“Therefore prepare yourself and arise, and speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces, lest I dismay you before them. For behold, I have made you this day a fortified city and an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land – against the kings of Judah, against its princes, against its priests, and against the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,” says the Lord, “to deliver you.” (Jeremiah 1:17-19)
Preach The Word With Courage
The prophet Jeremiah lived in a trying time for God’s people. It was not so much the difficulty for the people but the challenge for those who tried to live righteous in a world given over to unrighteousness. Making matters worse was the realization the wickedness of the nation was reflected in the lives of the people of God as they fell deeper into the immorality of the nations around them. It was difficult to tell the difference between a child of God and a child of the devil. Israel had corrupted itself to be as rebellious as the pagan idolaters she was told to cast out from her midst. The folly of idolatry had destroyed the northern ten tribes of Israel and would eventually send the final two tribes into a seventy year exile in a foreign land. Standing at the helm of the nation trying to bring the people back were men of great courage, faith, resilience and incredible fortitude as they prophesied the goodness and severity of God to sway the people to return to the old paths of truth and righteousness. Jeremiah was one such prophet who endured hardships from his own people because he preached the word of God with power and clarity. He did not sway from the message of the Lord to tell the people how sinful and rebellious they were. His charge was a powerful testimony to the instructions of the Lord for all who proclaimed the message of His word: Preach the word without reservation. There can be no variation in telling the people exactly what the Lord commanded. His word was truth and the prophets were expected to voice the law of God without challenging the will of the Lord against His own people. It would require great courage but the Lord assured them He would be with them.
Jeremiah was told to prepare himself to preach the word. He had a monumental task ahead of him that would not be easy and he would face much opposition. His work was to stand against the kings of Judah, its princes and priests and against the people of the land if they stood against the law of God. There was one code of law that guided the words of the prophet and that was the things commanded by the Lord. Jeremiah’s charge was simple: preach the word of the Lord and the word of the Lord alone. God reminds the prophet that he will be held accountable for how he handles the word of truth. If he fails to tell the people what the Lord said he would be held accountable himself. He could not soften the words of the Lord, change the will of God and he was required to speak the truth whether it made him popular or persecuted. Preaching the counsel of the Lord would not be easy in Judah because the people did not want to hear what the prophet had to say. They would fight against what he said. The nation of God had turned away from His love and sought after the harlot of the world for comfort. As a prophet of truth Jeremiah would preach the powerful word of God to a rebellious nation. He was told by God that while the people rejected him he must keep preaching the truth. The assurance of the Lord was founded in the word of God that He would not forsake the prophet and to deliver him from the persecution of his own people. Jeremiah remains one of the great prophets of Holy writ because of his faith in God and courage to preach without reservation the pure word of God.
There is a great need for men like Jeremiah to prepare themselves, and arise and preach the word of God. Times change little from generation to generation and the world in which we live is filled with the temptations for the people of God to be like the nations around them. Carnal worldliness creeps into the church of the Lord with every generation and the influences of the world often are reflected in the lives of God’s people. Men like Jeremiah must arise who are willing to teach, preach and instruct the people of God from the word of God without hesitation and reservation. The call remains the same for those who will prepare themselves to preach the word in season and out of season as Paul would tell Timothy. Teaching the word of God must be from a spirit of being secure as a fortified city and an iron pillar and bronze walls against the whole land. Let the word of God be the fortification. Allow the strength of God’s word be the framework of preaching. The word of God will be against those who exalt themselves above His truth and His righteousness but the Lord will fight with those who are willing to stand in the gap and proclaim the powerful message of Jesus Christ. Let no man stand in the way of the world when preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. The world will not prevail against the word of God when men stand with the Lord. Prepare yourself and arise and speak to the world the things commanded by the Lord God Almighty. Preach the word.
- Kent Heaton