Day 17

Jeremiah Compelled to Preach

from the Lent 2020: His Love Endures reading plan


Jeremiah 20:1-18, Jeremiah 21:1-14, Jeremiah 22:1-30, Isaiah 9:6-7, John 11:25-26

BY Kaitie Stoddard

Have you ever felt God place a message on your heart that you couldn’t help but share? Sometimes that calling arrives on your doorstep when you least expect it. That was the case for me when my daughter was diagnosed with Down syndrome. God has used her life to show me His deep love for all people, regardless of their abilities or achievements. My eyes have been opened to the shortcomings in my own heart, and in the heart of our culture, to affirm the worth of every human being because they are made in the image of God. I knew God was leading me to spread the word about how “perfectly and wonderfully made” people with Down syndrome are.

Sometimes the task God gives us is unpopular. The truth can be divisive, and by sharing the truth of the gospel we may lose friends, family, and opportunities. In some parts of the world, the consequences of faith are far more dire, putting the very lives of believers at risk for preaching the Word. The prophet Jeremiah was no stranger to persecution. He was given the dangerous assignment of calling Jerusalem out for their injustice and unfaithfulness to God. And while he was faithful to preach that message, it was not without internal wrestling.

One might look at the prophets of old and assume that witnessing is somehow easier for them than it is for you and me. We might think they liked the public stage and all that came with it. But Jeremiah makes it clear he would run away from the spotlight in a second if it didn’t mean running away from God too. So why doesn’t Jeremiah forget the risky business of prophecy and find a more convenient, safe way to serve God? Jeremiah is compelled to speak out because, as he said, the Lord’s message “becomes a fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones. I become tired of holding it in” (Jeremiah 20:9). His heart is so deeply tethered to the Lord’s that he cannot waver from his created purpose.

As followers of Jesus, God places specific callings to our lives through the movement of the Holy Spirit in us. For each one of us, the big-picture calling is to proclaim the name of Jesus. But we have all been entrusted with unique circumstances and gifts that shape the way we point the world to Christ.

What is the specific “burning” you feel in your bones? Are you being faithful to proclaim it? While it’s tempting to let the fear of repercussion silence you, look to the faith of Jeremiah for courage. He was a man who preached a dangerous message and experienced the backlash, but knew deep down he could do nothing less. The reason Jeremiah was able to be so bold was not because he was strong or special, but because he trusted that God is a “violent warrior,” one who could not be stopped (Jeremiah 20:11). That same powerful God is calling you and me to share the truth with the world in a very particular way. He will be with us every step of the way. The question is, will we let God speak through our lives?

Post Comments (57)

57 thoughts on "Jeremiah Compelled to Preach"

  1. Sarita Cochran says:

    You are not alone. I feel the same. I have prayed and asked God a few times. I’m learning to be still so I can hear him clearly.

  2. Stephie Gray says:

    I’ll be honest, I’ve never felt like I know what God is calling me to do. I’ve never felt like He has spoken to me in any way and I have no idea what I was put on this earth to do. I will pray that He reveals this to me and that I have the strength to do it, even if it’s out of my comfort zone.

    1. Lauren Love says:

      Some encouragement – Sometimes callings are few and far between, sometimes they’re obvious (like me feeling the need to comment on this post) and other times it takes us a minute because God uses unexpected things to “hem us in.” For awhile I felt the need to read Mere Christianity by CS Lewis & finally (after years) I acted on that feeling and bought the book. It has restored my faith more than I would have thought possible. I also feel the need to share this book with EVERYONE since it paints such a perfect picture of my faith. Growing up I always worried God would ask me to do hard things, so I would shy away from “feelings” I’d get. I simply shared that book on my Instagram story letting everyone know that I read it & I felt relief. The next week I felt a need to share this book with a friend who mentioned he no longer prays. I wrestled with the idea of sending it to him and finally killed my ego or whatever it was & sent it to him. He never responded, but I planted a seed & I knew I did exactly what God wanted me to do.

  3. Tammi Shank-Moore says:

    I was wondering if someone would way in on the devotional where it was stated God is a “violent warrior”. I would just like to hear others thoughts on this please.

  4. Connie Davidson says:

    ” Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. I write Bible verses on index cards and make copies for my husband. trying to encourage his Bible reading. I am trying to be bolder about my faith and look for openings in situations to talk about God’s goodness and grace.

  5. Julia L says:

    This makes me think of the passage in Ephesians that calls us to continue to stand our ground in the face of evil and spiritual warfare. Jeremiah continued to stand in the strength of God and knowledge that this was his calling and God could be trusted every step of the way. Though I doubt many of us would call ourselves a prophet, we also are called to stand in Gods strength- not in pride or self-righteousness, but in love and truth.

  6. Susan says:

    I have had a message from the Lord for my husband since October that I have been too scared to share with him. He is a Christian just thinks that is enough and all this Bible reading I do is unnecessary. The message is regarding our business that has been open for 30+ years and may be time for change if we do not place God as priority. It is from the Book of Haggai and I need prayer to speak gently, calmly and that God go before me to prepare my husband’s heart.

    1. Amy W says:

      Praying for you, Susan – and praying for your husband’s heart to be open to hear.

  7. Stephanie Schwarz says:

    I am praying that God will bring back to the surface the “burning” thing I’ve been avoiding and have stuffed down for so long. May I be faithful and obedient in my tiny corner of the world. My past doesn’t define me, the blood of Jesus’ salvation claims me and I can confidently walk forward in hope, mercy and grace!

  8. K D says:

    Thank you for your thoughts Kaitie. This was such an important reminder to me – that in the same way God gave Jeremiah courage to speak boldly, He will do the same for me.

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