Daily Thought for: 12th August

THE LAST STRAW

Jeremiah 20. 7-18

Universal rejection and hatred broke Jeremiah down and he turns to God in his agony. The last straw for the prophet was his exclusion from the society of his fellow men and the temple. He accuses God of enticing him under false pretences into becoming a prophet, and see where it has led him! All shades of the prophet’s emotions, intellect and will are seen. He traces his ministry back to the overpowering voice of God. True to that voice, he had proclaimed loudly the message, ‘Violence and destruction!’ But for this he had been made a laughing stock and a reproach continually. Every day he found himself and his message being derided. 

He rationalized within his mind that it would be better for him not to speak of Jehovah. But then he found, as it were, a ‘burning fire shut up in his bones’ and he had to speak God’s message. The surging fire in the breast of Jeremiah meant that in preaching God’s message he had to be willing to see all his familiar friends turn against him. 

For a moment the prophet lifts his soul to Jehovah in a song of praise; he exclaims ‘the Lord is with me’. What rich compensations for being separated from his friends. He was associated with One who is mighty, terrible, just, and righteous. At the end of his reflections he rises to the apex of praise: ‘Sing unto the Lord, praise ye the Lord’. 

The wail of despair that follows is in stark contrast to his song of praise. A sudden depression grips the prophet and he gives in to the darkness of despair, and curses the day of his birth. The servants of God are not above the trials of depression and despair, especially when it is hard to understand the ways of God, as in Job’s case, or when the message is derided and refused by the people, as it was with Jeremiah. 

But observe that the clouds came when the prophet was occupied with himself; his eye for the moment was turned away from Jehovah, and his tender heart was broken down with grief. The curtain falls; the temptation of despair overcomes the prophet. But it would not end there—his trust in God was stronger than any despair. 

 

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