Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Old Testament reading for this week, from Jeremiah 20:7-13, is a difficult passage. In it, Jeremiah laments that God has deceived him. What do we make of this statement? When we examine the context, we find that Jeremiah has been proclaiming woe to the people of Judah. The fact that he has detractors and persecutors indicates that, despite the hardships caused by the Babylonians in his time, some thought Judah would pull through just fine. Yet the Lord was continually reminding Jeremiah what to say. Though Jeremiah was absolutely right, the people around him would not have understood. By their measures, all was survivable. They were not entirely desolate. They expected to be all right, given time.
God’s message to his people is that they need to turn their hearts back to the Lord and trust in him rather than in themselves. Those who do trust him, like Jeremiah, seem to be acting and speaking foolishly. Therefore, it’s a pretty rough life for God’s people.
Jeremiah’s desire is that he should see the downfall of the people who mock him. He would like to see his prophecies come to pass. It is not so much that he wants the city to fall utterly into total ruin. But he would like to be shown correct, at least sometimes. After all, he expects that the Lord will do exactly what he promised.
In hindsight, we can see that Jeremiah was right. He understood God’s call. He was obedient. He is commended as a great man of God throughout the rest of the Old Testament and the New Testament. We can thank the Lord for Jeremiah’s faithfulness. We can also pray that we will be just as faithful, whether we see the results of that trust or not. Know that the Lord is able to care for his people and use them in the lives of others.
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