January 9, 2013
READ: Jeremiah 20:7-18
They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken! (1:19).
He was alone for most of his ministry. It seemed that no one cared to hear his words. He was draggedoff against his will to live his final days in exile. He was a failure as far as how the world judges human achievement. Jeremiah (alias ‘the weeping prophet’) was his name.
Reading about the course of Jeremiah’s difficult ministry, I’ve wondered if he ever looked back at the day God called him into service; and did he question God for seemingly not keeping His end of the bargain (Jeremiah 1:19). I know I would have.
And I’m glad to discover that Jeremiah did. His complaint was recorded in Jeremiah 20:7-18. His candid words are helpful.
Like him, when we see no fruit from our work and receive mockery as a reward, we too may feel cheated by God. We may be tempted to throw in the towel and call it quits.
Jeremiah, however, moved beyond his moods and did the will of God—regardless of how he felt. He was compelled to proclaim God’s Word. Remembering God’s promises, Jeremiah’s prayer led to him breaking out in worship (vv.11-13). But this euphoria didn’t last long. With his next breath he was cursing the day he was born (v.18).
Fortunately he picked himself up after his depressing words. Jeremiah 20 is the last of Jeremiah’s recorded laments. In the remaining 32 chapters, we find that the prophet remained faithful to his call.
Francis Schaeffer wrote: “What does God expect of Jeremiah? What does God expect of every man who preaches into a lost age like ours? I’ll tell you what God expects. He simply expects a man to go right on. He doesn’t scold a man for being tired, but neither does He expect him to stop his message because people are against him.” —Poh Fang Chia
Read 2 Corinthians 4 for Paul’s reasons for not giving up even though his ministry was challenging.
How have you questioned God’s calling in your life? What keeps you going when you face hardship?