Bearing the Load
Father, help me to be a speaker of truth. May Your Word guide me and Your Spirit fill me with courage.
Who do you identify with in the passage?
In this passage, different individuals and groups speak in turn. First Jeremiah quotes the people (18,19a), then God (19b), then the people (20), then Jeremiah (8:21--9:2), then God again (3-9), including a message to the prophet personally (4-6).
This intensely personal account of Jeremiah's feelings helps us to appreciate how much his identification with his people cost him. "Since my people are crushed, I am crushed," he says (21). He longs that there might be healing for their wounds (22). (The area of Gilead was known for its spices and medicinal herbs.) But while he cries bucket loads as he foresees his people's coming suffering (9:1), he is also appalled and disgusted by them (2). Talk about mixed emotions!
How many of us are willing to pay the price of ministering to those who are rejecting God? The Lord warns his servant that it will not be easy. Even his friends will lie and deceive him (4). When the people refuse to acknowledge their God (3,6), telling lies becomes an ordinary and expected part of life (8).
Pray for spiritual discernment and the ability to combine compassion for the people with faithfulness to God. Father, like the prophet, may my heart break with what breaks Your heart.
Father, like the prophet, may my heart break with what breaks Your heart.