I have been reading through the Bible using M’Cheyne’s One Year Bible reading plan on YouVersion. It has been a great accountability help with keeping up with regular reading besides what I study for upcoming lessons and sermons. For the past couple weeks we have been going through Jeremiah, who is also known as the “weeping prophet.” The “weeping prophet” is not a popular nickname for anyone. But, regardless, that is how Jeremiah is commonly referred to. Today’s reading plan called for chapter 20 of Jeremiah and one verse stood out to me:
Jeremiah 20:9 – 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.”
Read over the verse again and think on it. Let it ruminate in your mind. Put yourself in his shoes. He is given a mission that is anything but desirable. Even today, it would be hard to find someone who would want to do what Jeremiah did, especially if you based it on this chapter alone. Jeremiah was a prophet in Jerusalem for about 40 years right up to the time of the fall of Judah and their deportation to Babylon. He most often spoke towards people who had rejected the one true God for false idols. He warned them time and again right up to the point where the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed. All of that to basically say no one would want to be Jeremiah. Jeremiah 20:10-18 share his emotions at this time:
10 For I hear many whispering.
Terror is on every side!
“Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”
say all my close friends,
watching for my fall.
“Perhaps he will be deceived;
then we can overcome him
and take our revenge on him.”
11 But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior;
therefore my persecutors will stumble;
they will not overcome me.
They will be greatly shamed,
for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonor
will never be forgotten.
12 O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous,
who sees the heart and the mind,[a]
let me see your vengeance upon them,
for to you have I committed my cause.
13 Sing to the Lord;
praise the Lord!
For he has delivered the life of the needy
from the hand of evildoers.
14 Cursed be the day
on which I was born!
The day when my mother bore me,
let it not be blessed!
15 Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father,
“A son is born to you,”
making him very glad.
16 Let that man be like the cities
that the Lord overthrew without pity;
let him hear a cry in the morning
and an alarm at noon,
17 because he did not kill me in the womb;
so my mother would have been my grave,
and her womb forever great.
18 Why did I come out from the womb
to see toil and sorrow,
and spend my days in shame?
Can you imagine coming to a time in your life where you cursed the day you were born? I have been through times where I have felt sad or depressed but I do not believe I have ever been at the point Jeremiah was where I cursed the day I was born. This provides a little insight as to why he was labeled the “weeping prophet.” However, as you read verse 9 about a “fire burning within” it brings you to a place where you need to ask if you have that fire within you? We have all been given a mission by God to take the Gospel to the world, and to share the love of God with everyone we come in contact with. We are to make disciples and to take His Word to the nations. Do we have a fire burning within us that keeps us from being silent? Or do we have no choice but to speak the message God has placed on our heart? Do we get tired from trying to hold the message inside of us? Why not?
I am praying that God will light this fire within me that will not allow me to be silent. Even though Jeremiah had a message no one wanted to hear, he did not let that keep him silent. He spoke unpopular words but they were necessary. Today, the Gospel message is unpopular, but it is necessary. May it light a fire in us that we cannot keep inside.