Jeremiah 15:10–21comment (0)
June 23, 2011
By Douglas K. Wilson
Related Scripture: Jeremiah 15:10–21
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
RISE ABOVE THE TIDE
During Judah’s last days as a nation invaders had already taken the most promising young men and carried them away for reprogramming. One member of the royal family, Zedekiah, had replaced another as king, since he was more compliant to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia.
Jeremiah’s prophecies were rejected, his writings were confiscated and destroyed and his patriotism was called into question. Few wanted to listen to him, though God had called him to the task. In the early verses of Jeremiah 15, God told the prophet that even if Moses or Samuel were bringing this news to the people, they would reject it.
Readers, the gospel’s message is as unpopular as always. Christ’s death and resurrection, a call to true repentance and transformational faith, absolute surrender and accountable discipleship are ancient history or foreign concepts to many in churches today. People are looking for an economic Messiah. They want to hear how he provides them a job without layoffs and a home without natural disasters and that good times are just around the corner. The temptation is to soften the brash message of judgment on the nation and tell them what their itching ears want to hear.
God Cares (10–14)
The stress of announcing doom and destruction brought Jeremiah to the point of apologizing to his mother for bearing him. Confessions of his feelings reveal a man who faced rejection and isolation from his countrymen. He mentioned that he did not engage in financial dealings, yet his unpopularity seemed comparable to a loan shark.
Believers today know the reality of isolation. Discouragement comes with the territory. Why else would Joshua be challenged several times to be strong and courageous? Why would Paul need to encourage Timothy in both epistles? God knows the weight of your calling and He cares for you.
God Knows (15–18)
In verse 15, verbs are most significant in understanding his request. To “know” is to be intimately acquainted. Jeremiah asked God to remember, take note and avenge him. Even as he prayed about his circumstances, he recognized that only God avenges justly. Verse 16 focuses upon the word of God and the name of the Lord God of Hosts, who reveals truth and reigns over heaven and earth. The next verse indicates Jeremiah’s frustration with God. After all, he did what God required, yet he was rejected because of the message God gave him. He then wondered aloud if God was really there or simply a mirage in the desert that looked like an oasis.
God knows our circumstances, frustrations and doubts. Young people who grow up isolated from their peers often wonder about the reality of God or what His motive is to allow suffering in their lives. Rather than scolding them, God prefers their honest evaluation. God is not threatened by our wonderings, doubts and frustrations. God knows us as believers, and as we see Him for who He is, we will have intimate fellowship with Him.
God Strengthens (19–21)
In this final passage, God answered the priest’s words of doubt. When Jeremiah returned to fellowship, God would restore him. Once he stopped speaking meaningless words, he would be welcome to stand in God’s presence again. No matter what accusations arose or threats were made against Jeremiah, God would strengthen and protect him. Then God’s word would be proclaimed without hindrance. Yahweh was both his Deliverer and his Redeemer.
God calls us to come to Him on His terms, not ours. Without repentance, there is no restoration. God required Jeremiah to stop talking foolishly before fellowship with Him could be restored. Only after doubting Thomas repented, crying out “my Lord and my God,” was he restored to fellowship with Jesus. Once we verbalize our doubts or frustrations, we need to return to God, taking every thought captive in obedience to Christ. If we want to experience true fellowship with God, then we must rise above the tide of doubt and discouragement.