More Living in HopeDecember 11, 2007
Yesterday I mentioned two things learned from preaching through Jeremiah. Today let me add another two: “the extraordinary endurance of Jeremiah” and “a prophecy for preaching the gospel.”
3) The Extraordinary Endurance Of Jeremiah
It has only been throughout this series that I have really appreciated the extraordinary perseverance of the prophet Jeremiah. No doubt we should think of him as the OT ‘apostle Paul’ (2 Cor 11:16-30). Outlasting four kings, enduring opposition over a four decade ministry and facing a constant and unchanging rejection of the Word he preached, the prophet maintained his bold stand. Jeremiah also survived numerous death attempts, the brutal fall of Jerusalem and even a kidnapping to the nation of Egypt. None of this was easy. In several passages we read of the prophet’s internal anguish even as he put on a bold face publicly (see Jeremiah 20). But through it all the weeping prophet was also the persevering prophet. (How fewer the trials – in number and severity- cause many a spineless minister to quit today?) No doubt what kept Jermiah was the constraining sense of his calling (Jer 1), the compelling word that he preached (Jer 20) and the grace of God that rescued him time and again (see Jer 38).
4) A Prophecy for Preaching the Gospel
Oh how easy it was to preach the gospel from this prophecy! The dark clouds of judgement in Jeremiah are almost invariably tinged with the silver lining of grace. These glimmers of hope make it easy for the preacher to find a straight road to the New Testament where Jesus fulfills all that Jeremiah promises and bears God’s judgement for the sins so damningly outlined. To hear – as I did a few weeks ago – that someone had turned and trusted in Christ after hearing a sermon on judgements on the nations (Jer 46-49), reaffirmed that a clear description of the nature of sin and the threat of judgement provides the best overture to the main melody of God’s grace.