And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.” (Jeremiah 1:18-19, ESV)
These are great words to hear as God prepares to send you on the greatest and toughest adventure of your life. Are you a fortified city? Jeremiah was about to pronounce God’s impending judgment on Judah and Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. He would be God’s man for the moment. It would take him completely outside of his comfort zone and make him very unpopular. Despite all of this, God does not change the mission statement…aaaarrrggghh! Instead, God uniquely equips him for the mission.
Becoming a fortified city
First things first. Jeremiah was to gird himself and rise to the challenge. If he was going to be God's fortified city, he would need to be strategic. He wasn’t allowed to use his youth as an excuse (Jer 1:17). He was to speak what God told him to speak. No matter what he heard or saw, he was not to be shattered, disheartened, or filled with fear because of the people’s response to him. God made it clear that retreat was not an option. His call was from God––the Lord would be faithful to provide what Jeremiah needed to be successful.
The Lord assured Jeremiah that He would make him resilient in the face of the most influential people in the kingdom. They wouldn’t like what he had to say, but God would clothe Jeremiah in a special courage in order to propel him forward. The Message Bible renders verse 18 as follows:
...I am making you as impregnable as a castle, immovable as a steel post, solid as a concrete block wall. (Jer 1:18, MSG)
God uses military terms to describe the depth of Jeremiah’s resiliency. Why…? Jeremiah would have to confront an entire culture regarding their sinful practices against a holy and sovereign God. Every influence within the culture would be held accountable from the least to the greatest. God made it clear to him that he would not be popular and that there would be pushed back! However, they would not overcome Jeremiah because God would be with him.
The key to resiliency
Verse 19 reveals the key to resiliency––God’s presence with us to deliver us. It’s great to be a fortified city with the ability to buffet and weather any resistance. However, at some point, even fortresses fail. Authentic resiliency is directly connected to the presence of God in our lives and our nearness to Him. That nearness strengthens us and reminds us of His power to fight for us and deliver us.
Throughout Scripture we are reminded of God’s willingness and ability to guard us and protect us. One place that is very clearly seen is in Ephesians 6. We’re instructed to put on God’s full armor (gird ourselves up) in order to be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Eph 6:13-18, ESV)
What great calling (and, perhaps, overwhelming project) has God commissioned for you? Be encouraged today…God is with you and for you. Your equipping and strengthening are about His purposes and glory. Though people and circumstances fight against you, He will deliver you.
Stay close to Him. Live beautiful.