LESSONS IN SUFFERING FROM THE LIFE OF JEREMIAH
Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem
Painting by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Jeremiah: A Prophet Called By God Before He Was Born
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you [set you apart]; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” JEREMIAH 1:5
Jeremiah knew God had called him to be a faithful spokesman but there were times when even he felt God had not exactly rewarded his faithfulness. In fact there were times when he even complained to God that he felt he had been deceived because in spite of his obedience, the people had rejected everything he said.
"O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me."
Lesson #1: God Calls Us To Obedience, Not To Being Accepted
Jeremiah's commission from God was to call God's rebellious children to repent of their idolatry and going after other gods. God complained:
"My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the spring of living water and dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water."JEREMIAH 2:13
Lesson #2: God Uses Wounded Healers To Reach Out To The Broken
Jeremiah is known as 'The Weeping Prophet' because of the pain and grief he experienced in being obedient to God's call.
"O that my eyes were a fountain of tears; I would weep forever," cries Jeremiah in JEREMIAH Chapter 9.
But Jeremiah's tears are not for his own suffering but are God pouring out his grief at the way his children have turned their backs on him after all he had done for them. God weeps because he has to punish the sins of his people, just as he has to punish the sins of those who do not know him.