Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Task of Jeremiah

"The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:4–5).

When Jeremiah was a young man God came to him and told him that he was to be His prophet. Jeremiah was reluctant to be a prophet. He knew how hard it would be. He objected, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child” (Jeremiah 1:6).

But God would not hear it, responding, “I know what I am doing.” He told Jeremiah, “You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you” (Jeremiah 1:7). Rescue you! This gives us an idea of what Jeremiah would have to put up with.

God told Jeremiah that his was going to be mainly a negative task: “See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10). The building and planting part sounded good, but first would come the tearing down and destroying, and that was not going to be a pleasant task. Jeremiah’s life was filled with sorrow and travail. When he began to preach, the false prophets preached against him. Naturally, the people followed the false prophets, for they said what the people wanted to hear. Jeremiah was contradicted and ridiculed at every turn. Then the priests and many of the nobles formed a conspiracy to kill Jeremiah. When this failed, they continued to work against him, and eventually captured him, putting him in the stocks. Everyone who walked by could spit at him and throw things at him. God’s prophet was reduced to a state of utter public humiliation.

In Jeremiah 20, we read Jeremiah’s complaint. He states that he wishes he was dead. In fact, he wishes that he had never been born. He says that he had tried to remain silent, but that God had made his heart burn so that he was compelled to speak.

Have you ever gotten so discouraged you wanted to quit? Have you ever quit, but then later found that you could not stay “quit”? That was Jeremiah’s experience and one way or another it is the experience of every faithful Christian warrior. When God gets hold of us, He does not let us quit. If you feel like quitting today, read Jeremiah 20.