Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O Lord, God of hosts. I did not sit in the company of revelers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone, because Your hand was upon me…you shall stand before Me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as My mouth. Jeremiah 15:16-17; 19
Our women’s Sunday school class is still going through the book, “Jesus Continued…Why the Spirit Inside You is Better Than the Jesus Beside You,” by JD Greear. We’re on the chapter, “Experiencing the Holy Spirit in the Word of God.” Greear’s angle is following the Spirit in the Bible to find that ‘special mission’ that God has for each of us.
Maybe back in my college days I encountered people who were prone to using the Bible as a ‘spiritual Magic 8 Ball’ to figure out who to date/marry and take all of the forks in the road, and it seems that those are the kind of people he was writing this chapter to. But JD Greear made a good point about being more concerned about who we should be and getting that worked out. Then the when and where will work itself out.
We need to have someplace where we can grow and get grounded in the who. If that doesn’t happen, no matter where we end up, we’ll be like King Saul or Samson–always wondering why we got dealt the bad hand.
But thinking about the deeper message of the role of the Bible in my life and what the role of the Bible should and could be in everyone’s life took me on a rabbit trail, so here it is…
Jeremiah spoke of this special friendship he had with God in chapter 15. God called him to it. I don’t think Jeremiah went out looking for it and had anything to brag about on the topic. In Jeremiah 1 he told about how God called him and he said, “I’m only a youth.” But God told him not to use that as an excuse and that He was going to put words in his mouth to set him over kingdoms to pluck up and to break them down.
It wasn’t an easy call. Most of the time he’d go to the rebellious king who didn’t want to hear what Jeremiah had to say and he’d have Jeremiah put in a dungeon or a cistern. And he was emaciated one time they had to pull him out of the well with rags because a rope would have broken his arms.
But he had a special friendship. There’s a word for that special friendship in Hebrew, “Cowdh” where you recline in God’s presence, like special friends conversing, sharing face to face in a confidential conversation. It had a cost, like not just telling people things they didn’t want to hear and things they wouldn’t listen to. Jeremiah 15:17 indicates that it meant sitting alone, not with the revelers. Jeremiah made a clear choice to go to the secret place to be with God.
In Mark 1:35, we find that Jesus did the same thing: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place (a lonely place, a secret place) and there He prayed.” To get to that secret place of friendship with God means saying ‘no’ to the revelers, and ‘no’ to our flesh. It means saying ‘no’ to TV, other hobbies and pursuits, all so we can sit elbow to elbow with Jesus in the Word and in prayer.
That is Cowdh. It is there where we get precious words and not worthless ones. It is there we get that special mission spoken to our lives from the Spirit. It is there that the Word of Christ dwells richly in our heart, as Colossians 3:16 admonishes us to do. We sit in the early morning hours, the late night hours or the days off, or whenever in that place of special friendship to shut out the world and to sit at Jesus’ feet.
I had a 10′ x 10′ prayer cabin built for the express purpose of having a place to go. It is my Cowdh. My Saturday wish is to be there, in quiet communion, uninterrupted. My husband simply does not grasp the concept. His Saturdays are to make noise, sound productive, run around to hunt, fish and to not burn daylight. He may never get the concept of my prayer cabin, but I don’t care.
In Matthew 22:29 Jesus told the Sadducees that they were wrong because they didn’t know the Scriptures nor the power of God. It is thru the Scriptures that we get to know power and the character of God. Contrast that with Daniel 11:32 that simply says, “but the people who know their God shall stand firm (rise up) and take action.”
Your words are the joy and delight of my heart for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of Hosts.