Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, and more specifically, begins with the twelfth verse of the thirteenth chapter and continues through to the twelfth verse of the fourteenth chapter. When I begin reading and studying this passage, I am completely and totally gripped with the language the prophet uses and speaks. When you come to the fifteenth verse of the thirteenth chapter you will encounter an incredibly powerful prophetic word spoken by the prophet Jeremiah. “Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God, before He cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye .look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock is carried away captive” (Jeremiah 13:15-17). MY SOUL SHALL WEEP IN SECRET PLACES FOR YOUR PRIDE! Please don’t miss the significance of such words, nor the incredible significance that is contained within them. The prophet Jeremiah emphatically declares that if those to whom he was speaking would not hear the word which the Lord was speaking, his soul would weep in secret places for their pride. MY SOUL SHALL WEEP IN SECRET PLACES FOR YOUR PRIDE! Consider what a tremendous burden the pride within your heart has in the spiritual realm, and how your pride is in and of itself a tremendous burden that is often times difficult to bear. The prophet Jeremiah declares that if those to whom he was speaking would not hear the word which he was speaking, his soul would weep in secret places for their pride. What’s so interesting about the words of the prophet Jeremiah in this passage is that within them we actually gain insight into one of the single greatest causes of our refusing to hear the word(s) which the Lord has spoken and is speaking. The prophet Jeremiah first speaks of their unwillingness to hear the prophetic word, and then goes on to speak of weeping for their pride. Thus, the prophet Jeremiah reveals what is perhaps the single greatest cause for our deliberate unwillingness to hear and listen to the prophetic word of the Lord—the pride that it is found within our heart and soul.
Notice the prophet didn’t declare that his soul would weep for their inability to hear, for he knew full well that it was never a matter of them being unable to hear. When it comes to the word of the Lord and the word of God, it’s necessary that we understand it is never an issue of our being. Unable to hear, but rather our unwillingness to hear. There are far too many times when we have mistaken our unwillingness to hear for our inability to hear. I know that within my own heart and life it has never been about my inability to hear the word of the Lord, but rather my unwillingness to hear that which He was speaking. The prophet Jeremiah would weep in the secret place because of the pride that was within their heart—pride which prevented them from hearing the word of the Lord. If you want to truly understand that which prevents you from hearing—and not only hearing, but responding to—the word of the Lord, you must understand that the root cause is always and has always been pride. The enemy and adversary has always worked with tremendous force within our lives regarding pride, for he understands that it is pride that can and will keep us from hearing the word of the Lord. The enemy and adversary knows that if we give ourselves over to pride, it is that pride that can and will bring us to the place where we are unwilling to hear that which the Lord is speaking. If you want to know what is keeping you from hearing the word of the Lord within your life, you need look no further than the pride that is present within your heart. Pride is one of the most dangerous and deadliest traps and snares within our lives, for it is pride that will bring us to the place where we are unwilling to hear that which the Lord has spoken. In fact, I would dare say that unless we are willing to approach and read the word of God with a spirit of humility, we might very well find ourselves unwilling to hear what the Spirit of the Lord is speaking. I am convinced that there is a great significance in the fact that Jesus waited until the end of His letters to the seven churches to speak of having ears to hear what the Spirit is speaking to the churches, for He first needed to address and humble their own pride. More often than not it is the pride within our hearts that needs to be humbled before we are able to reach the place where we can truly hear that which the Lord is speaking to us through His word.
I am reminded of the words which the author of the epistle to the Hebrews wrote in the second and third chapters concerning hearing the word which the Lord has spoken. In the first four verses of the second chapter we find these words—“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will?” (Hebrews 2:1-4). THEREFORE WE OUGHT TO GIVE THE MORE EARNEST HEED TO THE THINGS WHICH WE HAVE HEARD! Pause for a moment and consider all those times the Lord sought to speak to you throughout the course of your life. Pause and consider if you will the various times the Lord sought to speak to you through the various circumstances you faced and endured. Consider the various times the Lord sought to speak to you through His servants—those whom He raised up and sent to you to speak directly to you. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews wrote that we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. The question I am finding myself asking is what I have chosen to do with the word which the Lord has spoken. What have I done with the things which I have heard with my own ears—those things which the Lord has spoken within and throughout the course of my life. THE TREMENDOUS RESPONSIBILITY THAT FOLLOWS THE SPEAKING OF THE WORD! THE TREMENDOUS BURDEN THAT FOLLOWS THE SPEAKING OF THE WORD! One of the single greatest responsibility and burdens that surrounds the speaking of the word of God to us and within our lives is the burden to hear—and not only the burden to hear, but also the burden to heed. It is not enough simply to hear that which has been spoken within our lives, for we must with all diligence strive to ensure that we heed that which has been spoken to us. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews called those to whom he had written to give the more earnest heed to the things which they had heard. The reason for this is actually simple, for the author spoke of letting those things which they had heard slipping. There is a tremendous call to give the more earnest heed to that which was at first spoken by the Lord, and confirmed by those that heard Him speak. There is a tremendous burden and responsibility we bear to give the more earnest heed to those things which we have heard—those things which were confirmed with signs and wonders, with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost.
