Today’s selected passage continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, and more specifically, is found in the thirtieth chapter. When I begin reading this particular passage of Scripture, I am immediately struck with the instruction the Lord of hosts gave unto Jeremiah. This particular chapter is well beyond the halfway point of this prophetic book, and up until this point the Lord’s instructions to Jeremiah have mainly been in the areas of arising from this particular place and going to that particular place. There were times in the prophetic life and ministry of Jeremiah when the Lord would instruct him to stand in a very specific place—i.e. “Stand in the gate of the house of the Lord,” or “Stand in the courts of the Lord.” When we come to this particular passage of Scripture, we do not find the Lord instructing the prophet to stand in any particular place, nor do we find the prophet being instructed to arise and go to this particular place. When we read this passage of Scripture we notice a very specific, yet very powerful transition within the life and ministry of Jeremiah. Consider how this chapter opens and begins—“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book” (Jeremiah 30:1-2). Please don’t miss the tremendous significance and importance of these words, for at this particular point in the life and ministry of Jeremiah, the Lord was transitioning him to a place where he was take everything the Lord had spoken unto him, and to write it in a book. The instruction from the Lord was indeed very specific, as well as profoundly powerful, for the Lord wanted to take everything He had spoken unto Jeremiah from the first day He appeared to him, until this moment in time. Pause for a moment and consider what type of undertaking such a task would have been—to remember everything the Lord had spoken unto you from the day He first appeared to you. There seems to be no indication as to how far into his prophetic ministry Jeremiah was, but suffice it to say that this undertaking would have been one of incredible significance and importance. Jeremiah had been instructed to stand in the gate, Jeremiah had been instructed to stand in the courts, Jeremiah had even been instructed to go down to the potter’s house, yet at this particular moment within his life, he was called to take a step back. When I consider the Lord’s instruction to Jeremiah in this passage of Scripture, I can’t help but get the strong sense that such an instruction would have undoubtedly called for Jeremiah to engage himself in a place of quiet introspection and self-reflection. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we discover the Lord speaking unto Jeremiah would have required a great deal of meditation, as Jeremiah would have had to recount all the Lord had spoken to him throughout the years. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if throughout his prophetic life and ministry Jeremiah kept a running record of what the Lord had spoken to him. There is a part of me that would like to believe that Jeremiah did in fact keep a running record of all the Lord had spoken unto him throughout the years, and the reason for thinking along those lines is trying to imagine writing in a book all the words the Lord had spoken unto him from the time He first appeared and began speaking to him. I can’t help but think that each time the Lord spoke to Jeremiah during his prophetic life and ministry, Jeremiah kept a detailed record of exactly what the Lord had spoken unto him. As you continue reading in the prophetic book of Jeremiah, you will notice the emergence and appearance of a certain man by the name of Baruch. You will quickly discover and learn that Baruch was the official scribe of the prophet Jeremiah, and recorded all the words which the Lord had spoken unto the prophet. RECORDING THE SAYINGS OF THE PROPHET! RECORDING THE WORDS OF THE PROPHET! KEEPING A RUNNING RECORD OF WHAT THE LORD HAD SPOKEN! KEEPING A RUNNING RECORD OF WHAT THE LORD HAS SPOKEN! The more I consider this passage of Scripture, the more I am completely and totally gripped by the concept of keeping a running record of that which the Lord has spoken unto us throughout the course of our lives. How many men and women among us actively keep, or have actively kept a journal which contain the contents of everything the Lord had spoken unto them? How many men and women have spent a considerable amount of time recording everything the Lord had spoken unto them throughout the years—and not just what the Lord had spoken, but what the Lord has done as well. The Lord of hosts instructed the prophet to write all the words which He had spoken unto him in a book, which undoubtedly and certainly means write down everything Jeremiah had heard the Lord speak to him over the years. With that being said, I can’t help but think the incredible importance of writing down in a book all the Lord has done within your life. Jeremiah was instructed to write in a book all the words which the Lord had spoken, but if you read this particular passage, you will notice that it contains a considerable amount of biographical and historical content, as Jeremiah not only recounted that which the Lord had spoken unto him, but inevitably and invariably what that word, or what those words would mean for him within his life.
