Jeremiah the Weeping Prophet
The Old Testament prophets are sometimes ignored because their messages are considered ancient history or allegories, which have nothing to do with today. However, most of their writings are historical accounts or prophesies concerning God’s dealings with nations from which we can learn valuable lessons.
Jeremiah was chosen by God to preach and prophesy to the nations of Judah and Israel, during their decline and fall into Babylonian captivity. Prior to the two invasions Jeremiah gave prophetic warnings about God’s coming judgment if the people did not repent and turn away from their idol worship. His messages were harsh but his heart was very sensitive and broken because the people refused to heed God’s warnings. He preached for over 40 years to deaf ears and suffered untold persecution. He wept bitter tears in prayer over his nation, thus he is called the weeping prophet.
Jeremiah did not choose to be a prophet. But rather, God choose him and prepared him at a young age to give a message of warning to “backsliding” Judah and Israel.
Jeremiah 1:4-9“Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying: Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak; for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth, And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.”
How many Jeremiahs and other ministers have been aborted before their ministry could come forth? Jeremiah made an excuse to God that he could not possibly speak for Him because of his young age. But he was soon to realize that age did not matter when the Word of God was put in his mouth for God’s purpose, not his own.
When Jeremiah’s warnings were not heeded by the people, he became very discouraged. He did what many of us do when things do not go as we thought they would even in a spiritual endeavor. Jeremiah 20:9 “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.”
Jeremiah wanted to “throw in the towel” because he was not reaching people with the message God gave him. They all turned their backs on God and they turned on Jeremiah for being the messenger. Do we sometimes feel like giving up on our loved ones? Do we get tired of always trying to do the right thing when other people continue to live in sin? Do we want to keep silent when they mock our faith and reject our friendship?
But also, like many of us, Jeremiah learned that the Word that God had placed inside of him was like a raging fire in his bones that could not be quenched. He was compelled to share God’s Word with a lost and dying world even if it was totally rejected.
Jeremiah finally understood that he could not save a single soul even with his years of preaching and prophesying. His responsibility as well as ours today is to tell people the truth. That is the only thing that will set people free, yet many will not heed the warning.
When God’s living Word (Jesus) dwells in us it burns our very soul and demands a release. Sharing the Word with others is not an option for believers. It is our purpose.
Bonnie Lyda is a Bible Studies Teacher at Mena First Assembly of God. Send her an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Special thanks to the Mena Star for sending Lyda's columns to First Arkansas News.