Today’s selected passage continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, and more specifically, is found in verses twenty-seven through forty of the thirty-first chapter. One of the most prominent factors of this chapter—before you even delve into the entire context contained within this passage—is the first four words found in the opening verse. This particular passage of Scripture begins with the words “Behold, the days come”—four words that can dramatically alter and transform you entire life if you will take the time to allow them. The words “Behold, the days come” would have undoubtedly drawn the attention of Jeremiah’s hearers to a reality that was beyond themselves. These four words are absolutely incredible for they invite those to whom they were directed to look beyond themselves, and even look beyond their own natural surroundings. These four words invited those who heard it to take a deep journey beyond the days in which they are living, and to experience a reality that had yet to take place. When I read these words, I can’t help but get the strong sense that through these words the Lord is inviting all those who would hear them to an incredible journey of faith, a tremendous journey of confidence, a tremendous journey of hope and trust before Him. Through these words the prophet Jeremiah was inviting all those who would hear them to spend their days living in a reality that went far beyond the one they had been living in. The more I read and consider these words the more I can’t help but think that the Lord was beckoning all those who heard them to spend their days looking beyond the natural, and even beyond the visible, and to look toward something they had yet to see for themselves. The phrase “Behold, the days come” are words that attempt to draw faith out of those who would hear them, for unless you are willing to look ahead by faith, these words would mean absolutely nothing to your heart. The prophet Jeremiah spoke to his hearers of a time that was yet to be manifested or experienced in their midst. Perhaps one of the most striking realities surrounding the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah is that even when he was prophesying concerning a coming calamity and captivity, he was drawing their attention to more than simply that which would remove them from the place of their inheritance. Throughout the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah he was drawing them to a place and a reality that was beyond simply the removal from their land, for as surely as Jeremiah prophesied of captivity, he also prophesied of release and return. The prophet Jeremiah spoke of famine, of pestilence, and the sword, yet he also prophesied concerning release from the place of captivity, and a return to their own land. As I sit here and consider these for words—the words “Behold, the days come”—the more I can’t help but think that these words are calling a number of men and women to a reality that is beyond themselves. Through these words the Spirit of the Lord is calling men and women to live and move beyond that which they have known in their present time, and to look forward to a reality that has yet to be seen. The only way to truly understand, and to truly receive the reality of “Behold, the days come” is through faith, for without and apart from faith it is absolutely impossible to look forward toward that which the Lord is preparing to do. These four words “Behold, the days come” speak of more than just a future reality, but also of a future work which the Lord was going to do. THE WORK BEYOND THE WORK! THE REALITY BEYOND THE REALITY! L,IVING BEYOND THE DECLARATION! LIVING BEYOND THAT WHICH HAS BEEN PROCLAIMED! I fully recognize that these concepts seem utterly and completely absurd, and there are many who won’t be able to grasp them—that is until you begin to realize something truly profound in the Lord. Consider the fact that Jeremiah was presenting a reality to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah—the reality that the Lord was going to remove them from the land of their inheritance, and was going to bring them into a place of captivity. Consider the fact that Jeremiah was presenting a reality to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah concerning famine, concerning pestilence and the sword. Despite the fact that Jeremiah spoke of pestilence, famine, sword, captivity and exile, that wasn’t the only reality he presented to them. When we read the prophetic writing of Jeremiah we tend to focus solely on the fact that the Lord caused His people to be carried away captive from their land, and brought into a strange and foreign land. The truth of the matter is that that simply wasn’t the only reality the Lord presented through His servant Jeremiah, for the Lord not only spoke ahead of captivity, but He went on to speak even further than their captivity. We tend to look only at this specific reality which the Lord has spoken to us within our lives, yet there is so much more that needs to be considered and understood concerning that which the Lord desires to do. I am convinced the Spirit of the Lord is beckoning and inviting countless men and women within this generation to look beyond themselves, and to look toward something completely and entirely different than what they have even thought of.
