The life of a prophet is often extremely difficult. Jeremiah experienced this on numerous occasions. One, in Chapter 20, involved being beaten and put in stocks by the priest Pashhur. Jeremiah knew that his proclaiming the Word of the Lord was the cause of his punishment. He declared, “For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.” (8b)
But even in the midst of his persecution for pronouncing God’s Word he still would not, actually could not, stop. “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.” God’s Word had become a burning fire within him that he simply could not hold in.
Two lessons for preachers/teachers today. First, we simply must proclaim God’s Word to God’s people and to those who do not yet know him. God’s Word is the instrument of God’s grace coming to those who hear (Romans 10:17). We have no other message to put forth than what God has given to us.
And the second is obvious. If we are going to be ridiculed and persecuted for teaching anything, the only thing it should be for is a faithful adherence to the Word of God. We should say what the Bible says, all that the Bible says, and nothing but what the Bible says.
Prayer: Father, help me and all pastors and all our teachers to be faithful to you and to your Word. Help us to know that the ideas of men will never heal the hurts of people nor bring them to salvation. Help us to hold fast to your Word even if it becomes unpopular or even illegal. Give us strength and give us fire in our bones.