Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: The prophet Jeremiah received a message from God, and it changed the way that he viewed all the other things around him. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Everyone else around you may be just carrying on with their lives—going through their job, going through their day, and going through their routine—but Jeremiah is saying, “If we could see what God sees, we would be urgent!”

Leslie: It’s Monday, April 2nd, and you’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

The Bible says there’s a time for everything: a time to weep, and a time to laugh. Most of us would like to laugh all the time, and there’s a whole entertainment industry ready to respond. We don’t like weeping as much, but sometimes we need it. Nancy’s new series is called, A Time for Tears.

Nancy: Can anyone tell me what time it is? You all looked at your watches. Ecclesiastes tells us that there are different times. There’s a time for everything. There’s a season for every activity under Heaven. “There’s a time to weep,” it says, “and there’s a time to laugh” (3:4).

We’ve had some good laughter together as we’ve started into this session, but Solomon says that there’s a time to mourn, and there’s a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4). The important thing to know is what time it is and what is appropriate for this time.

I don’t have to remind you that we are living in troubling days and troubling times. It is everywhere you look! When you look on the world scene, there’s incredible unrest—issues between nations that are so huge, that seems unsolvable. These issues are unsolvable, apart from the intervention of Christ.

We look in our own nation and see time of real trauma that our nation is walking through in different ways. Then, on the personal level, it seems that I can hardly get into a conversation today with anyone, who doesn’t have some story of something they’re walking through or something someone close to them is walking through that’s a trauma.

It’s difficult. These are troubling circumstances. It’s their marriage. It’s their children. It’s their parents. It’s their health—just the storms of life! There are so many issues people are dealing with that are stories of heartache, heartbreak, and difficult life situations.

I have been in recent weeks reading in the book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament, and I’m still reading there—we’ll go from there into the book of Lamentations, which as you know, is also written by Jeremiah. If I had to give a title to the book of Jeremiah, I would say, A Time to Weep and a Time to Mourn.

What time is it? Jeremiah says, “I’ll tell you what time it is. It’s a time to weep, and it’s a time to mourn.” Let me just give you a little background for those who may not be as familiar with this Old Testament book—actually a set of books, both written by Jeremiah.

The prophet Jeremiah lived 2,700 years ago. You might wonder what relevance he would have for today. This book—the writings of Jeremiah—are more relevant and up-to-date than tomorrow morning’s newspaper! It’s incredible what they have to say to our day.

Jeremiah was the son of a priest. He grew up in a godly home, and he was called by God to be a prophet to the nation of Judah. He was a young man when he was appointed as a prophet. Commentators say he was probably still a teenager, somewhere between the ages of 14 and 20.

He ministered as God’s prophet for more than 40 years and faithfully proclaimed the messages God gave him to speak. He did so knowing that the people would never repent and turn to God in his lifetime, but still—for 40 years, he kept on praying, pleading, weeping, and calling the people to return to God.

His work spanned through the period of the last five kings of Judah. He came into his position as prophet during the reign of Josiah—who was the last good king of Judah. It was in Josiah’s reign, while Jeremiah was still a very young man, that there came the last spiritual awakening in the nation of Judah.

Jeremiah saw the last spiritual high point in the nation of Judah, and then following King Josiah, there were four kings who were very wicked rulers—from bad to worse! Jeremiah also saw the decline of the nation and then stood and watched as the nation went into exile, was taken over by the Babylonians. He saw his beloved people taken into captivity.

Things do change! We have kings and presidents and rulers. They change. Some are better than others. Sometimes they’re better than others. No matter who was on the throne during Jeremiah’s lifetime—good kings, bad kings, during spiritual high points, or spiritual low points—his message was always the same.

We’re going to see that over these next couple of weeks. We’re going to explore the message of Jeremiah, and we could call this, Jeremiah Speaks Today. What does he have to tell us about the time in which we’re living?

Jeremiah was a man with a broken heart. In fact, he was known as the weeping prophet. His heart was broken because he had a heart-breaking message. Jeremiah saw things that other people didn’t see because he was listening to God. He was heart-broken because he saw that there was judgment coming on the people of God as a result of the ways they had forsaken the Lord.