When I read these words, I am completely and totally gripped with the thought of living beyond the reality—living in the place where we pursue the reality beyond the reality. There is not a doubt in my mind the Lord has spoken something very specific to the hearts and spirits of countless men and women, yet I am becoming increasingly convinced that there is a word beyond that word which has already spoken. Did you know that you can look forward to and even anticipate the manifestation of the word beyond that word which has already been spoken? Did you know that it is possible to live beyond that which the Lord has proclaimed and declared unto you, and to look toward the declaration beyond the declaration? I believe with all my heart that there are words which the Lord has spoken to various individual in this generation, yet that word is not the final reality, nor is it the culminating manifestation within their lives. We tend to think that when the Lord speaks to us that we need simply to focus on that word and that reality alone, yet the truth of the matter is that that simply isn’t the case. I believe with everything inside of me that there is a word that is and has been spoken beyond the initial word that we have heard and received. There are men and women who right now have heard the Lord speak something in their hearing, yet they aren’t aware of the reality that the Lord has prepared a work beyond the work, and a word beyond the word. LOOKING FORWARD TO THE WORK BEYOND THE WORK! ANTICIPATING THE WORD BEYOND THE WORD! There are so many of us who have been given a word which the Lord has indeed and has in fact spoken to us, yet we aren’t aware of the fact that there is a word beyond the word which we must diligently seek and pursue with everything that we have within ourselves. There are countless men and women who know and understand the fact the Lord is indeed doing and performing a work within their lives, yet they aren’t yet aware of the fact that there is a work beyond the work the Spirit of the Lord desires to draw and call their attention to. There is a work that lies beyond the work which we might not even yet be aware of. This is actually quite unique and astounding when you think about it, for you might be anticipating and even expecting a specific work to take place within your life, yet that work which you are aware of is not meant to satisfy your soul. I believe with all my heart that the initial work which you may very well be aware of is actually a starting point and a launching pad that calls and beckons you to pursue an even deeper and even greater work—a work which you aren’t even expecting or anticipating.
Living in the reality of the work beyond the work is actually something that is truly remarkable within our lives, for the work beyond the work is designed to bring us to the place where we are never satisfied with that which the Lord is presently doing within our lives. LIVING FROM ONE WORK TO THE NEXT WORK! LIVING FROM ONE WORD TO THE NEXT WORD! LIVING FROM WORK TO WORK AND FROM WORD TO WORD! Consider if you will the words of the apostle Paul which are recorded in the seventeenth verse of the first chapter of his epistle to the Romans—“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Consider also the words of the apostle Paul in the final verse of the third chapter of his second epistle to the Corinthian congregation—“Bey we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). The apostle Paul speaks of two distinct realities within these chapters—the reality of moving from faith to faith, and the reality of moving from glory to glory. These two realities are absolutely remarkable when you consider them, for there are countless men and women who allow themselves to get caught up in the initial phase of glory, and they make no attempt to transition to the very net phase of glory. There are men and women among us who have experienced the first phase of faith, and the first level of faith, yet they aren’t aware of the fact that that initial phase and level of faith was meant to draw them further and beyond that which they have experienced. There are men and women who merely living in the reality of faith, yet are not living in the reality of faith to faith—thus, they aren’t experiencing, much less enjoying the process that is before them. There are men and women are merely living in the reality of glory, yet they are not living in the reality of the glory beyond the glory. Pause for a moment and consider this if you will—the reality of the glory beyond the glory, and the reality of the faith beyond the faith. I absolutely love the fact that the apostle Paul wrote of glory to glory and faith to faith, for we are never intended, created, or designed to be satisfied with the initial and original faith or glory we have experienced. Unless our lives our transitioning and moving from faith to the faith, and unless our lives are moving from glory to glory, we run the risk of becoming stagnant and even stale in our walk with, and our walk before the Lord.
THE GLORY BEYOND THE GLORY! THE FAITH FAITH BEYOND THE FAITH! THE WORD BEYOND THE WORD! THE WORK BEYOND THE WORK! I have to admit that I have never before seen—much less considered—this reality in the Scriptures, yet I am convinced that it is one that we must spend a considerable amount of time paying close attention to. There is a word that is being spoken, and in all reality has been spoken beyond the word which has already been spoken. There is a work that is being performed beyond the work that is already being completed within our hearts and our lives. I firmly believe that we spend a considerable amount of time focusing on the work which the Lord has begun within us, yet we fail to look beyond that work to the work which lies beyond it. We dare not, we cannot, we must not allow ourselves to get caught up in that work which has already been manifested within our lives, for that work is meant to serve ax an invitation to pursue the God who works from work to work. Oh that we would realize that we serve a God who moves and operates from work to work and from word to word rather than simply the work, and the word. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have allowed myself to get caught up in the work which is being manifested within my life, without even paying attention to the fact that there is a work that lies beyond the work—a work which has yet to take place. Do you know it’s possible to enjoy the work the Spirit of the Lord is doing within your life, while looking forward to, anticipating and expecting a work that lies beyond that work? Do you know that it’s possible to enjoy the work which the Lord is manifesting within your life right now at this very moment, and yet expect and anticipate the next work the Lord desires to do? I am convinced that for many of us, the work which the Lord is presently doing within our lives is similar to the mountain of God in the wilderness. The children of Israel had come to the mountain of God in the wilderness, and it was the Lord Himself who led them to that mountain, yet there came a point when the Lord declared unto them that they had been too long before that mountain, and the time had come for them to move beyond the mountain to that which lie ahead of and before them. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Moses wrote in the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy when speaking to the children of Israel—“The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount: turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates. Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them” (Deuteronomy 1:6-8).
