Jeremiah Part Three Dive
THE ONLY WAY FOR EVIL TO PREVAIL IS FOR GOOD MEN TO SAY NOTHING
There is a famous quote that says: “The only way for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing”. And as I read Jeremiah, I keep hearing this over and over again but in a slightly different version – all I hear is
“The only way for evil to prevail is for good men to say nothing!”
We have to keep speaking; we have to keep professing the truth. Did you notice as you read this very long book, how many times God says “they are not going to listen to you”? I mean let’s be honest, if this guy was paid on peoples response to his prophetic words and whether they obeyed him – he would be broke. But the thing about Jeremiah is his faithfulness is to the calling and voice of God and doing what God is telling him to do and not worrying about whether these people are going to repent or take heed of what he is saying. Actually, if he were a prophet that was worried about the fear and response of man - he wouldn’t do it!
But let’s be honest, after reading Jeremiah, who wants to be a prophet? This guy prophesies for 40 years and then goes into exile with everyone else. I would be walking along beside the people with a sign – I TOLD YOU SO!! He gets beaten, thrown in prison, they call him a traitor, seriously this guy went through so much for his message! I love reading Jeremiah because it shows the honest response of this prophet it wasn’t easy to keep prophesying when no-one was listening but he did and you hear his battles, his anger with God, his complaints!
The book of Jeremiah has more details about the actual prophet and his feelings than any other of the prophetical books. We get to hear more about the life of Jeremiah than any other. Now this is good and bad, in one way you really get to know Jeremiah as a person not just his message but on the other hand you get to see how hard his life was, he is thrown in prison, thrown into a cistern, beaten, anything they could do to stop him from prophesying but he doesn’t stop! Jeremiah is a forerunner of what Jesus and the apostles were going to face in the New Testament, his list of what he had been through reminds me of the list of Paul, what Paul had faced preaching the gospel.
Jeremiah even begs God to let him stop in 20:9 'But if I say “I will not mention his word 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 love this even though Jeremiah had to face the life he lived; he could not stop being true to the message that God had given him. Even though the people didn’t listen, even though no-one responded, even though he saw no fruit still he prophesied.
Imagine if he stopped, gave up. The fruit of what he was saying was not just for the generation in front of him, the impact of his words was not just for the Kings and for Judah of that time, the impact and promises of what he was prophesying were to resonate 700+ years later in the coming of the Messiah. It was to resonate 70 years later for Daniel to pick it up and claim the promise. If Jeremiah didn’t prophesy Daniel would not have had the promise to hold onto that they were only going to be in exile for 70 years. Look at Daniel 9:2 'In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.' What!! Jeremiah was prophesying into the future generations. It didn’t matter that the people didn’t listen, Daniel listened and acted upon the obedience of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah prophesied the coming of Jesus, a promise that took 700+ years to fulfil. Look at 23:5 'The days are coming, “declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. IN his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD our Righteous Savior.' And again in 33:15 'In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD our Righteous Savior.'
You don’t know what is on the other side of your obedience. Don’t look at the people in front of you; they may be rejecting your message and not repenting but prophesy into the future, you might be impacting years and years in advance, when you are gone to be with God your obedience will impact the next generation! As you read this incredible book, it is a hard emotional read, but in the midst of their disobedience, God speaks the future, in the midst of their judgment God speaks of Jesus, his redemptive plan is not quashed by our disobedience. He had a plan of faithfulness and redemption even when we were not!