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Focus Verses: Jeremiah 20:13-14
13 Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked. 14 Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!
The contrast of these two consecutive verses is extreme and abrupt enough to give you whiplash. In one breath, Jeremiah says, "Praise God!" In the next he says, "I wish I had never been born!" The sheer resolve of verse thirteen stands out like a brilliant rose in this chapter of thorns and thistles.
The message Jeremiah had been called to preach was one of doom and judgment. The responses he got from people were rejection, violence, and hate. Jeremiah's life was filled with sorrow and pain because he was faithful to God's calling and God's message. Yet, in the midst of his pain he resolutely declared, "Sing to the Lord! Give Praise to the Lord!"
Though his suffering was unbearable, Jeremiah said, "I believe God sees my need and he will rescue me from the wicked." Jeremiah's praise was not a response to blessing and comfort he had already received, but was instead a profound statement of his faith. It was an expression of hope from a person in great pain.
Response and Action:
Praise is more than a response to blessing, it is an act of faith! I will praise God in times of blessing, but I will also praise him in times of need. I will sing songs of thanks when I am in a place of ease and comfort, but I will also worship him when I am in distress. My praise will be more than an expression of gratitude for what God has done, it will be a testimony of my faith in what God will do.
O God, whether by life or by death may Christ be exalted in me. You are worthy of my praise at all times. I believe you are faithful to your promises and I will praise you because I believe you will never fail to keep your word. Open my mouth Lord, and my lips will declare your praise! Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses: Romans 8:35-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Where Is God When It Hurts?
by Philip Yancey