I have found myself reading the Old Testament prophets these past few months. King Solomon, the wisest man that will ever live, with Holy Spirit’s leading, said there’s nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). So I’ve been reading, searching, and asking for help.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, another charged election year, and more horrific slayings of our black brothers, I want change. I need help. I crave wisdom. For what to do. What to say. What to pray. I know you know all about this. I’m not telling you something you don’t already know.
I found myself in the first chapter of Jeremiah’s book. “The Call of Jeremiah” starts with a crystal clear call from the Lord. The Most High tells him “I have appointed you a prophet.”
Along with Moses, Isaiah, Elijah, Jonah, and more, Jeremiah initially protests, pointing out his weaknesses and lack of qualifications. Who me? What could I possibly do? What change could my voice inspire?
(Side note: I wonder if God then said under His breath, “Well done, you passed the first test.” No ego in this one.)
God does not respond to Jeremiah by detailing his many strengths and pointing out how he’s got all the tools, all the right spheres of influence, and all the right skills needed for the task. Nope. He says, “You’ll go. You’ll speak. Don’t be afraid. I am with you.” (I paraphrased it.)
Then God gives Jeremiah his mission. His assignment.
“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:9-10)
Notice how two-thirds of Jeremiah’s mission is to uproot, demolish, destroy, tear down? Then follows the building and planting. You don’t start construction on a bad foundation. On a false foundation. On a foundation set for destruction. You could try and get something in place for a little while, but it will eventually topple and crumble.
Because the Bible doesn’t contradict itself, that does not mean we tear one another down (Ephesians 4:29, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Proverbs 12:18, Proverbs 18:21, Romans 14:19, and many more). Our enemy is not flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). No, the language used refers to farming, to construction, to infrastructure, to systems.
This reminds me of some of our training for prayer ministry and the Intensive. While praying, we listen for the false belief. For the lie. We don’t build upon a demonic stronghold. We uproot a lie, cast out any demonic presence, and fill that space with the Holy Spirit and truth. With a strong foundation. With Christ, our cornerstone.
All that sounds completely necessary and good, but it’s daunting. Overwhelming. What a mighty task! We’re talking about the uprooting and breaking down of big issues. Of systematic things. Of global crises. Where on earth would you begin?
Before Jeremiah could protest again, God gives him the first step. The first task.
“Jeremiah, what do you see?”
What do I see?
When I look within, what do I see?
Holy Spirit, would you give me eyes to see? The enemy would love nothing more than to keep me blind. I’m asking Him to show me what I haven’t been able to see. When I think I’m solid, I’m clear, I’m without bias or racism, I’m free of fear, I’m prompted to ask and look deeper.
God, help me to see any lurking or hidden and destructive belief, entity, or infrastructure. I vow to uproot it, tear it down, destroy it, cast it out, and overthrow it with Your truth. Your presence. Your Word. Would you build your holiness and righteousness in me? Would you plant deep seeds of the fruit of your Spirit?
When you look within, what do you see?
When you look at your family and generational lines, what do you see?
When you look at your neighborhoods, what do you see?
When you look out over the nations, over the kingdoms, what do you see?
If you are looking for a place to start, might you hear the Lord asking, “What do you see?” Look closely. And as Jeremiah demonstrates, report back to the Lord what you see and listen for what He says to do next.
“Then the LORD said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.’” Jeremiah 1:12