Jer. 1:9-10; 20:7-13




We can all think of Christians who are among the best people we know.

And yet, they live under very difficult circumstances.



Some have done their best to serve God.

But they’ve been plagued by tragedy, sickness, low incomes, family problems        

and a host of other afflictions.



Jeremiah was such a man.

God chose him before he was born.



He became a priest when he was very young.

He remained single because God told him not to marry.



He was so tender-hearted, he often cried when he prophesied.

He was faithful to God.



But he suffered some of the most terrible things anyone could ever suffer.

Today, I will discuss two passages that detail some of his personal history.



They’re meant to help us understand how difficult life was for Jeremiah.

And how difficult it may be for some of us.



They show that Jeremiah remained faithful under fire.

And call upon us to do the same.


Jeremiah said, “Then the Lord put forth His hand, and touched my mouth.”

“And the Lord said unto me, Behold I have put my words in thy mouth”

(Jer. 1:9).



I wish more preachers and Church leaders would pay attention to this.

Jeremiah was going to prophesy some bad things.



He was going to predict the judgment of God;

Predict the Babylonian captivity;



Predict the destruction of Jerusalem;

Deliver a harsh message that many keep out of the pulpits today.



But Jeremiah said, “God put forth His hand and touched my mouth and said I        

have put my words in thy mouth.”

These are God's words;



Not the words of a religious fanatic;

Not the words of a mean-spirited man.



They’re what God wanted the people to know about their future, if they        

didn’t repent of their sins.

Prophet after prophet had already warned them about this.



But they didn’t want to hear it.

Noah's generation didn’t want to hear that the flood was coming.



Lot’s generation didn’t want to hear that the fire and brimstone would destroy        

Sodom and Gomorrah.

The ten northern tribes didn’t want to hear that the Assyrians would destroy   them.

So no one repented.

And the floods came.



And the fire and brimstone fell.

And the Northern Kingdom was destroyed.



Someone said, “God's Word is like a highway sign.”

“We don't have to pay attention to it, if we don't care what happens to us.”



We don't have to pay attention to the sharp curves, speed limits and stop      

signs, if we don't care about having a wreck, running off a cliff, etc.

Next, God told Jeremiah, “I have this day set thee over the nations”

( Jer. 1:10).



“And over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to       

throw down, to build and to plant.”

God prefers to build and to plant.



But when a nation calling itself a nation under God,

Sinks into the quagmire of constant sin,



And that nation won’t listen to the true prophets and preachers of God when          

they condemn that sin,

Then, God will root out, pull down, destroy and throw down that nation.



God would prefer that His prophets and preachers deliver a positive message         

of love, hope and renewal,

But when a nation claiming to be a nation under God, takes a crooked and    

corrupt path,




And it tries to silence the prophets and preachers who call upon it to repent,

Then, that nation will come under the judgment of Almighty God.



This is the Word of God (hold up Bible),

Pastors can refuse to preach it;



People can refuse to listen to it;

But we cannot change what it says,



Or what God will do, if we ignore what it says.

Anyway, God put His words in Jeremiah's mouth.



And Jeremiah went forth saying what God wanted him to say.

But the people wouldn’t listen.



They denounced Jeremiah's warnings of judgment;

Ignored Jeremiah's calls for repentance;



Laughed at Jeremiah;

Ridiculed Jeremiah.



His so-called friends deserted him;

Threatened him;



Plotted to kill him;

Had him beaten;



Cast into prison;

And locked in stocks;


He spent the night in jail.

And the next day they brought him forth.



Did that change anything?




God gave Jeremiah another harsh message.

“Tell the people I am going to make them afraid of their own shadow.”



“Afraid of their own friends.”

“Their enemies will kill them.”



“The Babylonians will capture Judah.”

“Jerusalem will be destroyed.”



“The treasures will be stolen.”

“Tell the high priest that he and his family will be captured and taken to         




“Tell him that he and his family and friends will die in a foreign land.”

What a harsh message!



It’s so harsh that Jeremiah began to doubt his calling.

