If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak anymore in his name,”

There is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones,

And I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.

Jeremiah 20: 9

 

If anyone had a right to question the personal value and even the sanity of God’s calling in his life it was Jeremiah. He was the perfect example of a prophet who received no respect in his own time and among his native people. He was mocked and humiliated, thrown out of his church, dropped into a well to die, his writings were not only banned but they were burned, and he was locked into stocks and beaten in public. Jeremiah suffered through a very large number of bad days as a result of doing what he believed that God had called him to do. That calling was simple and direct. Jeremiah was to go where God sent him and to say what God told Him to say. Jeremiah was called to be the voice of God’s righteous truth and a spokesperson for holy justice.

 

The nation, its leaders, and the people of the land had a very great need to be confronted by God’s truth. They were set on a disastrous path that could only lead to destruction if they continued along their self-determined course. They had stopped caring for the weak, they had little use for justice, life was valued only as a commodity, and God had become an ornament, a mere symbol, rather than the ruler of their souls. They were lost and adrift with a great storm rising up on the horizon when their salvation was already available to be grasped. It was Jeremiah’s task to present that saving knowledge, to confront the sin that separated the people from their God, and to implore them to repent and to return to their Lord and Savior. Doing all of this was exhausting, and it was literally depressing. No one listened. It seemed that everyone openly and personally rejected Jeremiah. He wanted to give it up, and just fade into the background. He wanted to take a very long vacation from the prophet business. But that is not how God works, and it is not the way that a relationship with Christ plays out in our lives, either.

 

Jeremiah found out that he was simply not able to stop doing what God had called him to do. God’s truth was too big and far too powerful to remain held quietly inside. Also, I think that as a man who knew God well, Jeremiah’s heart ached for the lostness of his land. He had a vision for the restorative redemption that was possible for all who follow God, and although he was battered and bruised from the effort, Jeremiah could not hold his tongue or cease in the pursuit of righteousness in the land. The very core of his being was burning with a fire that the Spirit of God placed within him. It seems that our times need a Jeremiah. Perhaps this should be our own personal desire and prayer as we seek to hear God’s voice and respond to His calling for us, “Lord, let Your truth fill every cell of my being, fill my heart with a drive to serve You that burns like an unquenchable fire, guide me to speak out continually in loving boldness, and strengthen me with Your unfailing courage. Amen.”