The Weeping Prophet

“the weeping prophet” “weeping prophet” “jeremiah”

“Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘Now, I have put my words in your mouth.

‘See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.'” – Jeremiah 1:9-10 (NIV)

Jeremiah, the weeping prophet

I wonder how many of us look back over the years and say, “My life has turned out exactly the way I thought it would !” Not very many, I would think. And I’d guess that Jeremiah the prophet probably wouldn’t be one of those either.

“Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” – Jeremiah 1:6 (NIV)

Jeremiah was handed an extraordinary role by God early on in life. And being a prophet was something that Jeremiah did not seek out. In that way, he was similar to one of the great prophets of history who served nearly a thousand years before him.

“Moses said to the LORD, ‘O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.’ – Exodus 4:10 (NIV)

Moses was reluctant too when God first called on him. But, as Moses did, Jeremiah steadily grew into the role given to him, even through his own moments of doubt and insecurity. He spoke out against his fellow countrymen and their sinful ways, while serving through the reigns of five kings. But his message wasn’t well received by those around him. He battled the teachings of false prophets like Hananiah. He had one of his scrolls burned by King Jehoiakim. He was beaten and thrown in stocks. He was also thrown into a well full of mud as punishment. Jeremiah clearly paid a heavy price in terms of mental and physical pain for proclaiming his own messages from God, and several times he narrowly escaped death.

“ ‘Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.’Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, ‘This man should not be sentenced to death! He has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God.’ “ – Jeremiah 26:15-16 (NIV)

Most of all, Jeremiah suffered with his people. He cried as he realized the fate that was about to come down on them for their sin. And ultimately, Jerusalem fell in 586 B.C. For those reasons, he’s been described as the “weeping prophet”.

I really felt for Jeremiah. I don’t think I’ve seen a character yet in the Old Testament described with such depth. You could tell how much the Word of God affected him, sometimes so much so that he could not control it.

“But if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” – Jeremiah 20:9 (NIV)

Although there is no concrete mention of how Jeremiah died, I wonder what he thought at the end of his life as he looked back on it. I’m sure it was not the life he thought he would have, as it was one that was spent mostly in tears. But he could be sure of his honesty and faithfulness to God’s Word. He filled the role God handed him superbly.

“the weeping prophet” “weeping prophet” “jeremiah”

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