UNAFRAID ALTHOUGH INSULTED AND REPROACHED
"Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long." v.8
O LORD, you deceived (persuaded) me , and I was deceived (persuaded); you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long. I hear many whispering, "Terror on every side! Report him! Let's report him!" All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, "Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him."
The preceding paragraph was Jeremiah's complaint written from v. 7 to 18 of this chapter. During the time of Jeremiah the prophet, Israel was being attacked by Babylon. Jeremiah was used by God to speak to His people. Surely, Jeremiah was obedient enough, even to the point of death. Because of the word of God that Jeremiah prophesied, the priest Pashhur had Jeremiah beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the LORD's temple. In another chapter of this book, Jeremiah was even threatened with death. And so he complained to the Lord.
Are you a Jeremiah of these present days? Have you ever been insulted and persecuted by speaking the truth? Especially by speaking about the Truth?
As a Christian, just like Jeremiah, I've been criticized because of my faith and there was a point when I also asked God the big question "WHY?" I have lost friends because of it. They begun avoiding me. They said my life is boring because I am active in the church but most of the time no longer associate or get involved with their activities (especially when I know there will be bottles of wine involved) to avoid compromising. Therefore, I've been labeled a fanatic or a freak. I have received mockery from them. One of my classmate in High school said I was just looking for a "sense of belongingness." Well, maybe he was right. I really felt I need to belong somewhere else and not of the world. Thankfully, I now belong to God.
I realized it is hard to be a Christian. You will surely face many persecutions and many people will try to make your following of Christ Jesus difficult. But don't give up 'cause I won't. I know life is much harder without Christ. So stand firm to the very end!
Speak what God has commanded you to say. Do not hold it in. Because you can't! His word, as Jeremiah described it, will be like a fire in your heart, a fire shut up in your bones. You will only be weary holding it in. (v.9)
To those who are not willing to repent and obey God, the words you will say will be like "proclaiming violence and destruction" to them. They will find it hard to accept. They don't want their sins to be destroyed. That is why many will persecute you. They are hostile to God and they will be hostile to you too.
If you have been threatened or been hurt not just physically but emotionally with the people's insult and criticism, do not be afraid of them. Jesus has told us: "Do not be afraid of those who can only kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both the soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28) So do not be afraid of what people can do to you or what they will say against you. What God says about you is what matters. Better to hear criticism from the people than to hear it from God Himself.
Do not be afraid of proclaiming the Gospel or be ashamed to declare that you are a Christian. It will be hard, yeah I know. Jeremiah, the apostle Paul, Peter too and all the disciples know. They'd been there. They understand. But most of all, GOD KNOWS. He understands. He'd been there. Jesus was mocked and been insulted but He did not retaliate; when He suffered, he made no threats. Instead, He entrusted himself to him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23). Entrust everything to God. Just commit your cause to the Lord. Sing to the LORD and give praise to Him in your circumstances for He will surely rescue you from the hands of the wicked. (v.13)
"But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior;
so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.
They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced;
their dishonor will never be forgotten.
LORD Almighty, you who examine the righteous
and probe the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
for to you I have committed my cause."
It was hard for me when some of my friends started to put a distance between us because of my faith but I don't really care now as long as the distance between me and God is not too wide, as long as I am not far away from my God and as long as I have God in my life. I don't know how many so-called 'friends" I will lose along the way but as long as I have God and never be forsaken by Him-my Best friend, I know I will be okay.
(My heart still cries out for them. I will try to win them by love and continue to pray for them too... Someday, they will understand me and my faith. Someday, they will join me in praising God- together, in unity- with the Body of Christ).
To my Mighty warrior -the One who understands me be the glory!
Your sister through the blood of Christ,