‘He said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition, says: ‘If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down, I will plant you and not uproot you, for I am grieved over the disaster I have inflicted upon you.’
Jeremiah was God’s chosen prophet to the people of the land of Judah, which was half of the land of Israel.
Israel after King Solomon reigned got spilt into two- Israel and Judah. At the point that Jeremiah is prophesying the Israel part of the country had already been invaded, killed, robbed, destroyed and the remaining people carried off into exile, meaning the people of the land had been taken prisoners of the invading army and taken to live elsewhere.
The officials and all the people of Judah had come to Jeremiah and asked him to ask God what it is they should do, as they knew that time was running out for them, should they stay there, or should they flee
And v9-10 is how he replied, that they should stay where they are and God would establish them there.
V11 Says Don’t be afraid of the King of Babylon, as I’m with you to save you.
V12 I will show you mercy that he may have mercy on you and you will remain in the land.
There are going to be times in our lives when we can see something coming and we don’t know whether to stay or to get out of the situation.
When life is hard and you can feel that its going to be an effort to keep on your current path, sometimes we wonder whether we should swop paths.
Jesus is the ultimate person to look to when it comes to staying power. He knew life was going to get extremely difficult for him to the point of agony and death, and yet he stayed on the course. He trusted that God would indeed resurrect Him and through his death and resurrection rescue all that would later believe in Him.
Jesus stayed on course when he was tempted. Hebrews 4:15- says he was tempted in EVERY way. And he stuck it out.
We all have to go through things, whether we like it or not, if we are truly to be a disciple of Jesus we have to let Him deal with things in us. And this will make life hard, as its difficult to let Jesus in and to allow him to sort things out in us.
What do I mean? Inside all of us there are issues from our sinful nature that need straightening out. They will be different for different people. Don’t try and tell me now you are born again you are all sorted out. No jealousy? No anger? No lust? There are parts of ourselves that we are holding back from or hiding from God because we are frightened of what might happen if we let him deal with those things. This sounds like religious talk, so let me break it down a bit more.
For instance in my life I come from a background where my Mum never respected my Dad and the people I hung around with (including Christians I met later on down the line) never paid any respect to men.
It was perfectly ok to answer men who were in authority back, put them down in public, undermine their opinion, gossip about them etc etc.
And so when I came to Manchester and married John guess what I did?? Exactly what I had seen the women around that I grew up with do. And I have had to learn to respect men, especially those in Authority over me but mostly my husband (Obviously)
And its been tough, and at first I didn’t get it. I was like, ‘Yeah but why/ why do I have to? Why should I? And God had to deal with my attitudes towards men. Actually my opinion of women was a lot higher than that of my opinion of men. I literally had very little respect for men.
I have had to let go of my attitudes and learn new things and its not easy to do that, cause we don’t like change. I was alright as I was wasn’t I? No of course I wasn’t. I had to change to be able to carry on. Firstly to stay married I had to learn some respect, but also to stay following Jesus I needed to change. How could I have continued following Jesus but not respecting my husband when Jesus had told me to let him deal with it?
And there are 3 things that can happen when we come to a place where Jesus has asked us to let him deal with an issue, we can either let him in and deal with it, however hard it might be, we can disobey him and say No, I’m off and jump ship cause its too difficult, or we can say, not now Lord, and because He is a Gentleman He won’t force his way into deal with something He will leave it. But mark my words, that issue will come around again, and He will ask again, and even if you’ve jumped ship- it will come back around.
Look at the promise again- Jeremiah 42:10- If you remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down, I will plant you and not uproot you, for I have relented concerning the disaster I have inflicted upon you.
The last part of that verse suggests that God has brought about disaster upon us, and in some cases that may well be the case. Not that he has done evil as He cannot, but he may have allowed things to happen to us to get us to a certain place.
Often when God highlights an issue he has allowed a situation to occur when it can be brought up, to be dealt with.
God has allowed things to happen to you that have brought you to the home. His hand has been upon you and He has lead you here. Never forget that. It is a privilege that He has guided you here. He has picked you out. And He has put you here because He wants you to be His disciple, He wants you to Follow Him, He wants you to know Him and to know His love and His Power. And that also means He wants to straighten things within you that aren’t right.
He doesn’t just want to deliver you of your addiction, although He will, He wants all of you. He wants your whole being.
And let me tell you this there is no better place to get all your issues sorted out than when you are in the home. Because you have so much support here. You have people constantly praying for you. CONSTANTLY. That means you have a wealth of spiritual support to help you to deal with the things God is highlighting in you. When you get out the home is it a lot harder to deal with things, one because you know you should have dealt with them in the home and 2 because although some people will continue to pray for you and support you, in reality you wont have the prayer support or the constant round the clock support from other people (Fiona and Brian) that you currently get.
Too many people have walked out of the Home and turned their back on Jesus because they refused to deal with an issue God was highlighting to them.
And here’s what happens in Jeremiah- 42:13-16 The warning. They went regardless -43:7, and indeed it did come in AD 571- King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt and laid it waste.
The very thing they were trying to avoid over took them.
Whatever happens stay. The home is a difficult place to be. Its sometimes given the nickname The Potters Wheel, because people are getting shaped and moulded and formed. And by no means is it easy. Its very difficult to let God in and let Him change you.
Make a vow- That no matter what happens you are going to stay. No matter how tough it gets, no matter how angry or upset, or tired or whatever, you are going to stay because – God has planted you here. He has promised He will build you up and not tear you down (thought it may feel like that)
And sure enough you will be a disciple that stays following Jesus. You will have staying power. You shall be immovable.