Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It’s Easy to Get Depressed

Jeremiah 20:1-18

“Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the LORD, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things.   Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 20:1-2)

Jeremiah had prophesied about the destruction of Jerusalem and captivity of Judah, telling them what god said was going to happen if they didn’t make changes.  Pashur, who was what would probably be called the senior pastor in churches today, didn’t like what Jeremiah was preaching.  Rather than considering the message and checking it out, he lost his temper, hitting Jeremiah and having him publicly arrested to humiliate and discredit him, similar to what we see with political leaders today.    

“And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks.  Then said Jeremiah unto him, The LORD hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magormissabib.  For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword.

Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to Babylon.  And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies.” (Jeremiah 20:3-6

Since there were no legitimate charges, Pashur could not legitimately hold Jeremiah.  When he was released, Jeremiah said Pashur would no longer be known as Pashur, which means liberation.  Instead he would be known as Magormissabib, meaning affright from around.  He would be terrified and inspire terror in the hearts around him, demoralizing them and seeing them killed as a result.  The survivors would be carried away captive into Babylon or executed.  All the riches of Judah and all the things they had built would be take or destroyed.  Pashur’s own family would be taken to Babylon, where he and all his friends and the people that listened to him instead of God would die.

“O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.  For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily.” (Jeremiah 20:7-8)

Jeremiah had been prophesying about the punishment of Judah for their sin.  Instead, he had been beaten and arrested.  He felt like God had broken his promise and betrayed him.   People made fun of him on a daily basis, and he was frequently attacked both verbally and physically for his stand.   He was considered a fool or treated as a criminal for standing for what God said.  Many times we develop that same feeling that we have been betrayed or deceived.  We forget the warning in II Timothy 3:12, “…all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”  Every person who does right will experience these things to some degree.  It shouldn’t surprise us, but we frequently are. 

“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.  For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.” (Jeremiah 20:9-10)

Frustrated, Jeremiah decided he’d just quit preaching or telling them what God said and let them find out for themselves.  He sometimes had to bite his tongue to keep from telling peoplewhat they were doing was wrong, but when he heard them slandering god and blaming God for what was happening, he couldn’t hardly hold back.  His own acquaintances and friends were watching to see if he could walk by or if he’d speak up and force them to take sides against to make him go along. 

“But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.  But, O LORD of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause.  Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.” (Jeremiah 20:11-13)

God is all powerful, and those who attack his servants will fail in their efforts to destroy us.  In John 16:33 Jesus said, “…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  Jeremiah asks to see the day when their judgment comes because he just couldn’t keep from warning them.  He knows that ultimately he will see God’s victory.  Even though he knows it, he’d much rather not have to go through it. 

“Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed.  Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad.  And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide; Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me.  Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?” (Jeremiah 20:14-18)

Sometimes it seems as if our problems are more that we can bear, and like Jeremiah, we begin to think it would have been better if we had never been born.   We need to be reminded, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it,” as I Corinthians 10 13 tells us.  All that live godly suffer persecution but God will make a way to overcome it. 

I Corinthians 2:9 says, “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”  We simply have no clue what the rewards will be like but we know who God is. Romans 8:18 says, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”    Knowing how much God loves us, we can be sure the reward will be worth all the suffering.  “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal,” according to II Corinthians 4:16-18.

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