January 18, 2016

Jeremiah 17:14 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
save me and I shall be saved,
for you are the one I praise.

The section from verse 5 on is very rich “wisdom literature,” to the point that it seems surprising to find it in Jeremiah. Reading on through verse 18, my impression is that Jeremiah had been feeling a bit overwhelmed by those who opposed him, who would not receive the Word of the Lord through him, and God was meeting him where he was and giving him what he needed for encouragement. That makes this passage very applicable to many of us! This verse is a bit of Jeremiah’s response to what the Lord was saying to him, and that makes it worthy of our consideration as well. We need to have it very clear in our minds and hearts that God is our Healer and our Savior, and when He does it, it’s done, period. Our physical bodies are temporary, and do wear out. Paul and Peter called them tents, and the analogy seems quite fitting. (2 Corinthians 5:1, 4; 2 Peter 1:13) God does heal physically and it can be quite glorious, but this is not limited to that. Rather, this speaks to His meeting all our needs, all our inadequacies, and making us whole. He alone is Savior, but we need no other, because He is infinite. In the last line the NIV tries to make what Jeremiah said a little more “normal” from our standpoint, rendering it as “You are the one I praise,” but many translations stick with the Hebrew and say, “You are my praise.” That brings to mind a praise song I have liked for many years. “You are the words and the music; You are the song that I sing. You are the melody, You are the harmony; praises to You I will bring. You are the mighty God, You are the Prince of Peace, You are the King of all kings. Now I return to You the song that You gave to me; You are the song that I sing.” I don’t think I’ve ever known who penned those words, but they certainly express my heart, and Jeremiah’s too, I would say.

This is a very good reminder to me, and I receive the whole passage! As much as I tell others to fix their eyes on Jesus and not on their circumstances, I need help in doing that as well. The good news is that the Holy Spirit does exactly that, and I am deeply grateful. As the song says, “The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.” This morning as she was getting dressed my wife was mentioning some pain she was having, and it came to me that our perception of pain is relative. When we’ve never experienced deep, blinding pain, minor aches and pains seem major and debilitating. When we have tasted real pain, and the reality that God can get us through it, then all pain becomes much easier to bear. In all honesty, I’d just as soon not go through the pain my wife has experienced, but just walking with her through it has given me fresh perspective on my own pains. I need to walk in God’s truth, not just speaking/writing it but living it out, so that all that God has planned for me and for those with whom I interact may be fulfilled, for His glory.

Father, thank You for this clear reminder. Thank You for all that You are doing, whether I can see it with my natural eyes or not. Help me indeed be anxious about nothing, but rather trust You fully and give You the praise, worship and obedience You deserve, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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