Recovering the Precious

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January 14, 2006

Jeremiah 15:

16 Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, 0 LORD God of hosts.
171 did not sit in the assembly of the mockers, Nor did I rejoice; I sat alone because of Your hand,
For You have filled me with indignation.
18 Why is my pain perpetual And my wound incurable, Which refuses to be healed?
Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, As waters that fail?
19 Therefore thus says the LORD:
" If you return, Then I will bring you back; You shall stand before Me;
If you take out the precious from the vile,
20 And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall; And they will fight against you,
But they shall not prevail against you;
For I am with you to save you And deliver you," says the LORD.
21 " I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked,
And I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible."

In serving others, we often find they have served us. This scripture was a gift for me from a care receiver in Stephen Ministry. We serve them as they struggle with various events in life that can snag them, sometimes even make them question their beliefs in God. They need someone to listen as they sort the precious from the vile. In the beginning they have often isolated themselves in anger and confusion as the prophet Jeremiah was in this scripture. We try to help them find the hope that the Lord always has hidden for us within every situation. We feel their struggles but cannot cure them, for that is up to the Lord and his timing. But we also rejoice when they find themselves and their Lord.

 

I find comfort and encouragement in this passage for many situations in life. And I find it helpful in sorting the meaning of other scripture and events in the Bible. Sometimes it seems difficult to examine the negative. It makes life seem too harsh and we question why the God we think of from the positive passages could be the same. But hidden somewhere will be the light that helps us understand. In trusting the good shepherd we see easily, we will find he is the shepherd in the bad as well.

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