Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. What a dauntingly great task he had in the darkest times of his people’s history.
Words of grief:
19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish!
I writhe in pain.
Oh, the agony of my heart!
My heart pounds within me,
I cannot keep silent.
For I have heard the sound of the trumpet;
I have heard the battle cry.
20 Disaster follows disaster;
the whole land lies in ruins.
In an instant my tents are destroyed,
my shelter in a moment.
21 How long must I see the battle standard
and hear the sound of the trumpet?
These words in quotations are God’s verdict on Judah… God’s judgment of their guilt. They are guilty of forsaking God – intent on doing bad because they do not know God.
And Jeremiah continues with what he sees: sceneries of desolation and devastation – because of God’s judgment on the people.
23 I looked at the earth,
and it was formless and empty;
and at the heavens,
and their light was gone.
24 I looked at the mountains,
and they were quaking;
all the hills were swaying.
25 I looked, and there were no people;
every bird in the sky had flown away.
26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert;
all its towns lay in ruins
before the Lord, before his fierce anger.
27 This is what the Lord says:
“The whole land will be ruined,
though I will not destroy it completely.
28 Therefore the earth will mourn
and the heavens above grow dark,
because I have spoken and will not relent,
I have decided and will not turn back.”
29 At the sound of horsemen and archers
every town takes to flight.
Some go into the thickets;
some climb up among the rocks.
All the towns are deserted;
no one lives in them.
30 What are you doing, you devastated one?
Why dress yourself in scarlet
and put on jewels of gold?
Why highlight your eyes with makeup?
You adorn yourself in vain.
Your lovers despise you;
they want to kill you.
31 I hear a cry as of a woman in labor,
a groan as of one bearing her first child—
the cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath,
stretching out her hands and saying,
“Alas! I am fainting;
my life is given over to murderers.”
How it grieved Jeremiah to visualise scenes of his suffering people – like a woman in labor – groaning in pain and gasping for breath about to faint from the oppression of being conquered and taken into captivity in a foreign land.
To heed God’s call to be a prophet is indeed a challenging one. Jeremiah was sent to speak to a people who would not listen. How does one keep doing something where there seems to be no improvement or change?
10 To whom can I speak and give warning?
Who will listen to me?
Their ears are closed
so they cannot hear.
The word of the Lord is offensive to them;
they find no pleasure in it.
11 But I am full of the wrath of the Lord,
and I cannot hold it in.
BUT … Jeremiah is compelled to speak out because when God calls, He fills Jeremiah up. How is it like to be full of the wrath of the Lord that it becomes uncontrollable? Wrath of God overflowing from inside out!
On one hand, Jeremiah speaks for God to the people about His wrath. On the other, he grieves at the sight of devastation, desolation of the land and people he loves. What a dilemma! No wonder he was known as the weeping prophet!
Here’s a link of lessons we can learn from Jeremiah…