Success or Faithfulness

 

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

 

Today, we turn our attention to the book of Jeremiah, one of the Major Prophets and the longest of the Prophetic books.

So, who was Jeremiah?  The text teaches us he was a son of a priest called to be a prophet from his mother’s womb.

We know that Jeremiah prophesized during the years leading up to the fall of Jerusalem and exile into Babylon. The overarching theme of the book is judgment.

We call Jeremiah the “Weeping” Prophet for good reason. As we read through the book, we feel his anguish, lamenting over the fallen people of Judah and its capital city, much like Jesus laments over Jerusalem in Luke 13:34-35.

Despite some valiant attempts at reform by kings such as Hezekiah and Judah, this process of decline is irreversible and ends with the ultimate destruction of all the visible element’s of Israel’s covenant relationship with God, such as Jerusalem and the temple.

We feel Jeremiah’s frustration in dealing with the stubbornness of the people. The people felt immune to any threat of divine judgment, but Jeremiah repeatedly warned them about the vanity of their reliance on ritual and external formalism.

Jeremiah’s story is one of courage and endurance. Imagine, preaching for 40+ years and it doesn’t appear that there was even one convert!

His enemies cast him in a dungeon, his family and friends rejected him, other priests and prophets made fun of him. He was beaten, humiliated, and ridiculed.

At times in the text, we see how Jeremiah grows tired of bringing God’s message of judgment to an unresponsive people.

But God’s word would bring blessing to Jeremiah’s own soul, we read in Jeremiah 15:16, “Your words were found, and I eat them, and Your words became to me a joy and a delight of my heart…”.

Jeremiah’s message carried three main points as did most of the Old Testament Prophets – The Lord will judge His people for their sin, God is faithful and merciful, and will bring about restoration and salvation.

Faithfully, he preached and proclaimed the message that judgment was coming to the nation of Judah. Judgment would indeed come.

We see also the gospel foreshadowed in Jeremiah as he points to the sovereign grace of God in His control over world history and his faithfulness to His covenant – fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In Jeremiah, we learn a great lesson when it comes to ministry. Ministry isn’t so much about success as it about faithfulness. The Lord doesn’t ask us to be successful. He asks us to be faithful. Each of us has a job to do and the Lord isn’t asking for success, for only He can bring that about. He simply asks us to be faithful—to do what He says.

Until next time… Keep reading!

Jim

Excerpts for this blog were taken directly from The Gospel Transformation Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, and Courson’s Application Commentary, Volume 2.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s