When you come to the third chapter of the same epistle to the Hebrews, you will uncover an additional word of warning concerning the giving of ourselves to those things which have been spoken and those things we have heard. “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear His voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest” (Hebrews 3:7-11). HEAR HIS VOICE, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEART! Accompanying the word which the Lord spoke is the burden, the call and the responsibility not to harden our hearts. I am reminded of the words which the Lord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah when He spoke of His word being like a fire which burns and consumes, and like a hammer which shatters and breaks down. If we are to understand this hardening of our hearts, we must understand that it has always and will always be pride that will lead us to harden our hearts before the word of the Lord. Pride is one of the greatest deterrents to hearing the word of the Lord, for pride will cause us to harden our heart to that which the Lord has spoken. The words which the author of the epistle to the Hebrews wrote were not their own, for these were words which were spoken in times past, and were recorded in the Old Testament book of the Psalms. “For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wildernesS: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works. Forty years long I was grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest” (Psalm 95:7-11).
I SWARE IN MY WRATH THAT THEY SHOULD NOT ENTER INTO MY REST! Please pay close attention to the final words of this particular passage in the book of the Psalms, for one of the ultimate results of the word of the Lord within our lives is the rest it produces within our souls. It is not only the word of God itself, but also our response to the word of the Lord that produces within and brings us into that place of rest. Have you ever noticed that there is a certain and specific place of rest that is afforded to that individual who is not only willing to hear the word of the Lord, but is also willing to take heed and pay attention to it? There is a certain rest that is provided for that soul which hears the word which the Lord of hosts has spoken, and actively commits themselves to it. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews spoke of the inability to enter into the rest that was promised and afforded to those who heard, and those who took heed to word which the Lord had spoken. The Lord declared to those who hardened their hearts—those who refused to hear the word of the Lord—that they would not enter into His rest. Why? Why did the Lord sware in His wrath that they would not enter His rest? The answer is actually quite simple, for their unwillingness to hear the word of the Lord, and the hardening of their heart caused them to enter into the place where they tempted the Lord. One of the greatest examples of this hardening of heart to the word of the Lord is found in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the Old Testament book of Numbers. Within the thirteenth chapter we discover the Lord speaking unto Moses instructing him to send twelve spies into the land of Canaan to bring back report concerning the land. When the twelves spies returned to the congregation of the people of God, there was a division within the report brought back to the people. Beginning with the twenty-sixth verse of the thirteenth chapter we begin to uncover the negative report brought back and disseminated among the children of Israel—“We cam unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with m ilk and honey: and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan” (Numbers 13;27-29).
WHEN THE REPORT IS DIVIDED, YET THE WORD IS CONFIRMED! WHEN THE WORD IS DIVIDED, YET THE PROMISE IS CONFIRMED! When I read this passage of Scripture I am immediately struck by the awesome reality that when the twelve spies returned from scouting out the land, they returned divided in their report concerning the land. When the twelve spies returned from scouting out the land of Canaan, ten spies brought one report, while two spies brought back another report. WHEN THE REPORT LINES UP WITH THE WORD SPOKEN! WHEN THE REPORT LINES UP WITH THE PROMISE GIVEN! One thing we discover within this passage is that while there was one promise spoken to the children and congregation of Israel, only one report actually lined up with that promise. While there was one singular word that was spoken to the children of Israel, there was only one report that lined up to that word. There were two reports brought back to the children of Israel, yet only one of those reports lined up with the word which the Lord had spoken. It’s worth noting that when the ten spies were giving their report to the children of Israel, they actually confirmed the reality of the land which they had entered. “Surely it floweth with milk and honey.” When the twelve spies returned from their mission in scouting out the land, they not only confirmed the reality of it flowing with milk and honey, but they actually brought back the fruit of the land. BRINGING FORTH FRUIT YET CHOOSING NOT TO ALIGN OURSELVES WITH THE PROMISE! These ten spies carried among themselves fruit from the land of Canaan, yet the fruit which they carried was not enough to alter the report they brought back to the children of Israel. WHEN FRUIT ISN’T ENOUGH! This particular passage brings us face to face with a tremendous warning concerning our own lives—the warning against allowing the presence of giants to far outweigh the bringing forth of fruit. It’s as if these ten spies were declaring to the children of Israel that the fruit of the land was indeed plenteous, yet the presence and reality of fruit wasn’t enough to outweigh the reality of the giants. The twelve spies returned to the land carrying the fruit of the land with them, yet even carrying that fruit they still gave themselves to the reality of walls and the giants that were present within the land. Even though the twelve spies returned carrying fruit from the land of Canaan, they were unwilling to align themselves with the word and promise of the Lord. It was true that this land did indeed flow with milk and honey, and they did bring back with them fruit from the land of Canaan, yet they still chose to live out of alignment with the word and promise of the Lord.