Lesson Eleven | Devotion #1: Jeremiah
Chuck Lindsey | Reach Pastor
Faithful, Frustrated, and “Fruitless.”
Imagine serving God your whole life and never seeing anything good come from it. There you are, faithfully sharing what God gives you to share, going where God tells you to go, and doing what God wants you to do. But no one heeds your message. No one repents, no one turns, no one accepts what you are saying, and in the end, they come after you to make your life miserable! That is the life and ministry of the prophet Jeremiah. To say that it was a rough go for Jeremiah is putting it lightly.
But his story is an important reminder to us. It is the reminder that it is faithfulness to God that matters, not the results.
God told Jeremiah very early on that he would be His prophet. The Lord told him that this was His calling for Jeremiah from before he was even born. Jeremiah’s response was not heroic and did not inspire confidence. He said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth” (Jeremiah 1:6 NKJV). He said, “I cannot do that. I am too young. I cannot speak to anyone.” God steadied him by telling him that He would be with him and always put His words in Jeremiah’s mouth.
From that point forward, Jeremiah’s ministry was a continual announcement of coming judgment and a call to repentance for the nation of Israel. As you read it, it is immediately clear that every aspect of the Hebrew nation in Jeremiah’s day was a spiritual mess. Israel, once faithful, had now slipped back into idolatry, rebellion against God, and spiritual lethargy. Israel’s leaders are leading the people astray. Jeremiah is a lone voice crying in the wilderness all that God is telling him to say.
Think about it; he is just doing what God wants him to do. But no one is listening. No one wants to hear it. His message is not just ignored; it is rejected and even mocked. Jeremiah becomes despised by both the common people and all of Israel’s religious and political leaders. He feels alone, he is frustrated and at one point even decides to throw in the towel.
We cannot miss the point. He is doing what God wants him to do. So, what gives? Why is there not any “blessing?” Why no “fruit” from his labors? Why no “success?” We have got to learn something here. Just because God tells us to do something, it does not mean that it is going to be easy or that it is going to work out. I have met many Christians who think that if it is “of God” it is going to be easy. If it is God, then it is going to be successful. If it is God, then it is going to be simple and smooth sailing. But that just is not the case. There are many times we are called by God to do things that are not at all easy, not smooth, not simple, and not fun. There are times where we will be ignored, rejected, mocked, and even persecuted for doing what God wants us to do. There may be times we will not see the “fruit” of what we did.
So what then? What are we to do? Jeremiah’s life reminds us to faithfully carry out God’s will even when there does not appear to be the success or favorable results. It reminds us that we must trust Him for the reasons He is telling us to do what He is telling us to do. We must make pleasing Him our chief goal rather than ease, success, the approval of people, or the blessings of it all. If we do, then we too will hear what Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, without doubt, heard when he stepped into eternity, “well done good and faithful servant.”