Have you ever wanted to give up? Jeremiah lived in troubled days. God called him to prophesy to the kingdom of Judah in the years leading up to the Babylonian invasion of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem, its Temple, and the deportation of many of its citizens to Babylon. There were other prophets in Jerusalem at this time, too, and some of them had the very opposite message to the people from Jeremiah.
Jeremiah found himself disillusioned and discouraged: “LORD, You persuaded me and I let myself be persuaded; You have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me. For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction, because for me the word of the LORD has resulted in taunting and derision all day long” (20:7-8 NASB). The life of a prophet was not easy.
Jeremiah had a message that no one wanted to hear. Not the king and his court, not the priests in the house of God, and not the people. He even came to the point of despising the day he was born (20:14-18). He was ready to give up. He didn’t want the call to be a prophet anymore. It separated him from those around him, including his close friends (20:10).
Yet, when Jeremiah came to the point of no longer speaking the word of God, he found that he could not. He could not hold it in; he had to speak, even if it meant he still felt overwhelmed, isolated, and frustrated. Why? Because Jeremiah understood something: God was King and had laid claim to his life; therefore, regardless of the circumstances and what Jeremiah felt, he had to proclaim the word God had placed in him.
Too often we want to be comfortable in our faith. We don’t want God’s call to disrupt our lives or our standing within the world around us. We don’t want to be seen as strange or weird—one of those people. The prophets of the Bible did not always fit in. God commanded them to do some strange things to convey His message. And they did it. Why? Because God is King, and they had submitted to His call.
Of course, not every weird thing a person does makes him or her a prophet. But sometimes living in obedience to God will put us on the opposite side of our friends, family, and society. Jeremiah endured because God had called him—and because God’s message sought to redeem His people.
Sometimes we, too, can feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and disillusioned with our faith. We may feel like Jeremiah and want to throw up our hands and walk away. In those moments, allow the word God has put in you to burn. Remind yourself that He is King, and if we commit our cause to Him (20:12), He will redeem our faithfulness.
Father, never let our feelings overwhelm us to the point that we give up from what You have called us to do. May Your word burn inside of us today that regardless of our circumstances, we proclaim it to our world that needs You. Amen.