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A Word for this Week - Pastor Bill Mugnolo

Week of August 19-25, 2019: “Painful Words, Painful Truths” … Jeremiah 23:29

“Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” But words, in fact, can not only be hurtful, but downright devastating. However, at times, we need to hear “painful words” that convey to us “painful truths”—words of “tough love” that we must hear about ourselves from someone else.

How much more does God’s Word—which is like a fire and a hammer—bring such tough love down upon us (Jeremiah 23:29)! Over and against the false prophets of his time, the Prophet Jeremiah brought down the fire and hammer of God’s Word announcing the impending judgment against the people of Judah. This judgment would come to pass with the conquest of Judah and Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BC.

That same fire and hammer is meant to come down upon modern day false prophets—such as those who would try to redefine marriage and gender identity over and against the clear teaching of God’s Word that He gave right from the very beginning (Genesis 1:27). As it was with Jeremiah, those today who bring such “painful words of painful truth” to our society will face persecution—even, as Jesus says, within their own households (Luke 12:52-53).

Then, that fire and hammer of the Word is also meant to come down upon us as individuals. Our God is always near and we can never hide from Him (Jeremiah 23:23-24). The fire of that Word is meant to burn away any of sin’s impurities that remain in us. The hammer of that Word is meant to break through our hearts of stone that are desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9, Ezekiel 36:26).

But God “breaks us so that He can remake us … for, He does not forsake us”! Through “painful words of painful truth” He disciplines us in order that we would bring forth “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:5-11). As the blacksmith takes the hammer to the fire-glowed piece of iron, so too does God shape us according to His design.

All this He does through His Son, Jesus Christ—the “author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Having endured the cross for us, He now sits at the Father’s right hand where He leads us, as He once did with Jeremiah, both through our broken world and our broken selves as we are “broken, by what He has spoken, so that righteousness, in us, would be awoken.”

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