As we receive both the Word that is a joy and the Word that is a challenge, we need to pass on both the Word that delights and the Word that directs. The false prophets were masters at passing on only the pleasant word, the soothing word. In fact, they passed along only words the people wanted to hear, not what they needed to hear: “‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is peace” (Jer. 6:14). This was not so of Jeremiah. Surely he was tempted at times to pick and choose the messages he passed along to the people. But God reminded him of his mandate one day when he was about to deliver a particularly strong message in the temple: “Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word,” warned the Lord (Jer. 26:2). The New English Bible renders this: “You shall tell them everything that I command you to say to them, keeping nothing back.”
The word omit is interesting. The same Hebrew word is also used in Isaiah 15:2 to describe the clipping of a beard, or shaving off a piece of something. “Every head is shaved and every beard cut off.” How descriptive. God was warning Jeremiah not to “clip off” any of the words he had instructed Jeremiah to say!
Now I can certainly relate to that! How often I have been talking to a stranger on a plane and told that person only that portion of the Word of God that was a joy and delight to tell. Yet I’ve been aware of the still small voice urging me to share the bad news as well as the good news.
Once a man I was talking to seemed to be really interested in the gospel. As I talked to him, the voice of God kept whispering in my soul’s ear, When are you going to tell him about hell?
Not yet Lord, I whispered back. It would put him off.
Back came the answer: You must go to everyone I tell you to and tell them everything I tell you to. Do not omit a word!
I was so tempted to clip off some of the message. However, I took a deep breath and introduced the subject into the conversation. He looked at me in amazement and said, “I can’t remember having met anyone in this day and age who actually believes in a hell. They don’t believe in hell in my subdivision!” He was a little irritated with me from that point on, but I felt relieved in my spirit for not “omitting” or “shaving off” any of the message.
At least I was not subjected to the same treatment as Jeremiah was when he was careful not to “omit” a word. “As soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, ‘You must die!’” (Jer. 26:8). Of course, we hope that this will not be the result at the end of your conversations! In fact, it is very unlikely that you will face such treatment in your country. But you may well lose friends and family by faithfully passing on the truth of God’s Word to them. Fear of that possibility makes it easy to get out those beard clippers and shave away.
“As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Is. 55:10-11). Thus says the Lord!
In His Love,
Just Between Us Magazine