The weeping prophet
Jeremiah 4: My insides are tearing me up.
If Jeremiah was a modern film maker this portion of his writings would be rated “R” for violence. In one disturbing scene after another he describes the utter destruction that’s coming. Adam Clarke says this is “imagery scarcely paralleled in the whole Bible.” Jeremiah’s not untouched by his own prophecy. We don’t know exactly how this word of the Lord came to him, but if it was in a dream, it was a nightmare and if it was a vision it was a very disturbing vision indeed. He reports “I’m doubled up with cramps in my belly — a poker burns in my gut.” I can’t say that Jeremiah is my favorite Hebrew prophet to read, but his humanity does draw me in. Jeremiah didn’t want to be God’s spokesman in the first place. However, he accepts the Lord’s appointment and his journey begins. When he sees the coming destruction he isn’t a disconnected reporter. Instead, he’s part of the story. As wave after wave of visions of destruction wash over him he’s sick to his stomach. He says to the Lord, “How long do I have to look at the warning flares, listen to the siren of danger?” All he wants is out of this. As a “proclaimer” of God’s Word in my generation I need some of his spirit. Otherwise, I (and other Christians) sound hard and hateful and am easily rejected by the very people who must hear the message. If I can interact with lost people without being moved by their plight something’s wrong with me and I need a spiritual transfusion from this “weeping prophet.”
Take Away: Judgment, when it must be preached, must be preached with tears in our eyes.
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