“O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; everyone mocks me. For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, ‘Violence and plunder!’ because the Word of the Lord was made to me a reproach and a derision daily. Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.’ But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not (Jeremiah 20:7-9).
Have you ever struggled to speak God’s Word to others? God’s Word can be difficult to share with those around us because we feel God’s message may be difficult for them to hear. As the opening verses above indicate, at times Jeremiah struggled with speaking God’s truth (Jeremiah 20:7-9).
Jeremiah had gone through a lot as he strove to faithfully proclaim God’s Word. He was even arrested for being God’s faithful spokesman to His people: “Now Pashhur the son of Immer, the priest who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord” (Jeremiah 20:1-2).
When Jeremiah is released, he courageously tells Pashur God’s message to him: “And it happened on the next day that Pashhur brought Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, ‘The Lord has not called your name Pashhur, but Magor-Missabib. For thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall see it. I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive to Babylon and slay them with the sword” ’ ” (Jeremiah 20:3-4). Even after being persecuted, Jeremiah faithfully proclaimed God’s Word!
However, this doesn’t mean these events didn’t take a toll on Jeremiah. As the opening verses above indicate, like many of us, Jeremiah struggled with discouragement at the things which happened to him (Jeremiah 20:7-8). He gets so depressed, he curses the day he was ever born (Jeremiah 20:14-18). He is even tempted to stop speaking God’s Word: “Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name’…” (Jeremiah 20:9a). However, despite his own struggle with discouragement, Jeremiah could not bring himself to do this to God: “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not” (Jeremiah 20:9b). At this low moment in his life, Jeremiah turns to God in faith: “But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One. Therefore, my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper. Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten. But, O Lord of hosts, You who test the righteous, and see the mind and heart, let me see Your vengeance on them; for I have pleaded my cause before You” (Jeremiah 20:11-12).
As I study the life of Jeremiah, I appreciate him keeping the faith in the midst of such great adversity. He continued to speak the truth of God’s Word to His fellow countrymen about whom he cared deeply. Although he battled with discouragement and even depression, he did not allow these obstacles to overcome him. He stayed true to God! He is one of the faithful servants of God I long to see in heaven. Today, I will strive to stay true to God and to sharing God’s message to those around me. I will strive to remain faithful to Him and His Word even when I struggle with discouragement!
“Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction. I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life” (Psalm 119:92-93).