Friday, September 16, 2016

An intercessor's tears

Jeremiah by Rembrandt
Jeremiah by Rembrandt

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 8:18-9:3

TO CHEW ON: "Oh that my head were waters,
And my eyes a fountain of tears,
That I might weep day and night
For the slain of the daughter of my people!" - Jeremiah 9:1


It is because of passages like this that Jeremiah is called the "weeping prophet."

Why does he weep?

Here he has just predicted the dreadful future God has showed him:
- The land is barren.
- Foreign invaders devastate the countryside and the cities.
- His people are in exile and cry "From a far country" - Jeremiah 8:19.
- It is the end of hope.

No doubt his tears are part sorrow for the grief he sees is in store for the people he loves—no matter how they treat him. But these things haven't happened yet. So could his tears also be the welling up of a spirit of intercession within him?

Dick Eastman in his book Love on Its Knees puts the word "intercession" under the microscope:

[Intercession is derived from the two Latin words inter and cedere: inter meaning "between," "among," "involved," intervention"; and cedere meaning "to go," "to yield," "to move," or" to pay the price of" - Dick Eastman, Love on Its Knees, p. 20.]

He goes on to list four implications about intercession from its meaning:

  • "First, the roots suggest that intercession means "to go between," as when stepping between someone and his enemy in battle.
  • Second, these terms describe one who "yields himself" among those who are weak and need assistance.
  • Third, intercession is a "moving in the direction of involvement" regarding the needs and hurts of others…
  • Finally, intercession means "to pay the price of intervention" - Eastman, Ibid (emphasis added).

Can you see how Jeremiah is this kind of intercessor? Though it costs him popularity, comfort, and safety, he feels compelled to speak God's words to his countrymen. He continues on, delivering God's warnings despite rejection, even threats, identifying with his people to the point of tears. (Jeremiah's tears remind us of another intercessor, who also wept over the people who rejected Him  - Luke 19:41).

Do we have such love for the unsaved, such an abhorrence of their eternal future without God that we would make ourselves available to intercede to this extent? For I believe such prayer, indeed such an intercessory life, happens only as the Holy Spirit empowers and prays through us.

PRAYER: Dear God, please grow in me the spirit of intercession to the point of tears—the intercession I see in Jeremiah and Jesus. Amen. 

MORE: Weeping prayers

"At times, God calls us to weep. This is His call to empathy, to vicarious intercessory identification with others. At such times, we must be sure to pray 'us' prayers and not 'them' prayers. We must identify with those in need, rather than condemn and accuse" - Wesley Duewel (quoted in Prayer Powerpoints, p. 163).

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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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2 comments:

  1. "Love on its Knees" - what a great title! We are blessed with so much excellent teaching.
    My favourite devotional on prayer is Nick Harrison's "Magnificent Prayer".

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know, Mary, I too think "Love On Its Knees" is a perfect title for a book on prayer. And thanks for the tip about Nick Harrison's book. I'll look it up.

    ReplyDelete

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