“When Pashhur the priest, the son of Immer, who was chief officer in the house of the LORD, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, Pashhur had Jeremiah the prophet beaten, and put him in the stocks that were at the upper Benjamin Gate, which was by the house of the LORD.” ~ Jeremiah 20:1-2
God’s message to the people of Judah, spoken through Jeremiah, was not well-received. They did not want to turn away from their idols and back to the LORD. They did not want to hear that destruction and captivity awaited them should they not repent.
Poor Jeremiah, who wept over the people and loved them, was abused by those same people. He lamented to God:
“O LORD, Thou hast deceived me and I was deceived; Thou hast overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me. For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction, because for me the word of the LORD has resulted in reproach and derision all day long. But if I say, ‘I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,’ then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it.” ~ Jeremiah 20:7-9
Because of his obedience to the LORD, Jeremiah was laughed at and mocked, beaten and tortured. He wondered aloud, in a prayer to God, why? And I think he was tempted to quit. How many times do we want to throw in the towel when things get too hard? Following God is hard, and the world does not always want to hear His message.
Jesus warned us:
” ‘These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.’ ” ~ John 16:33
Not, “you might have tribulation”, but “you have tribulation”. It is promised to us.
The apostle John also warned us:
“Do not marvel, brethren, if the world hates you.” ~ 1 John 3:13
Yet Jeremiah confessed he was absolutely miserable when he thought of not speaking God’s words any longer. “Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it.”
It is okay to have times that we want to give up and quit. We can even tell God how miserable we are and feel sorry for ourselves. God knows already anyway! He sees our hearts. However, we cannot stay in that spot of misery, of “woe is me”. For deep down inside, we know that if we truly love God and desire to be His servants, then disobeying Him is pure misery. God tells us:
” ‘Is not My word like fire?’ declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer which shatters a rock?’ ” ~ Jeremiah 23:29
I love this! Jeremiah spoke of how holding in God’s message burned like a fire shut up in his bones, and then God tells us that His word is like fire!
But God’s word is not only like fire or “a hammer which shatters a rock”.
“Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee… Strengthen me according to Thy word… For I trust in Thy word… This is my comfort in my affliction, that Thy word has revived me… Be gracious to me according to Thy word… My soul languishes for Thy salvation; I wait for Thy word… How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!… Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path… Thou art my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Thy word… Sustain me according to Thy word, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope… My eyes fail with longing for Thy salvation, and for Thy righteous word… The unfolding of Thy words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple… Establish my footsteps in Thy word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me… Thy word is very pure, therefore Thy servant loves it… I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Thy words. My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Thy word… Plead my cause and redeem me; revive me according to Thy word… The sum of Thy word is truth, and every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting. Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of Thy words. I rejoice at Thy word, as one who finds great spoil… Let my cry come before Thee, O LORD; give me understanding according to Thy word. Let my supplication come before Thee; deliver me according to Thy word… Let my tongue sing of Thy word…” ~ Psalm 119:11, 28b, 42b, 50, 58b, 81, 103, 105, 114, 116, 123, 130, 133, 140, 147-148, 154, 160-162, 169-170, 172a
Treasure. Help to withstand sin. Strength. Trustworthy. Comfort. Revival. Gracious. Salvation. Worth waiting for. Sweet. A lamp and a light to shine the Way. A hiding place and shield. Worth the wait. Sustenance. Life. Hope. Salvation. Righteousness. Light. Understanding. Firm foundation. Frees us from the power of sin. Pure. Loved. Helpful. Worth the wait and the time spent meditating on it. Redemption. Revival. Truth. Everlasting. Awe-inspiring. Fills us with joy. Priceless. Causes us to cry out to God. Gives understanding. Prayer-inducing. Deliverance. A song in our mouth! All of these from one Psalm!
Life is hard. People might not receive it well, but don’t hold in God’s word! Read it. Treasure it. Live it. Share it.