Just prior to the passage we are going to look at tonight, Jeremiah was preaching at one of the gates of the Temple.
A great deal of his preaching focused on criticism of the Jewish officials and religious leaders.
A priest, who was in charge of the temple at the time, heard what Jeremiah was saying and was offended by it.
He ordered Jeremiah be arrested, then ordered his beating, and placed him in the stocks.
Most likely the stocks should be understood as very small dark rooms where a persons feet and hands would be secured in such a manner to stretch and contort a persons body in a way that causes great pain.
Jeremiah was held there overnight, and released the next day.
Jeremiah was in pain, and was angry.
He lashes out at Pashhur the priest and his allies.
He basically declares God's judgment on them personally.
They dismiss Jeremiah's decree of judgment, and eject him from the temple while laughing at him.
Humiliated, and in great physical, emotional, and spiritual distress, Jeremiah speaks to God
7 O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. 8 For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.
The first thing we notice here is that Jeremiah feels like God has tricked or mislead him.
The word we render deceive in verse 7 means to let oneself be deceived or taken for a fool.
Jeremiah believes that God has misled him.
Jeremiah believes God manipulated him in such a way to persuade him.
He further believes that God misused His power, because He knew that Jeremiah could not overcome it.
The Message Bible renders it this way: “You pushed me into this God, and I let you do it. You were too much for me.”
Why did Jeremiah feel this way?
Because now everyone is laughing at him.
He is humiliated publicly.
He is beaten and tortured.
Everyone turns their nose up at him and mocks him.
Jeremiah gets up and does what the Lord tells him to do;
he says what the Lord tells him to say.
All he gets for it are insults, and humiliation.
In the minds of those he is preaching to, Jeremiah is a joke because of what he is preaching
What we see here is more than just a prophet who wants to quit.
He is more than a preacher who is wondering whether or not his ministry is worth the trouble.
This is more than someone who feels ineffective.
Jeremiah feels like God has abused His own power and tricked Jeremiah into doing something that is ruining his life.
Why not just walk away?
I have known many believers, including preachers and pastors, who give up on ministry because it is difficult.
Because it interferes with the plan they had for their lives.
Because their ministry does not bear the fruit they envisioned.
They feel ineffective.
If you don’t seem to being any good.
If your ministry is more trouble than it is worth.
Why not get mad at God and everyone who is rejecting you?
Why not walk away?
9 If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
Here is the reason it is not easy for Jeremiah to just walk away.
The language implies that he has tried to in the past.
But when he decides that he is not longer going to talk about God, or the things, of God.
When Jeremiah decides he is no longer going to fulfill the Lord’s call to prophecy and preach to the people of Judah and Jerusalem,
the word’s of the Lord and the call on his life smolders and burns inside of him.
It is harder for him to stop preaching and walk away from his call, than it is to deal with the hardship he suffers as a result of his call.
Eventually he finds that he simply cannot quit and walk away.
I can tell you from personal experience that when a believer tries to walk away from a ministry God has called them to, a war rages inside that person.
It is a war that makes them miserable.
It is a war that wear them down.
Many people fight it for a short time like Jeremiah.
Some fight for a long time.
10 For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! “Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” say all my close friends, watching for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we can overcome him and take our revenge on him.”
Here Jeremiah goes back to talking about the difficulty he has as a result of being faithful.
He hears people talking about him.
They say that Jeremiah is the one who sees terror, and horror, and atrocity everywhere he looks.
He is the one who is always talking about doomsday.
They say that everyone should denounce my message.
In their minds their is no evidence to back it up.
Even His closest friends have joined that group and are waiting for his final fall.
Jeremiah has heard that some of them are hoping to see him make a fatal mistake and then they will have their revenge.
Even His closest friends have joined that group and are waiting for his final fall
The last word as Jeremiah is completely discredited.
The New Living Translation words verse 10 this way
10 I have heard the many rumors about me. They call me “The Man Who Lives in Terror.” They threaten, “If you say anything, we will report it.” Even my old friends are watching me, waiting for a fatal slip. “He will trap himself,” they say, “and then we will get our revenge on him.”
11 But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten. 12 O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.
Because of what is inside Jeremiah’s heart.
Because his faith in the Lord is genuine,
he knows that in spite of how he may feel.
In spite of the difficulty he may face.
In spite of the things everyone may say about him.
In spite of what he may say when his emotions get the best of him.
Jeremiah knows the Lord is with him.
This means that eventually his persecutors will fall to the judgment of the Lord.
They will be shamed before those around them, and when they look at themselves.
Their rejection of Jeremiah’s message, and ultimately the word of God will have eternal consequences.
Paul said that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.
Those who face Him as believers and followers of Christ will bow before Him in gratitude, respect, and rejoicing.
Unfortunately far too many will bow before Him in shame and dishonor.
They will know they made a mistake that they will pay an eternal price for.
Fortunately for us, no human being gets to decide between the two.
The Lord of hosts tests the righteous.
He is the one who sees the hearts and minds of all men.
How can we be certain that we will be found righteous and our hearts will be found pure?
It is not determined by what we say.
It is not determined by what we do.
It is not determined by what preachers or church leaders say about someone.
Remember it was the religious elite, what we might call the church folks of Jeremiah’s day who were causing him the most problems.
It is determined by our relationship with Him.
Only you and God know what that relationship is.
13 Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers.
Because verses 11-12 are true.
Because Jeremiah knows that the Lord will see his heart and count him among the righteous, he sings to the Lord.
He has delivered the righteous people in need of an avenger from the hands of the evil doers.
14 Cursed be the day on which I was born! The day when my mother bore me, let it not be blessed! 15 Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father, “A son is born to you,” making him very glad. 16 Let that man be like the cities that the Lord overthrew without pity; let him hear a cry in the morning and an alarm at noon, 17 because he did not kill me in the womb; so my mother would have been my grave, and her womb forever great. 18 Why did I come out from the womb to see toil and sorrow, and spend my days in shame?
This is a passage that seems completely out of place.
If it fits at all into this section of Jeremiah, it seems that it should be somewhere between verse 7 and verse 10.
But where it is placed, is right after Jeremiah affirms the Lord of Hosts and affirms his own faithfulness to the Lord.
Some have speculated that Jeremiah falls back into the emotional distress and depression he felt in the first part of this section.
Others speculate that maybe this passage is some time after the previous verses, when Jeremiah faced similar circumstances.
I believe that it occurs exactly where it is intended to occur, and that it is part of the previous passages, while leading into the next passages.
Unlike a similar statement earlier in Jeremiah, I do not think Jeremiah is intending to say he wishes he had not been born.
Here, Jeremiah simply curses the day he was born.
He curses the day and the the event of his birth.
He questions why he was born simply to see the sorrow that he was about to witness.
It is not something he wanted to see.
It is not something he wanted to happen to him and to his people.
What he knew was that it was something that would happen, because the Lord’s judgment was eminent.
In the next section. Jeremiah talks about the invasion of the Babylonians, and the severity of what the people of Jerusalem will face.