Introduction: This morning’s message at The Donelson Fellowship gave us Principle #1 of living in a decadent culture: Remember Who’s In Charge. Tonight I want to share Principle #2: Replenish Your Heart Daily. It’s based on Jeremiah 15. The prophet Jeremiah preached during the last forty years of the history of his nation of Judah; but despite his sermons, the nation sank into levels of moral decadence that brought on the judgment of God. Jeremiah began his work during the days of King Josiah, the last decent king of Judah. After Josiah’s death, things went downhill quickly. Finally Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed right in front of Jeremiah’s eyes. He saw horrible things. He was the greatest preacher of his age, the greatest spokesman for God in his generation. Yet almost no one listened to him. He had very few converts. It broke his heart, and Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet. He was melancholic in nature, a personality God gave him to reflect God’s own broken heart for His people. Jeremiah 15 is a microcosm of the entire book.
1. We’re in an apostate culture – v. 1-9. In verse 1, the Lord said: “Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My heart would not go out to this people.” Moses and Samuel were known for the power of their intercession. When the Lord threatened to wipe out the children of Israel, Moses interceded for them and turned away the wrath of God (See Numbers 14:10-20). Samuel did the same, and his famous quote was: “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23). Yet Judah had deteriorated so badly that even if Moses and Samuel were alive, it would make no difference.
2. We have battles with discouragement – v. 10. Jeremiah delivered the message to Judah, but it left him drained and depleted. This is the way we feel as Christians. Jeremiah tended to internalize his pain, and he could fall into periods of deep depression and self-pity. A lot of ministers and a lot of Christians face the same issues. It’s hard to avoid occasional discouragement and depression, but it’s wrong to stay there. Look at how the Lord responded to Jeremiah’s anguish.
3. We have a secret source of constant replenishment – v. 11-16. In verse 11, the Lord provided reassurance, and in verses 12-14, Jeremiah found just enough strength to keep preaching, warning Judah the iron rod from Babylon was falling over their land, and their wealth would be plundered and their population enslaved. In verse 15, Jeremiah, in anguish, prayed again for God’s mercy on him personally. And verse 16 gives us one of the greatest verses in the Old Testament about the power of God’s Word. When we find and “eat” God’s words, they become to us the joy and rejoicing of our heart.
4. We have a mission for these last days – v. 17-21. Still Jeremiah anguished in verses 17-18, even accusing God of being a deceptive brook, a spring that fails. But the Lord also gave reassurance, saying to Jeremiah, in effect: “Now, repent of those feelings of despair. Speak worthy words, not worthless words, and you’ll be my spokesman.” Jeremiah still had work to do, a message to deliver, and a God to serve in his generation.
Conclusion: The lesson of this chapter is in verse 16. We’re engulfed in an immoral world that is perishing around us. We’re sometimes overwhelmed with despair. But we have a secret source of nourishment—God’s Word. We just need to be faithful to it. The American Bible Society released a survey this week that shows seventy-seven percent of Americans think the America’s moral values are headed downhill and most American believe the Bible is the answer. Yet fewer people are reading the Bible on a daily basis.
- 88 percent of Americans own a Bible.
- The average American household has 4.4 Bibles.
- 61 percent say they wish they read it more.
- 57 percent of read their Bibles four times a year or less.
- 26 percent say they read their Bibles at least four times a week.
This morning I shared the story of Johannes Schröder, whose grandfather, Helmet Schröder, had been sent to the gold mines and prison camps of Siberia because of his faith. The Bible was forbidden in these prisons and mines, and the men had no copy of the Word God. But they had all memorized large portions of Scripture. This was because printed Bibles were rare and valuable, but also because Christians anticipated being imprisoned and denied access to a printed copies of the Bible. In these prisons and work camps the Christians then would come together and write down the Bible from memory and everyone contributed with portions they had memorized. In this way the prisoners created their own facsimile of the Bible. So Helmet and his fellow prisoners compiled their own prison Bible. It didn’t contain every single verse, but it’s amazing how much of the Bible they had retained in their memory and could record. Johannes told me: “This Bible is now in my father’s possession. It’s put together like two little booklets in a leather wrapper or binder, with very tight handwritings, verse-by-verse. When the last Christian left, he took it with him. That’s how my family came into possession of this prison Bible.”
If you were thrown into prison for your faith and separated from the Bible and you had to write down only what you could remember, how big a book would you have? How much of God’s Word would be there? We have a secret source of divine refreshment and nourishment, and we must take full advantage of it through daily Bible reading, study, memorization, and mediation. Then come what may, we can say: “Your Words were found and I did eat them, and they became to me the joy and and rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by Your name, Lord God of hosts.”