Monday, April 16, 2018
He had a fire burning within that would not allow him to remain silent. Yet, he had questions that nagged at his faithfulness. He cried out to Yahweh asking, “Why are evil people so successful? Why do all dishonest people have such easy lives!?” He even blamed God for this condition by saying, “Indeed, you have put such people here.”1
Usually, a God-fearing individual will pray for God’s children to repent, but he claimed that Yahweh told him, “Don’t pray for good things to happen to this people of Judah! Even though they fast, I will not listen to their prayers. Even though they offer whole burnt-offerings and food offerings to Me, I will not accept them.” 2
In Jeremiah 15:15-18 the prophet cries out to Yahweh, “Remember me and take care of me.” Jeremiah reminds God that his suffering is because he listened to Him and preached what the Lord told him to speak. He reminds Yahweh that he didn’t fellowship with the crowd in their evil ways. So, he laments, “I don’t understand why my pain has no end. I don’t understand why my injury is not cured or healed!” (V. 18). Yahweh’s reply is, “I am with you. I will rescue you and deliver you. I will deliver you from the power of these evil people. I will redeem you from the clutches of these cruel people.”3
This promise to Jeremiah did not guarantee a trouble-free life, nor a bed of roses. Jeremiah was not allowed to marry. Therefore, he had no children.4 He preached for about fifty years to a nation that was immune to his message. He was not killed, but he was never respected by the people. He was popular in a negative way. If he had erected a huge tent and advertised a city-wide revival, he would have preached to empty seats. The ministerial association never invited him to join, nor did they appreciate his lessons. He was known as the doom and gloom evangelists that no one was interested in. As far as his family, neighbors, and others were concerned, our First Amendment rights would never be his!
Jeremiah endured beatings by the temple guards5 and was tortured 6. He complained to God that he was “a joke” to those who made fun of and insulted him. 7 He thought about forgetting God and no longer speaking for Him. 8 He lamented, stating, “Why did I ever come out of mother’s body!? All I have known is trouble and sorrow. And, my life will end in shame!” 9
We are a blessed nation. Have we ever asked “Why” that has been so? One hundred years before Judah fell, Isaiah was warning where their sins were taking them. Jeremiah preached it was going to happen in his lifetime. Yet, Judah and Jerusalem blindly hurried into a future they refused to acknowledge. Repentance would have saved them. It wasn’t their nature. Their preachers and statesmen promised peace, prosperity, and security. They chose to fail at receiving all three! They put their faith in Jerusalem and the Temple, rather than in Yahweh!
Nations today claim kinship to the Judah and Jerusalem of Jeremiah’s time. We acclimate ourselves to the world and justify our comfort. We shrug off the sins of our country. Lying is an acceptable game where the most ridiculous ones are swallowed as truth by the gullible. Breaking the law is ignored when committed by the powerful. Wickedness is good if practiced by the left, but odious if questioned by the right. Radicals are excused while Christians are labelled as “terrorist.” Good is evil, and evil is good!
If we are concerned, it is often lost in feelings of helplessness. We ask the same questions as Jeremiah. We share in his discouragement. When our lives are ridiculed, we huddle in our worship halls and like the Jews under Nazism, think the horror will ultimately go away. When it affects us, we ask the same “Why” that Jeremiah did! Like sheep being led to the ovens of Auschwitz, we either believe God will not allow it or that He has forsaken us. When doom and gloom envelop our country, like Hillary, we look outward to find blame.
We are a broken people and need to remind ourselves that only Jesus can put us together. But, that togetherness does not mean houses, cars, salary, nor other things which this world offers. A nation on its way from God cannot expect His blessing by showing Him our backside!
1 Jeremiah 12:2
2 Jeremiah 14:11-12
3 Jeremiah 15:20-21
4 Jeremiah 16:2
5 Jeremiah 20:2
6 Jeremiah 20:2-3
7 Jeremiah 20:7
8 Jeremiah 20:9
9 Jeremiah 20:9-10