To help illustrate this point even further, it’s necessary to journey to the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel according to matthew. “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While ye yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only” (Matthew 17:1-8). This passage is especially worth considering in light of this reality, for Peter, James and John were taken up a mountain with Jesus, and while atop that mountain, they experienced Jesus being transfigured before them as He spoke with Moses and Elijah. While there in the midst of that experience, Peter spoke up and declared unto the Lord that it was good for them to be there, and then asked permission to make three tabernacles upon the mountain—one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. In other words, Peter enjoyed the encounter He was experiencing, and sought to stay and remain in that encounter. The truth of the matter is that despite the fact that Peter, James and John were permitted to enjoy the encounter of that experience, they weren’t intended to remain in that place, or even in that experience. When you consider the children of Israel at the mountain in the wilderness, you will find the Lord proclaiming and declaring unto them that they had been too long at that particular mountain, and the time had come for them to transition from that mountain to the next mountain which was before them. The Lord declared unto the children of Israel that they had dwelt long enough in that mount, and then instructed them to turn themselves, and take their journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites. Please pay attention to this reality, for the children of Israel had enjoyed dwelling at the mountain of revelation in the wilderness, yet they were never intended to remain at the mountain of revelation. The day and time would come when they would be required to take their journey and go up to the mountain of conflict. Oh, how many of us would—if we could—remain at and before the mountain of revelation without ever taking our journey and going to the mountain of conflict, the mountain of warfare, the mountain of battle, the mountain of continual engagement in waging war.
I believe with all my heart that for many men and women among us within our generation, the work which the Lord has done within their lives is and has become a mountain they have camped before. There are men and women among us within our generation who have treated the word which the Lord has spoken unto them as a mountain which they have camped before, without realizing that the Lord never desired, nor did He ever intend on them remaining before that mountain. The children of israel had dwelt long enough at the mountain, and the time had come for them to take their journey to the next mountain that was before them—a mountain not of revelation, but a mountain of conflict, a mountain of struggle and a mountain of battle. I believe with everything inside me the Spirit of the Lord is declaring unto countless men and women that they have dwelt long enough in the mountain of the work of the Lord within their lives, and the time has come for them to take their journey to the next mountain that is before them. I am convinced that there are men and women who have dwelt long enough in the mountain of the word of the Lord which He has spoken unto them, and they are being beckoned and called to take their journey and move toward the next word that is still before and beyond them. I am convinced that one of the single greatest causes for concern within our lives is that we grow content, we grow stagnant, we grow stale in the work which is being performed within our lives, and we never take our journey to the next work which lies beyond that work. There are many of us who enjoy the word the Lord is speaking to and within our lives, yet we fail—and perhaps even refuse to—take our journey to the next word the Lord desires to speak to us. Did you know that faith can be a mountain which you can dwell too long before? Did you know that glory can be a mountain which you have dwelt too long before? The disciples were atop the mountain with Jesus as He was transfigured before them, and Peter wanted to dwell in that place, for it was good for them to be there. Oh, how many men and women among us have this same mentality and mindset concerning the work which has been manifested within their lives, and concerning the word which has been spoken before them? How many men and women have attempted to dwell and make their abode before a single work the Lord has manifested in their midst, and are completely unwilling to take their journey to the next work that lies beyond that work.
