Monday, March 22, 2010

A Privileged Prophet

It must have been a lonely existence to be a prophet. It wasn’t necessarily a job that people applied for or coveted. Often times, in fact, they would run the other way and try to resist the call of the Lord (it’s a wonder why there seems to be people today who appear to be all-too-eager to proclaim prophetic utterances against others). Jonah comes to mind, of course, as does Isaiah, who said to God, “Woe is me, for I am unclean!” (Isaiah 6:5).

One particular prophet who seemed to have a challenging go of it was Jeremiah. He is known as the “crying prophet,” and with good reason. He lived during the last few years of Judah’s existence, at a time when great wickedness was taking place. He had the unfortunate “privilege” of informing God’s people that they had despised His covenant and were, therefore, going to be the beneficiaries of the covenant curses that were proscribed in Deuteronomy 29.

And what was the “thank you” that Jeremiah received for his long ministry? God forewarned him, right at the beginning of his ministry, that His people “will attack you” (Jeremiah 1:19). Sounds inviting, doesn’t it? “But,” God promised, “they shall not overcome you.” Such was, perhaps, little consolation to the constant onslaught that he would encounter from the hands and lips of those who were supposed to be God’s people.

And yet, through all this, Jeremiah was also blessed with some of the most beautiful utterances and reminders. He had words of comfort and encouragement for God’s people which, no doubt, brought cheer to his heart also. One of the most beautiful passages in scripture comes from his pen. It is in Jeremiah 31:3 where we read, “The Lord has appeared of old to me saying, ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

What greater reminder can there be, in the midst of all the rubble and pain and suffering, than to know that God has this “everlasting love” for us? No ifs, ands, or buts about it. God does love us with an “everlasting love” and, even through the storm, He is trying to draw us to Himself. In fact, maybe it is precisely through the storm that He is trying to draw us.

So we, too, can saddle ourselves up next to Jeremiah and take comfort that, in spite of the tears, God has an “everlasting love” for us—an everlasting love that compels Him to draw us to Himself.

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