To bring gloomy messages to people is a hard task. For forty years Jeremiah was a prophet who nobody listened to. Nobody moved when he spoke. That can be-and was discouraging! Throughout his life, Jeremiah stood alone, declaring God’s messages of doom, announcing the new covenant, and weeping over the fate of his beloved country…making him “the weeping prophet.” Definitely not a success story in the eyes of the world.
So why do I love the book of Jeremiah? Because in God’s eyes, Jeremiah was a success. Regardless of the opposition and personal cost, Jeremiah consistently and uncompromisingly proclaimed the Word of God. As measured by God, being obedient and faithful are what count for success. I recently read a commentary about Jeremiah called Profiles of Courage. What really hits home about that for me is Profiles of Courage was the name of the first magazine column I wrote for!
Jeremiah’s life was far from being a bed of roses, it instead was very difficult. He knew that God’s justice would eventually come, but he was impatient and wanted justice to come quickly. Hmmm… who does this also sound like? Us maybe? When Jeremiah called to God for relief, God’s answer was, “If you think this is bad, how are you going to cope when it gets really tough?” God’s answers aren’t always what we want to hear, and sometimes those answers are really hard to swallow. “If you think this is bad, how are you going to cope when it gets really tough?” I firmly believe that we have to meditate on this answer from God. We have to grasp and truly understand how this answer applies to us. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst – be ready for anything. And the only way I know how to do that is…
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8
So how can I draw near to God? In the book of James, he gives us four ways: 1. Humble yourselves before God. Yield to His authority and will. Commit your life to Him-put God in the driver’s seat of your life. 2. Resist the devil. 3. Wash your hands and purify your hearts. Replace the desire to sin with your desire to experience God’s purity. 4. Let there be sorrow and deep grief for your sins. Don’t be afraid to express deep heartfelt sorrow for what you have done.