Jeremiah seems to be having a bad day in chapter 20. The senior priest, a guy named Pashur, doesn’t like what Jeremiah is teaching and throws him in stocks. The next day he lets him go but of course Jeremiah is mocked and made fun of. The introspection that happens in this chapter is so powerful to consider. Jeremiah asks himself why he doesn’t just keep quiet and avoid becoming a public joke and one that is poked fun at. I love what he says as he considers just stopping his work as a prophet. Pay attention to this closely. As he things about just throwing in the towel and keeping all God has revealed to himself, here is what he says: “The words are fire in my belly, a burning in my bones. I’m worn out trying to hold it in. I can’t do it any longer!”
I love that. Jeremiah can’t hold in God’s words – they have to come out and be shared. Do you have “fire in your belly” as you read God’s Word? Does God reveal things to you that just have to come out? We should. God’s truth should not be something we soak up like a sponge and keep to ourself. God’s truth was not written for just you or me. Yet sometime we go for a very long time just soaking it in and not ever sharing a word with another human being. We go to church, maybe Sunday School, maybe a small group and could catch something on the radio or TV. Maybe we read a book or more importantly read God’s book (the Bible). It is possible we stopped and prayed and heard from God. It doesn’t matter how God’s truth comes to us – we need to share it. To be honest that is why I write this blog every day. I needed to share what God was telling me. I needed to get the simple truth He gave me for my life every day out. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. That is when we know God’s Word is alive in us – when we can’t help but share it. When we can’t stuff it in a corner and just keep it to ourselves. God’s Word is alive – it is “active and living, sharper than any two-edged sword”. We have to share God’s truth. So Jeremiah does that. And the truth is pretty bleak for old Pashur and his family and cronies. They are in for a pretty bad time ahead.
Jeremiah is still pretty bummed about it all, but he does take comfort in this truth about God: “You see through everyone, everything”. He knows that God knows it all. He is not afraid of the situation for him, even though it stinks, because God is in control and is not controlled by the obvious. Are you spilling the beans of what God teaches you? Are you learning from Him every day? If so – share the truth. Don’t let it burn in your belly!