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE FRUIT? The more I consider this passage of Scripture, the more I am struck with the thought of what happened to the fruit which the spies brought back with them from the land of Canaan. The twelve spies brought back fruit from the land of Canaan, yetI would dare say that that fruit was quickly discarded by the children of Israel. What’s more, is that I can’t help but wonder if any of the children of Israel even partook of the fruit of the land of Canaan. The Lord had instructed and commanded Moses to send twelve spies into the land of Canaan to scout and spy it out, and upon entering the land they confirmed that it was indeed a land flowing with milk and honey, and even brought back some of the fruit which abounded within the land. WHEN DOUBT KEEPS US FROM PARTAKING OF THE FRUIT! Pause for a moment and consider that thought for a moment—the thought that doubt within your heart can actually prevent you from partaking of the fruit of the land. There is a part of me that wonders if those who were part of that original generation did not and could not partake of the fruit of the land because of the doubt and the fear that was present within their heart. In fact, I would dare say that that generation missed out on partaking of the fruit of the land twice over. The first missing out on partaking of the fruit which the twelve spies brought out of and brought back from the land of Canaan. The second missing out was experienced when the Lord had decreed they would not go up into and enter the land, but would instead die in the wilderness. I am utterly and completely convinced that it was doubt and fear which prevented the children of Israel—the same generation which saw the ten plagues in Egypt, the same generation which marched out of Egypt, the same generation which witnessed salvation at the Red Sea, the same generation which partook of the manna in the wilderness, the same generation which drank water from the rock—from partaking of the fruit which was brought forth out of the land of Canaan. WHEN DOUBT CAUSES FRUIT TO SPOIL! WHEN FEAR CAUSES FRUIT TO SPOIL! I do not believe for a single moment that the fruit which was brought forth from the land of Canaan was enjoyed by any in that first generation, for doubt had so utterly and completely consumed them.
CARRYING THE FRUIT OF THE PROMISE YET ALLOWING IT TO SPOIL! CARRYING THE FRUIT OF THE INHERITANCE YET ALLOWING IT TO SPOIL! CARRYING THE FRUIT OF THE BLESSING YET ALLOWING IT TO SPOIL! I believe that although the twelve spies carried with them fruit from the place of promise, none in that generation partook of that fruit because of their unbelief. The twelve spies had brought back the fruit of the promise, yet doubt, unbelief, fear, and the hardening of the hearts of the children of Israel caused them to be unable to partake of and enjoy the fruit. How incredibly tragic it was that they actually had present among them in their midst the fruit of the land of Canaan, yet they could not enjoy it on the eastern side of the Jordan due to unbelief, doubt and fear. I believe there is a powerful prophetic message that is contained within this passage of Scripture for and concerning us in this generation. The prophetic message is actually wrapped up and contained within a question—the question of how much fruit we are allowing to spoil because of our doubt, our unbelief and fear. How much fruit are you allowing to go to waste because you have given yourself over to doubt and unbelief—even before the promise of the Lord? I know beyond a shadow of a doubt there are men and women right now who see the fruit of the promise and see the fruit of the inheritance, yet they are not only unable to partake of it, but are also allowing it to spoil because the hardening of their hearts. There are men and women who right now are allowing a negative report to so cloud and consume their hearts with doubt, fear and unbelief, that they are unable to partake of and enjoy the fruit. The apostle Paul wrote of the fruit of the Spirit, and Jesus declared that we should not only bear fruit, but that our fruit should remain. Even with that being said, I can’t help but think there are men and women who are allowing this fruit to spoil within their lives because they are unwilling to go up into and take possession of the land. The children of Israel could enjoy manna in the wilderness, and the children of Israel could enjoy manna east of the Jordan, but they could never enjoy fruit. Fruit was only available on the western side of the Jordan River in the inheritance. Fruit cannot be enjoyed and experienced east of the Jordan River and in the wilderness because fruit needs roots, and roots are intended to go down deep in the land of promise, blessing and inheritance.
