Jeremiah’s complaints were always met with an honest answer by God, who corrected and redirected Him. One of my favorite responses is this one: If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5) Jeremiah’s entire complaint, and God’s full response can be found Here.
God addresses Jeremiah’s impatience, his fear, and lack of strength. He also revealed that there were greater challenges in store for him.
This News Couldn’t have been easy for Jeremiah to Hear
Jeremiah’s task was far more sorrowful than the task given to any other prophet of God; he had to deliver God’s message of destruction and punishment. He spoke the truth, but no one believed him. Because his message wasn’t accepted, his life was always in danger. God not only corrected Jeremiah, he also mercifully warned him not to trust even his own family who had betrayed him. (Jeremiah 12:6)
Jeremiah cried out to the Lord many times throughout his service for Him, revealing that He felt his situation was hopeless. He even told God–in no less than poetic metaphor–that this wasn’t what He expected. He felt that His God was failing Him, thus his words reveal his despair and disillusionment. Here in Jeremiah 15:8 he refers to the Lord as a deceptive brook. He saw no end in sight and no cure for what was grieving him.
“Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? You are to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails.” —Jeremiah 15:18
Can you Relate to Jeremiah’s Surprise at His Situation?
The path that God leads us down can certainly have its twists and turns. Sometimes it gets tougher than we ever anticipated. Jeremiah’s ministry was no cakewalk. He faced more opposition and hatred than any other prophet.
Related Post: Making Sense of Suffering and Pain
God’s response to Jeremiah this time, however, was quite firm and an honest answer. God doesn’t accept our excuses. Jeremiah had lost sight of His calling, and He’d become focused on what he desired (an easier path and his own comfort) God’s will and destiny for Jeremiah was something very different: Jeremiah was born to be a prophet to the nations. As followers of Christ we have the same commission: delivering God’s message to all people of the world.
This Reluctant Prophet Needed to Refocus
God told Jeremiah to repent and that He would restore him to service if he would speak worthy, not worthless, words. If Jeremiah would do this, he could speak for God. Jeremiah was then told to let the people of Judah turn to him, but that he mustn’t turn to them. (Jeremiah 15:19)
God’s answer to Jeremiah is similar to the words were given in Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.
We’re to go into the world, (as Jeremiah was to take God’s message to Judah and Jerusalem, but we’re not to become friends with the world. (James 4:4) Jesus did the same; He was a friend of sinners, but e kept Himself pure.
Jeremiah had to trust His Sovereign Lord
Jeremiah would have to turn away from what he desired, and get back to the matter at hand. He wasn’t to coddle anyone in their sins (including himself) as the false prophets had done. They had lead God’s people astray with their own poor example. Jeremiah too was slipping, allowing his thoughts and words to become weak. Jesus words in the book of Matthew, however, teaches us what happens when the blind lead the blind.
“Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” —Matthew 15:14
God Didn’t Just Rebuke and Redirect Jeremiah
The Lord also gave Jeremiah a promise. Jeremiah would gain the strength that he needed if he would change his heart, and come back to Him. (or in other words Jeremiah needed to accept God’s plan for his life.)
“I will make you as strong as a wall to this people. You will be as strong as a wall of bronze. They will fight you. But they will not defeat you. This is because I am with you. I will rescue you and save you,” says the Lord. I will save you from these evil people. I will save you from these cruel people.” —Jeremiah 15:20-21
An Honest Answer Saves Lives!
We don’t always appreciate an honest answer, or want to receive our own truthful witnesses. However, truthful witnesses save lives. (Proverbs 14:25 NLT)
The flesh is weak, so we can prefer comfortable over convertible. Even this great prophet, Jeremiah, became side tracked by the weakness of the flesh. Nevertheless, when corrected he chose to accept God’s will, becoming that wall of bronze and continuing on in his ministry, with God’s great help.
To be used by God we must be willingly to accept the truth. We allow God to use us as He wants to use us, and we strive to do what’s pleasing to His heart.