And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see a rod of almond.” Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:11-12
“The word of the LORD” … would His prophet recognize it today? What if we borrowed his eyes and viewed our contemporary scene? We certainly cannot help but be awed by the Bible’s obvious prestige. Our nation’s bookshelves are bulging with handsomely bound editions. The marketplace offers a dizzying array of customized versions and translations, while the venerable King James Bible continues to attract aficionados.
“So, Jeremiah, what do you see?” ‘I see a people singularly blessed, yet curiously powerless. I see multitudes of functional illiterates awash in a sea of biblical print. I see a nation that is head-proud but heart-poor, sold on information that leaves no time for transformation. I see a church hungry for closeness with God, yet unwilling to pay the price of drawing near.’ Thankfully, the living LORD testifies to His living Word. He keeps it and acts on its eternal purposes with impeccable timing and irresistible force. (Part 1 of 2)
Comment: So, God is watching over His Word to “perform” it. Down comes my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to look for interchangeable terms. “Fulfill” or “accomplish” lack dramatic effect. In the 1980s I withdrew to the desert repeatedly to begin my foray into serious devotional writing. A “chance” encounter at a party I had planned to skip, led to a chat with a woman who offered me the use of her condo. My college-age daughter kindly took over my duties at home. I hauled back and forth my IBM Selectric, Strong’s Concordance, Unger’s Bible Dictionary, an encyclopedic dictionary, my RSV Bible, and a mercifully light “Song and Service Book for Ship and Field,” bought for a nickel at an army surplus store. While playing with ideas, I decided to milk the notion of “perform” in a theatre setting as follows: “Psalm 105 opens with fireworks of red-hot inspiration. As the poetic sparks of an essentially historical narrative fly sky high, God’s glory is reflected in the luster of His Covenant. We bask in the grandeur of sweeping revelation, played out on the ancient world stage where the patriarchs walked with God and the infant nation Israel was cradled. A hush falls on the audience as a strikingly handsome new male lead makes his dramatic entrance. His demeanor and clothing are princely, and so we expect him to purposefully stride center stage and regale us with notions of nobility that elevate both our mood and motivation. Imagine the collective gasp when the splendidly attired Joseph falls into the orchestra pit instead. Worse yet, he was pushed hard!” God’s Word performed to test him, led Joseph from pit to palace to prominence that has outlasted every Pharaoh’s fame. The wordsmith in me, a glutton for punishment, just looked up dozens of Hebrew terms for “perform” again, leaving me with only one useful conclusion: God expects me to perform His Word in my realm of kingly reach and influence, to reflect Christ’s glorious reign.