Jeremiah The Prophet --

A Man That Suffered For Righteousness Sake


          Jeremiah, a prophet of God was one of the great men of the Bible. He prophesied during the tragic period of Jerusalem's destruction by the Babylonians. His preaching was during the reigns of Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah, and Gedaliah. He prophesied of ineluctable destruction and disaster for Jerusalem and the Jews. His work started in his native village of Anathoth where he was rejected by his own people. Jeremiah denounced the Jews for forsaking God and His Law and turning to idolatry. He called upon the people to surrender to Babylonian and punishment for their sins. Jeremiah was viewed as traitor.


            Jeremiah was notably a prophet that spoke of the destruction of the Jewish nation. However, he emphasized the temporary nature of the destruction and looked to the return of the Jews to their land. Jeremiah suffered much for the cause of righteousness. Because of his unpopular message he was put in a dungeon and " the dungeon there was no water, but mire: So Jeremiah sunk in the mire." (Jeremiah 38:6) How can a man endure being despised, rejected, hated and persecuted? Notice four qualities found in the life of Jeremiah which made it possible for him to endure these adverse circumstances.


            Jeremiah was a very sensitive man. He was a gentle man. He stood like a solid rock out­wardly but inwardly his heart was breaking for God's people. God's word was burning within him. He said, "For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay." (Jeremiah 20:8-9) He became the victor not the victim of these circumstances!


            Jeremiah was a man of sympathy. His heart was heavy and his eyes filled with tears as he preached the message of doom for his beloved people and his land. Jeremiah 4:19 says, "My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war." He repeatedly displayed his sympathy by praying for his people. "For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?" (Jeremiah 8:21-22) Being sympathetic to the hard times of others helps us in our hard times.


            Jeremiah was a man of courage. He could face life with confidence that God was with him. God said, "Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee." (Jeremiah 1:17-19) He did not give in even at the threat of his own life because he stood cou­rageously with God.


            Jeremiah had overwhelming and unshak­able faith and conviction in God. He had been called of God and spoke God's word. (Jeremiah 1:4-5) His message was a message of doom but he was also a man of hope. When Jerusalem was besieged, Jeremiah demonstrated great faith in God by buying a field. (Jeremiah 32) He could see beyond the immediate hardships to the ultimate return and restoration of Israel. (Jeremiah 16:14; Jeremiah 32:37.) We also must look beyond troubles with faith and conviction in the God of heaven.


            May God help us to the end that we can have more (1) sensitivity, (2) sympathy, (3) courage, and (4) more faith and conviction.


            Will you accept God's wonderful good news that Jesus died for your sins? Will you be baptized into Christ to put on Christ so that your sins can be forgiven by His blood? "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27) Believers contact Christ's saving blood by being baptized into His death. Those that become children of God have reason to rejoice. (Acts 8:39) Following man's response to God's good news man can worship in spirit and in truth.


By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA