Heartburn for God
Jeremiah 20:Most of us have experienced heartburn at one time or another. We eat a particular spicy meal, or we eat too much at Thanksgiving, and in a couple of hours our insides feel as if they’re on fire. So we take a couple of antacid tablets. In time, we get relief. If our heartburn persists, however, then we move up to stronger medication because one thing is quite clear: We don’t want heartburn.
Jeremiah had heartburn, but of quite a different sort. His didn’t have to do with what he ate, but with the fiery presence of God’s word within him. Jeremiah 20 begins by describing an encounter between the prophet and the high priest, Pashhur. Because of Jeremiah’s critical prophecies, Pashhur had him beaten and put on public display to be ridiculed (20:1-2). Nevertheless, Jeremiah faithfully delivered to the priest the bad news of God’s imminent judgment (20:3-6).
Yet even as Jeremiah faithfully delivered God’s word, he wrestled with his calling. He complained that the Lord had misled and overpowered him (20:7), and that he had become a “household joke” (20:8). Even his former friends sought to get revenge on Jeremiah for his unpopular message (20:10). But if the prophet tried to stop speaking for the Lord, he experienced a kind of heartburn: “But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!” (20:9).
Wouldn’t you like to have such a passion for God’s truth that you couldn’t keep it inside? I would. Though I realize that, like Jeremiah, speaking for God can have a downside. Even the good news of God’s love in Christ can be mocked as narrow-minded and old-fashioned. Nevertheless, when God’s word permeates our heart, we cannot keep silent. We too will have a case of heartburn, heartburn for God and his glorious truth.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you simply had to share the good news of God? What happened? Have there been times when you knew you should speak up, but didn’t for some reason? Why did you keep silent?PRAYER: Dear Lord, the example of Jeremiah inspires me to ask for greater passion for you and your word. May your truth burn in my heart, so that I simply have to share it with others.
Help me, Lord, to be unafraid of rejection or scorn. Give me courage to speak your good news no matter how it is received.
Teach me, by your Spirit, to speak truthfully, but also thoughtfully. May my words honor you in their content and in their mercy.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Summer at Laity Lodge
It’s not too late to enjoy a summer retreat at Laity Lodge. Though some of our retreats are now “wait list only,” several still have room. These available retreats feature some of the finest teachers and most gifted musicians and artists.
You can see the whole summer schedule here. In the next few days, I’m going to highlight some of the retreats for which you can register. You can register online or by contacting our Registrar, Ann Jack [email protected]; 830-792-1230).