Poorly received sermons
Jeremiah 20: The words are a fire in my belly, a burning in my bones.
From the beginning the Lord tells Jeremiah that his ministry won’t be well received. The Lord also tells Jeremiah that he’ll make him like a rock, hard and unyielding in proclaiming his unwelcome message. The prophet reports that following one of his gloom and doom sermons in which he tells it like it is concerning the religious leaders of his nation that things get rather personal. One of the men he preaches about is the senior priest at the Temple. Pashur isn’t happy with Jeremiah’s sermon so he has him arrested and put in stocks, made subject to public humiliation. The next day when Pashur comes to have him released, Jeremiah looks him in the eye and declares God’s displeasure with him and promises that God’s going to pass judgment on him. That, though, doesn’t mean that Jeremiah’s untouched by all the opposition. He reports that he actually tries to stop proclaiming God’s message. Apparently, the strain is so great and the level of success is so small that he wants to give it all up. It doesn’t work. He says that God keeps pouring his words into his heart and that they have to be said or they feel like a fire burning inside him. Whether or not anyone listens Jeremiah’s compelled to keep saying those powerful messages. Beyond the burning words, Jeremiah finds that the Lord’s his constant source of strength. The Lord, he reports, is like a warrior standing by his side. Meanwhile, his opposition is so confused by it all that he reports that they’re only good for comic relief. Jeremiah keeps preaching those unwelcome messages because God keeps pouring them into him. Abandoning his task isn’t an option.
Take Away: If the Lord calls us to it he will bring us through it.
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