A daily devotion for August 16th
Jeremiah and Pashhur
20 When the priest Pashhur son of Immer, the official in charge of the temple of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, 2 he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the Lord’s temple. 3 The next day, when Pashhur released him from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord’s name for you is not Pashhur, but Terror on Every Side. 4 For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; with your own eyes you will see them fall by the sword of their enemies. I will give all Judah into the hands of the king of Babylon, who will carry them away to Babylon or put them to the sword. 5 I will deliver all the wealth of this city into the hands of their enemies—all its products, all its valuables and all the treasures of the kings of Judah. They will take it away as plunder and carry it off to Babylon. 6 And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house will go into exile to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have prophesied lies.’”
7 You deceived[a] me, Lord, and I was deceived[b];
you overpowered me and prevailed.
I am ridiculed all day long;
everyone mocks me.
8 Whenever I speak, I cry out
proclaiming violence and destruction.
So the word of the Lord has brought me
insult and reproach all day long.
9 But if I say, “I will not mention his word
or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.
10 I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!
Denounce him! Let’s denounce him!”
All my friends
are waiting for me to slip, saying,
“Perhaps he will be deceived;
then we will prevail over him
and take our revenge on him.”
You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say,I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. Jeremiah 20:7-9
Here, in poetic form, we have the thoughts of Jeremiah while he is in the stocks, waiting for what would happen on the morrow. This is a remarkable account of what the prophet thought while he was imprisoned. He was, to say the least, a profoundly perturbed prophet! Here we get another look at the honest humanity of this man, at the way he faced circumstances just as we do, with fear and despair, alternating at times between faith and confidence.
The first thing he feels is that God himself has deceived him. Here is a bitter cry in which Jeremiah charges God with having lied to him, and with having taken advantage of him. Have you ever felt like that toward God? Jeremiah is probably thinking back to the promise with which he began his ministry. God had called Jeremiah as a young man, and Jeremiah had objected. Remembering those words, he is saying,
What happened, Lord? What happened to your promise? You said you'd be with me to deliver me, but here I am in these miserable stocks. That is the way the heart can easily feel toward God. Like so many of us, Jeremiah took these promises rather superficially. He read into them assumptions God never intended, and so he charges God with lying. That, of course, is the one thing God cannot do. God cannot lie. Yet Jeremiah feels, as many of us have felt, that God has failed his promise. I do not know how many times people have said to me, referring to the word of God,
Well, I know what it says, but it doesn't work! That is just another way of saying,
God has deceived me; God's a liar! That was the prophet's predicament.
The second thing he found was that people were mocking him. Though they could not answer the keenness of his logic, they did the only thing they could do — they began to ridicule his person. That is always the refuge of petty minds. When people cannot handle a logical argument they begin to attack the person, and try to destroy him personally. They laughed at Jeremiah, poked fun at him, ridiculed him. Mockery is hard to bear, hard for the human spirit to take, and this was getting to Jeremiah.
Third, he discovered an unbearable tension within himself. He says,
Lord, your word is a reproach and derision to me. I wish I had never heard it! He wants to quit preaching, but he cannot. How he is torn with this inner tension — of fear and a dislike of proclaiming the truth, because it only subjects him to ridicule and scorn; and yet when he resolved to quit he found he could not, because the fire of God was burning in his bones and he had to say something. Do you know anything of that? Perhaps not about public preaching — we are not all called to that. But have you ever felt that you just had to speak out? Some injustice, some moral perversity, some scandalous conduct, some loveless hypocrisy was occurring, and you just could not keep quiet about it. Yet you knew that if you spoke out you would only get into trouble, and nobody would thank you for it — you would only upset the status quo and create strife — but you could not contain yourself. Did you ever feel that way? That was what Jeremiah was experiencing here — this tremendous struggle within himself against the proclamation of the Word of God which only created more trouble.
Lord, thank you that I can pour my heart out to you. Keep me from charging you with falsehood. Keep me, Lord, from weakness. But even when we are weak, thank you for the forgiveness and the healing that you manifest in my life.
Life Application: Are we willing to stand against overt evil, and trust God's sovereign wisdom for the outcome of our witness? When life tumbles in do we question God's prerogative to determine our circumstances?
From your friends at www.RayStedman.org
Daily Devotion © 2014 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.