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Summary: A message about what MOTIVATES us to KEEP GOING even when things seem to go wrong.

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“When You’re Ready To Quit”

Jeremiah 8:21-9:2

[THIS SERMON IDEA/OUTLINE CAME FROM Brian Harbour’s Book entitled "From Cover to Cover"]

It is hard to read the book of Jeremiah and not feel sorry for him. He is called the “weeping prophet” and for good reason. He was under the constant strain of speaking the message God wanted him to say and speaking the message the people wanted to hear. 6:14 tells us the people wanted to hear that there was “Peace.” But God’s message was one of judgment unless they repent. Of course, Jeremiah was faithful to preach God’s message. So, what kind of position do you think this put Jeremiah in?

Jeremiah 20:7-8, 10

[7] O LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. [8] Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long...[10] I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side! Report him! Let’s report him!” All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him.”

The people he loved wanted him dead. This led to many nights of crying out before the Lord (thus, “weeping prophet”). And many times he just wanted to give up.

(Read Text)

You know? This text says he WANTED to give up.

But you know what else?

He DIDN’T give up.

In fact, he COULDN’T give up?

Why?

I. He couldn’t give up because he had a BURNING DESIRE WITHIN (20:9)

Jeremiah 20:9 -- But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

A. “fire” -- there are numerous words used in the Old Testament to refer to fire. However, this word is never used of a “literal fire.” it’s always used figuratively to describe an inner, all-consuming and contagious “passion.”

B. What was the source of this burning desire? It was God’s call on his life.

1. Jeremiah 1:4-5

[4] The word of the LORD came to me, saying, [5] “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

2. And like most of us when we hear God’s call he began to make excuses:

[6] “Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.”

3. But the Lord always reminds us:

[7] But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. [8] Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. [9] Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.”

C. “Although Jeremiah felt inadequate to the task, although he was unsuccessful at times, although the people remained indifferent and no one seemed to care . . .

Jeremiah could not settle for a “resort in the desert” because he had the challenge of God burning within his heart, and he could not escape it (Brian Harbour, From Cover to Cover, 100).

That is why 20:9 characterized his life -- But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

D. If there is a phrase in the Bible that should characterize our lives it is Isaiah 6:8 -- “Here am I, Send me!”

Jeremiah couldn’t quit . . . he couldn’t give up . . . because of his burning call within to preach God’s Word to all Israel.

II. He couldn’t give up because of the OVERWHELMING NEED WITHOUT (18:11, but actually, the whole book of Jeremiah)

The message of Jeremiah was simple: “The Lord is preparing disaster for you unless you turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and actions.” (18:11)

A. The OVERWHELMING NEED WITHOUT was that the people he loved were about to feel the wrath of the Lord unless they repent!

B. Jeremiah shared the heart of the Lord: to see his people repent!

C. “As he looked at those around him, his heart was burdened by their spiritual condition. They had turned from God. They were wasting their lives. They were traveling down a pathway that would ultimately lead to their destruction.” (Harbour, 101).

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