Nathaniel Stalling Jr is Pastor of Burning Bush Temple of Christ Church.
What Do You See?
The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see the branch of an almond tree.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am [actively] watching over My word to fulfill it.” Jeremiah 1:11, 12 AMP
How many times have we questioned what we saw with our own eyes? Have you ever been called upon to verify something you personally witnessed? There are times when confirming what you saw could hurt the ones you love. Would you still do it?
The sprig of almond blossom, the harbinger of spring and coming fruit, is interpreted by a play on words as God is ‘watchful’ to keep His promise and fulfill his word.
Bible Commentary, F.F. Bruce
The prophet Jeremiah found himself in a place where he did not want to be; saying things he did not want to say. He lived in a period of continuous political and moral crisis in Judah. The Babylonian Chronicle gives us a unique contemporary insight into the events of this period.
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north [its mouth about to pour out on the south, on Judea].” Then the Lord said to me, “Out of the north the evil [which the prophets foretold as the result of national sin] will reveal itself and spill out on all the people of the land.” Jeremiah 1:13, 14 AMP
The time God had allotted to Israel to repent and turn back to Him had run its course. Yet, God had decided to appeal to Israel once more before punishment could not be held back. Israel had approximately twenty years remaining before they would hear from the firebrand prophet God had chosen to deliver his message to them.
Judgment from the north (i.e. Assyria, Babylonia, and possibly the Scythians) would result in the siege and sack of Jerusalem. The large boiling cauldron tilting away from the north tells how the attack will be southwards through Syria.
Again, and again, the Lord stretched out His hand to his people pleading with them to take it and live. Each time they refused. Israel did what no other nation had done. They changed gods.
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah saying this:
“Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “I remember [earnestly] the lovingkindness and devotion of your youth, Your time of betrothal [like that of a bride during the early years in Egypt and again at Sinai], When you followed Me in the wilderness, Through a land not sown. Israel was holy [something set apart from ordinary purposes, consecrated] to the Lord, The first fruits of His harvest [in which no outsider was allowed to share]. Jeremiah 2:1-3a AMP
The Lord had allowed Israel to ‘see’ things no one had witnessed before. He led them by a pillar of cloud by day and, a pillar of fire by night:
“The [presence of the] Lord was going before them by day in a pillar [column] of cloud to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, so that they could travel by day and by night. Exodus 13:21 AMP
Israel had gone too far. It had become obvious they did not stand with the Lord. And they were not coming back. If there was any chance of saving a remnant God had to act. Israel’s eyes were averted to the world around them rather than to God in their midst. They stood with their backs to God and their eyes on the world. The nations around them had successfully seduced them away from the Lord.
“Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord, “What injustice or unrighteousness did your fathers find in Me, That they have wandered far from Me and [habitually] walked after emptiness and futility and became empty? Jeremiah 2:4,5 AMP
So, the Lord said, through the prophet Jeremiah:
“Therefore I will still contend [struggle] with you [by bringing judgment on you],” says the Lord, “And I will contend with your children’s children.” Jeremiah 2:9 AMP
Many of the leaders in Jeremiah’s day were proclaiming peace and saying everything would be fine. All is well, and we will continue to prosper. They were lying. They had wandered away from the true God and were walking in darkness.
Jeremiah had already made it plain that at a young age the world had not blinded him. Even in his reluctance to go, knowing the consequences and dangers ahead, he decided to stand with the Lord.
The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see the branch of an almond tree.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am [actively] watching over My word to fulfill it.” Jeremiah 1:11 AMP
Jeremiah saw the first signs of the judgment to come. He was truly heartbroken. As reluctant as he was to speak out, it was like fire in his bones. Standing on the side of the Lord, Jeremiah had to say what he saw. He saw the truth and was duty-bound to say it.
What do you see?
© 2021 Nathaniel Stalling Jr