Jeremiah was desperate. He was called to speak for God to the people of Judah when they had sunk to the abysmal bottom of a state of abandon. Their homes were steeped in idolatry. Their prophets and priests were full of lies as they promised prosperity and peace (14:13). Chapter seven tells us that the men were assembling themselves in troops in the houses of prostitutes and, like fed horses, every one was neighing after his neighbor’s wife. It was a raunchy kind of city, Jerusalem, once the hub of devotion to Jehovah; now a ticking time-bomb waiting for divine detonation. It was, in reality, all over but the terror and tears of Babylonian bondage.
“Shall I not visit thee for these things? saith the Lord; and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this (5:9)? ”
Jeremiah’s job was to give a final warning, but it must have seemed desperately hopeless to this young prophet. There have been times already this year when I have felt a bit like Jeremiah; like last Monday when, in my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, 60 marriage licenses were issued to homosexual couples. Or like last weekend when, according to people.com, my home state of Alabama had the dubious distinction of containing one of the top five largest fan-bases for “Fifty Shades of Grey”, the blockbuster porn movie that took in over $173 million dollars internationally in its first weekend. Or like when I look around in the body of the Lord and see sisters sponsoring activities that are blatantly indiscreet and immodest or speak to couples who are attending all the services of the church, but are allowing sin to privately wreak havoc in their homes—a havoc that will, one day, no longer be contained within the walls of their homes, but will inevitably bring reproach on God’s people. Or when I look in my own life and see the temptations of selfish sins that, all too often, overtake me. I have to be on guard constantly. I am so weak that discouragement can tempt me to throw in the towel when it comes to speaking to others or even praying about the way the devil is influencing people in my world. Yet, I know that when we give in to discouragement about sin, we are just one step away from involvement in the sin itself. Perhaps most tragically, when our children see us caving to the culture by being silent about sin, they lose their own moorings and tolerance turns to apathy which soon becomes experimentation and, finally, full participation. We, as parents, “wake up” to the wails of destruction and sorrow, but, alas, it’s too late to “save Jerusalem.”
So Jeremiah’s job was thankless and tiresome; daunting and disappointing. He was constantly going from fellowship and conversations with the Almighty to the gates of Jerusalem, where people…the people who had seen the salvation of the Lord…people who knew the history of His amazing deliverance, were repeatedly scoffing at his revelations and rejecting his warnings. He was, at various points in the book, languishing, afflicted and then revived.
I am not a Jeremiah. Never have I been truly persecuted for the sake of the Word. But, in Jeremiah’s words, particularly in His words of Messianic prophecy, I find the revival. As I look for prayers this month, I am also looking for hope. I know you will want to find the hope of the Messiah in Jeremiah, as well. (Hint: The principal Messianic announcements are in chapters 23, 31, and 33)
So , here’s a little “cheat sheet” for you to check and see if you are on a plausible track for listing the prayers of Jeremiah. Be sure to remember you are looking only for words of Jeremiah and only those words that are addressed or spoken to Jehovah. Okay, here are the first five of my prayers with my personal titles. Your titles, of course, will be different.
1:6—Jeremiah’s confession of his own inability.
10:6-8—Jeremiah’s praise of God’s relative greatness.
10:23-25—Jeremiah’s prayer for a deflection of God’s anger.
11:20—Jeremiah’s prayer for vengeance on His enemies.
12:1-4—Jeremiah expresses discouragement about the prosperity of the wicked.
So we can do this! I’m going to have to work hard this week to be finished in time for the podcast. (I am at my daughter’s house for the remainder of this week, so there is a sizable distraction [about 19 pounds or so…and the nineteen pounds rolled over for the first time yesterday…at MY house!]…AAaand, obviously this parenthetical note could get way out of hand.)
I’m very happy to announce that there’s a brand new study group forming in North Alabama. The first meeting of this group will be next Monday night at the West Huntsville building at 6:30—5:45 or so if you want to bring a sack supper. Come join us if you are in our area. We’re excited about the number who have expressed interest in the dig! You are the best.
And finally, this came to my attention after having completed the above paragraphs. My friend Daniel Gaines, who is working for the Lord in Tanzania, Africa received this notice from the Cinemax in Arusha, Tanzania, Africa:
”Dear Customers, It has just come to our attention that the movie “50 Shades of Grey” has been banned from Public Screening by the Filming Board of Tanzania thus we are forced to discontinue showing the movie. Apologies for the inconvenience caused….Century Cinemax Arusha. “
Perhaps we, in the U.S. may need the missionaries more than they do in Africa.