Yahweh, you have persuaded me, and I was persuaded.
You are stronger than I, and have prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all day.
Everyone mocks me.
For as often as I speak, I cry out;
I cry, “Violence and destruction!”
because Yahweh’s word has been made a reproach to me,
and a derision, all day.
If I say, I will not make mention of him,
or speak any more in his name,
then there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary with holding it in.
Isn’t it great to read about the strength that Jeremiah had to spend a night locked in stocks only to rebuke the one who put him there as soon as he was let loose? If that’s all I knew, I would be tempted to think that Jeremiah was doing just fine, but right after that incident, we have these words recorded. It’s as if we are listening to Jeremiah’s personal conversation with God.
Jeremiah explains that everyone is mocking him and he feels it. God clearly persuaded him to speak, but everyone is laughing at him. Jeremiah isn’t feeling very strong. What this tells me, is that the strength we see in Jeremiah, is coming from God and that’s something we all need to remember when we read of the great acts of men in the Bible. God is the real hero because it is only by His power that these men were able to do what they did. That same thing is true with every Christian today. We can do great things, but we will have to trust in God’s power to do those things.
This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible because it does a great job of explaining the feeling I have when I know that I’m supposed to say something unpopular. Jeremiah appears to have actually tried to be agreeable and not talk about what God was telling him. He describes the experience as if he were trying to hold fire in his body. He got tired trying to hold it in! When referring to his attempt to hold God’s word inside himself, he simply says: “I can’t”. It reminds me of Martin Luther’s famous words when he was told to recant. He also said: “Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.” At 86 years old, right before he was killed for not worshiping Roman gods, Polycarp who was one of the apostle John’s young disciples, was quoted as saying: “How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?” It is a pattern of those who cannot stop the truth, to crush the messenger, but it’s also good to see that the messenger’s power comes from God and results in the spreading of God’s word. God will always say what He wants to say and those try to stop it will only make it worse for themselves.