Jeremiah, perhaps more than all the Old Testament prophets, suffered great ridicule, persecution, mockery, and abuse. This was directly tied to his seemingly anti-patriotic prophecies regarding Judah’s soon to come destruction and total deportation at the hands of the Babylonians. This message was not only extremely unpopular, but it directly contradicted what the other so-called prophets of the LORD were proclaiming. Indeed, though these misguided prophets were convinced that their people would remain in the land, the LORD God proclaimed the truth through Jeremiah (Jeremiah 19).
“His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.”
And, as God’s Word so often does, it offended both the governmental and religious institutions of the day. As Jeremiah records in the twentieth chapter of his book:
Now Pashhur the son of Immer, the priest who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord. And it happened on the next day that Pashhur brought Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, ‘The Lord has not called your name Pashhur, but Magor-Missabib. For thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall see it. I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive to Babylon and slay them with the sword. Moreover I will deliver all the wealth of this city, all its produce, and all its precious things; all the treasures of the kings of Judah I will give into the hand of their enemies, who will plunder them, seize them, and carry them to Babylon. And you, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house, shall go into captivity. You shall go to Babylon, and there you shall die, and be buried there, you and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied lies.’ ” (Jeremiah 20:1-6)
Unfortunately, not only did Pashhur and the rest of Judah not heed this warning given by Jeremiah, but they despised and mocked him with it. As verses 3 and 10 record, God had changed Pashhur’s name (which means either “ease,” or “deliverance is round about”) to Magor-Missabib which by contrast means “terror on every side.” But in mockery and derision they laughed, “O terror on every side! Report and we will report it!” Sadly, Jeremiah was so abused and mistreated that he had made the decision not to make mention of the LORD “nor speak anymore in His name.” However, as Jeremiah himself confessed, “His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.” (Jeremiah 20:9)
Regrettably, nothing has changed since Jeremiah’s time. God’s true children are still mocked, ridiculed, and persecuted to this day. However, we, just like Jeremiah, mustn’t hold back the lifesaving message of God’s Word for fear but proclaim it boldly and unashamedly unto the ends of the earth as our Lord Jesus Christ has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
Ryan Hembree | July 30, 2021 – 1:00 PM EST