Jer. 20:7 O Jehovah, thou hast persuaded me, and I was persuaded; thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am become a laughing-stock all the day, every one mocketh me.
Jer. 20:8 For as often as I speak, I cry out; I cry, Violence and destruction! because the word of Jehovah is made a reproach unto me, and a derision, all the day.
Jer. 20:9 And if I say, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name, then there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with forbearing, and I cannot contain.
Welcome To The Light-Washed Path,
In the previous 2 devotions we saw from Mark 4:35-41 that God holds back from revealing our impending collision with trouble, as we follow the Word with which He has directed us. Yet it is for our benefit that approaching trials need not be anticipated. Instead He has taken responsibility for our care, preparing grace for us to overcome, when we meet with troubles. When He spoke to His disciples to enter the boat and journey with Him across to the other side of the sea, there was in that order, the prophetic implication, that they would arrive at the other side. The storm that was hidden from them at the outset, was an unavoidable trial which Jesus had already provided a bridge over.
The Prophet Jeremiah provides a classic example for us, when we encounter the unexpected and harsh reactions of a hostile world against our obedience to God’s Truth. Here is some background. See if you can relate to the elements of Jeremiah’s situation.
- From his youth, God had called Him and revealed a strong prophetic Word to Jeremiah. He was called as a “Prophet to the Nations”.
- That sounded VERY promising. Surely Jeremiah expected a ministry that would be appreciated by ALL who loved God.
- But the Word of the Lord God had put in Jeremiah, was one of reproof and warning to God’s people, and they hated him for it. This was NOT the reaction he expected. And he was miserable as the more he obeyed God, the worse his treatment by his peers became.
- Now dejected and feeling trapped by the Truth he knew was real, and surrounded by deceived people who had no regard for it, Jeremiah protests. He lays out his case to God:
- God used His irresistible powers of persuasion to enlist me into Prophetic Ministry.
- He never told me it would be like this and I was unprepared.
- Every time I open my mouth, His Word comes out as a reproof against the backsliders; and they plot harder against ME because of God’s Word.
- I tried to decide not to prophesy the Word of the Lord anymore, but the flames of passion that His Word has caused in my soul, just burst from my lips. I can’t keep silent because I am so convinced by what God has shown me. I’m ruined for any retirement!
In reality, God hadn’t forced His call upon him. He simply persuaded Jeremiah with the wonderful purity of His Truth. In receiving God’s Word, it became a flame of passion in Jeremiah’s life, and he had obeyed God implicitly. Contrasted against a culture of self-delusion and moral betrayal, Jeremiah held God’s Word like a fire in his heart. It’s purity and righteousness was beautifully superior to the contrivances of compromise all around him. It was as though he was feasting off the finest cuisine while all other men were licking dirt. Yet, there was one huge result, which God had elected not to tell him, upon which he had not counted. And that was the total rejection that he and his Word would be met with. Now they were plotting to eliminate him because of his message, and Jeremiah was devastated.
The Word that God had called Jeremiah with was beautiful, like a refiner’s fire. Yet, just like that refining fire, it brought a separation between him and his peers which Jeremiah didn’t expect. Nor had God warned him about the severity of their rejection. But, by keeping the trouble concealed from him till it actually happened, had God really sent him forth unprepared? The question remains to be answered, in the next step, so …
Stay On The Path!