Swimming With Sharks

Jon Burgess

10I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!
Denounce him! Let’s denounce him!”
All my friends
are waiting for me to slip, saying,
“Perhaps he will be deceived;
then we will prevail over him
and take our revenge on him.”
11But theLordis with me like a mighty warrior;
so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.
They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced;
their dishonor will never be forgotten.
Jeremiah 20:10-11

The Prophet Jeremiah was surrounded by those who wanted to denounce him, decimate him and devour him. Jeremiah was swimming with sharks who had a very real bite. Here's the interesting thing about the dangerous situation he was in- God put him there. What? Yep! God had called him to say what needed to be said whether it was popular or not. Jeremiah was not winning any fans or currying any favors from his people as he obediently called them on their sin and back to God. Jeremiah had to face down his fear of men, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown in order to faithfully say what God asked him to. How did he do this? He put his trust in the Lord instead of in men. He had to trust that if God had called him to swim with sharks He would keep him safe.


This morning I'm going to swim with sharks. Yes, actual sharks in the ocean. I am emboldened to face my fear of sharks because I'm putting my trust in the Lord. What's that look like? When I get lowered in the shark infested waters I'll be putting my trust in the strength of the shark cage and the skill of the ships captain. He knows what he's doing. In fact, we tried to do this shark swim last week but the waters were too rough and he didn't want to risk our safety. This is how I can overcome my fears as well. I'm not going to "trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5). This whole idea that following God is going to be safe and easy just doesn't jive with scripture. In both the Old and Testament we see countless examples of God followers called to dive in to the deep waters. When we are called to share the counter-culture message of Christ and the Cross it's not going to always be met with smiles and handshakes. Sometimes, we will see the teeth come out when we don't swim with the current of our culture. Will we keep our mouth shut because of fear of man, fear of rejection, fear of reprisal? Will be obedient to speak the truth in love regardless of the reaction around us? Will we respond to the sharks as Jeremiah did:

"Sing to theLord! Give praise to theLord! He rescues the life of the needyfrom the hands of the wicked." Jeremiah 20:13


As I get ready to jump in the ocean I can't think of a better prayer then the Hillsong United lyrics to "Ocean":

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Devotions for August 15

Jeremiah 18,19,20
Psalms 93
John 17

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