“The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’ ‘Alas, Sovereign LORD,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am too young.’ But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not say, I am too young. You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.’” (Jeremiah 1:4-10).
Jeremiah, as we know, was a prophet. He was living in the days towards the end of the seventh century B.C. Jeremiah was a man who was speaking for the Lord during the time of King Josiah. Josiah was the king of Judah, he was leading the people in the way his great grandfather David did. God was with Josiah and God took care of Josiah until his death. But He also knew that His people, as a whole, had turned away from Him. Josiah’s reign was followed by the second king during the ministry of Jeremiah, his name was Jehoahaz. He only lasted 3 months. He was followed by Jehoiakim and he returned the people to corruption and sin. He was followed by Jehoiachin, he also lasted only 3 months. Jehoiachin was followed by the final king during the time of Jeremiah and the last king of Judah before the captivity, his name was Zedekiah. He also left the worship of the Lord, as did his people and started worshipping idols of wood and stone. The first king superficial revival the next four rapid decline. Jeremiah saw the rule of these five kings during his ministry.
Jeremiah was very young when he was called by God. And God calls Jeremiah, “you going to go preach my Word” and Jeremiah says, “no, I am too young, go find someone else.” And God says, “No, I am going to make you do it.” Later on we see Jeremiah says, I tried not to preach but it just burns inside of me and I have to get it out, I have to proclaim these words and as he did Jeremiah faced all kinds of persecution. He was persecuted, rejected, humiliated by everyone for proclaiming God’s Word to God’s faithless people. What they don’t realize is that Jeremiah is not positive nor is he negative, he is simply repeating God’s message- “you are going to fall, you can’t stop it, I am simply telling you the truth.” Jeremiah suffered greatly because of that truth.
Those who faithfully stand for God’s word should not expect an easy road. We live in a world that is opposed to the word of God. We live in a world that is very comfortable in its rebellion and in its darkness and when the light is turned on, it hurts the eyes of the world. So, it’s not going to be welcome, when we go proclaiming repentance for the forgiveness of sins. God’s word has never been welcomed in the world.
Sometimes, the truest words we will ever hear will come from the strangest messengers. I think about the Elijah in the Old testament, and how strange he was in the face of the people. I think of John the baptizer, making his church building- the wilderness, and dressing himself in strange attire and eating strange food, and yet being declared by Jesus to be the greatest preacher on the face of the planet. Sometimes God uses the strangest people to deliver His message.
If that’s the case, being a Christian today does not mean that we have to be strange or weird or wear funny clothes. But there are times when Christians are called upon to stand against their culture and tell the truth, even if it means that we look little bizarre in doing so.
There are three great roadblocks for Christians preaching today:
Number one- Our version to strangeness. One of the reasons that we don’t get out and preach like we ought to, is because we don’t want to be stranger, we don’t want to be looked upon as different. We want to blind in and sometimes the temptation to blind in to the world is great and as a result we end up looking more like it then we do like children of God. If we are going to be children of God, remember, we will be strange in the eyes of the world.
Number two- Our fear of suffering. We do not want to be persecuted. But, I want to remind you what Paul said to Timothy, in 2 Timothy 2, “all those who desire to live Godly shall be persecuted.” It’s not a suggestion, it’s a promise. You need to recognize, if you are not suffering that may suggest that there is a problem in your life. The Bible teaches us that if you desire to live a Godly life persecution will most definitely be a part of your life.
Number three- Our reluctance to tell the painful truth. We don’t want people to feel uncomfortable. Do you have any idea what it feels like when people start raising their eyebrows at you during the sermon? They just shut the Bible, cross their arm, stare at you, ignore you, walk out of different door. I don’t want that to happen. But sometimes we got to recognize that although the truth has to be talked, the truth is sometimes painful to hear. But it still is necessary, because if we don’t teach it, if we don’t preach it, if people don’t come in contact with it then they are going to stay lost and the fires of hell are far more uncomfortable than any truthful sermon we could ever preach. We don’t want people to be uncomfortable but more than that we don’t want them to be lost. And I believe that’s the position that God holds. He wants you to be safe in His arms for all of eternity.
“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning;[a] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.” (Hebrews 11:32-38). Do you realize how much of that passage directs us to Jeremiah among other great people of Bible? Do you realize how much Jeremiah suffered for the cause of His God? The weeping prophet, a man who cared about God’s word and wept when people wouldn’t listen. Let me ask you this question- what kind of prophet are you today? What kind of teacher are you today? What kind of preacher are you today? What kind of Christian are you today? Especially, in a world where so many are lost and are going to move into eternity without salvation. Especially, when there are so many Christians who believe that they are saved but have turned their backs on the Lord and are facing an eternity without Him. Aren’t you weeping? Wouldn’t you find yourself in the same shoes as Jeremiah? I hope so, because that’s the kind of heart God wants for us. How much do you care about God, His Word, His will for your life?