Here is Jeremiah up against it. It was tough being a prophet. Day after day you had to get up out of bed and deliver (and live) messages people did not want to hear. We have seen before that Jeremiah suffered for his calling. But:
- He was conscious that he was God’s man (16a). He was a shepherd to the people, but primarily he belonged to the Lord. So he spoke and acted as one who was not his own. His life wasn’t about doing what he wanted but living under the Lordship of God. Someone said that the Lord is ready to take full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him. So, yes, Jeremiah took his orders and words from God, but he also knew that he could go to Him with his open, bleeding wounds (14). He knew where to take his pain. The Lord was his refuge (17b). Amidst all the heartache, he was a man of praise (14b). He is often characterised as ‘the weeping prophet’, but he was primarily a worshipping prophet;
- He was committed to speaking God’s words (16b). Are we equally conscious of talking in the sight of God? What difference might it make to your speech if you remembered that God is the ‘silent listener to every conversation’? But sometimes He doesn’t just listen in silence. There are painful moments when you hear Him speak in the depths of your soul and you know you shouldn’t have said that!
- He did not speak about Hell without tears in his eyes (16b): ‘’…you know I have not desired the day of despair.’’ Jeremiah had to suffer taunts from persecutors who arrogantly poured scorn on his prophecies (15). When was it going to happen? The implication in their question was that it never would. But they were wrong. And there was something of a ‘torn’ feeling in Jeremiah’s heart. No, he had never wanted the judgment he had forecast to fall on his people. It broke his heart to preach it. At the same time, he did want God’s Word (and his words) to be vindicated; he did want to see the Lord deal with his ‘’persecutors’’ (17, 18).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please put courage into my heart. I feel an inclination towards cowardice. Help me to ‘’not run away’’ from anything you ask of me.