But if I say, “I will not mention His word or speak anymore in His name,” His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. ~ Jeremiah 20:9
God’s sovereignty is a touchy subject in the modern church. Many preachers these days don’t preach about it, and many believers don’t like to hear about it. That puzzles me, as I take great comfort in it.
In this passage, God directs Jeremiah to visit a potter and watch him work. As the potter forms his object, it becomes misshapen so the potter punches it down, destroys it, and begins again. The potter has complete control over that which he creates, and he shapes and reshapes it until it becomes exactly what he intends. God then directs Jeremiah to take a completed pot outside the city gates and smash it before the people, telling them that this is what God will do to Judah and Jerusalem for their disobedience.
For prophesying these things, Jeremiah is beaten and placed in a stockade overnight. After his release, he cries out to God in despair for the persecution he has endured for bringing God’s words to the people. But even through his despair, Jeremiah offers praises to God, knowing of course that God’s will is perfect.
Members of some modern-day churches might interpret my speaking of God’s wrath as a lack of “peace in Jesus”. They feel that way because they are not being taught the entirety of God’s truth. God, as preached in some churches, is our buddy. He’s not angry; He’s just a bit disappointed. He wants us to be happy and prosperous. He would never send anybody to Hell, and He has provided many ways to salvation; Jesus is just one of them. Blasphemy indeed! But sadly, I know many members of Christian churches who believe these things.
Here is the irony: I have peace in Jesus because I understand and appreciate God’s sovereignty over His creation, the righteousness of His wrath and the fact that it applies to me because of my sins. When I consider the love God has for me, that He sent His Son to take my punishment, I am awestruck. I don’t deserve it, but He did it anyway. Through Jesus, and only through Jesus, our Sovereign God has forgiven me and spared me of the eternal consequences I deserve. That, my friend, is the message of the Gospel. For the nonbeliever to come to Christ, we must make him aware of his need for Christ. We must share the whole truth.
Indeed, Christians are persecuted around the world for sharing God’s truth. Facing such persecution is sometimes extremely difficult. Let us lift these faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in prayer as we seek to follow their example – boldly and honestly proclaiming God’s truths to a world that seems to be increasingly turning away from Him.
Ponder this: Does your church preach and teach the entirety of God’s truth? Are you equipped to share it?
My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, today I lift up Your church and all who share Your Gospel. Give me boldness to speak Your truth faithfully out of love for my fellow man. Let your Church be a beacon of truth in a land ensconced in darkness. Guard and protect me, and use me as You will to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. In His name I pray, AMEN.
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