The task is a heavy burden, but you know if you do not share it, then those who need to hear it will have no hope to escape impending destruction. However, if you do share it, you run the risk of being ridiculed, hated, despised, beaten and persecuted by the very people you are trying to help.
Knowing this would you still share the news? Would you risk the persecution?
Would you willingly bear the weight of being hated and despised?
Would you risk whatever sacrifices were required to save a people full of hatred, rebellion, idolatry, immorality, selfishness, and lawlessness?
Truthfully, I’m not sure how fast I can answer those questions. My pride wants to quickly respond to say, “yes, I would I share the news to help those around me no matter the cost,” but my honesty shoves me behind the reluctant door and start the process of “weighing and balancing” things before I sign up for persecution.
A Prophets Reality:
However, that was not the case for a certain prophet. For him It was a real life situation and he didn’t hesitate to respond. He plunged forward, accepting God’s assignment no matter what risk were before him. And he didn’t just do it once….he did it consistently….for over 70 years! Before I share who this prophet was, let me introduce who his listening audience was, and the message that he was tasked to share.
The Prophets’ Message & Audience:
The audience was the rebellious people of Judah. And the message he needed to share was not pleasant. In fact, It was rather harsh. One of pending doom if they did not turn back towards God. It held no compromises and was not open for negotiation. It was… surrender to God’s will or face calamity.
Needless to say, the people of Judah did not receive the message well. In fact, they despised and persecuted the prophet for it. They saw him as an affliction and the only response that they gave him was in the form of beatings and imprisonment. The bottom line…they hated the prophet and wanted nothing to do with him except rid themselves of his presence.
The Prophets Mission:
However, Judah’s disdain and ill treatment towards the man of God did not alter his mission. And for 40 years he continued to speak the bold message and endure the punishments that they dished out. He was more then aware of the coming judgement, and if the people of Judah did not turn from their wicked ways they were sure to fall under it. So he lamented over them and continued to speak…”repent or else.” And in so doing, he continued to receive beatings, isolation and imprisonment.
So who was this lonely and rejected prophet who wept and lamented over a hard-headed people that willfully sinned against God? Who endued generations of rejection and persecution. Who chronically dealt with the feelings of dejection and depression? Who in spite of it all continued to trust and obey God’s call. Who exampled sacrifice, forgiveness, grace, mercy and unconditional love. His name was Jeremiah. We often refer to him as the weeping prophet.
Next post – Getting to Know Jeremiah