In our first blog post on Jeremiah, where I contrasted the ministries of Jeremiah and Isaiah, I made the point that Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry is closely connected with his sufferings. Unlike Isaiah, much of Jeremiah’s word from God has proximate and negative consequences not just for Judah, but also for the so-named “weeping prophet.” Jeremiah suffers for the message and is very much part of God’s people as he warns of judgement that will ruin his hopes for Judah as well.
In today’s reading, Jeremiah has a brush with death due his declaration of doom for Judah. It is no wonder that Jeremiah often agonized over the message God brought through him. For Jeremiah, to prophesy was to bring his own disappointment, his own shame, and his own danger. But like we read in Jeremiah 20:9, it is impossible for this prophet to hide the word of God, regardless of consequence. The few wise folks left in Judah recognized that Jeremiah had nothing to gain and everything to lose by bringing the words of God to the people, and that is why he was spared. Though we certainly never want to be in Jeremiah’s predicament, may God grant us the boldness to show fidelity to God’s words when we have little to gain and much to lose.