Day 19 Jeremiah 15 ... Balky Prophet

For most of his life Jeremiah had to deliver a gloomy message, and no one felt the weight of that message more than he. "Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me . . . Oh that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears" (8:21, 9:1). That spirit comes through so strongly in his writings that Jeremiah has become known as "the weeping prophet."

More than Judahâs future caused Jeremiah alarm; he feared for his personal safety. From the very beginning he argued with God about his assignment as a prophet, and throughout his career he remained reluctant, insecure, and often unhappy.

God made harsh demands on Jeremiah, and he responded to those demands in typical fashion: by whining, complaining, feeling sorry for himself, and even lashing out against Godâs cruelty. The book includes a remarkable series of conversations - more like arguments - in which Jeremiah tells God exactly how he feels. "O LORD, you deceived me," he accuses (20:7). He calls into question Godâs ability: "Why are you like a man taken by surprise, like a warrior powerless to save?" (14:9). Jeremiah did not appreciate his own or his countryâs predicament and he let God know it.

This chapter includes one such conversation with God. Quotation marks surround Godâs speeches: He begins by pronouncing judgment on the nation of Judah. But at verse 10 Jeremiah butts in with his agenda. What will people think of a prophet delivering a message like that? His name is a national swear word already. Heâd be better off unborn. God resumes his solemn pronouncement in verse 12, only to be interrupted again by Jeremiahâs self-piteous complaints. To him, God seems unreliable, like a brook that dries up, a spring that fails.

Despite Jeremiahâs fits and protests, God never gave up on him. In this chapter, he promises to make the weepy prophet "a fortified wall of bronze," able to stand against the whole land. Likewise, Jeremiah, for all his diatribes, never gave up on God. The word of God was inside him and he couldnât stop talking about it, no matter how hard he tried. "But if I say, ÎI will not mention him or speak any more in his name,â his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot."

Point to Ponder: What "complaints" would you bring to God? Do you, like Jeremiah, ever feel unappreciated by God?