Jeremiah Stays in Judah
Open Your Bible
Jeremiah 39:1-18, Jeremiah 40:1-16, Jeremiah 41:1-18, 2 Chronicles 36:15-16, Romans 6:23
BY Erin Davis
Suffering has a way of shoving cotton in my ears. When the going gets tough, I have a bad habit of convincing myself that God has stopped speaking altogether. At times, I find myself squashed by my perception that the Spirit has simply gone silent on me.
But then I read the words of Jeremiah, the prophet who spent his days weeping (with good cause) over God’s people and their disobedience, and I am reminded that God is hardly indifferent to us, our sin, or our suffering. Within today’s reading alone, just three little chapters of Jeremiah’s story, we find that his city of Jerusalem besieged as pagan officials laid in wait to accost his neighbors. The king fled and was captured… and then had his eyes gouged out. The sons and nobles of Jeremiah’s homeland were then slaughtered, and his countrymen were carried away into exile. And the cisterns that were meant to hold water were instead filled with the bodies of those who were slain (Jeremiah 39–40). Keep in mind: that’s just three chapters.
Jeremiah himself was left to live as a prisoner among the most destitute of his brethren. This single snapshot of Jeremiah’s story contains more heartache than you and I will likely ever know. Yet it was at that moment that “the word of the LORD had come to Jeremiah when he was confined in the guard’s courtyard” (Jeremiah 39:15). The sound of God’s voice speaking in Jeremiah’s darkest moment unstops my ears and reminds me that the things of this world, even the political upheaval of leaders, cannot squelch the word of the Lord; His plans will succeed. Suffering, imprisonment, and sorrows—none of these are a match for God’s power and goodness. There is no prison that can lock out God’s voice, nor is there a ruler who can censor Him.
With every form of comfort stripped from Jeremiah, what a balm God’s presence and voice must have been! The Book of Jeremiah is proof that there is nothing God’s children cannot endure as long as the Lord is still speaking. On every peak and in every valley, in times of plenty and in times of want, whether everything is coming up roses, or all we see is darkness—if we listen for the voice of our Shepherd, we will find that He is still speaking. He is not indifferent but engaged. God Himself is still wooing, always calling His children back to Him.