May 16, 2021
Jeremiah was considered a weeping prophet. He was rejected by his people, frustrated by their hard heartedness. I spite of this, Jeremiah could not resist God's call to preach. He declared the word of the Lord as he was directed. He was compelled with a powerful motivation. God's word was in his heart, it was as a burning fire that he could not keep to himself. For over forty years Jeremiah was God's spokes person, calling out Judah for it's wickedness . Jeremiah was commanded to keep a record of things concerning the nation from King Josiah until the present.
Josiah was to warn Judah not to look to Egypt as a friend, He warned that Judah's enemy the Chaldeans, would prevail against them, burning the city and scatter them as exiles. This could all be avoided if the king and leaders would turn back to the Lord. They were angered at Jeremiah and painted him as a traitor. He was beaten and thrown in prison.
1 A FINAL INTERVIEW (Jeremiah 38: 14-18)
King Zedekiah called for Jeremiah to hear what had been revealed. The king had others who would simply tell him what he wanted to hear. Jeremiah would often be in trouble with the king's officials for delivering the Lord's proclimation of clamity and the coming of Chaldeans siege. He was considered a trouble maker causing unrest in the land and was thrown into a dry cistern.
King Zedekiah had Jeremiah brought privately to the temple inquiring of what the Lord had to say. Jeremiah hesitated recognizing that the king would not likely listen. There were others who had influence with the king who wanted Jeremiah dead. The king promises Jeremiah that no harm would come to him. The advice from Jeremiah was for the king and his officials to surrender to Babylon that they may live , if they refuse , the city would burn without escape.
2 A FINAL RESPONSE (vv. 19-23)
It is here that the king responds to the council and advice from Jeremiah. He fears what will happen should he follow the Lord's advice. The king is assured by Jeremiah should they obey the Lord the crises would be avoided and lives will be spared, Should they refuse, the city would burn and the people taken captive . The nation would bring disgrace, having been misled.
From my personal exoerience, preaching can be a lonely, difficut, frustrating deal. Truth is not always a fan of some in that speaking what saith the Lord is often not welcomed.
Preaching can be at best, a risky endeavor, in some situations, preaching the word of God is out right dangerous.It is no doubt in our lesson that the preacher Jeremiah must have dealt with such an experience during his time.
It is true that bad news can be hard to accept. It can be difficut for one who proclaims the same. Jeremiah is compelled to speak truth to power. During this time in history, predicting anything but flattery and good promise to a king could get you killed. Jeremiah is instructed to tell the truth to the king.
He gives two options, stop the wickedness and turn back to the Lord, or remain disobedient and suffer bad consequences.
As a child sitting in the church I would often hear the preacher appealing for those who had turned away from God to repent and turn back to God. They were called back sliders. In these contemporary times, we rarely if ever hear this type of appeal. We no longer risk what could be surmised as turning people off.
The preacher has an important task, to be a truth teller laced with love. Jeremiah was a suffering preacher for the people rejected God's message. I've got news for you, folk still reject God's word today, nonetheless, we are commissioned, compelled and completely all in.
Rev. Johnny H. Eskridge