Don’t Shut Up When You’re Shut Up
Intro: The book of Jeremiah is unique among the OT prophets, because God reveals the prophet’s heart more than with any of the other prophets. Jeremiah’s plight was sobering.
- Jeremiah was the prophet of Judah’s midnight hour. (Baxter)
- He was the “reluctant prophet” (Jer. 1:6)
- Jeremiah was the “weeping prophet” (Jer. 9:1; 13:17),
- He was the “prophet of loneliness” (he was commanded not to marry, Jer. 16:2),
- The persecuted prophet = rejected, ridiculed, beaten, falsely accused – Jer. 11:18-23; Jer. 12:6; Jer. 15:10; Jer. 18:18; Jer. 20:1-3
- Smitten and put in stocks – Jer. 20:2
- Became the laughingstock – Jer. 26:1-24; Jer. 37:11-38:28
- Accused of treachery – Jer. 38:4
- Lowered into a cistern – Jer. 38:6
- Carried, against his will, by his countrymen into Egypt (Jer. 43:1–7).
Our text finds him in a prison. The Bible says he was “shut up”. — (Jeremiah 32:2, 3; 2 Timothy 2:9)
Jeremiah is being held for “treasonable” advice given to Judah, to surrender to the Chaldeans.
He was in the courtyard of the prison.
This was so that the rulers and the leaders could have easier access to discuss the prophecies.
Have you ever been “shut up” in a prison before?
Prisons come in all shapes and sizes.
A prison can be physical, as it was in Jeremiah’s case.
It can also be another type of prison:
- It can be a mental prison – you are being held captive in your own mind.
- II Cor. 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds😉 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
- It can be a financial prison – you are held captive by your financial situation
- It can be a relationship prison – you are in a relationship crisis over which you seem to have no control
- It can be a spiritual prison – you feel like you are completely unable to move forward spiritually
I. The Lord’s Illumination – vs. 1 – the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah
No matter what type of prison you may be in, aren’t you thankful that God and His word can penetrate that prison?!
Jeremiah couldn’t get out, but God could get in.
- 2 Timothy 2:9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
Though Jeremiah was shut up in bondage, the word of God was not bound.
Jeremiah was shut up, but the Word of God had free course!
I’m grateful for all the times the Word of God came to me when I was shut up in a prison.
And when you’re shut up. He’s not shut up!!
II. The Lord’s Identification – vs. 2 – the Lord is his name.
Both times in this verse we see the word LORD with all letters capitalized.
This rendering for LORD is the name Jehovah= “the existing One”.
He takes a few minutes and reminds Jeremiah of Who He is.
I like to think of it as a “station identification”.
He was tuned in to the right frequency, but just needed a quick reminder of Who was speaking.
God introduced Himself as “the maker”, “the LORD that formed it, to establish it” and closed out with “the LORD is his name.”
He was reminding Jeremiah that His name and His power supersedes any situation or scenario.
NOTE: Jeremiah prayed in 32:17, 18
- 17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:
- 18 Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name,
God confirms it in 32:26, 27:
- 26 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,
- 27 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
Interesting isn’t it how often He has to do a “station identification”
God was reminding Jeremiah that He was never “shut up” or “imprisoned”.
He is not subject to the laws of man, nor is he subject to the will of man.
He is the EXISTING ONE.
He started it. He formed it. He established it. HE IS THE LORD!!!
III. The Lord’s Invitation – vs. 3 – Call unto me…
This word is translated many different ways in the Old Testament.
The word “call” is the Hebrew word – qara’ (pronounced k-rah’)
It is translated proclaim, preach, read, cry, etc.
But it is translated “to call out” 528 times.
The Creator – the One that made it, the One that formed it, the One that established it invites us to CALL UNTO HIM!!
Notice an Old Testament story that best illustrates this wonderful invitation.
Turn to I Kings 18 – a very well known story.
Notice these unique characteristics.
- Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal. He encouraged them to “cry out” to their god.
Same Hebrew word as Jer. 33:2 – “qara” to your god.
They did – they cried aloud. All day. And got no answer!
- 26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.
- 27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.
- 28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.
- 29 And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
Twice the Scripture confirms – they hadn’t any to answer. Their god couldn’t hear their “qara”.
Their calling out – their crying out – fell on deaf ears.
- Elijah called the people around. Repaired the altar. Laid the wood in order. Put on the sacrifice. Poured 12 barrels of water over it. And notice how he began his prayer.
- 30 And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.
- 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:
- 32 And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.
- 33 And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.
- 34 And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.
- 35 And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
- 36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
- 37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
- 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
Elijah’s prayer was not for fire, but a request for the true LORD of Israel to be revealed.
Notice the response.
The fire of the LORD fell.
Notice the response of the people.
- 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.
ILLUSTRATION: In Jonah 2:5, 6 Jonah said:
- 5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.
- 6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.
- 7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
- Jonah 3:1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
When we are shut up, we don’t need to shut up!! I’m afraid we are short-changing ourselves because we fail to “qara” when we are shut up; when we are bound; when we are restricted, we need to acknowledge that God is the maker, the Lord that formed it, and that He has invited us to CALL UNTO HIM!