Have you ever doubted your calling?



Jeremiah doubted his calling.

This wasn’t his idea of God;



A God who would destroy this nation;

A God who would let these people die in a foreign land.

Some commentators say Jeremiah was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Some call him a cry baby.




Because Jeremiah was a good man;



A tender-hearted man.

He loved people.



He wanted to prophecy good things.

But God gave him a harsh message.



And delivering that harsh message just about got the best of him.

He said, “O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived:”



“Thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed:”

“I am in derision daily, everyone mocketh me” (Jer. 20:7).



Jeremiah accused God of deceiving him;

Of leading him astray when He called him to be a prophet.



He said he wanted to resist God's call.

But God overpowered him.



And God FORCED him to deliver these strong words of judgment.

He wanted to be praised;



Loved by everyone.

But that wasn’t the case.


Instead of prophesying the love of God, Jeremiah prophesied the wrath of    


Instead of receiving praise, he received ridicule.



So he accused God of deceiving him when He called him to be a prophet.

Jeremiah said, “Since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil”

(Jer. 20:8a).



He said, “God, I want to tell you how I feel.”

“Ever since I started speaking for you, I’ve cried violence and spoil.”



“Every message you gave me was a message of denunciation.”

“And God, the only thing you ever told me to say was bad.”



Then Jeremiah added, “The Word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me,         

and a derision daily” (Jer. 20:8b).

He said, “God, I want you to know that saying what you want me to say is   

breaking my heart and causing me trouble every day of my life.”



“Speaking the Word of God is causing me to be despised, mocked and        


“I’m under constant persecution because I say what YOU tell me to say.”



Next, Jeremiah made a very startling statement.

“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak anymore in his name”        

(Jer. 20:9a).



He said, “I decided I wouldn’t talk about God anymore.”

“To resign my calling as a prophet.”




“To quit saying these bad things.”

Jeremiah was disgusted;



Ready to quit the ministry.

Charles Spurgeon said, “When it comes to dealing with other people we all   

need one deaf ear and one blind eye.”



“One deaf ear because we don't need to hear what everybody thinks about   


“And one blind eye because we don't need to see what everybody is doing to         




He said, “The criticism we get from others is worth about as much as the     

praise we get from them.”

“Their criticism isn't worth much and their praise isn't worth much.”



Did Jeremiah abandon his calling?

He said, “But his Word was in mine heart like a burning fire shut up in my     




“And I was weary with forbearing,”

“And I could not refrain” (Jer. 20:9b).



Jeremiah was caught between “a rock and a hard place.”

The pain of his harsh message was great.



But the pain of remaining silent was greater.

So he went back to denouncing the people's sin;



To declaring their coming destruction.

And that placed him in great danger again.

He said, “I heard the defaming of many” (Jer. 20:10).

He heard people ridiculing him.



And it was no small number of people doing it.

He said, “There was fear on every side.”



The people were afraid of him.

And he was afraid of them.



He heard someone say, “Report, and we will report it.”

They spied on him.



They thought they could learn something to tell the authorities.

A multitude watched every move he made.



Jeremiah said, “All my friends watched for my fall, saying, perhaps he will be         


“And we shall prevail against him.”



“And we shall take our revenge on him” (Vs. 10).

They were hoping he would make a mistake that they could take advantage   




With friends like that, who needs enemies.

But these people where objecting to being told that their society was corrupt.



They sought to silence the messenger because they didn’t like the message.

Next, Jeremiah said, “But the Lord is with me as a mighty terrible one.”




“God is with me like a mighty warrior.”

“God will fight for me.”



Doing what God wants is sometimes hard.

But doing what God wants always puts us in a favorable position with God.



Society will condemn our views on abortion, gays, pre-marital sex, the only  

way to be saved, etc.

But delivering the undiluted Word of God will put us on the right side of God.



Jeremiah said, “Therefore, my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not   


“They shall be greatly ashamed;”



“For they shall not prosper” (Jer. 20:11).

His persecutors would have a temporary victory.