LORD, YOU HAVE SPOKEN TO ME, BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR MY LIFE? Perhaps one of the most interesting concepts surrounding the prophetic book of Jeremiah is that there were a number of times when the prophetic word of the Lord came unto him, and that prophetic word not only had implications for the house of Judah and the city of Jerusalem, but also for Jeremiah himself. Consider how many times Jeremiah was instructed to stand and proclaim the word of the Lord in the hearing of those within Jerusalem, and how there were specific times when that which he prophesied and proclaimed caused a tremendous uproar among the people. What’s more, is that the word and instruction of the Lord went even further, for the Lord specifically proclaimed and declared unto him to abstain and refrain from taking unto himself a wife, and from conceiving and bearing children. More often than not the word of the Lord had direct implications on Jeremiah, for there were times when what the Lord would speak unto Jeremiah would be directed toward the inhabitants Jerusalem and Judah, and there were other times when that which the Lord spoke would be for Jeremiah specifically and exclusively. If there is one thing I have learned, and am still continuing to learn, it’s that when the Lord does indeed and does in fact speak to us—more often than not it has direct implications within our life. I can’t imagine what it was like for Jeremiah to sit down with pen in his hand and a scroll before him as he attempted to write down all the words the Lord had spoken unto him. I can’t help but think about what a tremendous undertaking such a task would have been, for it would have undoubtedly required Jeremiah to reflect upon everything the Lord had spoken to him over the years. Even as I am writing these words, I can’t help but think about my own journey—when at the beginning of 2009 I took up the pen if you will for the very first time, and actively began writing that which the Lord had spoken to me. I am trying to think about what it would be like to go back eight years and recount everything I felt the Lord had spoken unto my heart. I am trying to think about what it would be like to go back and read the three books I felt the Lord gave to me—“The Decreasing, Last Place, Servant Generation,” “Satan’s Last Stand: The Fear and Fury of His Ultimate Defeat,” and “An End Times Christian Manifesto.” Let me ask you a question—could you go back a year and recount everything the Lord spoke to you? Let’s say you could go back a year—could you go back five years? If you can go back five years—could you go back ten years? Could you in fact journey back in time and recount what the Lord of hosts spoke unto you fifteen, twenty, twenty-five or more years ago? Imagine what it would be like to be able to journey back in time and actively recount everything the Lord had spoken unto you—and not just what the Lord has spoken unto you, but also what the Lord has done within your heart and life.
Up until this point in Jeremiah’s life he has been instructed to stand, to take, to go, to speak, to proclaim, and various other instructions the Lord had given unto him. In this particular chapter, however, we find the Lord of hosts instructing Jeremiah to take up the pen and write. Thus far Jeremiah was faithful to stand before the Lord and faithfully proclaim everything the Lord had instructed him to speak. The time had come in Jeremiah’s life to do more than simply stand and speak, but sit and write. FROM STANDING AND SPEAKING TO SITTING AND WRITING! Eventually there came a point in the prophetic life of Jeremiah was although he would still be required to stand and speak, he would now be asked and required to sit and write. There is something truly unique and wonderfully powerful about sitting down to write—and not just sitting down and writing, but writing everything the Lord has spoken unto you over the years. You can and you still will be instructed to stand and proclaim, but the Lord is now bringing you into the place where you must sit and write, for everything you write will be all the Lord has spoken to you over the years. For years Jeremiah had been accustom to standing and speaking on behalf of the Lord, but now the Lord was taking him to the place where he would sit and write. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if the act of sitting and writing was actually means which the Lord would use to restore, revive, and refresh Jeremiah, as Jeremiah would sit quietly and patiently before the Lord and remember everything the Lord had spoken unto him over the years. I am thoroughly convinced there is tremendous power and strength in sitting and writing, for inevitably doing so would cause you to enter into a very specific place of rest before the Lord. To be able to sit down and write in a book all the words the Lord has spoken unto you would place you squarely before the Lord and His words. In other words, that which the Lord had instructed Jeremiah to speak and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem and Judah wasn’t meant to merely be spoken, but was meant to be spoken and written. Eventually there would come a point in time when that which was spoken would become that which was written, for that which was written would be that which was recorded, kept and preserved. For Jeremiah to sit and write all the words the Lord had spoken unto him in a book would mean the Lord of hosts desired to preserve all that He had spoken audibly, and to have it written down for others to read and consider. For Jeremiah to sit and write all the words the Lord had spoken unto him would have been the means and method whereby the Lord would have been able to faithfully preserve all He had spoken during those years through His servant, as those words would be read and faithfully considered in the future.
