CHEAP WHINE

After reading this conversation between God and Jeremiah, I understand more why he is called the weeping prophet.  He weeps for what is going on now, what went on in the past and what is going to happen to God’s “chosen frozen”.  God’s chosen have turned their backs on God.  They are frozen in selfishness and refuse to listen to him.  God will allow his people to go through terrible times because of their stubborn “I’ll do it my way” attitudes. 

Jeremiah is now telling God he is tired of the mocking and ridicule he is taking for telling God’s truth.  He is tired of not being taken seriously.  “Just look at the abuse I’m taking!”  “AND I never joined their parties, laughed or had any fun,” whines Jeremiah. He tells God he is “seething” from their sin—like God—so it’s your fault, God, I feel this way.  Jeremiah then goes over the edge and tells God He is only a mirage—seen only in his imagination.  Yikes, dude!   Cheap whine is dripping from the lips of Jeremiah—God’s called prophet to speak only God’s words.

Are we whiners as followers of Jesus?  Why, yes, we are!  What brings on this whine?  Do we whine about how people treat us for speaking truth?  Do we try to judge each other’s behaviors while we are sinning as judges?  Do we think we are better humans for knowing God and boast about that it?  But then, when we discover we are not, whine covers our words to God in prayer?  Do we shout at God, “not fair” when we are become weary of “doing good” on our own power by our own methods?

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, says Paul, to those who are boasting of their faith.  We do not make things right.  Only God is righteous who sent His righteous Son to make us right with Him by dying for our sins.  See Romans 3 for the big picture of glory!

God does not like cheap whine.

Jeremiah 15, The Message

1-2 Then God said to me: “Jeremiah, even if Moses and Samuel stood here and made their case, I wouldn’t feel a thing for this people. Get them out of here. Tell them to get lost! And if they ask you, ‘So where do we go?’ tell them God says,

“‘If you’re assigned to die, go and die;
    if assigned to war, go and get killed;
If assigned to starve, go starve;
    if assigned to exile, off to exile you go!’

3-4 “I’ve arranged for four kinds of punishment: death in battle, the corpses dropped off by killer dogs, the rest picked clean by vultures, the bones gnawed by hyenas. They’ll be a sight to see, a sight to shock the whole world—and all because of Manasseh son of Hezekiah and all he did in Jerusalem.

“Who do you think will feel sorry for you, Jerusalem?
    Who do you think will waste tears on you?
Who will bother to take the time to ask,
    ‘So, how are things going?’

6-9 You left me, remember?” God’s Decree.
    “You turned your back and walked out.

So I will grab you and hit you hard.
    I’m tired of letting you off the hook.
I threw you to the four winds
    and let the winds scatter you like leaves.
I made sure you’ll lose everything,
    since nothing makes you change.
I created more widows among you
    than grains of sand on the ocean beaches.
At noon mothers will get the news
    of their sons killed in action.
Sudden anguish for the mothers—
    all those terrible deaths.
A mother of seven falls to the ground,
    gasping for breath,
Robbed of her children in their prime.
    Her sun sets at high noon!
Then I’ll round up any of you that are left alive
    and see that you’re killed by your enemies.”
        God’s Decree.

Giving Everything Away for Nothing

10-11 Unlucky mother—that you had me as a son,
    given the unhappy job of indicting the whole country!
I’ve never hurt or harmed a soul,
    and yet everyone is out to get me.
But, God knows, I’ve done everything I could to help them,
    prayed for them and against their enemies.
I’ve always been on their side, trying to stave off disaster.
    God knows how I’ve tried!

* * *

12-14 “O Israel, O Judah, what are your chances
    against the iron juggernaut from the north?
In punishment for your sins, I’m giving away
    everything you’ve got, giving it away for nothing.
I’ll make you slaves to your enemies
    in a strange and far-off land.
My anger is blazing and fierce,
    burning in hot judgment against you.”

* * *

15-18 You know where I am, God! Remember what I’m doing here!
    Take my side against my detractors.
Don’t stand back while they ruin me.
    Just look at the abuse I’m taking!
When your words showed up, I ate them—
    swallowed them whole. What a feast!
What delight I took in being yours,
    O God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!

I never joined the party crowd
    in their laughter and their fun.
Led by you, I went off by myself.
    You’d filled me with indignation. Their sin had me seething.
But why, why this chronic pain,
    this ever worsening wound and no healing in sight?
You’re nothing, God, but a mirage,
    a lovely oasis in the distance—and then nothing!

* * *

19-21 This is how God answered me:

“Take back those words, and I’ll take you back.
    Then you’ll stand tall before me.
Use words truly and well. Don’t stoop to cheap whining.
    Then, but only then, you’ll speak for me.

Let your words change them.
    Don’t change your words to suit them.
I’ll turn you into a steel wall,
    a thick steel wall, impregnable.
They’ll attack you but won’t put a dent in you
    because I’m at your side, defending and delivering.”
        God’s Decree.
“I’ll deliver you from the grip of the wicked.
    I’ll get you out of the clutch of the ruthless.”

WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?

After Jeremiah served his cheap whine to God, God responded:

“Take back those words, and I’ll take you back.
    Then you’ll stand tall before me.
Use words truly and well. Don’t stoop to cheap whining.
    Then, but only then, you’ll speak for me.”

“Let your words change them.
    Don’t change your words to suit them.”

Our response?

Know God.  Know Truth.  Know real love.

Know Jesus redeemed us and made us right with God.  We cannot and did not do that for ourselves.  We have nothing to boast or whine about on earth.  Only God who loved us sent Jesus to save us.  Done.  Finished.

Believe and be saved forever.  Speak Truth in love—with no whine.

Lord,

We are guilty of whining when circumstances become challenging and loved ones turn away from your truth.  Forgive us.  We love still because of your love in us that is unconditional.  We love you with all that is in us.  We are learning to simply obey You and leave the rest to You.  Help us to “stand tall” before you and not stoop to cheap whining.  May we always speak Your Truth when you say, in the right Spirit, full of your love flowing through us.

In Jesus Name, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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