“I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone because of Your hand, for You have filled me with indignation. Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable, which refuses to be healed? Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, as waters that fail?” (Jeremiah 15:17-18).
Who needs to repent of sin? Is it just those who are in a state of continuous rebellion of God and who refuse to submit to Him? No, all men are called to repent (Acts 17:30; Luke 13:3).
As the opening verses above show, Jeremiah proclaims his own faithfulness to God (Jeremiah 15:17). Furthermore he adds, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16).
He then pours out his complaint regarding the adversity he faces proclaiming God’s message to a rebellious people. Jeremiah states, “Woe is me, my mother, that you have borne me, a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent for interest, nor have men lent to me for interest. Every one of them curses me” (Jeremiah 15:10). He then adds, “O Lord, You know; remember me and visit me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. In Your enduring patience, do not take me away. Know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke” (Jeremiah 15:15). As he voices his complaint before the Lord, he then turns on God, “Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable, which refuses to be healed? Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, as waters that fail?” (Jeremiah 15:17-18). He accuses God of being unfaithful or being “unreliable”.
Jeremiah had crossed a line. It is one thing to be frustrated and complain to God about our struggles. It is another thing entirely in our frustration to begin accusing God of being unfaithful to His promises. God knew Jeremiah’s heart and it wasn’t right. Later God says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9-10). God calls on Jeremiah to repent: “Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘If you return, then I will bring you back; you shall stand before Me; if you take out the precious from the vile, you shall be as My mouth. Let them return to you, but you must not return to them. And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall; and they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you; for I am with you to save you and deliver you,’ says the Lord. ‘I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible’” (Jeremiah 15:19-21).
Jeremiah faced some great challenges as he served God. Unfortunately, like each of us, he did not always succeed in serving God faithfully during these challenges. Like everyone one of us who strive to serve God, he struggled at times with his own doubts. As the instance in his life shows, he doubted God’s faithfulness. Because of this, he needed to repent. This reminds me that many times I struggle with my faith and I am tempted to doubt God’s faithfulness and accuse Him of being a “unreliable stream”. When I do so, like He did with Jeremiah, God lovingly calls me to repent (1 John 1:7-9). Today, I celebrate that God is always faithful to keep His promises. Whatever trials may come my way this day, I will remember that I can always lean on God because He is reliable!
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ (Hebrews 13:5-6).