Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; Save me and I will be saved, For You are my praise.Jeremiah 17:14(NASB)
Jeremiah was a sensitive man who wore his heart on his sleeve. He had been divinely called to denounce Israel's spiritual apostasy and proclaim severe judgement upon them. They had gone astray and had willingly become embroiled in the practices and perversions of their pagan neighbours.
Jeremiah knew he had been called to preach a tough message. He was scorned by the leaders and rejected by the people. He knew the terrible consequences of their sin, would reach its completion, with the destruction of Jerusalem and their captivity in Babylon.
Having condemned their wilful infidelity to God, their insensitivity to sin and their hypocritical religious practices, Jeremiah records a succession of strange, personal experiences, where he was instructed to act out God's prophetic warning to the people.
In addition to his spoken messages of judgement and his calls for repentance, Jeremiah was told to perform certain strange tasks, to illustrate the type of judgement that would befall Israel if she refused to repent, which intensified the gravity of his solemn message. On one occasion he was to wear a linen loincloth for an extended period, before burying it near the Euphrates river, to identify Israel's pride and expose their stubbornness.
He prophesied of severe drought where the ground cracked for lack of water. He warned of lying prophets who would deceive their minds and declare worthless divinations. He forewarned of shocking judgements that would intensify their pain, and climax with their enforced exile.
So severe was the judgement of which Jeremiah forewarned, that he wrote that the sin of Judah was written with a diamond-tipped iron stylus, which was engraved on the tablet of their hearts. But we discover within these terrible proclamations a little oasis of hope with a fountain of refreshment.. "for the one who trusts in God, will be like a tree planted by rivers of water. They will remain green and fruitful and not worry in the year of drought".
Throughout his life Jeremiah was faithful in delivering the word of the Lord to the errant people of Israel, despite his message being rejected by the masses and derided by the king. Yet Jeremiah trusted God's promises. He was part of a little remnant of committed believers and cried out for healing and deliverance - Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed. Deliver me, and I will be saved, for You are my praise.
Like Jeremiah, we are called to be faithful in the work that God has given us to do. We are not to become discouraged if our life appears mundane or our ministry seems unfruitful. Like Jeremiah we are called to be faithful to the point of death and we will receive healing, deliverance and the eternal reward that God has prepared for those that love and trust Him.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the historical record of Israel's history, which has so much to teach us of your plans and purposes for mankind and Your goodness and grace towards us. Thank You for men like Jeremiah, who faithfully spoke Your word and obeyed Your instructions, so that we might learn from their mistakes and be guided into godly living. Thank You that You can be trusted to fulfil Your promises to Your people and to correct us when we go astray. I pray that I would be faithful in the work You have given for me to do, and thank You that in You is healing, wholeness, hope and joy - for You are my God and are worthy of all praise - AMEN.