A Message of Sorrow

Here are the sermon notes from 1/13/13.

Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet.  He spent a lifetime proclaiming an unfavorable message to an unwilling audience.  He experienced a great deal of hardship, and very little reward on this earth for his labor.

I.  Sometimes it’s Bad:  Jeremiah 37:11-16

And it happened, when the army of the Chaldeans left the siege of Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s army, 12 that Jeremiah went out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin to claim his property there among the people. 13 And when he was in the Gate of Benjamin, a captain of the guard was there whose name was Irijah the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are defecting to the Chaldeans!”

14 Then Jeremiah said, “False! I am not defecting to the Chaldeans.” But he did not listen to him.

So Irijah seized Jeremiah and brought him to the princes. 15 Therefore the princes were angry with Jeremiah, and they struck him and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe. For they had made that the prison.

16 When Jeremiah entered the dungeon and the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days,

Jeremiah had proclaimed a message of the coming judgement of God for years.  Now that judgement was at the door and Jeremiah had been given a message of hope.  The hope was that the exile would not be permanent, that the children of Israel would return in seventy years.  As a symbol of the restoration, Jeremiah was directed to buy a field.  He was going out to look at that field when he was arrested as a defector.

He had been faithful to God and his situation deteriorated.

Sometimes when we are serving God, things can get bad.

II.  Sometimes it Gets Worse  Jeremiah 38:2-6

 “Thus says the Lord: ‘He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes over to the Chaldeans shall live; his life shall be as a prize to him, and he shall live.’ Thus says the Lord: ‘This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.’”

Therefore the princes said to the king, “Please, let this man be put to death, for thus he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their harm.”

Then Zedekiah the king said, “Look, he is in your hand. For the king can do nothing against you.” So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the king’sson, which was in the court of the prison, and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire. So Jeremiah sank in the mire.

I suppose that the rulers had a point in that the message Jeremiah was proclaiming would indeed encourage people to give themselves up rather than fight.  That was the message that Jeremiah had been given by God to give to the people.  His reward for his faithfulness was to be tossed into a pit.

Sometimes when we are serving God it goes from bad to worse.

III.  Deliverance Will Come  Jeremiah 39:11-14

Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, 12 “Take him and look after him, and do him no harm; but do to him just as he says to you.” 13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent Nebushasban, Rabsaris, Nergal-Sharezer, Rabmag, and all the king of Babylon’s chief officers; 14 then they sent someone to take Jeremiah from the court of the prison, and committed him to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, that he should take him home. So he dwelt among the people.

God does not forget His servants.  Deliverance will come.  We just don’t know when.  It may not even come in this lifetime.  We need to remember that God looks at things from an eternal perspective.  The sacrifices that we make in this life for the kingdom of God will be remembered and rewarded, if not in this life, then in the life to come.

Conclusion:  Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet for good reason.  He proclaimed a message of destruction to a people who rejected that message.  When destruction came, he did not celebrate the fulfillment of the prophesy, but rather wept over the destruction of Jerusalem.  He remained in the city after its destruction until he was forcibly dragged off to Egypt by the remaining Jews who fled to Egypt.    His life had very few happy moments of celebration.

I have no doubt that he has received his reward in heaven.  We should all learn a lesson from his faithfulness.  He did not think of his own comfort or gain, he simply proclaimed the message that God had given him to proclaim.

Likewise, may we be faithful to do what God calls us to do.

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