Discouraged but not forsaken

"There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of one small candle.” This inscription was found on a small new gravestone after a devastating air raid on Britain in World War II. (Arthur Gordon - Encyclopedia of Illustrations #2659). … More

Discouragement

The nations sin was so much a part of their living that judgment had to come. God told Jeremiah that even the prayers of Moses and Samuel could not stop His judgment (v. 1). Judah had passed the point of no return in her dealings with God. The fate of the people was sealed. Destruction will come to Judah (vv. 2-3). Manasseh was one of Judah’s most wicked kings (v. 4), leading them into all forms of apostasy (2 Kings. 21:1-16). The people simply continued what Manasseh had started.

Jeremiah was forced to step out of his role of intercessor for the time being, look on his people with compassion and lament over the lost that no one seemed to have pity on (v. 5). The only One who had ever cared for them was God, but they had rejected Him (v. 6). Therefore God vowed to destroy them without compassion (v. 7).The widows would become more numerous than the sand of the sea as the men were slaughtered by the Babylonians (vv. 8-10). Even the mothers would not escape as the Lord promises anguish and terror to come upon them as they sit childless and humiliated (v. 9).

All of this brought Jeremiah to one of the lowest points in his prophetic career (v. 10). He was a  discouraged and frustrated man, but God had not forsaken him. God assured him that good would eventually come out of the seemingly hopeless situation of ever-present enemies, trials and tribulation (v. 11). God asked Jeremiah a rhetorical question to emphasize the fact that judgment was coming. He asked, can a man break iron or bronze with his bare hands (v. 12)? This was to show the people of Judah that they would be unable to break the power of the Babylonian attack on their nation. Their wealth will be handed over to the enemy (v. 13) and they will be made slaves and deported to a land they do not know (v. 14). God’s righteous anger will consume them.

Application

Many years ago I heard Jerry Falwell preach a message that God does not use a discouraged person. I believe this is generally true and do not want to allow myself to have pity parties.

Jeremiah 15:1-14 (English Standard Version)

Then the LORD said to me, "Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go! And when they ask you, 'Where shall we go?' you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD: "'Those who are for pestilence, to pestilence, and those who are for the sword, to the sword; those who are for famine, to famine, and those who are for captivity, to captivity.' I will appoint over them four kinds of destroyers, declares the LORD: the sword to kill, the dogs to tear, and the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy. And I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem. "Who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem, or who will grieve for you? Who will turn aside to ask about your welfare? You have rejected me, declares the LORD; you keep going backward, so I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you-- I am weary of relenting. I have winnowed them with a winnowing fork in the gates of the land; I have bereaved them; I have destroyed my people; they did not turn from their ways. I have made their widows more in number than the sand of the seas; I have brought against the mothers of young men a destroyer at noonday; I have made anguish and terror fall upon them suddenly. She who bore seven has grown feeble; she has fainted away; her sun went down while it was yet day; she has been shamed and disgraced. And the rest of them I will give to the sword before their enemies, declares the LORD." Woe is me, my mother, that you bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me. The LORD said, "Have I not set you free for their good? Have I not pleaded for you before the enemy in the time of trouble and in the time of distress? Can one break iron, iron from the north, and bronze? "Your wealth and your treasures I will give as spoil, without price, for all your sins, throughout all your territory. I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever."

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