Read Jeremiah 1:1–10
You probably remember the words from your own childhood: “Don’t be such a crybaby.” Well-intentioned people can assume that tears are either a sign of weakness or a lack of faith in God. But God doesn’t look at crying like we do.
In fact, He says, “Weeping may endure for a night… “(Psalm 30:5b). It’s a reality of this life. Heartache happens. Pain persists. Grief grips all of us. And weeping is usually the result.
Jesus knew the agony of tears. He stood before the tomb of a dear friend and wept bitterly (John 11:35). Before his arrest, Jesus experienced “agonizing sorrow” in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-38).
Throughout Scripture, people of God openly expressed their heartache to the Lord. Jeremiah even wrote a book called, “Lamentations,” that expresses the pain he felt and is the focus of our attention for the next week. In order to appreciate Jeremiah’s heartache, we have to understand his world.
By the time Jeremiah appeared on the scene, Israel had experienced spiritual disaster. God brought judgement on His rebellious people as the United Kingdom of Saul, David, and Solomon dissolved into civil war and split into two nations: the northern kingdom called Israel and the southern kingdom called Judah. Over the reign of 19 evil kings and 209 years, the northern kingdom rebelled against God and was eventually conquered by an Assyrian ruler named Shalmanesar. The 10 tribes to the north were then scattered around the earth.
The kingdom of Judah, led by 20 different kings, lasted another century and a half, and, through the influence of some godly leaders, experienced three great revivals. Ultimately, the unfaithfulness of the people led to the conquest of the nation by the famous king, Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed Solomon’s temple, ransacked the city of Jerusalem, and carried away many Jews into captivity in Babylon.
In the years prior to the Babylonian captivity, the priests were unfaithful, the prophets hypocritical, and the politician’s self – serving. Jeremiah’s job was to stand firmly for the Lord and warn the Judeans of impending doom because of their rebellion against God. It was a humanly impossible job.
In spite of the clear call of God to this task, Jeremiah felt inadequate and reluctant (v. 6) because he was only in his late teens or early 20s. But God equipped him and gave him a clear, though difficult, message (vv. 7-9). Jeremiah’s job was to represent the heart of God to a rebellious people.
Do you ever feel inadequate to do what God has called you to do? Do you feel paralyzed at times by your own weaknesses? Have people put you down or failed to take you seriously because of your inexperience?
Remember these great words:
“God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”
(1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NLT)
Take heart! Like Jeremiah, if you are doing the work of God, He will stand by you and reward your faithfulness.