When I read the words of the prophet Jeremiah—“Behold, the days come”—I can’t help but be completely and totally consumed and immersed with the reality that we as sons and daughters of the living God were created to live from work to work, and to move from work to work. I am convinced that we have been created to live and move from word to word, and are to never grow comfortable, stagnant or stale before and with that word. I read these words and I can’t help but be captivated by the work beyond the work and the word beyond the word. Jeremiah did indeed speak of captivity as being something that was certain in their future, yet as certain as their captivity was, there was an even greater work that would take place—a work which lie beyond that of captivity. The prophet Jeremiah didn’t merely speak of captivity, for there was a work that was going to be manifested in their midst—the work of release and return. Oh how absolutely necessary and imperative it is for us to get and understand this reality deep within our hearts and spirits, for the Spirit of the Lord is calling, is inviting us, is beckoning us to take our journey to the work beyond the work. The Spirit of the Lord is calling and inviting us to take our journey beyond the word which has been spoken, and journey to the word that has yet to be spoken. Unless the work which the Lord is completing and accomplishing within your life is propelling you forward toward the next work which He can perform and manifest within your life, I would dare say that you have allowed yourself to grow comfortable, complacent and stale in your walk with the Lord. There is a deep and underlying reason why the apostle Paul wrote concerning a journey from faith to faith, and concerning a journey from glory to glory. The apostle Paul knew that faith in and of itself wasn’t the ultimate means to an end, and that faith was a continual and perpetual journey within our lives. The apostle Paul knew, recognized and understood that the measure of faith we have enjoyed and experienced within our lives is meant to serve as a springboard and launching paid to propel us to the next level and place of faith within our lives. NEVER GROW COMFORTABLE WITH THE PRESENT MANIFESTATION OF GLORY WITHIN YOUR LIFE! NEVER GROW COMFORTABLE WITH THE PRESENT MANIFESTATION OF FAITH WITHIN YOUR LIFE! NEVER GROW COMFORTABLE WITH THE PRESENT WORK BEING ACCOMPLISHED AND FULFILLED WITHIN YOUR LIFE! NEVER GROW COMFORTABLE WITH THE PRESENT WORD BEING SPOKEN WITHIN YOUR LIFE! There is and there always has been a work beyond the work, and there is and there always has been a word beyond the word which are meant to propel us forward to that which lies ahead of and that which lies before us.
RELEASE AND RETURN WAS THE WORK BEYOND CAPTIVITY! With this being said, there was an even greater work that lie even beyond their release from captivity, and their return to their own land. As you continue to read this passage of Scripture, you will come to the thirty-first verse, and to a portion of text that countless men and women have some type of familiarly with. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write It in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach. No more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the lease of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:31-24). One of the things I find to be so incredibly powerful when considering all of this, is that while the work of release and return was the work beyond captivity, there was still a work beyond that of returning and releasing. When you read these words, you will notice that even their release from captivity, and their subsequent return to the land was in and of itself a precursor to a work that still lie ahead of them within their lives. There was the work of return and release from their captivity, yet there was still yet an even greater work that needed to be accomplished within their lives—a work of covenant that was to be manifested in their midst. What’s more, is that this covenant wasn’t even like the covenant which the Lord entered into with their ancestors which he brought out of Egypt. There was a covenant the Lord entered into with those who came out of Egypt—those who came out of slavery, bondage and oppression. There was, however, an entirely new and entirely different covenant that would take place with those who had been released and restored from their captivity. There was a brand new covenant the Lord would enter into with His people—a covenant where the Lord would put His law in their inward parts, and would write it in their hearts.
One of the most powerful realities that is found in this passage is the journey from captivity to covenant, and how the work that positioned men and women experience the covenant was the work of releasing and returning. The ultimate work beyond the work was the work of covenant, yet before that work of covenant could be realized, actualized and manifested within their lives, there needed to be the process of release and returning. What’s more, is that when you read the history of the Jewish people after they returned from their captivity, they needed to engage in the work of rebuilding and repairing—rebuilding and repairing that which had been torn down and destroyed by the enemy and adversary. The initial act of captivity was only the beginning for the people of God, for it was through their captivity they would be preserved and protected by the Lord of hosts. There was a work that would take place beyond the captivity, which was the work of releasing them from their captivity, returning them unto the land, and restoring them within the land. There was still a work that needed to be undertaken beyond that work, for once in the land, they needed to rise up and rebuild and repair. It would be their return to and their restoration within the land that would ultimately lead to an entirely new covenant being manifested among them within their midst. It was this act of covenant between a people and their God that would be the ultimate work beyond the work, for captivity was only the beginning, for captivity was the work of preserving and protecting the people of God. Release was only the beginning, for through and according to that release, they would return and be restored within the land. Once restored in the land, they would then undertake their own work—the work of rebuilding and repairing. It would be from this place—this place of being restored to their own land the Lord would enter into a brand new covenant with them. This covenant would be unlike the covenant He entered into with their ancestors when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt. There would be a new covenant that would be afforded to a people restored from captivity, for while slavery and bondage required one covenant, captivity and exile required an entirely new covenant. This new covenant would be one of complete and total obedience to the Lord, for the Lord would put His law in their inward parts, and would write it in their hearts. Oh that we would read this passage of Scripture and understand the work beyond the work, and the word beyond the word. Oh that would recognize that even the work which is manifested in our lives, and the word being spoken in our lives can be a mountain we can dwell in, and even grow comfortable, stagnant and stale. Let us read this passage looking for the work beyond the work and the word beyond the word. Let us live our lives as the old Pixar character so adequately and eloquently put it—“To infinity and beyond!”