"Bible Pick 'Ems" is a curious animal.
Sometimes, the place where God puts me in His Word is a *poser*. I have to ponder and pray and wrestle for a lesson out of it.
Sometimes the lesson just jumps out at me.
Today would be one of the "leaping lessons"!
I'm always conscious of context when I do "Bible Pick 'Ems." I don't have any desire to "re-mold" or "reduce" Scripture to *Sharon-size.* There is a world of difference between "The Word According to Sharon – with some support from the Bible" and "The Word of God According to God!"
I want to hear from God.
But, because His Word is alive, I believe that He SPEAKS through it all the time. And therefore, words from the past are intimately and appropriately relative to my day, my mood, my heart, my need.
This is one of those passages.
It's from Jeremiah, one of the great prophets of God, and it speaks to a very particular time in history. So, I'm going to start with the background information – the framework, if you will.
Jeremiah 46 contains messages given to the prophet Jeremiah from the LORD concerning foreign nations. They were given in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, the king of Judah, on the occasion of the battle of Carchemish.
At the battle of Carchemish in 605 BC, Babylon and Egypt, the two major powers after Assyria's fall, clashed. The Babylonians, led by King Nebuchadnezzar, entered Carchemish by surprise and defeated the Egyptians, who were led by Pharaoh Neco.
This battle, which passed the torch of world leadership to Babylon, was Nebuchadnezzar's first victory, and established him in power as the new king.
These words are from God's message about King Nebuchadnezzar's plans to attack Egypt:
"There they will exclaim, 'Pharaoh king of Egypt is only a loud noise; he has missed his opportunity.'"
(Jeremiah 46:17, NIV)
The Egyptian pharaoh "missed his opportunity" because though he had come to help Jerusalem, he beat a hasty retreat when the Babylonians turned on him.
So, that's the historical background to these hearty words of judgment on Egypt.
But, they resonated deep in my heart because of when I read them, and what they spoke to me at that moment.
I've hinted around on my blog that the last month has been pretty stress-filled. In fact, last year had some challenges that I've never faced before – certainly not *onethingafteranotherafteranother* like they were. This last week was no exception. I am faced with some daunting decisions in 2012 – some situations that require wisdom and discernment – other situations that sorely test my "worry genes."
Last week, it all sorta got to me...
And when I'm overtired, and overwhelmed, I end up listening to the words in my head.
The words in my head are not usually good friends.
I mentioned in a recent post that I think there’s a committee in there. I've given them names. There's Nervous Nellie, the one who begins every sentence with "What if…" – closely followed by the very worst-case scenario. There's Belittling Bill, who always makes me feel like a loser. And his first cousin, Guilty Gail.
Give-Up Gus is a favorite. So is Irritable Irene and her twin sister, Cranky Carolyn. And oh, who could forget Doubting Thomas (c'mon, it was too easy…), who usually leads me down some trail that begins with this thought – "Can you really trust God???"
(DISCLAIMER: If any of my readers have these actual first names, it's a total coincidence!!)
Yup, I listen.
There are other voices, but these are the ones speak the most, and the loudest.
But, you see, the danger is this – I'm usually so busy listening to these blabbermouths, that I forget all about the guy who's running their show.
It's like one of those shadow government situations. You know what I mean. You see a country's leaders – but then there's the REAL leaders. The ones with all the REAL power. The master puppeteers who are pulling the strings.
That's how the enemy works.
He's the real voice behind the others. They are merely the mouths he animates with his words of poison. (Talk about Demon possession…)
So, when I read this one verse last week, it almost shouted its way into my mind. (I think it had to – the other voices were quite noisy). Yes, sometimes God speaks in the still, small whisper – but other times I need the whirlwind.
And instantly, I was greatly fortified by His Words.
They felt like a victorious battle cry. A banner I could stand under. A rallying shout to bring me back to my feet, and charge forward.
Yes, O enemy of mine – You are only a loud noise – You are nothing BUT a loud noise.
And you have missed your opportunity.
Way back at the beginning of my life, you lost my soul to the One who saved me. And though you try, you will ultimately lose every opportunity to defeat me.
God spoke, I heard, and I stopped listening to the committee. The Holy Spirit quieted their shadow leader.
I claimed these words for my own victory in the Lord (taken from the end of Jeremiah 46):
But do not be afraid, Sharon, my servant.
Do not be dismayed, Sharon.
For I will…return [you] to a life of peace and quiet, and no one will terrorize [you].
Do not be afraid, Sharon, my servant, for I am with you.
God gets the last word.
The noisemaker is silenced.
And I am stilled.
What words does God say to you to silence the "loud noise" of our enemy?
Linked today with Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS!
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"