I have a bad habit of reading the Bible at night-time. This usually ends up with me writing late blogs or going to bed with a lot on my mind.
As I’m “nearing” the end of the Old Testament, with about a month left of readings before heading on to the New Testament, I still find myself in the Prophets. If you’ve never read them, I highly suggest doing so. Well, I highly suggest reading the entre Bible. If you’re not a Christian, by God’s holy immeasurable grace, I pray that by reading His powerful Word which is sharper than a double-edged sword, you would come to life. If you are a Christian, by God’s holy immeasurable grace, I pray that by reading His powerful Word, you’d fall more madly in love with your Creator and Sustainer and you’d desire to learn more and more and more about what you claim to believe, all the while letting it change you and mold you more and more every day to the likeness of CHRIST.
Anyway, I’ll try to make this short. I just had bedtime thoughts on Jeremiah.
Jeremiah is heartbreaking. I don’t think I’ve cried so much reading the Bible as I have reading the Prophets. I read them, and I’m literally so so sad. My heart breaks for my unfaithfulness I see in the mirror that is the Israelites. My heart breaks for the idolatry in my life. My heart breaks for my depravity and sin before a Holy Holy Holy God. My heart breaks for my unfaithfulness to my Husband. I feel broken. My God is so good. I am so evil. My God loves me anyway.
My thought tonight on Jeremiah is really just the calling of the Prophets in general. Here were these guys, called by God, to speak some pretty tough heavy stuff to people, all the while knowing, that the people were not going to listen.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
God knew Jeremiah even before he formed him in his mother’s womb. God consecrated, “set apart”, Jeremiah to preach His word; to be a prophet to the nations, not just Israel.
Jeremiah was called by God to preach God’s judgement on covenant infidelity and sin. Although God promised Jeremiah protection, He wasn’t promised protection from everything.
Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LoRD.
Yes, deliver him…which means he’ll be in trouble and need deliverance. (This is ‘better’ than other unnamed or rarely mentioned prophets who were killed for speaking for God… “There was another man who prophesied in the name of the LORD, Uriah the son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim. He prophesied against this city and against this land in words like Jeremiah…the king sought to put him to death…they took Uriah from Egypt and brought him to King Jehoiakim, who struck him down with the sword and dumped his dead body in to the burial-place of the common people.” Jeremiah 26:20-23…I wonder how many other unnamed prophets there were that we didn’t know about who were killed preaching the gospel, good news)
Jeremiah had a difficult life. His messages of repentance delivered at the temple were not well received (7:1-8:3; 26:1-11). His hometown plotted against him (11:18-23), and he endured much persecution in the pursuit of his ministry (20:1-6; 37:11-38:13; 43:1-7). At God’s command he never married (16:1-4). A faithful preacher, he apparently had only TWO converts: Baruch, his scribe (32:12; 36:1-4; 45:1-5), and Ebed-melech, an Ethiopian eunuch who served the king (38:7-13; 39:15-18). These are the only two mentioned in the entire book who respond favorably to Jeremiah’s preaching. (ESV Study Bible notes)
Jeremiah was beaten and mocked. He was thrown into a cistern which was dug out of rock, had a small opening, and spread out at the bottom. Escape from one of these things was virtually impossible. There was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud (38:6)
After being beaten and put in stocks by Pashhur, Jeremiah expresses his feelings about his circumstances which concludes one of my new favorite verses…
O LORD, you have deceived me,
and I was deceived;
you are stronger than I,
and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all the day;
everyone mocks me.
For whenever I speak, I cry out,
I shout, “Violence and destruction!”
For the word of the LORD has become for me
a reproach and derision all day long.
If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.
Through the pain, Jeremiah can’t stop proclaiming God’s Word.
I wonder how much we…I…”do ministry” for a result. What if you were called to go spend the rest of your life in a remote South American jungle village and you were going to get persecuted…tortured…mocked and laughed at…and two people would accept Christ…? How would you feel about that? Worth it?
I want to say that I would proclaim it to be worth it.
I mean, these prophets KNEW the outcome. They knew that destruction was going to happen. In some of their cases, God gave the people an option. Repent or else. In Jeremiah’s case, it was, “Too late to repent this is what’s going down.” I mean, Jeremiah KNEW the Babylonians were going to destroy Jerusalem and take the inhabitants of Judah captive.
I mean, what if you knew that the outcome of your ministry and it wasn’t “good” (according to numbers obsessed people). Would you still have the faith that Jeremiah had? The perseverance?
According to extrabiblical accounts, Jeremiah was most likely (Isaiah as well) the prophets mentioned in Hebrews 11 who were sawn in two.
What if you knew that was your end?
Jeremiah didn’t know that was his fate, but, I don’t think it would have mattered if he did. God was enough for Him. Obedience to the Holy God of Israel was first and foremost. He feared God not man.
He struggled and vented frustrations to God. He was confused and didn’t always understand why God did what He did and asked him to do the things that He asked him to do. But, he obeyed God. He feared the Lord.
Some Christians have the gift of prophecy. Other don’t. But, I think we’re all called to be prophets. I think we’re all called to be voices in the desert crying out to a fallen world that salvation is HERE. That our God is NOT dead. That our God has made a way to bring us back to Himself.
It’s not going to be easy.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 17:33)
I want to be a persevering prophet like Jeremiah. I want to fear God more than I fear people.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
I want to be a hated prophet….one they want to saw in half. If I’m not hated, I’m proclaiming things the world agrees with. I am called to be in the world but not of it. I am called to preach the truth; the truth that will set the captives free.
This was not short by any means. I promise I didn’t mean to babble on so. As always, midnight blogs probably don’t make much sense so apologies all around, but, those are my thoughts.
Go light your world.
2 Cor. 5:13.
No more likeable false prophet.