“For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.” ~ Jeremiah 1:18-19
Part 4: UNDEFEATED, UNBOWED, UNDIMINISHED
God made Jeremiah, a defenced city, an iron pillar and a brasen wall to contrast His values with the values of the people of Judah. The people of Judah valued security, but the walls of their city would be destroyed. They valued human wisdom, knowledge and cunning (necessary to make iron pillars, a technological feat of that time), but their knowledge would make them a target of their enemies for exile and enslavement. They valued material wealth (to afford luxuries such as brasen walls) but their wealth could not save them from peril. The Judeans chose to go their own way: they walked according to their wills, and they carved out their own pathways to a success they defined. But Jeremiah chose God’s way.
Though they imprisoned him, beat him and attempted to kill him, Jeremiah was undefeatable. Jeremiah could not be defeated because he walked in the will of God to accomplish the purposes of God. Who can stop the man/woman of God? Nothing his enemies did could prevent Jeremiah from accomplishing the tasks God had set for him, because no one can thwart the LORD of HOSTS.
The Israelites would be defeated because they had long since abandoned God and His righteous purposes. They were living for themselves, pursuing their own goals. Over their history, when they were in a right relationship with God, God had always fought for them: they were undefeatable; their enemies shuddered at their approach. But they now looked for protection in walls of man rather than in the Will of God.
If we, believers today, are to live triumphant undefeated lives we must learn from the Judeans mistakes: we must choose the path of Jeremiah and look to God for our security. God has everything under his control: we have nothing to fear except being outside of His will for us where we become vulnerable to the attacks and tricks of the devil. There is evil in this world, and like Job god may allow it to touch our lives. But as long as we stay in the will of God, as long as we are obedient to Him, evil can’t defeat us. Nothing can stop us!!!
The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee ~ Psalm 20:1
Our victory doesn’t come from earthly security, it comes from eternal security. Our victory isn’t in physical safety, it is in spiritual strength: we are victorious because God accomplishes His will through us, not because we escape the travails, sicknesses, and sorrows of life. Like Jeremiah, if we put our trust in God, we will be undefeated, like a city defended by God!
Instead of learning a trade as other young men were doing, Jeremiah chose to learn of God. For Jeremiah, knowledge of God was the path to success rather than the knowledge of man. So, when the Babylonians came, the craftsmen had to find strength in their craftsmanship while Jeremiah would find strength in God. Therefore the craftsmen who never knew God were crushed by the crisis while Jeremiah could stand strong: unbowed, unbroken.
In the eyes of the people of Judah, Jeremiah would have been just another priest from Anathoth, and a young low-level one at that. Priests were increasingly insignificant because the people worshipped their own (false) gods. But even worse, priests were just a drain on precious resources and they couldn’t help a young man advance in life. The spiritual education the priests were supposed to give didn’t matter. If you wanted to get ahead, learn a valuable trade. For many knowledge of a trade was more valuable than knowledge of The WORD.
The same value choices confront believers today. Is it more important to study to show ourselves approved unto the world or unto God?
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15
Expertise in the fields of human knowledge has very tangible human rewards; comfortable lifestyles are very appealing. Conversely, the knowledge of God has heavenly rewards. The two are not mutually exclusive: it is a blessing to have both. But in God’s measurement system their values are not the same. Knowledge of God far outweighs all human knowledge. Therefore, it is critical for believers seek the Lord with all our hearts. Our search for the knowledge of God must supersede our efforts to gain human knowledge
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. ~ Jeremiah 29:13
For, as the people of Judah discovered, when crises like the Babylonians come calling, only the knowledge of God can sustain; only our knowledge of God will leave us unbowed, like an iron pillar fashioned by the Master craftsman Himself.
In a materialistic society, Jeremiah valued righteousness over riches. The course God had charted for him would never lead to wealth. Jeremiah knew that ahead of him was adversity and rejection. Yet righteousness, the state of being in a right relationship with God, was more important to Jeremiah than the comfort and acceptance that earthly wealth brings. While others valued the fruits (the brasen walls) of wealth. Jeremiah valued the fruits of the Spirit.
Jeremiah was a citizen of the Kingdom of God and sought the riches of that kingdom. The people of Judah had exchanged their citizenship in the Kingdom of God for citizenship in the kingdom of man; and they sought the riches of that kingdom. From God’s perspective, Jeremiah was not only wealthy, but also of high value: a great prize, a beautiful feature of His Kingdom.
The people of Judah were about to realize how fleeting and how ineffectual wealth can be. The Babylonians would relieve them of their wealth and there was nothing their wealth could do to stop their invaders. On the other hand, the Babylonians were unable to take away Jeremiah’s wealth or his value, for his wealth was secure in the Kingdom of God, to which the Babylonians had no access.
Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death. ~ Proverbs 11:4
Today, believers face the same choices that the people of Judah faced: What is wealth to us? And where will we choose to accumulate that wealth? We will spend our days acquiring and storing the riches that we value in the kingdom of our citizenship.
Jeremiah made his choice and was undiminished by the Babylonians; his value and wealth could neither be taken or tainted by the children of the world because he was a child of God.
Like Jeremiah, let us choose God’s way instead of the way of the world and in the end, we too will be Undefeated, Unbowed and Undiminished.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
- We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;
- We are perplexed, but not in despair;
- Persecuted, but not forsaken;
- Cast down, but not destroyed;
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:6-11