“O LORD, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me.” (Jeremiah 20:7)
In the opening verses of Jeremiah, the writer of Jeremiah (I say this in case they are/were not one and the same) says he is only a boy. The Lord God rebuts him saying the Divine has put in his mouth the words he is to speak. I suppose that might have been the “enticement”, that the Lord God was with him and supporting him. But Jeremiah (or his biographer) states it was not a easy as he thought it would be.
“For whenever I speak, I must cry out, I must shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” (Verses 8 – 9)
I can well imagine it was difficult being a prophet that spoke gloom and doom, and carried to the people of God the judgment and indictments that the Lord God had for the people. I know in our current time we seek happy and joyful news. But all around us are pronouncements of the dire situation we are in. And we are, beloved reader, in dire situations. All around us is bad news and reactions to the bad news. But maybe that is where we are (at times) one better than the Israelites. We KNOW the times are bad, and we know changes must be made.
I know too, beloved reader, that those who bring to the world’s attention the wrong that is happening are shouted (and worse) down; and that there are those who attempt to silence the truth speakers. Maybe these verses are for those who speak up. And maybe they too feel the burning fire in their bones.
“For I hear many whispering: “Terror is all around! Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” All my close friends are watching for me to stumble. “Perhaps he can be enticed, and we can prevail against him, and take our revenge on him.” (Verse 10)
In our little area (Eugene, OR) of the world, we had some protests and demonstrations. And there was some property damage. It is not clear, however, who did the property damage. Even in our little area of the world, it is not unknown for inciters of unrest to commit acts that cast #Blacklivesmatter proponents in a bad light. That may have been what happened here. So this verse that follows is also for those who seek justice.
“But the LORD is with me like a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, and they will not prevail. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.” (Verse 11)
It is unusual for me, and maybe out of character for me to be “political” – if that is what you want to call my ponderings this day. There comes a time when social justice demands attention and action. When those who stand against social justice have so clearly aligned themselves with a political stance that seeks to shut down social justice, one has no choice but to reject that political stance. Such a time is now!
“O LORD of hosts, you test the righteous, you see the heart and the mind; let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.” (Verse 12)
Jeremiah and the writer of Jeremiah had confidence that the Lord God will ensure that they would prevail against the enemies that were set against them. Unfortunately the people who seek justice in our current society are still struggling and waiting for that time to come. It is time, beloved reader, for all of us to lift our voices and be heard so that the day will come that it can be truly said . . . . .
“Sing to the LORD; praise the LORD! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers.” (Verse 13)
Shalom & Selah!