THE WORDS YOU WRITE TOMORROW MAY BE READ TOMORROW BY A FUTURE GENERATION. The prophet Jeremiah was instructed to sit and write all the words the Lord had spoken unto him, and when we journey over just a few books in the Old Testament, we find the words which Jeremiah had written in a book being read by another. If you. Journey to the prophetic book of Daniel—specifically the ninth chapter—you will discover that Daniel discerned something while reading the words of another. “In the first year of Darius the son of Ashusuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:1-2). Did you catch that? In the second verse of this particular chapter we find that in the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, Daniel “understood by books” the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet. It’s necessary and imperative that we recognize and get this, for this understanding came to Daniel as he sat down and read the writings of the prophet Jeremiah. It was the writings which Jeremiah had recorded and written in a book that understanding had come to Daniel—understanding concerning the captivity of the house of Judah, and the completion of the Lord’s plans and purposes. Daniel understood by books the number of the years the Lord would accomplish in the desolations of Jerusalem. It was as a result of reading the books and writing of the prophet Jeremiah that Daniel understood the expiration date of the captivity of God’s people. It was as a result of reading the words of the prophet Jeremiah that Daniel understood the Lord’s plans and purposes for His people—a people who had spent more than a generation as captives in a strange and foreign land. It’s actually quite astonishing that Daniel took up and read the words of the prophet Jeremiah, for it meant that the words of Jeremiah moved beyond the city of Jerusalem, and were preserved in a strange and foreign land. The very fact Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, suggests that the words of the prophet were preserved to reveal something very specific at the appointed time. The words which Jeremiah prophesied concerning the seventy years would have been understood and heard by those who originally heard them, but now those same words which were heard were now read, and were not only read, but used to provide understanding to another. The words of Jeremiah were preserved throughout the seventy years of captivity, and eventually the time would come when Daniel would read those words and understand the expiration date of captivity.
When I consider the fact that the Lord of hosts revealed to the prophet Jeremiah that there was seventy years decreed for the captivity of God’s people, and the fact that Jeremiah was instructed to write in a book all the words the Lord spoke to him is absolutely incredible. The fact that Jeremiah wrote down all these words in a book is in and of itself absolutely remarkable, but the fact that in the land of the Chaldeans Daniel read the words of this book suggests the reality that the Lord was faithful to preserve these words in the midst of that captivity. There in the midst of that strange and foreign land the Lord preserved the very words which revealed that the captivity of the people of God had an expiration date. It was as a result of the preserved word of God that the prophet Daniel would understand the expiration date for the captivity of God’s people. In fact, I am convinced that one of the main reasons why the Lord instructed the prophet Jeremiah to write down all the words He spoke to him was not only so those words could be read and considered while in the midst of captivity, but so they could be read when the Lord brought them back from their captivity, and brought them into the land. The words of the prophet Jeremiah would be read in the midst of captivity to help them understand the nature and cause of the captivity. One of the questions that should have never been asked while in the land of the Chaldeans was the question “Why did we get here?” Or even, “How did we get here?” The words of the prophet Jeremiah were preserved in this strange and foreign land to reveal the nature and cause of the captivity, but they were also preserved to reveal the nature and cause of their release. As surely as Jeremiah revealed the captivity of God’s people, he also revealed the release of God’s people. The words which the prophet Daniel read and understood revealed the release and return of the people of God to their own land—a reality that was even presented in this very chapter in the prophetic book of Jeremiah. When you begin reading in the third verse of this chapter, you will find this very reality proclaimed by the Lord in the hearing of Jeremiah—“For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it” (Jeremiah 30:3). I believe the word of the Lord was preserved in this strange and foreign land so a people would understand the nature and cause of their captivity, but I also believe that the word of the Lord was preserved to give them something to anticipate, something to expect, something to look forward to. I believe that the words of the prophet Jeremiah were preserved—not only to reveal the appointed time of their release, but to serve as a reminder that God is faithful to honor His word. The Lord declared through the prophet Jeremiah that there were seventy years to be completed for the captivity of the people of God—a reality that was manifested even before they entered into captivity in the first place.