There are men and women right now who are unable to enjoy the fruit of their inheritance because they are unwilling to go up into and take possession of the inheritance. There are men and women who right now are unable to enjoy and partake of fruit because they have yet to come out of and proceed forth from the wilderness. The fruit which these ten spies brought with them was not fruit which was produced in the wilderness, but fruit which was produced in the inheritance. FRUIT IS CULTIVATED IN THE INHERITANCE! FRUIT IS NEVER CULTIVATED IN THE WILDERNESS! I can’t help but wonder how many men and women are becoming and have become so frustrated because they have been unable to enjoy, much less grow fruit in the wilderness they have been walking and wandering through. Until and unless you are willing to go up into and take possession of the inheritance, fruit can never and will never be available to you. If you are not willing to go up into and take possession of the inheritance, do not think for one moment that you will be able to partake of the fruit contained therein. FRUIT SPOILED AND FRUIT ABANDONED! WHEN FRUIT IS SPOILED AND FRUIT IS ABANDONED! As a result of their unwillingness to go up into and take possession of the land of Canaan, that generation of the children of Israel not only caused the fruit which was brought forth from the midst of it to spoil, but they also abandoned the fruit that was contained within the land. Oh how many men and women in this generation are allowing fruit to spoil and are allowing fruit to be abandoned because they are allowing doubt and unbelief to so grip and seize their heart. How many men and women in this generation are allowing fruit to spoil and fruit to be abandoned because they are allowing their hearts to be hardened concerning the word of the Lord? Oh dear brother, dear sister, we must get this within the very depths of our heart and soul, for the Lord has called us to partake of and enjoy the fruit of the land of inheritance. FORFEITING THE FRUIT OF THE LAND OF BLESSING! FORFEITING THE FRUIT OF THE LAND OF PROMISE! There are men and women who right now have seen a sample of the fruit of the inheritance as did the generation that walked out of Egypt and through the Red Sea, yet they have been unable to partake of it because they have chosen to give themselves over to doubt and unbelief. Beloved, please hear the warning and word of the Lord in this matter, for this word cannot, should not and must not be ignored, neglected or rejected.
One of the most interesting realities that is contained within this passage of Scripture is that the twelve spies brought back confirmation of the land—that it was indeed a land that flowed with milk and honey—yet their report did not line up with the promise. WHEN THE REPORT OVERRULES THE WORD! WHEN THE REPORT OVERRULES THE PROMISE! Ten of the twelve spies knew the word and promise of the Lord, and even witnessed the truth of that promise when they entered into the land, yet they brought back a report that was contrary to the word and promise which they actually witnessed with their own eyes. They had seen the milk and honey, and they had even taken of some of the fruit of the land, yet they allowed the walls and the giants to overrule and overrun the promise of the Lord. WHEN GIANTS TRUMP FRUIT AND WALLS TRIUMPH OVER MILK AND HONEY! WHEN THE REPORT IS DIVIDED BEFORE THE WORD! WHEN THE REPORT IS DIVIDED BEFORE THE PROMISE! The twelve spies returned from scouting out and spying the land, yet their report was divided, as only two of them believed the word of the Lord and were willing to march up into the land of Canaan. Let us take and learn from this passage, and let us understand the weeping in the secret place because of the pride within our hearts concerning our response to the word of the Lord. WHEN PROPHETS WEEP IN THE SECRET PARTS BECAUSE OF OUR PRIDE! WHEN PROPHETS WEEP IN THE SECRET PARTS BECAUSE OF THE HARDNESS OF OUR HEARTS! Perhaps the best way to conclude and end this is to ask if you are allowing fruit to spoil within your life, or if you are abandoning fruit within your life right now because of your doubt and unbelief. The inheritance, the promise, the blessing is directly in front of us, and we are confronted with the reality of whether or not we are willing to align ourselves with the side of bearing fruit yet given to doubt, or with the side of bearing fruit and walking in faith, walking in trust, walking in confidence, and walking in belief. The fruit of the land is directly in front of us, and the milk and honey is flowing before us. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are hardening our hearts before the Lord and before His word, or whether we are willing to rise up in faith, in trust and confidence and hear the word of the Lord. Are we allowing fruit to spoil before us in our midst? Are we abandoning the fruit of the Promised Land because of doubt, unbelief and fear? Or, are we rising up, entering into the land, and partaking of the fruit of the land of Canaan?