Is God Reliable?
“Why has my pain been perpetual And my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will You indeed be to me like a deceptive stream With water that is unreliable?” Jeremiah 15:18 NASB
It is amazing to realize that this is an actual question Jeremiah is asking of the Lord. Can you imagine asking the Lord of all, your creator God, if he is reliable? But that is the place of dejection where the prophet found himself. We may not have ever spoken it out loud, but probably every one of us at one time or another has asked the Lord, “Can I trust you because by all appearances I do not see the Word work in my life”. Some of us may have asked this question in even harsher words because of dejected and hardened hearts.
In this chapter God is telling Jeremiah that punishment is coming to His people because they have disobeyed Him, not believed Him and as a result, turned from God. By verse 10 we see the prophet Jeremiah feeling sorry for himself. And it’s likely that we have all been there with Jeremiah as well in this life. Then in verse 18 which we see above Jeremiah speaks to God and asks how long shall he suffer without healing? He asks God if He will be to Jeremiah a deceptive stream, with unreliable waters for him. Jeremiah wants to know from God will His waters, His goodness and strength, His refreshing promises fail? Are they uncertain promises?
Jeremiah is telling the Lord that he had not seen the promises fulfilled in him (from chapter 1), and he is wondering right now if he can trust God. That is certainly a place of dejection for the prophet. If we are honest with ourselves we have all been at that point in our walk as believers. We have all prayed and not seen the immediate results which then lead us to question whether we can trust the promises of God. But we need to listen to the response the Lord gave to Jeremiah as he asked these questions of God. The Lord’s response comes in the next verse.
“Therefore thus says the Lord [to Jeremiah]: If you return [and give up this mistaken tone of distrust and despair], then I will give you again a settled place of quiet and safety, and you will be My minister; and if you separate the precious from the vile [cleansing your own heart from unworthy and unwarranted suspicions concerning God’s faithfulness], you shall be My mouthpiece. [But do not yield to them.] Let them return to you—not you to [the people].” Jeremiah 15:19 Amplified Bible
These are still keywords for you and me today when we find ourselves asking the same questions. We are promised that if we give up this tone of distrust and despair He will settle us in a place of quiet and safety. Jesus cannot move through our mistrust and lack of faith. Jeremiah had to return to faith and then God could move and fulfill His promises, the same answer holds true for us today.
J Todd Hostetler