“Watch out, Jeremiah! They are out to get you. And your bitterness is not far behind!” Jeremiah has every right to be emotional about this. His life has turned upside down since God chose him to bring the message of doom to his people. Jeremiah chose obedience to God and did not turn his back like so many. His faithfulness was seen by God.
Now we see the “ugly” side of being a prophet. I might even extend that “ugliness” to any of us who have served God in ministry. From my firsthand experience in that area, I’d have to say the blessings are so much in excess of anything “ugly.” That’s probably Jeremiah’s experience, too, until now when his audience is plotting against him.
I can’t say for sure what goes on in people’s minds when it comes to their faith leadership, but Jeremiah’s audience was not liking the message Jeremiah was sharing. In my own experience, the hardships experienced would usually revert back to someone’s desire that we do something “their” way or in a way that didn’t challenge them in their faith. People generally lean toward the “feel good” option and seek pleasure out of life.
When the message is hard, people don’t want to listen. In recovery circles, we call that “denial.” The people in Jeremiah’s day were no different. Jeremiah’s message from God, if true, would create a new reality that was very unpleasant. The people didn’t understand that they could prevent it if they really wanted to by repenting and listening to God again.
Let’s take a quick look at Jeremiah’s response. If you’ve ever been hurt by another individual or group, you might identify a little with Jeremiah. Instead of taking matters into his own hands to seek revenge, Jeremiah cried out to God for him to take care of them. Granted, Jeremiah’s ask does seems a bit extreme, but then I’m not walking in his shoes.
Here’s an easy verse for us to remember when we are facing our enemies or those who we are at odds with for one reason or another. Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” That says it all, doesn’t it?
You might even be in the midst of a “situation” right now where you feel marginalized or criticized for something you are doing or believe in. It doesn’t feel good. It’s hard to know what to say to the other person, who may even be someone you love with all your heart. Remember who is fighting your battle!
You are not alone. Watch out that you don’t fall into the trap of revenge. Here’s another verse to give you strength. Deuteronomy 20:4 says, “For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!” This is an ongoing promise.
The psalmist tells us to cry out to the Lord. “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17) There is nothing you can do or say that will surprise God. He knows our hearts. He knows our fears. He knows when we have been knocked down, ridiculed, or hurt in some way. What harm can he rescue you from today?
Let’s pray … Lord, you are my protector and defender. I feel so secure knowing that you are fighting my battles, so I don’t have to. Help me to be a peacemaker to keep situations from getting out of control. Thank you for how you protect me from the evil one and those who seek to destroy me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.