5 Lord, your laws will stand forever.
Your Temple will be holy forevermore. (Psalm 93:5)
God had established his covenant with the Jews. As long as they worshiped him as the one true God and followed his decrees, his protection was upon them. However, they chose to do otherwise.
3 Say, ‘Kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem, listen to this message from the Lord. This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: I will soon bring a disaster on this place that will amaze and frighten everyone who hears about it. 4 The people of Judah have quit following me. They have made this a place for foreign gods. They have burned sacrifices to other gods that neither they, nor their ancestors, nor the kings of Judah had ever known before. They filled this place with the blood of innocent people. 5 They have built places on hilltops to worship Baal, where they burn their children in the fire to Baal. That is something I did not command or speak about; it never even entered my mind. 6 Now people call this place the Valley of Ben Hinnom or Topheth, but the days are coming, says the Lord, when people will call it the Valley of Killing. (Jer 19:3-6) NIV
I don’t imagine these words were received with great applause by the crowds that heard Jeremiah declare the words of the LORD. As it is today, many hear the words of God and dismiss them, scoff at them, and refuse to believe them. They are “stiff-necked and refuse to listen.” But as Psalm 93 states: God’s laws will stand forever. His promises can be trusted—both the ones of blessings and the ones of curses (see Deut. 28).
As I read Chapter 20 and Jeremiah’s treatment, I couldn’t help but think of Paul and his many trials. He, too, was beaten and imprisoned for spreading the truth of God’s words. He, too, was obeying God and fully in His will.
Pashhur son of Immer was a priest and the highest officer in the Temple of the Lord. When he heard Jeremiah prophesying in the Temple courtyard, 2 he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten. And he locked Jeremiah’s hands and feet between large blocks of wood at the Upper Gate of Benjamin of the Lord’s Temple. (Jer 20:1b-3).
Verses 7-18 are entitled “Jeremiah’s Complaint” in my bible. As I read through them, I thought of Jeremiah and what he had just endured. These verses come after he’s been spreading God’s words, warning people of the coming destruction, mistreated, and ridiculed. He spent the night in stocks at the public gate in order to shame him and try to silence him. He was doing God’s work and never expected it would play out the way it did. Having been through trials God has allowed into my life, I totally get his battle within for I’ve battled with these same feelings. Here I was, doing what I thought God called me to do, and something I never expected came out of it. I went from being angry with God, to praising Him, to hurting so badly I wish I’d never been born. Like Jeremiah, I took it straight to God and I felt his love for me as I wrestled with the turmoil inside my own head and heart. He let me wrestle until I got to that place of surrender where, knowing God was sovereign, I could once again do what he was asking me to do. Chapter 21 begins with Jeremiah once again setting off to prophesy for the Lord. Being silent was not an option for Jeremiah—he was called by God to be His voice to the people of Judah and Jerusalem.
9 But if I say, “I will not mention his word
or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot. (Jer 20:9)
Lord, I pray to be so consumed by the Holy Spirit that I cannot keep inside what you’ve called me to do. I thank you for the times you’ve allowed me to share my feelings of fear, frustration, doubts, and anger as well as the times of pure praise, worship, and thanksgiving. You’ve patiently waited for me to get beyond myself to that place of surrender where you are once again in your proper place in my life. Your will above my own. In Jesus name I pray, Amen