We’re going to look at his message and expand it further, but today, I want us to just look at the broken heart of this man. I’m going to read just excerpted verses from different portions of Jeremiah and Lamentations. Don’t try and turn there. In fact, I probably won’t even give you most of the references because I want you to just get a collage here—a feel for what this man was feeling as he was God’s representative in his day.

Listen to some of these verses from Jeremiah and Lamentations. Beginning in the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah says, “My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city” (Lamentations 2:11).

“Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed. My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees. What I see brings grief to my soul because of all the women of my city” (Lamentations 3:48).

Jeremiah chapter 9, “Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people” (verse 1).

He goes on to say, “If you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive” (Jeremiah 13:17).

“Let my eyes overflow with tears,” he says, “night and day without ceasing, for my virgin daughter—my people—have suffered a grievous wound, a crushing blow” (Jeremiah 14:17).

Jeremiah wasn’t content to just be a weeper himself. He wasn’t content to just mourn himself. A large part of his message, he calls other people to weep and to mourn. His message is, “It’s time to weep. It’s time to mourn.”

He says, “Oh wall at the daughter of Zion, let your tears flow like a river day and night; give yourself no relief, your eyes no rest. Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street” (Lamentations 2:18-19).

So Jeremiah is saying, “I’m going to weep.” He couldn’t help himself. He didn’t get up and say, “I think I’d like to be a weeping prophet.” What he saw caused such grief within his heart that the tears just flowed.

When I think of Jeremiah, I think of some precious friends, Jerry and Susan Cherry, who are intercessors. They are dear, praying friends of mine, but this couple prays and intercedes for people all over the globe—and they know how to weep. They can hardly pray without weeping. They mourn. They grieve over the spiritual condition of our nation, and they intercede for others with these tears. You don’t have to tell them to cry—they just do.

I think of someone else when I think of Jeremiah. I think of our Savior—our Intercessor. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. The Scripture tells us in Hebrews 5 that during the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears (verse 7).

Jesus knew what it was to grieve. He knew when it was a time to weep, when it was a time to mourn. And when He prayed, He prayed with intensity and fervency. He knew this wasn’t a time to play games. This was a time to pour out His heart on behalf of those He had come to save. When He prayed, He offered up those prayers with loud cries and with tears.

Do you remember that passage in Luke 19 where Jesus was getting ready to go to the cross and He looked out over the city of Jerusalem? These were His people. These were the ones He had come to love and to save and ultimately to die for.

As He looked out over the city, He had eyes to see things that most people don’t see when they look at cities. When most people look at a city, they see a skyline. They see just physical things. They see people and cars. Jesus didn’t see cars in Jerusalem, but he saw the things we’d see in a large, populated area.

He saw beyond all that most people see, and He saw the hearts of men and women. He saw how people had rejected God’s right to rule over their lives. As He looked deep within the hearts of the people of that city, the Scripture says, “He beheld the city and He wept over it” (Luke 19:41).

Now, there are different words in the New Testament for weeping. When Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus, it’s a word that means to shed a tear. He cared, and He cared deeply, but there’s a different word used here when Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem.

It’s a word that means to sob; to wail out loud; a loud expression of grief, especially in mourning for the dead. Jesus bawled. He sobbed. His heart was so heavy for what He saw. He saw things that you and I need to see, and when we see what He saw, our hearts will break, and we will weep with Him.

The hymn writer says, “He had no tears for His own griefs, but sweat drops of blood for mine.” 1 His tears were not for Himself, but for us.

My prayer, as I’ve been studying the book of Jeremiah, preparing for this series is, “Lord, would You make me a woman with a broken heart? Would You help me to grieve over the things that grieve You? Would You help to see what You see? Help me to have the heart of our Savior.”

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back, continuing in the book of Jeremiah. Let me cut in here, and mention a way you can think through today’s topic more deeply. Nancy wrote a booklet, called Begin at My Sanctuary. It will help you grieve more fully over sin.

