burning words

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burning words

Jeremiah 20:7-18 (JDV)

Jeremiah 20:7 You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived. You seized me and prevailed. I am a laughingstock all the time; everyone ridicules me.

Jeremiah 20:8 Because whenever I speak, I cry out, I proclaim, “Violence and destruction!” and the result is the word of Yahveh has become my constant disgrace and derision.

Jeremiah 20:9 I say, “I won’t mention him or speak any longer in his name.” But his message becomes a fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones. I become tired of holding it in, and I cannot win.

Jeremiah 20:10 Because I have heard the gossip of many people, “Terror is on every side! Report him; let’s report him!” Everyone I trusted watches for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived so that we might win against him and take our vengeance on him.”

Jeremiah 20:11 But Yahveh is with me like a violent warrior. Therefore, my persecutors will stumble and not win. since they have not succeeded, they will be utterly shamed, a permanent humiliation that will never be forgotten.

Jeremiah 20:12 Lord of Armies, testing the righteous and seeing the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance on them, because I have presented my case to you.

Jeremiah 20:13 Sing to Yahveh! Praise Yahveh, because he rescues the life of the needy from evil people.

Jeremiah 20:14 May the day I was born be cursed. May the day my mother bore me never be blessed.

Jeremiah 20:15 May the man be cursed who brought the news to my father, saying, “A boy child is born to you,” causing him to celebrate. [1]

Jeremiah 20:16 Let that man be like the cities Yahveh demolished without compassion. Let him hear an outcry in the morning and a war cry at noontime

Jeremiah 20:17 because he didn’t kill me in the uterus so that my mother might have been my grave, her uterus permanently pregnant.

Jeremiah 20:18 Why did I come out of the uterus to see only fighting and sorrowing, to end my life embarrassed?

burning words

We don’t always get a glimpse into the minds of the prophets when we read their writings, but today’s text is exactly that. And what a mad scramble is going on in that noggin! One minute, Jeremiah is complaining that the Lord has deceived him, the next he his singing his praises. One minute he is praying for God’s vengeance on his enemies, the next he is wishing that he had been aborted!

And all the while, God’s words burn in his heart like a fire which he cannot keep in. He tries, but he just can’t win.

The people of God are called to a prophetic ministry. There are things that God has to say to our generation and he has chosen us to do the saying. They are not happy things. They are words that will not be appreciated. We probably will not even like ourselves much for saying them. But the burning words have to come out.

Lord, give us the strength and courage to say your words which are burning within us.


[1] שָׂמַח = celebrate. Jeremiah 20:15; 31:13; 41:13; 50:11.


Books by Jefferson Vann

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About Jefferson Vann

Jefferson Vann is pastor of Piney Grove Advent Christian Church in Delco, North Carolina. You can contact him at marmsky@gmail.com -- !
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