LORD would experience extreme adversity.  Jeremiah stayed true in delivering messages given to him directly from God.  Yet, he too was rejected as one who caused conflict (v.10).  He did nothing wrong.  He did what was right and suffered for it.  Feeling alone in his stand against the wickedness of his nation, he prayed.  Then, God responded to him.

The testimony of one who stands alone. (vv.15-18)
Note the principles of his willingness be true to the LORD against all odds.
1. "For your sake I bear reproach"
The rejection and suffering he experienced was not due to anything he had done.  He faithfully fulfilled all that the LORD told him to do.  Truly, it was the result of their rejection of God.  It was God's message to God's people and their rejection was against God.  But, he felt it.
2. "Your words were found and I ate them."
He just did not read or speak about the word of God.  He took it in and digested it.  God's word was the joy and delight of his life and sustained him in the midst of all the stress he faced.
3. "I did not sit in the company of revelers."
He had no time for those who mocked, laughed at, and dismissed what God had to say.  Jeremiah did not associate with such people.
4. "I sat alone."
Because Judah had become a nation of mockers against God, Jeremiah found himself isolated.  Like Elijah, he was not the only one in the country who remained faithful, but it felt like it.  It was a lonely time.  Loneliness will often be the price of standing true to the LORD.
5. "My pain is unceasing."
It hurt.  He felt as though he was dying from some incurable disease that had taken over his body.  As one who looked for water in a dry brook bed, so he looked to God to refresh his spirit.

The  promises of God. (vv.19-21)
1. "You shall stand before me."
Like He dealt tersely with Elijah for feeling sorry for himself, God exhorted Jeremiah to get back on track.  God had called him.  He would take care of him.  "Get up and take your stand."
2. "You shall be as my mouth."
The sign of a godly person is that they know God's word and speak God's truth.  His word has eternal value and has the power to change lives.
3. "You shall not turn to them."
Standing alone means to not giving in to the pressure to conform to a sinful culture.  If the people were to turn to God, he must remain unmovable in representing the LORD.  If he gave in and joined the people in their sin, all ministry would be forfeited.
4. You will be like a bronze wall.
It was not in Jeremiah to withstand this spiritual opposition.  God said, "I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze."  Humans are no match for spiritual warfare.  When one takes a stand for the LORD, His powerful resources will be seen.  The Apostle Paul wrote, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might." (Ephesians 6:10)

Psalm 1:1-2-"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night."

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