missionary blues

SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 15:12-21


  1. This passage contains the message of God’s judgment [15:1-9,12-14] and the struggle of Jeremiah as the messenger [15:10-11,15-21]. Jeremiah was called and equipped to be God’s messenger, but his job was not easy, and here he breaks down before God, wishing that he was never even born [10]. This reminds me that being a missionary (messenger) is no easy task, and that maybe I too one day will wish I was never born?!?!?!?
  2. Jeremiah describes his initial call as eagerly accepting the message of God [16], that he “ate up” the message, that they were a joy and delight. I can remember saying things like this too, times when I just LOVED the opportunity to speak God’s message, to talk about Jesus. But I can also recall times when it was a heavy burden, one that seemed pointless and powerless.
  3. As God’s messenger warning the people about God’s anger at their sin, Jeremiah was not a popular person. Unlike Jonah, who witnessed the people of Ninevah repenting before God (and he was disappointed when they did, because he wanted God to fry them), Jeremiah DOES NOT see his own people repent, instead they turn on him and verbally and physically assault him – “a man with whom the whole land strives and contends” [v.10].
  4. Jeremiah accuses God of being a “deceptive brook” [18], offering a refreshing drink but delivering a bad, fowl taste. He had expected that his ministry would be positive, fruitful, powerful, but instead he is ridiculed, rejected and mistreated. He cries out, ‘what have I done to deserve this?’ [16-17] Jeremiah is honest, but so is God, who challenges him back to repent – “if you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman” [19].
  5. No matter what happens, the messenger of God must stay true to the message. Even if EVERY person rejects the message, the messenger of God must persevere. “Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them” [19]. God’s message is true, whether or not it is well received or not. Ask Jesus.
  6. God assures Jeremiah several times that his labour is not in vain, and that though he face trials, he will not be overcome. “Surely I will deliver you for a good purpose…” [11]; “they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you” [20-21]. This same assurance is for me, as I venture forward as a messenger/missionary for God.
  7. This passage reminds me of the challenging call that Jesus gives to His disciples – “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves” [Matthew 10:16, see Matthew 10:1-42]. We cannot and should not assume that following Jesus will be easy, He has made it abundantly clear that it will not be. But He will be with us, and He will speak through us, and we will not be overcome! What God says to Jeremiah, Jesus also repeats to us: “Surely I will deliver you for a good purpose…” [11]; “they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you” [20-21].

Lord, thank You for Your assurance, even as I prepare to serve as a missionary in Ajax. More and more I am feeling the challenge of this calling, but I know that I do not go alone.


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