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August 28, 2019

Life Message

Passage: Jeremiah 16
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Should preachers be married? My answer would be “Yes”. My wife is my best protection against false accusations. No woman enters our house if my wife is not home. No woman rides with me if my wife is not in the car. I believe it is essential that a preacher be married and that he learn how he should avail himself of his wife’s protection.

Nevertheless, Jeremiah was a preacher and we read in Jeremiah 16:1-2:

“The word of the LORD came also unto me, saying Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.”

God then explains to Jeremiah why he is prohibiting marriage for him.

“For thus saith the LORD concerning the sons and concerning the daughters that are born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in this land; They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; [but] they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcasses shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.” (Jeremiah 16:3,4)

The judgment of God was imminent upon the people of Jerusalem. Why raise children only to have them slaughtered before your very eyes?

But the Israelites scoffed at the message of Jeremiah and continued their wicked life style. If Jeremiah would have married and had children Israel would have been even more certain that his message would not be fulfilled. Why would he be raising children if he really believed they would soon be slaughtered?

So Jeremiah’s life reinforced his message. Every time the people saw him walking alone the thought would enter their minds that Jeremiah himself was totally convinced that judgment was imminent. He had complete faith in the soon fulfillment of God’s message.

When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach he stressed also the importance of a life that reinforces the message. He states in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

I did not know the Lord when I entered the US Navy during a time of war, and knew that I was not ready to die. One afternoon a sailor came through our dormitory of 200 men inviting people to a Bible study that night in the chapel. I decided to attend, not knowing what to expect since I had tried to read the little New Testament that had been given to every sailor along with our clothing on entering the navy, but it made no sense to me so I quit reading it.

As I entered the chapel I saw only about twenty sailors and no chaplain. One sailor began the study by reading and explaining some verses from the Bible. I was amazed how clear he made the meaning of those scriptures and the deep sincerity and humility with which he spoke. He shared why we need to know Jesus and how we can come to know Him and be sure of spending eternity with Him in heaven. I was deep in thought as I returned to the dorm and climbed into bed. I was unable to sleep. I had seen in that group of sailors exactly what I knew I wanted in my life. About midnight I cried out in my heart in prayer to God, “Lord, I want what those fellows have.” My being was flooded with peace and joy and I went right to sleep. The next morning I immediately went to the bottom of my sea bag, pulled out that little New Testament and began to devour the Word of God. It was a new book because I was a new person. I had heard God’s message reinforced by a godly messenger and I knew that was exactly what I wanted.

So, should preachers get married? The answer is simple: Yes, if God tells you to, and No, if He tells you not to. Search the Scriptures, because the real issue is to obey God so that your life illustrates your message and the hearers will want what you have.

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