March 8th – When God Makes You a Laughing Stock

Picture the scene. The great prophet Jeremiah was the only one in Israel who could see that to resist the armies of Babylon was like a beetle challenging a dinosaur. ‘We can’t beat them. We must accept them for now’ was his message. He preaches to his people what, to them, was sheer treachery: ‘Surrender to the enemy? Indeed, he must be one of their spies’. So the head of the Temple Guard, a powerful man, had Jeremiah arrested and locked up in the stocks at the busiest place in the City, to be mocked, insulted, ridiculed, even called a religious maniac, a nut case, one ‘deceived by God’ – a target for his fellow citizens to hurl rotten eggs at him, and to spit in his face.
Imagine, it’s night. The crowds have all gone home. The captain of the guard is cosily tucked up in bed with his wife. Jeremiah is alone, cold, stiff and humiliated, left in the stocks all night. So he prays: ‘Lord, I’ve been a laughing stock all day – mocked by everyone because of the message you gave me to speak. Is it all a sick joke against me? Very well, I won’t say another word. I’ll keep my big mouth shut and never preach or prophesy again – ever!’
If you want to read his actual words, you have them in Jeremiah Chapter 20, the whole story, and his discovery that he could no more keep quiet than the sun can stop rising. God’s message was in his very bones, like a burning fire he could not hold in. In fact, although he had vowed in the night to keep quiet, the moment he was released …. He stood and confronted his tormentor, whose name meant ‘Prosperity all round’, saying: For this is what the Lord says: I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; with your own eyes you will see them fall by the sword of their enemies. I will hand all Judah over to the King of Babylon, who will carry them away to Babylon or put them to the sword. Jeremiah 20:4
A Prayer: Forbid, O Lord, that any of your servants keep quiet in the presence of evil, but rather cause them to speak out such truth, as you have given them. Whatever the cost, whatever the consequences, for Christ’s sake.
Now read Jeremiah Chapter 20 but insert his prayers in between v. 2 and v.3.

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