God speaks! To: (1) Judah - Shatter a jar. That's you (19:3-15); (2) Zedekiah: Babylon wins, you loose (21:8-10); (3) The Royal Family - Do right or else (21:11 – 22:5); (4) The Royal Palace - destroyed (22:6-9); (5) Jehoahaz - you're gone (22:10-12); (6) Jehoiakim - dies. Who cares (22:13-23)? (7) Jehoiachin - exiled, no heirs, nothing (22:24-30).
Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay (Jer. 20:9).
With this verse of scripture, we find Jeremiah living up to his reputation as a prophet who weeps or laments over those to whom he is ministering. Why does he weep? He weeps because of the disobedience to the commands of God by the nation of Judah. Jeremiah knows that the consequences of this disobedience to God will put God's people in a terrible situation. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience (Eph. 5:6).
Jeremiah must have had mixed emotions by this point. He had faithfully proclaimed the Word of God to Judah, but what had been the results of his obedience to the will of God? He had faced virtually nothing but opposition and persecution. He had been rejected by almost all who heard the message that God had given him. Even his family, friends and neighbors refused to listen to him. This should come as no surprise to us; the Word of God speaks to this very subject. And they were offended in Him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house (Matt. 13:57).
It would be a great understatement to say that Jeremiah was disappointed and disgusted with the conduct of the people of Judah. It seems from the Scripture that Jeremiah had come to a place where he felt like quitting. It appears that if it had been left up to him he would have never preached or spoken prophecy again.
However, his quitting was not to be. He could not quit because he knew the Lord was still speaking to him and through him. He said, “His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones." The Lord had placed a fire deep down in the heart of Jeremiah that would not be quenched.
There are times that we probably feel a little like Jeremiah. We may look at what the Lord has given us to do and see no results coming from our work. We might even think to ourselves that we might just as well quit. After all, we think, it's not like we are impacting anyone with our ministry anyway.
What if everyone who had ever faced opposition or discouragement just quit? How much of the Word of God would have never been written? Like Jeremiah, many of God's people would have already given up, and there would have been nothing to write.
The Word of God reminds us that we are not working on our own. It is not our own mission we are working to fulfill. This is the Lord's work that we are doing. Sometimes it may not be meant for us to see the end results of our labors. The important thing is that we keep laboring for the Lord.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the LORD, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the LORD (I Cor. 15:58).
Thought for Today:
Are you pliable and willing to be formed by the Potter's hands?
As the One who pronounces judgment upon those who refuse to obey His Word (Jer. 19:15). The Father . . . committed all judgment unto the Son (John 5:22).
19:3 his ears shall tingle, will be utterly stunned by the news; 19:9 straitness, anguish, distress; 20:3 Magor-missabib, terror on every side; 20:11 mighty terrible One, awe-inspiring One, heroic Champion.
Prayer Suggestion: When you are afraid, have confidence in and rely upon the Lord (Ps. 56:3-4).
Optional Reading: I John 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 90:4