It will help you identify areas in your life that need to be wept over. The good news is that when you’ve gotten real about sin, you can laugh joyfully at the right time and with the right heart attitude!

I hope you’ll read Begin at My Sanctuary. We’ll send you a copy at no cost. Don’t miss this chance to dig deep on this topic! Ask for it when you call 1-800-569-5959, or look for this free offer at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, let’s get back to Nancy’s teaching.

Nancy: There’s a passage in Jeremiah chapter 9, that over the years God has used to speak to me about one of our important roles as women—and it has to do with this matter of weeping.

Let me read the passage in Jeremiah 9, beginning in verse 17. Jeremiah says, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them. Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids. The sound of wailing is heard from Zion: “How ruined we are! How great is our shame! We must leave our land, because our houses are in ruins” ’” (and verses 18-19).

“Now, O women,” he says, “Hear the word of the Lord; open your ears to the words of his mouth. Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament. Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses; it has cut off the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares. Say, ‘This is what the Lord declares: “The dead bodies of men will lie like refuse on the open field, like cut grain behind the reaper, with no one to gather them”’” (verses 20-22).

A call for the wailing women—what time is it? There’s a time to laugh, but there’s also a time to weep. There’s a time to dance, but there’s also a time to mourn, and Jeremiah says in his day—and I believe if he were alive, he would say in our day—“Now is the time to weep. Now is a time to mourn.”

He begins in verse 17 by saying that this call is a call from God. This is not a call from some old-fashioned prophet. He says, “This is what the Lord Almighty says…”

The call we just read is not Jeremiah’s words. It’s God’s Word. It’s all in quote marks. It’s God speaking. God’s the one who says, “Call for the wailing women to come” (Jeremiah 9:17). God is issuing this call, not only in Jeremiah’s day, but in our day.

In this call, I see a specific call for women. There’s something about us women. We know how to cry. It’s not that men can’t or don’t cry, but it comes more naturally for us as women.

We could get into some of the reasons for that, but God understands that part of our make-up is to respond in ways that can be more emotional. Sometimes that’s bad, but sometimes that’s really good! Sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed. This is such a time!

When He calls for the wailing women to come, He says, “Send for the most skillful of them” (verse 17). This is a reference to the ancient custom of hiring mourners at a funeral. As soon as someone would die, their family members and those around them, would begin to weep, to wail, and to sob.

Those in the oriental culture would not understand our very sedate way of mourning at times. Not only did the family members mourn, but they would also hire professional mourners to come. Some would play instruments and some would just weep and wail out loud. It was a funeral dirge.

God is saying through the prophet Jeremiah, “Tell the women that now is the time to come and mourn. Tell them that this is the time for a funeral dirge.”

We’re going to see over the next several days the reason people were called to weep. Jeremiah realized that there was an impending destruction on the city of Jerusalem—that the city was going to be overcome because of the people’s sin, and the judgment of God was going to rest on the city.

“There’s death coming. Bring out the mourners. Bring out women to weep and to wail.” Jeremiah says, “Now is the time for you women to wail, to mourn, to grieve, and to show that you’re really burdened over what’s happening around you.”

I see in this also, an urgent call: “This is what the Lord Almighty says, ‘Consider now…’” Now! Now is the time to weep. Now is the time to mourn. “Call for the wailing women to come. Send for the most skillful of them. Let them come quickly” (verses 17-18).

Do you see the intensity in this passage—the urgency? Jeremiah is saying, “Now is not the time to just go on with life as normal. There is no life as normal right now.”

Everyone else around you may be just carrying on their lives—going through their job, going through their day, and going through their routine—but Jeremiah said, “If we could see what God sees, we would be urgent.” There would be intensity and fervor and deep profound, crying out to the Lord.

It’s easy to feel like everyone around us just seems to be having a good time and playing games and enjoying life. What difference does it make if I mourn? Do I have to have a heavy heart when everyone else seems to be partying and having a good time?

