The Living Message of Jeremiah

Jeremiah was given the dubious task of being the prophet who would foretell, and live through, the judgment and subsequent exile of the people of God. The temple would be destroyed. Jerusalem ransacked. People starving in the streets. This is not a glamorous prophetic assignment.

But it got worse for Jeremiah:

– He was not allowed to marry or have children (Jeremiah 16:1-2).

– He couldn’t mourn with anyone who was mourning (Jeremiah 16:5).

– Neither was he allowed to celebrate with feasting (Jeremiah 16:8).

In short, at God’s bidding, Jeremiah was to live a lonely, dejected, melancholy life. His message would make him somewhat of a social pariah, which was exasperated by his refusal to attend community functions.

That sounds kind of mean to me. Wasn’t it enough that he would speak words of doom and gloom? Wasn’t it enough to see the land destroyed? Did God really have to pile on these personal directions about Jeremiah’s life? Seems like overkill on an already weighed down servant to me.

The answer to “why” here is mysterious; it falls under the realm of “the wisdom of God.” But perhaps we might surmise a couple of things from God’s treatment of His man. To put it succinctly, God did not only give Jeremiah a message to deliver; He gave Him a life to life.

In this, Jeremiah was more than just a messenger; he was a steward of his experiences. As such, the prophet became not only God’s mouthpiece, but also His heart. Who better to communicate the intense sadness of a jilted partner? Who better to communicate the hurt and pain of sin? Who better to communicate not only the word of God, but also His heart?

It was this man, Jeremiah, who did more than receive a word from the Lord. Through his experiences, he gained an understanding and appreciation for the divine heart beyond the words. Take heed, then, preachers of the word and bringers of the gospel. We many times major in the intellectual content of the message, making sure our exegetical t’s are crossed and our formulaic i’s are dotted, but in so doing, are we potentially missing the heart of a Father?

In our efforts at accuracy, might we be missing the Fatherly love and passionate concern of God? Jeremiah certainly didn’t.

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2 Comments

  • jcounce says:

    Great word! Our church is currently reading through the Bible chronologically and we have just gooten through Jeremiah (wish i had this to read to my lifegroup last week). I lead a lifegroup of about 5 young married couples. I tend to second guess myself all the time on what i am sharing on Sunday mornings: am i giving enough context, or too much context, am i giving these parents and husbands and wives application that they can take away, and so on. This morning we had everyone there and even a couple visiting (rare:)) and i began to look around the circle(i sit our group in a circle) and i just felt the Holy Spirit saying , “just let people share, Jason, you have studied and you have some good insight, but there are people in this circle who I have spoken to this week and they need a chance to voice this.” So, i simply closed my notes and dropped them to the floor and asked if God had spoken to anyone through His Word through the week and would they like to share? I fought the urge to fill the, what seemed to be minutes of silence, with some great “insight of my own”, when somone started sharing and reading a few verses and the next thing i knew it was 10 min past time to go to service and no one wanted to leave that circle. I don’t want every morning to just be a free-for-all, i want our group to be intentional, but every so often as the Spirit leads i want hear what God is doing in other’s lives. If they find their voice in our circle then they are much more likely to use that voice “in the world”, which lines up with our lifegroup verse: 1 Thess. 2:8 “Sharing Christ, Sharing Life”.
    (sorry so long winded)

  • MK says:

    No apologies necessary; thanks for sharing what’s happening with your group.

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