Jeremiah 15:16 When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.
Poor Jeremiah found himself in a very unhappy and stressful place. This had come about only because he sought to remain FAITHFUL to the LORD’s calling in his DAILY WALK and WORK. The LORD had entrusted to him a message of utter gloom and doom to deliver to his people, and this, of course, was so OFFENSIVE to them that it made him extremely unpopular and isolated. All the other (false) prophets specialised in ‘tickling the people’s itching ears’ (cf 2 Timothy 4:3) with a message of ‘peace and prosperity’, which gave them sufficient popular credibility to encourage them in their error and shield them against criticism and opposition. Naturally, Jeremiah felt alone and devastated.
There are times when we might experience desolation like this. Many well-meaning Christians/churches today are so influenced by our surrounding culture, much of which belongs to a subtle but deliberate anti-Christian agenda, that when we speak up for ‘offensive’, ‘politically incorrect’ Biblical truth – like innate binary gender, heterosexual marriage, the sanctity of human life in the womb, the centrality of the nuclear family, the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ as the ONLY Saviour, the absolute sovereignty of the God of the Bible over EVERY ASPECT of his Creation, etc – we can feel a bit like Jeremiah!
So, what was this courageous, loyal prophet’s secret for survival? It was to feed constantly on God’s revealed Word, knowing that this alone could comfort, encourage and sustain him through his ordeal. He was, in fact, foreshadowing the way Jesus responded to the devil’s similar opposition at the beginning of his ministry: “If you ARE the Son of God, forget the way of the Cross, just get involved in feeding the hungry, conducting a powerful ‘signs and wonders’ ministry, compromising God’s revealed truth for man-made cultural wisdom, and you’ll do much better.” (Matthew 4:1-11).
Our Saviour, who, for us, chose instead the way of the Cross, replied with: ’Man does not live on bread alone, but on EVERY WORD THAT COMES FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD.’ (Matthew 4:4). Have we found this fountain of hope to sustain us? Do we draw on its resources daily? By doing so we can take hold of the promise God gave to Jeremiah: “’I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will save you from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the cruel.’” (Jeremiah 15:20-21)! Let us not be tricked into letting our culture dictate what we CAN and CAN’T say, but let us have the courage to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ that influences our culture for its own ultimate GOOD.