Read Jeremiah (NLT)
Endurance is not a common quality. Many people lack the long-term commitment; caring and willingness that are vital to sticking with a task against all odds. But Jeremiah was a prophet who endured.
Jeremiah's call by God teaches how intimately God knows us. He valued us before anyone else knew we would exit. He cared for us while we were in our mother's womb. He planned our life while our body was still being formed. He values us more than we value ourselves.
Jeremiah had to depend on God's love as he developed endurance. His audiences were usually antagonistic or apathetic to his messages. He was ignored; his life was often threatened. He saw both the excitement of a spiritual awakening and the sorrow of a national return to idolatry. With the exception of the good king Josiah, Jeremiah watched king after king ignore his warnings and lead the people away from God. He saw fellow prophets murdered. He himself was severely persecuted. Finally he watched Judah's defeat at the hands of the Babylonians.
Jeremiah responded to all this with God's message and human tears. He felt firsthand God's love for his people and the people's rejection of that love. But even when he was angry with God and tempted to give up, Jeremiah knew he had to keep going. God had called him to endure. He expressed intense feelings but saw beyond the feelings to the God who was soon to execute justice but, who afterward would show mercy.
It may be easy for us to identify with Jeremiah's frustrations and discouragement, but we need to realize that the prophet's life is also an encouragement to faithfulness.
Jeremiah's strengths and accomplishments: 1) Wrote two Old Testament books, Jeremiah and Lamentations 2) Ministered during the reigns of the last five kings of Judah 3) Was a catalyst for the great spiritual reformation under King Josiah 4) Acted as God's faithful messenger in spite of many attempts on his life 5) Was so deeply sorrowful for the fallen condition of Judah that he earned the title "Weeping Prophet!"
Lessons from his life: 1) The majority opinion is not necessary God's will 2) Although punishment for sin is severe, there is hope in God's mercy 3) God will not accept empty or insincere worship 4) Serving God does not guarantee earthly security
Vital Statistics: Where: Anathoth Occupation: Prophet Relative: Father: Hilkiah Contemporaries: Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, Baruch
Key Verse: "'O Sovereign LORD,' I said, 'I can't speak for you! I'm too young!' 'Don't say that' the LORD replied, 'for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don't be afraid of the people for I will be with you and take care of you. I, the LORD, have spoken!'" (Jeremiah 1: 6-8) (NLT)
LORD, grant us the faith to endure when things are tough and others don't understand. Remove our fear and help us to remember that You will take care of us, in Jesus' name, amen.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 60189. All rights reserved.