I WILL BRING AGAIN THE CAPTIVITY OF MY PEOPLE! I WILL CAUSE THEM TO RETURN TO THE LAND! THEY SHALL POSSESS! YOU WILL BE BROUGHT BACK! YOU WILL RETURN! YOU WILL POSSESS! When the Lord instructed Jeremiah to write all the words which He had spoken unto him, He then made the very next statement that proceeded forth from His mouth a statement of recovery and restoration, and a statement of release and returning. If you read the prophetic book of Jeremiah you almost get the sense that as surely and as imminent as their captivity was, so also was their release and return. One of the most powerful realities concerning the proclamation of the captivity of the people of God was that the Lord didn’t declare captivity without also declaring release. In fact, it is my belief that captivity was actually the divine mercy and grace of the Lord upon His people, for it would be through captivity that He would preserve them. Those who were carried away captive and carried into the land of Babylon were actually spared the famine, the sword, and the pestilence which would utterly consume the city of Jerusalem. The Lord removed a remnant of His people from the land, and brought them into a strange and foreign land in order that in that land He might preserve them. Moreover, within that land the Lord didn’t merely preserve them, but He also watched over and protected them—a reality that is evident when Haman the Agagite sought to destroy and exterminate the entire Jewish race from the face of the earth. There in their captivity the Lord would faithfully watch over His people as surely and as faithfully as He watched over His word. There within the land of their captivity the Lord preserved His word and preserved His people, for both the word and the people were preserved by the Lord of hosts. Countless individuals have spent a considerable amount of time focusing on the captivity of the people of God, yet not much emphasis is placed on the fact that as surely as the people would be taken into captivity, they would be brought forth out of their captivity. The Lord declared and proclaimed unto Abraham that his descendants would serve in a foreign land for four-hundred years, but the Lord didn’t merely prophesy concerning their slavery, but also of their redemption, there release, and their rescue. It was true that there was an ordained and appointed time for their slavery in the land of Egypt, but as surely as there was an appointed time for their slavery, there was also an appointed time for their release. The Lord brought them up out of the land of Egypt unto Himself in the wilderness, and it would be from that place of revelation that the people would proceed forth and possess the land. We must get this within the very depths of our spirit, for it is only, and it can only be from a place of revelation that we can truly rise up and take possession of the land. When the children of Israel left the mountain of God in the wilderness, they left with two very specific realities in their midst—the Law of the Lord, and the Lord’s tabernacle. When they entered into the land of Canaan they entered it—both with the law of the Lord in their midst, as well as the place of worship, offering and sacrifice.
IN RETURNING YOU SHALL POSSESS! IN BEING BROUGHT BACK YOU WILL POSSESS! Notice within this particular passage of Scripture that the Lord directly connects returning to possession, and being brought back to possession. This is absolutely critical for us to understand, for it is the Lord’s work to bring again the captivity of His people, but it is the work of His people to possess. It is the Lord’s work to cause His people to return, but it was the work of the people to possess. What is also so absolutely wonderful is that when the Lord declared He would bring again the captivity of His people, He didn’t just say “of my people Judah,” or even “of my people Israel,” but “of my people Israel and Judah.” In other words, it was not only in returning that they would possess, but it would also be in returning they would be united. It would be their being brought back to the land that they would possess, and it would be in their being brought back to the land that they would be united. It was the Lord’s work of redeeming and rescuing His people out of the land of Egypt, and it was the Lord’s work to part the waters of the Red Sea, and to drown their enemies underneath those very same waters. When it came to crossing over the Jordan River, however, it was not the Lord’s work alone of parting the waters, for the waters would not part until the feet of the priests entered into the water. When the waters of the Red Sea parted, the priesthood wasn’t even established yet, and there was not a single sole of anyone’s foot that entered into the waters of the Red Sea. The parting of the waters of the Red Sea was the work of the Lord alone, and all the children of Israel needed to do was stand and see the salvation of the Lord. This is actually quite remarkable, for when the waters of the Red Sea parted the children of Israel needed to stand on the water’s edge and see the salvation of the Lord, yet when the waters of the Jordan River parted, the feet of the priests needed to enter the water. Moreover, not only did the feet of the priests need to enter into the water, but the priests needed to remain in the midst of the waters on dry ground until all the people passed through and crossed over to the other side. In both cases it was the Lord’s work of parting the waters, but when it came to the parting of the waters of the Jordan River, there was action required of the priests who were appointed and anointed by the Lord of hosts. It was the Lord who brought the children of Israel out of their slavery and bondage in the land of Egypt, for it was the Lord that wrought devastation in the land. When the children of Israel crossed over into the land, however, the real work would begin on their part, for they were not brought in to be bystanders or spectators or causal observers. Oh, how many men and women enter into the inheritance and think they can simply be bystanders and spectators as the Lord of hosts does everything for them. It was the Lord who prepared the land of Canaan for them, but it was their responsibility to possess the land, and it was their responsibility to work the land. Inheritance is not simply about possession, but it is also about cultivating and working the land to produce the fruit thereof.
