This morning, I finished reading the book of Jeremiah. It took me a while. Several times, I got bogged down in the heaviness of it and turned instead to Psalms or the New Testament for relief. No wonder Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet. There’s much to weep about in his prophecies. The last chapter broke my heart. Destructive Babylonians pilfered the temple, demolished the bronze pillars and the great sea. I remembered the painstaking details that went into building the temple, the devotion of the craftsmen, the people’s joy when the temple was dedicated and most of all, the glory of God, like a cloud, descending upon the finished work. At the end of Jeremiah, the temple is in ruins.
I picture Jeremiah as a sad man, but one whose life teaches a valuable lesson. Courage. Maligned, imprisoned and abused, he continued to proclaim God’s message. People hated him for his message of doom, not strangers, his own people hated him. Their hatred broke his heart but he kept on. God came first.
Jeremiah tells how God commissioned him when he was still a boy. Jeremiah objected at first. Then God said:
“Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’ I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there, I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it. Don’t be afraid of a soul. I’ll be right there, looking after you.” (Jeremiah 1:7-8)
Jeremiah took God at His word and plunged into the career of the truthful prophet, a rare breed in his day.
Does God come first for me? Do I compromise His truth to make others feel better? Jeremiah makes me ask myself these questions. Compromise – an ugly word, a word without back bone, a word brimming with mediocrity.
There was no compromise in Jeremiah. None. Yet God’s love filled his soul. Compassion for his people flowed onto the pages of his book.
Compassion without compromise. That’s the lesson I learned from Jeremiah’s life.
Lord, help me to let your love and compassion flow through me. But at the same time, let me not put compassion before You and your message of truth.