God Watches Over His Word

Chris Robins:

Jeremiah 1:11, “And the word of the LORD came to me, saying “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said “I see an almond branch.” Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”

I watch boiling pots. I’m not proud of it, I just always have.

I remember my mom telling me that they never boiled, and for some reason that bugged me. I had to prove her wrong. It’s a testimony to my attention span I was able to do it. It’s also a testimony to my stupidity that I tried. When I read a text like this it startles me. It’s a bit of wordplay in Hebrew, and if you keep reading there really is a boiling pot. The wordplay is part of a vision. God asks Jeremiah what he sees. There must have been an almond tree sitting in front of him. “Almond” sounds like “watching” in Hebrew. They’re pretty trees when they’re flowering and remind me of budding dogwoods in the south. So our Father is making a pun. That’s startling itself. But the frankness jars me.

Jeremiah is looking at an almond tree, and there’s two reasons you look at a tree like that. To see how pretty it is and to see if there’s something getting ready to eat. The second reason is far more popular among almond farmers. Hear God say “that’s how I watch My word.” What God says always happens because He is paying attention. If it’s written in His almanac, you can count on it. This is how alive and powerful His Word is. It moves with that much certainty. Our Father and God is a farmer watching over his crop. He’s cultivating and attending to every syllable like it’s a prize-winning flower. It isn’t merely data and He isn’t watching because He’s curious. We tend to abstract providence and sovereignty as doctrines impersonal and impenetrable. It isn’t like that for our God. He’s telling us He is intimately involved with how it all works out.

We get frustrated by our progress. Other folks kids are doing so well and look so good. Everybody else’s vacation on Facebook looks like it was planned by Travel and Leisure magazine. Our own spiritual rut feels like we’re a pickup stuck in mud 20 feet deep. Get your bible. Go and see, go and read it, go and tell yourself what it says. All of the promises great and small are personal. There are no impersonal promises, because there is no impersonal God to make them. He plans all His Yes blossoms in love. Picture this God, attentively scrutinizing, checking each flower of His promise for fruit, watching every moment in your life to see it bud. Hear God say, “What do you see?” Let’s tell Him we have seen the season and fruit of our forgiveness, our rescue in Jesus’ blood. And let’s ask for a new harvest of His promises! So He can say to this generation “see, I am watching over My word to perform it.”

May a church be planted in San Francisco because of that! May revival spread in our time because of that! May Christ be praised because of that! Then we can say to this generation: just watch, with careful undistracted love our great Farmer watches to make sure His Word blooms with blessing in our lives. Amen.

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The Rock, The Hammer

I often find that one thing isn’t right when I sit down to study and meditate in the Word of God. It’s nothing in God that’s off base, nothing off in the Word either. The thing that feels off is my own heart. It simply doesn’t feel what it ought to! It doesn’t rejoice when it ought to at the thought of reading the Word, but thinks it to be a chore. My heart seems divided, un-whole, not fervently in love with God. When my heart feels like this, it makes going to the Word more than a good idea, it makes it absolutely crucial. Why? Because I need heart change, and God through the Word can do it.

Therefore Jeremiah 23:29 is a rock I often stand on. It says, “Is not my Word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”

Don’t you love this? The Word is stronger than you and I ever will be. Because Gods Word is a rock and a hammer, God through His Word, overcomes hearts that are overcome with sin. He makes whole what is not whole, He unifies what is divided, he heals what is hurt, He restores what is ruined, He soothes a sour heart. Though your heart grows into a hard stony immovable organ when you are in sin, the Word is like a punch in the face. But O’ how glorious that punch is! It sets the wayward straight and makes crystal clear what is hidden by sin. It is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart, as Hebrews 4:12 says.

So reader, be warned, the Word will afflict those of you who are comfortable. But also be consoled, the Word will comfort those of you who are afflicted. The Word will change you, it is life and breath and strength and solidity and a fortress to the one who seeks refuge in the God who authored it. The question is, do you want the Word to change you?