Wow! I'm not sure I have every noticed this verse before...Jeremiah 14:11, "Then the Lord said to me, Do not pray for these people anymore." And when we jump down to chapter 15, verse 1..."Then the Lord said to me, "Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn't help them." Ouch!!
I know there have been times in my life when I have been so disgusted with people that I have searched for an out, permission to give up on people. I am familiar with prayers of imprecation, which we find in the Psalms. Check out Psalm 55:15, 69:28, and 109:8. I have most certainly prayed a few of these prayers. In fact, I encourage others to pray these sorts of prayers. This is how God instructs us to deal with our unhealthy emotions, we bring them to Him. He is our safe place to vent. Then we are confronted with Jesus' admonition to not forget to pray for our enemies in Matthew 5:44. For me personally, I like to keep Matthew 5:44 by leaning into Psalm 55:15! Seriously, Jesus is asking us to pray blessings upon our enemies, but you may find that blessings for your enemies can only come from your heart once you've dealt with your impure emotions first. So, your enemy prayers can begin with Psalm 109:8...they just can't end there!
But what about this command NOT to pray? Our final sense of permission must not come from a verse by rather the entire text. And in the text, we find something even more perplexing...Jeremiah blatantly disobeys God! Wow, wow, wow! So now, we have a command not to pray AND a permission giving example for disobedience?
As we continue to read, chapter 14-17, we find Jeremiah continues to intercede on behalf of his people, as rotten and as despicable as they are. What would you have done, what would I have done. My first inclination would have been, "You are so right God, in fact, I've been hoping that you would give me a pass on praying for these debauchery seekers." But that is not Jeremiah's response, he continues to pray, pleading with God even after God has told him not to (14:19-22). (We aren't telling our children about these verses who are instructed in our house to champion first time obedience!!)
I hope you read this wonderful exchange between God and Jeremiah today, chapters 14 through 17. In the end, God's heart turns back towards His people, giving them an opportunity for repentance, all through the persistent, unwavering, yes even disobedience, of a Godly man named Jeremiah. I do pretty well at not giving up when it comes to praying for myself and people I love. I fail miserably at praying for those I don't especially like...God, help me to be more like Jeremiah today! I want to be a man who turns Your heart, even for the good of my enemies.
50DayPeople...ImpossiblePrayer! (current series...www.thecitylifechurch.com)