Then you can feel, “What’s the use of my tears? I mean, there’s such an ocean of need around me. What good are my tears? I’m just one woman. I’m in this unsaved family. I’m in this workplace where no one cares about God at all.”

It talks in this passage about the influence that weeping women have. It says, “Call for the wailing women to come. Let them come quickly and wail over us until our eyes overflow with tears” (verse 18). Who is the “us”? It’s the men.

So many women today are concerned because they don’t feel like the men are concerned. Jeremiah says, “Then you get concerned! You weep; you grieve; you mourn, and watch—see if God doesn’t use your heart to influence the hearts of the men around you.

We’re waiting for the men to get hot-hearted for God, and God is saying, “No, you women take your role. Take your place, and I will influence the men through you.” Not only is there the influence on men, there’s the influence on the next generation.

He says, “Teach your daughters how to wail” (verse 20). Pass on a heritage, a legacy. Teach your daughters to take life seriously. Teach them not to fritter their lives away, not to live frivolously—this is a time to weep. This is a time to mourn. Teach them how to lament.

Teach one another how to lament. In our relationships with each other, it’s not that we don’t have good times. It’s not that there aren’t times for laughing and partying and celebrating, but where are the tears? Where is the mourning? Where is the lamenting?

As we see marriages falling apart around us, as we see lives being devastated by pride and selfishness—where is the grieving? Jeremiah says, “Teach one another how to weep, how to lament. Influence each other in this way.”

What good is one person’s grief? What good is one person’s obedience? I’ll tell you what good it is: Jeremiah chapter 5, God says to Jeremiah, “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth [just one], I will forgive this city” (verse 1).

One person! I wonder what God would say today to us. “My eyes are going to and fro around the earth. I’m looking for just one man, one woman, whose heart is like Mine. One woman who grieves over the things that grieve My heart. If I can find one whose heart is really tuned to Mine,” maybe God is saying, “I’ll pour out My mercy. I’ll forgive your family. I’ll forgive your church. I’ll forgive your city. I’ll forgive your nation.”

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to pray. Do you have a reason to weep today like the prophet Jeremiah? Don’t answer too quickly because most of us don’t want to weep. We don’t slow down life long enough to get real about our sin and our need for God.

To help you thoughtfully ponder today’s message and help you apply it to your situation, I hope you’ll get a copy of Begin at My Sanctuary. It’s a booklet by Nancy that will lead you through a process of honesty and full repentance. We’ll send you a copy at no charge. Just ask for Begin at My Sanctuary when you call 1-800-569-5959. You can also order the booklet at no charge to you when you’re at our website, ReviveOurHearts.com.

While you’re there, take a look at our Mother’s Day Gift Set. The day to remember moms will be here before you know it, so don’t put this off. Our Mother’s Day Gift Set includes a devotional book by Joni Eareckson Tada. She’ll be a guest on Revive Our Hearts later this month, and her book is called Pearls of Great Price: 366 Daily Devotional Readings.

The gift pack also includes Nancy’s, A Heart at Rest Flip Calendar. This is a unique calendar that can be used year after year, and each page includes a meaningful quote from Nancy. Order the Mother’s Day Gift Set by calling 1-800-569-5959, or order for your mom at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Information is the name of our age, isn’t it? It’s more important than ever to know who sends information to you. Why? Can you trust them? The prophet Jeremiah knew where to go for solid information. Learn how to follow his example on tomorrow’s program. Now, let’s pray with Nancy.

Nancy: Oh Lord, would You make us wailing women—weeping women—women who know how to mourn and to grieve; women who grieve over the right things? Would You give us a sense of urgency that has to come from You? We can’t work that up, but Your Spirit is doing it within us.

Would You use our lives? We are just a small number here, but we touch a lot of other lives, and I pray that as our hearts grieve with You, that others—our mates, our children, our coworkers, our neighbors, our friends, our fellow church members—would be touched with a sense of the things that really matter. For Jesus’ sake I pray it, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New Internation Version.

1“My Savior’s Love.” Charles H. Gabriel.

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