A Devotional Thought From Jeremiah
But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten. Jeremiah 20:11
Jeremiah, the preacher, was under assault by the society around him. His message was unpopular, he was “struck” which means hit with 40 lashes, put in wooden stocks like those displayed in Williamsburg, VA and other colonial American towns, it would be fair to say people were out to get him, and as a matter of fact this continued for some time following this passage. All because he preached an unpopular message, and to be fair it was a message that was given to him by God.
You might think that open minded people would say, “Well, it's just his opinion. Ignore him and leave him alone.” They didn’t. You might think they would say, “He just one of those foolish preachers who think God’s word is for everybody.” They didn’t. You might think they would simply mock him, and keep him at arm’s length. They didn’t.
They wanted him to be afflicted because his preaching stood in judgment of their lifestyle. Even today Bible preachers in some societies find themselves in such circumstances, and in freer countries the time may come when preachers in the free countries experience the same persecution. Even as the storm clouds of invasion by the most powerful nation on earth in Jeremiah’s day appeared on the foreign policy horizon the people refused to heed Jeremiah’s sad prediction. They simply would not believe it. So they pounded Jeremiah with their wrath.
No preacher likes to be in that position. No preacher likes to suffer because his ministry is unpopular. Jeremiah no more than others.
But Jeremiah realized that God was with him, as a mighty defender. It was, after all, God’s message he was proclaiming. He was aware that though he was being persecuted, it was his persecutors who would stumble trying to hurt him and stifle the message, and would not defeat or prevail against the prophet, and that the outcome would be their shame, their failure to prosper, and their confusion. Brave faith for a preacher under persecution.
Modern preachers of the Bible need such faith. If we preach what the Bible says, let’s face it, many in free societies will reject it, and hate it, because it goes against their sinful desires. They will probably hate it to the point of some sort of persecution of the preacher, and the church, and the individual believer. But our hope and realization is that God is with us because our Bible message is His message. In the end it is the persecutors who will fail and fall. Jeremiah’s confidence is still the preacher’s confidence today.