Jeremiah saw a lot of this coming. All he had to do was lighten up a bit, and some of his trouble could be avoided:
Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah…. Come, let us strike him with the tongue, and let us not pay attention to any of his words. (18:18)
Then Pashhur beat Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks. (20:2)
When Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the Lord commanded him to speak…, all the people laid hold of him, saying, “You shall die!” (26:8)
The officials were enraged at Jeremiah, and they beat him and imprisoned him. (37:15)
They took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern…. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud. (38:6)
The prophet’s description of persecution includes verbal abuse, death threats, physical assault, and imprisonment. What compelled Jeremiah to keep preaching in the face of such severe backlash? How did he resist softening his message about the Lord?
If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. (20:9)
The word burned like a fire in Jeremiah’s bones. He was combustible with the glory of God. He felt as if he would explode if he didn’t speak in the name of the Lord.
O, for more preachers like this! For more Christians like this! May Almighty God set us on fire in the grace and truth of Christ Jesus, no matter the cost.