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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 15:15-18

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

15 O LORD, you understand.
      Remember me and care for me.
     Take vengeance for me on those who persecute me.
You are slow to anger. Do not take me away.
  Know that for your sake I bear reproach.

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that God knows what’s happening in our lives. Jeremiah expresses it here in his prayer: “You know…remember me…take vengeance…Know that for your sake I bear reproach.” A prayer that reviews the truth is a good thing. We don’t always need to pray that God would give us things. We also thank him for who he is and what he has done, and sometimes we can just recall the things he has done to give him praise and to give ourselves an encouraging reminder: The God who cared for me yesterday is the same God who cares for me today.

16 I devoured your words when they were found.
Your words became a joy for me,
  my heart’s delight,
because I bear your name,
  O LORD God of Armies.

How did the prophets receive the word of God? Sometimes it just came out of the air, or in a miraculous appearance of God, like when the Lord spoke to Moses from the bush (Exodus 3:1-4). Sometimes it came in a dream, or a vision, or by the appearance of an angel or of Jesus himself. But other times, a prophet or priest might ask God a question, using the mysterious Urim and Thummim, or just by praying and receiving a response from the Lord (Habakkuk 1:2-5). Perhaps Jeremiah had done something like this when he says, “I devoured your words when they were found.” Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel describe consuming the word of God as if it were a meal (Ezekiel 2:8-3:3).

The word of God is a banquet for us, filling us with something more precious than any bread. An earthly meal sustains us for a day; the meal of the gospel sustains us forever.

17 I did not sit in the company of revelers
      nor did I exult.
I sat alone because your hand was upon me.
  You filled me with indignation.
18 Why is my pain unending
      And my wound incurable, refusing to heal?
Will you be like a deceptive brook to me,
  like a spring that dries up?

Jeremiah wonders why a message or an answer has not come. He has been questioning God about the state of things in Judah and the advance of the Babylonians out of the north, but God has not answered his prayers—at least not with the answer he had hoped for. Sometimes God chooses to say no to some of our prayers, or “not yet,” or “not in the way you’re asking.” We must never think that God doesn’t hear us, or that he’s busy, or that he doesn’t care.

Jeremiah is bold enough to ask God if he is like a gulch that only fills with water in the rainy season, and only for a short while. That’s not a stream you can depend on. But God is a stream of living water that will never run dry. More than once Jeremiah called the Lord “the spring of living water” (Jeremiah 2:13, 17:13) and this hadn’t changed. Jeremiah hadn’t forgotten.

Neither should we. Our Savior is the cure to the wound of sin, the salve to ease our guilty consciences, and the answer to the ultimate problem of death itself. In Jesus, we have eternal good—not only for our souls, but our bodies as well. Jesus will raise us on the Last Day to eternal life, and our momentary trials and troubles here will be forgotten forever. Whatever problems there are today, God has not forgotten. Put your trust in your Savior Jesus, and ask his help. He will answer. And if his answer isn’t a solution right here and now, then ask for God to give you strength in the days ahead. He knows what is best, and he loves you. The God who cared for you yesterday is the same God who cares for you today.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.