by Julia Bruce
CEO, Author, and Conference Speaker
Surrendered to do a difficult task
God gave Jeremiah a very difficult task – he was to stand in the court of the Lord’s house and speak to all the cities of Judah who came to worship — and the news he was to tell them, was not good news at all. God had a message for the people, and it was Jeremiah’s job to give them the message. It is what God had called him to do.
Surrendered to deliver God’s Message
Regardless of how unpleasant the news or how hard it was to deliver, Jeremiah surrendered in obedience to do what God told him to do. God said the nation of Judah, through Jeremiah, “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you to heed the words of My servants the prophets whom I sent to you, both rising up early and sending them (but you have not heeded), then I will make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.”
Shiloh was about 18 miles north of Jerusalem. It was where the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant were set up after the conquest of Canaan but was destroyed by the Philistines in 1050 BC after the battle of Ebenezer (see Psalm 78:60-64 and 1 Samuel 4:-11). So basically God said, “Return to me or I will destroy you.” Because of their unrepentant sin, God had turned against them and was now prepared to remove them from the land He had given them and He would send a pagan king to do it.
Being surrendered often has consequences
As you can expect, the priests, prophets, and people who heard the message we not very happy with it. They seized him saying, “Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying ‘This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without an inhabitant’?” They pleaded their case against Jeremiah to the princes and Jeremiah defends himself with great courage. He was brief and straightforward and stated that his message originated with God. He didn’t back down. In fact, he said to them, “here I am; do with me as seems good and proper to you.” Jeremiah does get a “happy ending” when the princes declare that Jeremiah does not deserve to die.
Jeremiah was totally surrendered to God. When the task got difficult he didn’t talk about stress, burnout, or compassion fatigue. He didn’t “sugar coat” the message. He delivered it exactly as God had said it. Jeremiah had to have known the people wouldn’t like the message, but he didn’t back down. He understood what was at stake and throughout the book we see him weeping over the people. Because of this, he has been dubbed, “the weeping prophet.”
He knew (because God had disclosed it to him) that the foreign nations were coming and that the nation of Israel would be scatted. But that wasn’t the only reason he cried. No matter how hard he tried to tell them what was coming because of their unrepentant sin, they would not listen. And so, when God tells him to stand in the court of the temple and deliver His message to the people, Jeremiah does so, even though it might cost him his life. He was so confident in who God was and trusted him so completely, that he is able to say to the people who are ready to kill him, “Here I am, in your hand; do with me as seems good and proper to you.”
Are you living as surrendered as Jeremiah?
What about you? Are you able to live so fully and completely surrendered to God that you can freely and without hesitation say to God, “Here I am, in your hand; do with me as seems good and proper to you.” Most of us would have a very difficult time saying those words to God with heartfelt meaning. We might say something more like, “Here I am Lord, do whatever you want with me….except don’t ask me to go overseas and be a missionary.” Or maybe we’d say, “Here I am Lord, I’ll do whatever you ask of me, just don’t ask me to give my bonus check to the church, okay?” Or maybe it sounds more like, “Here I am God, I’ll forgive anyone you want me to…just not that person over there.”
As long as we are offering to serve God on our own terms, we are not fully surrendered to Him. Often what He calls us to do is hard – very hard. If you want to be fully surrendered, then you have to let go of everything.
Focus on the One who is in Control
Sometimes instead of focusing on what we are letting go of, we need to focus on the One who is in control. When Jeremiah said, “I’m in your hands,” he was saying “You have all the power and authority to do whatever you want to me.” Have you thought about what it is like to be in the hand of the omniscient, omnipotent God? As scary as it is to give up your control, there is no safer or better place to be than in the hands of God who loves us with an everlasting love.
What’s holding you back from being totally surrendered to God so that He has control over every part of your life? Those parts that are not totally surrendered – they’re your idols.
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