But they wouldn’t get away with their sin forever.

We find this teaching in the Bible over and over again.



The enemies of Jesus appeared to have won a great victory when they nailed

Him to a cross.

It seemed even more certain that they had won a great victory after He was   

dead and buried.



But their so-called great victory turned into defeat when God raised Jesus     

from the dead.

Jeremiah's enemies would temporarily succeed.



But their certain defeat was on the way.

He added, “Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten.”

Their ignorance would bring them eternal damnation.

If we don't respond to God's plan of salvation, we may do just fine for awhile.



But if we never respond, our failure will bring eternal damnation.

Next, Jeremiah made a request.



“O Lord of Hosts, who testeth the righteous, and seest the heart and the mind,       

let me see thy vengeance on them” (Jer. 20:12).

Jeremiah wanted to see the punishment of his enemies;



To see their reaction when he was vindicated by God.

Did you ever want to see God take revenge on somebody?



Jeremiah did.

And yet, Jeremiah was so godly that when Jesus asked His disciples, “Whom         

do men say that I the Son of Man am?”



They replied, “Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some Elias, and others        

Jeremias, or one of the prophets” (Matt. 16:13-14).

Some thought that Jesus was Jeremiah.



Finally, Jeremiah said, “Sing unto the Lord, praise ye the Lord;”

“For He hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers”

(Jer. 20:13).



Following his request to see the punishment of his enemies, Jeremiah broke   

into praise.

He knew his persecution would end;



And the harsh things he said would come true.

This is important.

What God says will happen, will happen.

We may not understand the details.



It may take longer than we think.

But it’s a sure thing.



God’s quite able--and very determined--to do the things He says He will do.

What happened to Jeremiah?



They put him in jail.

And while he was sitting in jail, the Babylonians destroyed his nation.



They killed about two million Jews;

And enslaved about two million more.



But not Jeremiah.

He was safe in jail.



He was later released;

Allowed to live;



And included among the few that was allowed to remain in the land.

I will close with five quick points.



1st---Serving God isn’t always easy.

Jeremiah served God.



But doing what God wanted him to do almost caused him to have a nervous


2nd---Serving God can cause us to be unpopular.

People don’t like to have their sin---and their tolerance of sin---condemned.

Some seek revenge on those who speak out against what they do.



3rd---God strengthens His people, during times of trial.

Jeremiah was disappointed because God didn’t answer his prayers the way he        




He felt frustrated;

Let down.



But God strengthened him.

God doesn’t always do what we want Him to do during times of trial.



But He gives us the strength to endure, if we will let Him.

4th----We can throw up our hands and quit.



But that will be the worst mistake we ever made.

Jeremiah was miserable serving God.



But he was more miserable when he tried to quit.

One of my friends became a bi--vocational pastor.



He served a small Baptist Church.

And sold insurance.



He showed lots of promise.

Some believed he was on his way to becoming an outstanding preacher.



But a rift developed in his Church.

Some of his Church members started quarreling with each other.

He talked to them, preached about it, prayed about it.

Nothing worked.



Sometimes people harden their heart.

And nothing works not even the Word of God.



My friend resigned his pulpit.

He quit the ministry.



Some tried to get him to take another Church.

But he refused.



Over the years, his insurance business declined.

He went broke.



His mother died.

He moved into her house.



It needed a new roof.

He borrowed money against the house to pay for it.



But he couldn't pay the money back.

The bank took his house.



He went on welfare.

We can walk away from God, throw up our hands and quit, if we want to.



But walking away from God is the same thing as walking away from God's   


It’s a dangerous thing to do.



5th---Jeremiah's problems teach that “There’s always hope.”

When Jeremiah went to jail, it looked like God had abandoned him.



But now we know that if he hadn’t been in jail, he would’ve probably been   


Or made a slave in Babylon.



If we will remain faithful under fire,

No matter how bad things look right now;



No matter what we’re going through right now;

We can look forward to a better future.



God didn’t establish this Creation for us to have a bed of roses.

He established it so that the best is yet to come for those who love Him.