Jeremiah 20:7-10 O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. (8) For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. (9) Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. (10) For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.
The prophet Jeremiah had a tough, fifty-year ministry. Over the years, he saw the great spiritual reforms of Josiah disappear under the ungodly leadership of his successors, and then sat and wept as the nation was destroyed and carried off into Babylon. At one point – weary from being derided daily, mocked, persecuted, reproached, and defamed – the prophet decided to quit preaching. He determined that he would no longer make mention of the Lord or speak in His name.
But there was something in Jeremiah that would not allow him to be silent. There was a fire deep within that would not allow him to quit. This unquenchable fire was “his word in mine heart.”
This year we added a fire pit to our backyard. Living in the country, it is a joy to sit around the fire on a cool Fall evening. One evening, when it was time to go in, I dutifully soaked the fire pit down and thoroughly drenched the remaining coals and logs that had not yet been consumed. I was surprised when, coming back out to check on it later, I found that the logs were still smoldering. The fire was deep within the wood. Though I had poured water upon them, the fire within still had not gone out.
It reminded me of the fire shut up in Jeremiah’s bones. His critics, enemies and doubters were constantly pouring water upon his ministry. His circumstances were difficult; there was little fruit to be seen from his labor. The cold water was constantly flowing into his life until it seemed that the fire was gone – but it wasn’t. It was shut up inside.
How important it is for us to have the word of God in our hearts! Not only will it keep you from sin (Ps. 119:11), it will keep you on fire for God when the circumstances are difficult. You have to have deep convictions, grounded firmly on the words of God. They can’t be someone else’s convictions. You need them shut up in your own bones, in your heart. That’s when reading your Bible every day pays off. That’s when listening to preaching pays off. That’s when memorizing verses pays off. That’s when living by the words of God, making them a part of your life and not just facts in your head, pays off. Then, you will have what it takes to keep on going when the going gets tough.
Thank you for reading. God bless.