The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard: 2 “Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: 3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:1-3)
Through the Bible: Jeremiah 32-34
Jeremiah 33:3 is a great promise from Scripture. When we call on God, He will answer us. What could be better? But don’t be so quick to jump to the promise of verse 3 that you skip over the treasure in verse 1.
The prophet Jeremiah was still imprisoned in the court of the palace of the king of Judah, where he had been since King Zedekiah locked him up for prophesying the word of the Lord (see Jeremiah 32:1-3). It must have been a discouraging, confusing time for the prophet. Perhaps he wondered why he was being punished for being obedient and speaking truth. Maybe he wondered if he was being punished because he accused God of deceiving him (see Day 224: A Fire in My Bones ).
There’s a quirk in the language when you look at Jeremiah 33:1 in the ESV. The phrase “still shut up” means exactly what it says— Jeremiah continued to be locked away in the court of the guard. Other translations say “still confined.” You don’t need to go looking for a deeper meaning.
But my brain is weird. I love puns and wordplay and double entendres. So I look a the phrase “still shut up, ” and I see some basic instructions for how to hear from God.
- You want to hear from God? Be still (Psalm 46:10). Still and quiet your soul (Psalm 131:2).
- You want to hear from God? Shut up. How can you expect to hear from Him if you are doing all the talking? Remember the lesson from Job, how Job didn’t hear from God until he shut up.
Given what happened the first time the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, I wonder if he had some misgivings about God’s word coming to him “the second time” (Jeremiah 33:1). But God assured Jeremiah that great and mighty things were still to come (verse 3)!
There are times when we wonder if God has forgotten us, or we question why things are turning out the way they are. Take comfort in knowing that just as He came to Jeremiah, God comes to us in the midst of our suffering. He invites us to call to Him, and He promises to answer. He has great and mighty things to show us, even when we have no concept of His great and loving plan.
But first, we have to still. We have to shut up.
And then, God speaks.