What is the focus of our reading today? Is it the public suffering of Jeremiah or is it another example of how far God’s people have fallen? Both seem to be powerful. Especially when you remember that Jeremiah was a real person. What went through his mind as he was being beaten?
I couldn’t help but let my mind go to brutal scenes of Jesus’ own whipping. He is now referred to as being the ideal “Suffering Servant.” Isaiah, a prophet years before Jeremiah wrote about Jesus in Isaiah 32:13-14, “See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.”
While we don’t hear how Jeremiah may have lamented due to his injuries or being on display for speaking God’s truth, we see his bold proclamation to his tormentor. A priest of all people was the one who took exception to Jeremiah’s prophesying. A priest. Was God’s voice to his servant, Pashhur, absent or just unheard?
This speaks directly to how far the people had strayed from God. Pashhur was clearly not the only priest who had gone astray and lost God’s favor. Imagine if the people were relying on their own man of God, the priest, for Godly wisdom and this same priest was totally denying God’s messages by arresting Jeremiah.
Something was seriously wrong in Judah. Without wise leadership, the people had nothing good to follow. It’s not entirely their own fault. The evil one was crafty by going after leadership, including religious leaders. History will show many times when leadership was tainted with evil. Any time we are distracted by things of this world so that we ignore God, that’s success for the evil one. Our society is not any better than what Jeremiah was seeing. Is it?
The good news for us is that as servants, we can stay strong in our faith and continuously seek connection with the truth. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 gives us a clue about the truth. Verse 17, for example, says, “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” Jesus prayed that over all his faithful ones! Over you and me!
We may be in a fallen world, but we have also met Jesus and know he is the truth. We have all that we need to navigate our way around. John 17 also talks about how we are not of this world. Neither was Jeremiah. He devoted his life to following God at any cost. Are we as bold?
Let’s pray … Lord, sometimes I look around at the suffering in this world and am reminded how blessed my life is. For that I am grateful. Your power and majesty are present and visible, help me to seek you always. Help me be a leader that brings people to the truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.