A Sobering Thought from the Life of Jeremiah
Jeremiah is a prophet who lived during a very difficult time. He was prophesying to people who did not want to hear what he wanted to say. He was living in a time when God’s people were rebelling against God and Jeremiah was the messenger of God’s coming judgment on the nation and people of Judah. Jeremiah was imprisoned and attempts were made on his life. However, he remained faithful. There is a word from God to Jeremiah in chapter 16 that I find very sobering. Here it is:
The word of the Lord also came to me, saying, 2 “You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place.” 3 For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning their mothers who bore them and their fathers who begot them in this land: 4 “They shall die gruesome deaths; they shall not be lamented nor shall they be buried, but they shall be like refuse on the face of the earth. They shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, and their corpses shall be meat for the birds of heaven and for the beasts of the earth.”
Jeremiah was not allowed to marry or have children. What do you suppose you would think if God told you that? What would your friends/neighbors think of God if you told them that God gave you this command? These words from God fly directly in the face of many people’s perception of God as a benevolent grandfather, mostly giving out good things and also mostly not engaged in the day to day lives of His people. I think that most people would be angry with God or use it as an excuse not to worship or get to know a God who would give such a command.
But note that God gave this command as a form of protection. God knew the terrible judgment that was going to fall on Judah. God gave this command out of His love for Jeremiah. And Jeremiah obeyed. I believe Jeremiah obeyed because he had a strong relationship with God. Jeremiah trusted God. In fact, when you read the book of Jeremiah you see that God asked Jeremiah to do many difficult things and Jeremiah suffered greatly for His relationship with God. Yet, Jeremiah loved God. In Lamentations 3:22-26 this same Jeremiah wrote this: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul. Therefore I hope in Him! The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
Oh, fellow followers of Jesus. The attitude which Jeremiah demonstrates needs to be our attitude. We must never allow the circumstances of our lives to color our perception of God. We must submit to Him and allow Him to guide and direct our actions. We serve a great God, even when He gives us hard commands to obey. If there is anything in your life that you are struggling with today, give it over to God. Submit to Him. Do what He says. Love Him for His commands. You will not be disappointed!