AWAY WITH ALL THOSE WHO EXPECT THE LORD TO DO ALL THE WORK! AWAY WITH THE PREACHING THAT PROCLAIMS THE LORD OF HOSTS IS THE ONLY ONE REQUIRED TO DO ALL THE WORK! The prophet Jeremiah proclaimed to the people of God that the Lord would bring again the captivity of His people Israel and Judah, and it was the Lord who would cause them to return to the land, but when it came to possessing the land, it was their responsibility to possess the land. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” This familiar quote has direct application, for you can bring the people back to their land, and you can cause them to return to that which belonged unto them, but you can’t make them do the work. YOU CANNOT HAVE FREEDOM WITHOUT SACRIFICE! YOU CANNOT HAVE FREEDOM WITHOUT OFFERING! YOU CANNOT HAVE FREEDOM WITHOUT OBEDIENCE! YOU CANNOT HAVE FREEDOM WITHOUT WORSHIP! If there is one thing the encounter at the mountain of God revealed, it’s that you cannot separate freedom from sacrifice, nor can you separate freedom from obedience. It would the Law that would teach the people how to walk in obedience as they enjoy their freedom; it would be the Tabernacle and the altar that would teach the people how to sacrifice as they enjoyed their freedom. Away with the preaching that dares proclaim that you can have freedom without sacrifice, and that you can have freedom without obedience. I would dare say that freedom without and freedom apart from obedience and sacrifice is nothing more than a pseudo freedom, and is nothing more than a mirage and an illusion. This same reality held true—even when the people of God returned to the land, for when in the land they not only needed to rebuild the altar, but they also needed to rebuild the sanctuary of the Lord. What’s more, is that when they returned to the land, the same obedience that was required of them when they came out of Egypt was still demanded and required of them upon their return. Returning has always and will always demand responsibility, for while it is the Lord’s work to return and bring us back again, it is our responsibility to possess the land. The land lie fallow for seventy years, and when they returned to that land, it was their responsibility to plow, to sow, to plant, to cultivate, to reap, and to build therein. Consider the fact that when they returned, they would return to a tremendous amount of ruin and rubble—all of which needed to be cleared away and disposed of. I believe with all my heart that the first act of possession upon returning is the act of removing the remains of what once was—removing entirely all the ruin and rubble that were caused by the adversary years earlier. To possess the land upon return meant the house of the Lord needed to be rebuilt; to possess the land meant that not only did the gates need to be repaired, but the wall needed to be repaired as well. To possess the land meant to plant, to sow and to cultivate, for unless they were willing to do these essential actions, they would not eat in the land of promise. What’s more, is that in this possessing was also the rebuilding of houses, and perhaps even the building of new houses. The Lord would bring you back to the land once more, and the Lord would cause you to return, but it is your responsibility to possess. The Lord cannot, the Lord will not, the Lord shall not possess the land for you. The Lord planted the garden of Eden, yet it was up to Adam to dress and care for that garden. The Lord planted and preserved the land of Canaan, yet it was the responsibility of the people of Israel to dress, to work and to take care of it. Oh that we would be a people who would rise up and be willing to do the work of possession, for the Lord can never and will never do that work for us.