But if I say, "I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name," then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it.
The journey that is life will have many ups and downs. There may even be a time in your life when you are in need of restoration. You need to understand that everything you encounter even when you need restoration is all part of the masterpiece story that God is telling through your life. What we find when we sin and God restores us is that the true power that we need to sustain us on the journey of life and restoration is the power of God.
Most don't understand or recognize that restoration is both a one-time event and a journey. It is a one-time event in that when we turn from our sin and confess it to our Savior, He forgives us and our fellowship with the Father is restored. It is at this point that we can begin our restoration journey that will include cleansing of sin, a growing spiritual life that is marked by continual sanctification, and a deeper love and appreciation for God and what He is working in and through us as His people.
Along the way, we will face difficult times. Satan certainly will not be supportive of our desire to seek God's face and he will do all that God allows him to in his attempt to ruin our testimony and keep us from the full effects that restoration can bring to us.
What do we need to cling to? What will ultimately sustain us? What should we hold onto during those most difficult times? What will compel us to keep moving forward when everything around us may seem to be falling apart?
We can't live the Christian life without God's power and if we run from God as Jonah did we will need God's power to restore us and bring us back so we can get back to living out our God-given purpose! Someone that certainly had a purpose was the prophet, Jeremiah.
Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." Then I said, "Alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth." But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you," declares the LORD.
Every single person that has been created, has been created for a purpose. Jeremiah was created for a purpose. In fact, God says that before Jeremiah was even formed in the womb, He knew him and had a purpose for him.
The same is true for every one of God's children. Scripture tells us that God both knew us and elected us before the foundation of the world. So, even before the universe was spoken into existence, God both knew us and elected us.
God says that He appointed Jeremiah for the purpose for which He created him. This is true of God's plan for all of us with the main difference being that not all of us will be prophets, or apostles, or pastors, or serve in official capacities. This, however, does not mean that someone who does not serve in an official capacity is any less meaningful than those who do. We are all part of the body of Christ and we all have an important role to play.
Jeremiah had a very unique and specific purpose to carry out. He would be the last prophet attempting to get Israel to turn from their sin right before Babylon would come and take over the land and bring the people into captivity.
Jeremiah's ministry began in 627 B.C. and spanned over 40 years. He had a specific message and task to carry out. His message addressed the specific need of the people of Israel to turn away from their sin and turn back to God.
I will pronounce My judgments on them concerning all their wickedness, whereby they have forsake Me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands. (Jeremiah 1:16 NASB)
Anyone who finds themselves in need of restoration whether on the individual level or on the level that Jeremiah was facing, finds themselves in that position due to their own sin. Even in the case of Israel, where the people had turned away from God, it still took individual choices of the people to turn to idols that made up the whole of the people turning to idolatry.
Verse 16 of the first chapter of Jeremiah explains the sin of Israel. They had forsaken God and had offered sacrifices to other gods, which we know there are none. They also turned to worshiping the work of their owns hands so this explains that many of the "other gods," they were worshiping were gods fashioned by their own hands.
There have been so many excuses offered in so many different ways over the many years of man's existence. Man has a way of excusing his sin and pointing to another sin that is supposedly "worse," than his thinking that this somehow justifies his own sin.
What is lost in this whole equation is the fact that man sins to such an overwhelming degree that we are not dealing with something that could be termed a "simple mistake." However, man seems to want to completely ignore his outright rejection of God and his willingness to worship anything but God.
Man is not some neutral creature who just simply "makes mistakes." No, man is in active rebellion against God. Mankind is an enemy of God and chooses his sin instead of righteousness. In fact, as a spiritually unregenerate person, man is incapable of choosing God or righteousness.
With someone who has been brought to life by God, it is a sad commentary that those people would ever choose to worship an idol over God. Restoration and outright revival have been needed so desperately so many times over.
Yet, in the midst of our sin and our failure to worship and obey God, restoration is still available! If we turn in repentance, God will restore us!
Thus says the LORD, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'"
The description here in chapter 6 describes man's typical reaction to the need for repentance. Man loves his sin and even someone who is saved still struggles with sin which is ultimately why anyone would find themselves in the need for restoration, to begin with.
God calls for us to turn back to Him in repentance and walk in His ways and find rest for our souls and yet we continue so often to choose our own path. It will truly take a repentant heart that has recognized our sin against Almighty God in order to begin the journey of restoration in our life.
When we do turn to God for restoration we must trust Him alone for it as He alone is faithful even when we are not!
Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit."
The Bible says that the man who trusts in mankind is cursed. This would extend to anything that mankind creates for worship as an idol. So, any idol we create by our own making or the making of someone else becomes a curse for us. This is because in those idols and in mankind there is no salvation to be found. There is no eternal life in mankind.
This is why the passage also says that, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD" (V.7). The man who trusts in the Lord has no need of worry because even when we are not faithful, God is. Also, it notes that their trust IS THE LORD. This is a specific distinction that most religions don't teach or even claim for that matter.
Our actual trust, our actual hope IS THE LORD! Our hope is Jesus Christ Himself. When we place our faith in the Savior for salvation, we are actually placing our faith and trust in the person of Jesus Christ because it is He whose sacrifice was accepted by the Father. The blood of animals can't save, man can't save, the sacrifice of anything created can never accomplish what the ONE sacrifice of the CREATOR could do!
In addition to trusting God for restoration, we need to refuse to listen to the lies of Satan.
So now, then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, "Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds. But they will say, 'It's hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.''"
Don't believe the lies! It is NEVER HOPELESS!
Your life is not hopeless as long as Christ is alive and He is alive forever! Your marriage is never hopeless! Your job situation is never hopeless as long as you have God!
God can turn it around! God can restore you! No matter what situation you face, no matter what circumstances you face, no matter how dark the night, the sun is coming up in the morning, and God is STILL ON THE THRONE!
So, what do we need to cling to? What do we need to hold on to? What will compel us to move forward when the times are dark?
The same thing that compelled Jeremiah to keep moving forward in the face of all the persecution that he faced day in and day out!
Let the God of Restoration sustain you with His Word!
I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me. For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction, because for me the word of the LORD has resulted in reproach and derision all day long.
40 years Jeremiah served God! 40 years! He faced major opposition! He faced laughing, scorning, derision, and even beatings and imprisonment. His own friends betrayed and went against him. He felt like quitting! What sustained him?
The Word of God!
Jeremiah said even when he felt like giving up he could not because the Word of God was like a burning fire in his bones and in his soul that compelled him to keep moving forward and keep preaching the message even in the midst of the challenges.
Jeremiah was not on a restoration journey. He was simply living out his God-given purpose and facing the normal resistance that comes with that. However, the same type of resistance occurs during the restoration journey. When we are on our restoration journey we are seeking God's face and attempting to live for Him and live out our God-given purpose. So, in many ways the situations are very similar. When we are on our journey there will be days when we will be tempted to quit.
It is in those days when things are their darkest, when we feel that we are at the end of our proverbial rope, those are the days we need God the most and those are exactly the days that God's Word sustains us the most!
On those days when we face such overwhelming circumstances, God is not asking for a week, or a month, or a year, or even ten years. He is simply asking us for the faith to live one more day! Just one more day! God only wants us to trust Him for today and be willing to trust Him for one more day.
Allow God's Word to sustain you. Allow God to prove Himself faithful to you day in and day out as He restores you.
God is faithful. God has restorative power. God is Almighty. God can and will sustain you when you need Him the most!