The Heart of the Prophet Jeremiah
The prophets who lived during the last days of the kings were an unusual lot. These were men “subject to like passions as we are” and yet they were called to do that which ran counter to their human passions. God commanded his prophets to speak hard words of warning, knowing that they would be rejected and despised in almost all cases. But these were the words that God had chosen to bring his people to repentance and to save them from the consequences of their sin. God’s prophets knew this and desired God’s blessings for God’s people. Jeremiah was one such prophet. Let’s look at his heart.
Jeremiah initially resisted God’s calling:
Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
Jeremiah was sensitive to his own need for correction:
O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.
Jeremiah experienced the sharp pain of disappointment…
I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.
…but he had confidence that what he had spoken was true and faithful:
Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard.
Jeremiah experienced the hatred of the very ones whom he longed to help…
Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.
…but he also experienced the kindness of a few of God’s people:
So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.
There was a time when Jeremiah was so distraught with the results of his calling that he wished he had never been born:
Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed.
For a time Jeremiah determined to quit, but God’s words within him would not let him do so:
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.
Jeremiah’s heart was broken because of the judgment that came upon God’s people when they rejected God’s mercy…
Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
…but Jeremiah took comfort in God’s faithfulness:
It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
I thank God for the “Jeremiahs” in our time of sin and compromise
who love God and their fellows enough to speak the truth in love
regardless of the consequences.
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