Jan. 25. Hardships Abound

Jer. 45:1-5; 14:1-15:21

Living for the Lord means making personal sacrifices. They may be political power, social prestige, material possessions or other desirable associations. God has not promised that everything would be easy for His people. Jeremiah had been promised safety, but he was also put into prison. Baruch seemed to be an influential person in Jerusalem, but he chose to work closely with Jeremiah as his scribe instead of seeking high office. Even with God’s promises, one sometimes becomes discouraged and depressed. Jeremiah was instructed to write to Baruch regarding his despondency. He was reminded that Judah was going to be broken down and plucked up. However, his life would be preserved wherever he went.

Hardships began to arise in Judah. Drought was drying the land and preventing the growth of crops and grazing for their cattle. Jeremiah pleaded for the people, but God replied, “Do not pray for this people, for their good.” People would be dying from the famine, pestilence and attacks by the sword. False prophets were stating that those things would not happen, but God said, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name.” He further stated that those prophets and the people would be consumed by the things that they had said would not happen.

Jeremiah continued to plead for the people. To add further emphasis to His decree, God stated that if even Moses or Samuel were to stand before Him, His, “mind would not be favorable toward this people.” Many times, under similar circumstances, the people would confess their sinfulness and repent. God would withdraw the punishment that was befalling them. However, He stated, “I am weary of relenting!” His punishment would be administered to the fullest degree. Their punishment had been promised earlier during the days of the wicked king, Manasseh. Jeremiah’s continual pleading for Judah took a personal turn as he lamented his own birth. He even questioned God’s reliability as he asked, “Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, As waters that fail?” Sometimes, the best of men need reprimanding. God stated, “If you return, Then I will bring you back…But you must not return to them.” With all of the calamity that would befall Judah, God reassured Jeremiah, “I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, And I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.” Those should be words of comfort to us as we attempt to live Christian lives amid a wicked world.