The Word of God Is Like a Fire in Our Hearts and in Our Bones

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January 25, 2020

Jeremiah 20:9 (NIV)

But if I say, “I will not mention his word
    or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
    a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
    indeed, I cannot.

CONSIDER THIS

If there is anything we are learning in this series it is the deeply engaging, personally invasive nature of the Word of God. We eat it like bread. It tastes sweeter than honey. It can turn sour in the stomach. Like a surgical double edged knife it pierces and penetrates to the inaccessible places of our inner life. It teaches, corrects, rebukes and trains us in righteousness. It landscapes our souls. 

Today brings us to yet another deeply interior impact of the Word of God. 

his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.

Jeremiah was something of a prophet’s prophet. He was a master of the prophetic gesture; his life became the signs he prophesied. He had to say many hard things to God’s people concerning their own idolatry, their neglect of the people in need all around them, and the coming judgment of God in response to their callous rebellion. This gap between the word Jeremiah received from God and what he witnessed in the world led him to describe his reality as follows:

his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

The Word of God was in Jeremiah and the Spirit of God was on him. While we may not be called in the unique way of Jeremiah, as a prophet, we are all called to be fed by the Word and led by the Spirit. Over time, the cumulative effect of this kind of life and lifestyle is that of becoming a signpost of revelation ourselves; a touchpoint of the transcendence of God; bushes on fire yet not being consumed. I like the way Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 

his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.

Several years ago I found myself in church on a Sunday morning listening to an intriguing message from a Jewish scholar, a professor at a highly noteworthy Christian seminary. Her teaching exuded a winsome mixture of plausibility and polish which had everyone leaning forward in their seats. Because she was a Professor of the New Testament, people assumed she was a Christian. As a New Testament scholar, she said many true and helpful things and yet something in my spirit was “firing” up. She was speaking of Jesus in ways truthful yet woefully incomplete, and she was clearly winning followers. I began to experience what Jerry is talking about in today’s text.

his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.

I knew I had to do something, but what? There were easily a thousand people in the room. I felt the pain Jeremiah referenced when he said, “I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” As she neared the end of her presentation, she asked if anyone wanted to pose a question. By this point, I was a full blown burning bush in my seat. I stood up and in the most respectful tone asked the professor this question, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ was physically raised from the dead?” You could have heard a pin drop in the large room. She stood in what seemed like a stunned silence, and then she answered with a single word, “No.” You could hear an audible gasp across the room. I thought to my lawyerly self, “No further questions, your honor.” I sat down.

his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

First Word. Last Word. God’s Word.

THE PRAYER

Father, thank you for your Word, which endures forever. Thank you for this witness from your Prophet, Jeremiah. I want for your word to be in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. Kindle this fire in me. Make of my heart a fireplace for your Word and Spirit to burn with a passion to love you and a purpose to do your will. Give me courage to share it with grace and boldness and with even more humility. I pray in the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.  

THE QUESTION

Have you or are you experiencing the Word of God in your heart like a fire, a fire shut up in your bones? Will you ask the Holy Spirit to grow this reality in you?    

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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