Most Christians know that Jeremiah didn’t have a whole lot of good things to promise the Children of Israel. To be honest, he’s kind of known as the doom and gloom guy. I mean he wrote a book called Lamentations. What more proof do you need?
Don’t lose heart. In the midst of the bad news there is a lot to be learned. I have been studying Jeremiah for several weeks and here is just one little gem that I found.
Jeremiah 9:3 starts a long list of awful things that are about to befall the Israelites. One of three reasons he gives for the impending calamity is “…they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth…”
As someone interested in words I thought the choice of the word “valiant” was really unusual. Valiant conjures images in my mind of knights riding off to slay dragons, quests, swords and battles. Seemed like a pretty strong word for the context and so I decided to look it up. Enquiring minds want to know!
So the root is from the Hebrew Gabar. It has several meanings:
1. To be strong/mighty. Okay this is sort of close to my own mental definition. I can deal with it.
2. To act proudly. Ooh now things are getting interesting. We shouldn’t act as if we are ashamed of truth. We should proclaim it proudly. Why not wear our faith on our sleeves? Why try to blend in with the world? Do we think that we can ambush them into salvation? What if they ambush us instead?
Sometimes we are pretty good at talking truth to one another. It’s where we are comfortable. But do we hold our heads up high when it comes time to defend our convictions out in the world? We ‘re not just supposed to talk truth among ourselves.
3. To confirm. Hmm this one got me thinking. If we insert this instead of valiant, it reads: “they did not confirm the truth in the earth.” God is really starting to heat things up!
You see He doesn’t just require lip service! He wants our actions, the way we live our lives, to confirm what we say with our mouths. I don’t know about you but I’m starting to feel some conviction.
So fellow soldiers for the Lord, how will you wield your sword and show yourself valiant for the truth?