Summary: God rebukes Jeremiah in this text. Jeremiah is told to "repent." Why?
OPEN: (A Poem by Dr. Seuss)
Did I ever tell you about the young Zoad - who came to a sign at the fork of the road?
He looked one way and the other way too - the Zoad had to make up his mind what to do.
Well, the Zoad scratched his head, and his chin, and his pants. –
And he said to himself, “I’ll be taking a chance.
If I go to Place One, that place may be hot… so how will I know if I like it or not.
On the other hand though, I’ll feel such a fool if I go to Place 2 - and find it’s too cool
In that case I may catch a chill and turn blue.
So Place One may be best and not Place Two.
“Play safe!” cried the Zoad,
“I’ll play safe, I’m no dunce. I’ll simply start off to both places at once.”
And that’s how the Zoad who’d not take a chance
Went no place at all with a split in his pants.
APPLY: Decisions… we all have to make them.
Most of the time, our decisions are mundane as which road to take, or which box of cereal to buy at the grocery store, or which movie to watch at the theatre. These are decisions based upon personal taste.
But every once in a while, we’re faced with making a decision… and we know what we should decide. We know what the right choice should be. BUT we realize that – if we make that choice – it could ultimately cost us something we hold dear.
ILLUS: Years ago, a young man was sharing about a decision he had to make in high school. He desperately wanted to be a part of the school play, and actually landed a fairly significant part. But then, he discovered that his lines included some curse words.
Well, this was a good Christian boy. He’d been raised to be courteous and respectful… and not to curse.
BUT… he desperately wanted this part… and he was afraid of what might happen if made the decision he knew he had to, in order to be faithful to God.
His solution – he changed his lines, fully aware that this might anger the director and ultimately cost him his role in the play.
To his surprise, he found that the director didn’t even notice that the words had been changed. Nobody was upset and he didn’t have to loose his part in the play. But even if he had lost the part, it wouldn’t have mattered, because he had already made up his mind what decision he intended to make.
I. Jeremiah was one of the greatest Prophets of the Old Testament.
In fact, Jeremiah was so prominent that when Jesus asked His disciples who the people said that he was, His disciples replied: “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Matthew 16:14
Jeremiah had been chosen while he was still in his mother’s womb and God set him apart to prophecy terrible warnings to the nation of Judah. But when we get here to the 15th chapter … we find that Jeremiah’s having 2nd thoughts.
Great prophet though he was – he’s begun to consider the idea of bailing out.
LOOK with me at verses 16-18 (of Jeremiah 15)
“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty. I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation.
Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? Will you be to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails?” Jeremiah 15:16-18
Jeremiah’s complaining here… and he’s begun to think that this prophecy business was more trouble than it was worth.
AND this isn’t the only time Jeremiah struggles with these kind of feelings. In Jeremiah 20:8-10 “Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long. 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.
I hear many whispering, ‘Terror on every side! Report him! Let’s report him!” All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him.’”
II. Jeremiah has come to a crisis point in his faith.